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Newsletter of the Hestia reserach project - Summer 2018

Hestia - an international research project on child protection policy and practice
In January 2015, researchers from the University of York, in England, the German Youth Institute and the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, launched Hestia: an international research project examining child protection policy and practice in Europe. This newsletter keeps you up to date with all the news from the Hestia research team. 
We wish you a relaxing summer!
Dear reader,

We are very pleased to present you the next edition of our Hestia research project newsletter!  
This edition will keep you up-to-date regarding recent developments within the Hestia team:
  • Dissemination of the project to the practice & scientific field
  • Getting to know the amazing research assistants who have been supporting our case file analysis 
  • Our latest publications
  • Did you know that one of our team members is awarded with a royal distinction?
Enjoy reading our newsletter and we wish you a relaxing summer holiday! 

Best wishes,
the Hestia research team
Disemmination of Hestia in research & practice

The Hestia team has given a large amount of presentations focusing on findings of the project at child protection agencies agencies and at scientific conferences during the past months.

Presentations for professionals in the child protection field

  • The English team (Helen Baldwin & Nina Biehal) delivered workshops with local authorities that participated in the Hestia study. The workshops were attended by a total of 61 staff members working in children's services departments, including directors, senior managers, team managers and social workers. 
  • Dutch researchers (Helen Bouma & Floor Middel) were invited to deliver a presentation on youth participation in child protection policy and practice. 

Floor Middel and Helen Bouma at one of the Dutch child protection agencies

Hestia at scientific conferences

German, English, and Dutch representatives of the Hestia team were present at final conference of NORFACE, the Welfare State Futures. Therefore, this event not only enabled the researchers to present their research to European policy makers and researchers, but they were also able to discuss the future steps of their study. Moreover, also the steering committee of the Hestia project (Prof. Doris Bühler-Niederberger, Prof. Fred Wulczyn, Prof. Nick Frost, & Prof. Marit Skivenes) was invited to several symposia to provide detailed feedback on findings, conclusions, and future directions.

The Hestia research team and steering committee at the final conference of the Welfare State Futures in Florence

Mónica López López presenting the policy analysis of children's participation in child protection during the Parental Guidance & Child Protection conference in Barcelona

Thanks to our data collection team!

Conducting high quality scientific research requires effort and dedication. This is also more than true for the Hestia research project. To illustrate, we present some facts regarding the data collection process of the Hestia case file study:

  • We carefully studied 1,207 child protection casefiles
  • It took on average 2 hours to read through one case file thoroughly and to fill in the coding instrument
  • It took more than 3 hours to reach some of the child protection locations from our research institutes
  • Let's assume that it was possible to study 3 case files on one day (6 reading/coding hours + travel time). 
  • (1,207 case files * 2 hours for one file) / 6 hours a day = 402.33 working days to complete the case file analysis 
  • 402.33 days / 21.74 working days per month (average) = 18.51 months to complete data analysis
  • To conclude, the Hestia casefile study required more than one and a half year of data collection!
Therefore, the Hestia team was very lucky to be supported by researchers and assistants to share the workload. Many of them are talented students in the field of social work, pedagogy, or psychology. We are extremely grateful for their work in data collection. 

England: Nikki Owens, Katrina Igbinovia, Gemma McBirnie, Jamie McDermott, Lucy Kanya, Sally Pillay, Luke Spence, & Laura Brightwell Peters
Germany: Juljana Berghammer, & Evelyn Ehrmann
The Netherlands: Marleen Wessels, Salo Anthony, Mirjam Boelens, & Miriam Tolsma

Dutch report on the experiences of parents involved with child protection

Helen Bouma, Hans Grietens, Erik Knorth, Mónica López López, & Floor Middel have published a Dutch report on the experiences of parents with the child protection system. 
"Determine the truth by good investigations"

One of the main findings is that parents really want child protection agencies to find out the truth regarding the child rearing situation, especially in cases where parents are involved in a divorce/separation and both parents tell two different stories to the agencies. Good investigations including observations, consulting the environment of families and being open to new signals or concerns is important in this according to parents. Moreover, some parents describe that many agencies are involved in the Dutch child protection system. Good cooperation between those agencies is important to parents, to prevent slowing down the process in those steps between the agencies. Concerning the wellbeing and the interests of their children, it is important to parents that professionals really do something and adequate support is arranged as soon as possible.

Interested to read more of the findings? Click here to read the full report (in Dutch)! 


Findings: differences in persons and institutions who report maltreatment in England, Germany, and the Netherlands

There are significant differences regarding persons and institutions who report child maltreatment to child protection agencies in England, Germany, and the Netherlands, including:
  • The proportion of police/court reports is relatively high in all countries, but even higher in the Netherlands.
  • Children are more likely to report themselves to child protection agencies in Germany. Also other family members (either living inside or outside the household of the child) are more likely to report child maltreatment. 
  • Friends, neighbors, and acquaintances seem to report maltreatment very rarely in England.
  • Educational settings (e.g., teachers) report a large proportion of children to child protection agencies in England and Germany. However, this does not seem the case in the Netherlands. 

Published in Child Abuse & Neglect: a policy analysis on the embedding of meaningful participation of children in Dutch child protection policy

Helen Bouma, Mónica López López, Erik Knorth, & Hans Grietens have published an article regarding children's participation in Dutch child protection policy in Child Abuse & Neglect

Hestia team member Prof. Erik Knorth awarded with royal distinction

Prof. Erik Knorth has been awarded with a Dutch royal distinction (in Dutch: Officier in de Orde van Oranje Nassau). During his research career of more than 40 years he has been working on many research projects (including project Hestia) that aimed to improve the lives of highly vulnerable young people in care and their caregivers.

Read more on Erik's work!

Final conference Hestia at UNAM, Mexico City

The final conference of the Hestia project will take place at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; UNAM), Mexico City, 14-15 August 2018. The conference will enable researchers from Latin-America and Europe to present and compare their child protection systems. Moreover, the event will include an edition of the EUSARF Academy where PhD students in the field of child welfare research can present their research and build their network to foster future international collaborations. 

Interested in joining in? Click here to read more and sign up! 

Follow the Hestia team on twitter!

From left to right: Nina Biehal, Hans Grietens, Mónica López López, Helen Bouma, & Floor Middel

Final conference Hestia Mexico City 14-15 Augsut 2018 
EUSARF Academy – 2 October 2018
EUSARF Conference Porto – 3-5 October 2018

Our mailing address is:

University of Groningen, Faculty BSS
Department of Special Needs Education & Youth Care, Hans Grietens

Grote Kruisstraat 2/1
9712TS Groningen
The Netherlands 

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