Child Protection and Human Rights - Implementing the CRC in policy and professional practice

We are living in a time where nation-state systems of child protection across Europe receive massive criticism both nationally and across nation-states. In particular, out-of-home placements of children without the parents’ consent is targeted, while voluntary interventions for and with youth are mostly ignored in this context. Different nation-states’ politicians, public officials, NGOs, professionals, scholars and the traditional and new media participate in discussing the criticism from various points of departure. Since child protection is characterized by controversy as well as being an academic field submerged in normative complexity and uncertainty, answers and heated discourses about what constitutes “the best” type of protection abound.

This project will culminate in a book that dwell upon the role of rights as they transcend nation-bound rhetoric, and rather anchor the demands towards policy and professional practice in child protection in an understanding of human rights that is particularly shared across Europe. All European nation-states have formally obligated themselves to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). As well, most are members of the ‘s European Union and are bound by the Charter of the European Union. These are legal documents, demanding that children and families are subject to a child protection system that abides by human rights, although to a different extent. Hence, there is already a cosmopolitan political-legal system in place across Europe, based on a human rights standard for professional practice and policy. We will argue that a post-national view of child protection systems, i.e. a view based on an international human rights standard, is a condition for taking children’s rights seriously.

The purpose of the book is to critically explore what child protection policy and professional practice entail if it claims to abide by a human rights standard is to be justified. Our ambition is that the book will inspire a new direction in child protection research – one that critically and comparatively assesses child protection policy and professional practice with regard to human rights in general, and the rights of the child in particular.