This Hestia component, coordinated by Dr. Heinz Kindler and Dr. Eric van Santen (Deutsches Jugendinstitut), will build on our policy analysis to provide a more detailed comparison of the operation of child protection systems in three countries. We will analyse the files of a large sample of children and families involved in cases of possible child maltreatment in each country. Our case file analysis will focus on reasons for referral, information gathered on children and their families, the voice given to children and parents as well as on the overall handling of cases including outcomes in terms of voluntary or involuntary measures. Case files will also allow us to gather follow-up data. The main questions we will try to answer in this part of the study are:

  1. Are there case group specific or general similarities or differences across countries in the ways referrals are investigated and responded to?
  2. What cultures of participatory practices regarding children, parents and kin become visible on a case level?
  3. What is the mix of voluntary and involuntary measures in each country in certain types of cases and how are involuntary child protection interventions prepared and legitimized on a case level?
  4. Does policy respond to features or patterns that can be seen on a case level? Are similarities and differences between child protection policies reflected in case practice?