Journal Article

‘Knowing Our Society’ and ‘Fighting Against Prejudices’: How Child Welfare Workers in Norway and England Perceive the Challenges of Minority Parents

Katrin Križ and Marit Skivenes

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 40, issue 8, pages 2634-2651
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online March 2010 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcq026
‘Knowing Our Society’ and ‘Fighting Against Prejudices’: How Child Welfare Workers in Norway and England Perceive the Challenges of Minority Parents

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This article compares child welfare workers' perspectives on Black and Minority Ethnic parents in England and Norway. It is based on in-depth semi-structured interviews with forty-seven front line child welfare workers conducted in 2008. We found that Norwegian and English child welfare workers' perspectives of minority parents significantly differ along two dimensions: workers' expectations about the role that minority parents should play in the lives of their children, and their assumptions about parents' relationship with the child welfare system. Norwegian workers embrace a racism-blind, individualistic, change-oriented perspective that views minority parents as responsible service users. Workers conceive of parents and children as individuals with different struggles and needs and classify minority parents primarily as service users with responsibilities towards their children. They expect parents to become bi-lingual and bi-cultural to facilitate their children's access to the opportunities provided by the Norwegian education and child welfare systems. English workers demonstrate an anti-racist and culturally sensitive, holistic and defensive perspective that categorises minority parents and children as clients. They think of minority children and parents as families (as opposed to individuals) of colour who encounter racism and prejudice. English workers do not expect bi-cultural competency from immigrant parents.

Keywords: Anti-oppressive practice; anti-racist practice; black and ethnic minority; child protection; England; Norway; racism; social work

Journal Article.  7580 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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