Tesfahun Christian Alemayehu Terrefe

Nord Universitet


Portrait of Tesfahun Christian Alemayehu Terrefe

Title: Understanding the role of trust and distrust in collaboration between Immigrant families and the Norwegian Child Welfare Services

Project duration: September 2021 – September 2024 ( 3 years).


Public institutions in Norway enjoy high trust among the public, and Norway has consistently ranked high on a range of measures, including rule of law, confidence in the government, child rights, and child well-being. Nonetheless, the Norwegian child protection services (NCWS) appears to be an exception to this rule as several studies revealed a lack of trust or low trust in the institution. For instance, according to the study conducted by the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs, trust towards the NCWS is considerably low both among the population in general and immigrants in particular compared to other public institutions, such as the police, the health service, and the schools.

The overall goal of the project
is to advance the understanding of how trust and distrust affect the relationship between immigrant families and NCWS thereby contributing to improving the collaboration between the two stakeholders toward a better child protection services. To this end, the project will explore factors that influence the formation of trust and distrust between NCWS and immigrant families, seen from immigrant parents` and NCWS professionals’ perspectives and thus examine how do actions owing to trust and distrust impact collaboration between the two and the subsequent child protection services.

The overarching research question of the project is; How do trust and distrust affect the collaboration between immigrant families and child protective services, and how do these have implications for cross-cultural child protection services?

Method: The study will be conducted qualitatively using semi-structured in-depth interviews. Thematic analysis is used as an overall analytical method to analyze empirical data from participants (Braun & Clarke, 2006).

Study participants are immigrant parents who are permanently residing in Norway with their children and who have had previous contact with the NCWS due to allegations of child abuse and/or neglect as well as NCWS professionals (both leaders and caseworkers) who have experience working with child maltreatment cases involving immigrant families.

Profile at Nord Universitet