Recurrence, eruptions, and a transnational turn: Three decades of strained relations between migrants to Norway and the Child Welfare Services

Anders Vassenden & Gunn Vedøy - Child & Family Social Work


The relations between the Norwegian Child Welfare Services (CWS) and various migrant groups are notably strained. Numerous media accounts and a growing body of research reveal that many migrants to Norway fear the CWS. By combining quantitative and qualitative analyses of media accounts, this paper addresses the historical evolvement of such strained relations in Norway. Previous research has neglected this aspect. Findings show that migration issues related to the CWS have been topics of public debate in Norway for three decades, with foster care being a particularly intractable concern. With the onset of the decade beginning in 2010, however, matters have intensified and taken on transnational dimensions. In the discussion of our findings, we emphasize in particular how digital and social media have contributed to the recent changes.