May Gresdahl

Department of Social Work, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Portrait of May Gresdahl

Child Participation in Child Welfare Emergency Intervention Cases

Timeframe: January 2020 – March 2024


Although various scholars have focused on child participation in ordinary child welfare cases, a scarce number of studies emphasizes child participation in emergency intervention cases (e.g. Storhaug et al., 2020; Slettebø, 2018; Save the children Norway, 2017). Due to emergency cases being characterized by haste and limited time for children and parents to express their opinions before decisions are made, there is reason to believe children’s participation within these cases are especially vulnerable. This PhD-project therefore gives emphasis to the peculiarity of participation within emergency cases with the intention to contribute to empirical knowledge about emergency practices within the Norwegian child welfare system.

Main aim:

This PhD-project sets out to contribute to the limited existing knowledge on child welfare emergency intervention work, providing a main emphasis on how child participation is understood, practiced, and experienced.

Research questions:

• Which factors determine children’s participation in emergency intervention cases?

• In which ways is child participation understood and practiced in emergency intervention cases?

• What are children’s participation experiences in child welfare emergency intervention practices?


The PhD-project is an extension of a collaborative research project between NTNU and NORCE on municipal child welfare emergency work, which led to the publication of the report “Emergent for whom? – Emergency work in municipal child welfare services.” in 2020 (Storhaug et al., 2020). Through the main research project, I was granted access to 175 emergency case-files, which constitutes my quantitative data. I have furthermore conducted 7 individual and 4 group interviews with a total of 17 child welfare practitioners as well as 20 individual interviews with children and young people. Regression analysis will be conducted on the quantitative material, while thematic analyses will be performed on the qualitative data, prompting a mixed-method approach.


Redd Barna (2017). Skånsom henting? Erfaringer med akuttvedtak i barnevernet. Riksrevisjonen (2012). Riksrevisjonens undersøkelse Slettebø, T. (2018). Flyttinger i all hast. En tilstandsrapport om Bufetats og det kommunale barnevernets arbeid med akuttplasseringer i Region øst. Storhaug, A., S., Havnen, K., J., S., Fylkenes, M., K., Kojan, B., H., Christiansen, Ø., Langsrud, E., Jarlby, F., Jørgensen, K., Sørlie, H., E., Gresdahl, M., Skrove, G. (2020) Akutt – for hvem? Akuttarbeid i kommunalt barnevern


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