Barnskyddets innersta kärna
– om tvångsplaceringar som motiveras av barns hemförhållanden
The inner core of child protection – on coercive placement motivated by abuse or neglect
This article is about emergency placement due to child abuse or neglect. Empirical data consists of judgements on coercive care in three administrative courts (n=211). Motives for placements are analysed against the background of the discursive changes that have taken place with regard to definitions of child abuse as well as today’s strong focus on risk and risk assessments. Results show that there were a number of motives to justify the court’s decision in each individual case. However, the broadening of the concept of abuse in research and in general discourse is evident in the judgements. We raise the question whether this matter, in practice, has resulted in more children being cared for because of an expansion of the concept of violence. As for risk assessments, two types of causal reasoning can be identified: situations where the child has been abused or neglected and where the risk assessment is about the probability that the problems will continue, and situations where the child has not been harmed but risks being harmed in the future. However, risk assessments are not that elaborate and systematic as presupposed in legislation. Taken together, the findings call for a discussion both within the justice system and in social work.