The Future of Child and Family Welfare Policy


The research project, called Hestia after the Greek goddess of home and family, aims to discover the

nature and impact of variations in child protection systems through a comparison of three different

welfare states: England, Germany and the Netherlands. Hestia is funded by the European NORFACE

Programme ‘Welfare State Futures. ’In this project we compare: a) the ways child protection

measures are negotiated, legitimized and perceived; b) their impact on children; c) the relationship

between national policy, thresholds for intervention and social justice; and d) the rhetoric in child

protection policy and practice, locating this within the wider child welfare policy framework in each


Through this comparative analysis, Hestia research project is generating new insights into child

protection policy and practice that will have a significant impact on future developments in child

welfare in Europe.

Child protection has become an important aspect of child welfare policy in most European countries.

Its heightened importance is the result of a growing recognition of children’s rights, rising

expectations about standards of parental care and responsibility, and growing concern about the

social exclusions of vulnerable and disadvantaged children. However, although many families are

drawn into the child protection system there has been very little comparative research on this aspect

of European welfare states. Therefore, our main research question is the following: How does child

protection policy and practice vary between Western European countries and what is the impact of

these variations on children and families?

Hestia is structured into three studies including a comparative analysis of child protection policy and

two empirical studies of child protection practice. Findings from the policy analysis will underpin the

empirical phase, which will compare: a) state responses to child maltreatment notifications, and b)

parent perspectives on professional intervention in different welfare states.

This Visitors Travel Grant is requested to support the visit of Prof. John Fluke to the University of

Groningen to join the research project Hestia team. Within this project, he will strength the data

analysis and statistical aspects of responses to child maltreatment notifications. The feedback of

Prof. Fluke will guide the impact and dissemination stage of project Hestia, particularly by means of

publication of articles and book chapters, and the organization of a research symposium. Moreover,

he will contribute to the education program at the University of Groningen by teaching at the

international master track Youth Society and Policy, presenting at the International Seminar Series

and providing a methodological seminar and mentoring sessions to our PhDs, amongst other planned


Prof. Fluke is Associate Director of System Research and Evaluation at the Kempe Center for the

Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect and Associate Professor at the University of

Colorado School of Medicine. He has over 32 years of experience in social service delivery system

research in the area of Child Welfare and Mental Health Services for children. He is internationally

recognized as a researcher specializing in assessing, analyzing, and teaching on decision making in

human services delivery systems. He is also active in the area of national child maltreatment data

collection systems and analysis and has worked with data collection programs in the Balkans,

Canada, Saudi Arabia, the US, and for UNICEF. He has conducted research and evaluation at all levels

of government within the US, in the private not-for- profit sector, and with national foundations and

associations. Within the US government he has been PI for projects with the US Health and Human

Services Children’s Bureau, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

(SAMSHA), and with the US Agency for International Development. Within the US, he has also

worked on projects sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Casey Family Services

Foundation, and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. He is also known for his innovative and

informative research and evaluation work in the areas of child maltreatment prevalence, child

welfare administrative data analysis, workload and costing, and performance and outcome

measurement for children and family services.





Dr. M. López López

Verbonden aan

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Faculteit Gedrags- en Maatschappijwetenschappen, Pedagogiek & Onderwijskunde


01/09/2017 tot 30/09/2017