Representations of child welfare services in Norwegian, Danish and German newspapers
Child welfare services are often scrutinized in media reports, but few comparisons of how services are represented in different countries are available. The aim of this article is to assess whether systematic differences in the representation of child welfare services in Norwegian, Danish and German newspapers can be documented. A content analysis of major newspapers in each country revealed considerable differences among the countries. While Norwegian and German child welfare services are mostly presented as implementing adequately severe and timed interventions, their Danish counterparts are heavily criticized for a complete lack of interventions and for implementing interventions too late or not at all. In none of the three countries, interventions of child welfare services are in the reviewed newspapers presented particularly as too severe or too early. The cooperation with other welfare services is described mostly as neutral or negative in Norwegian newspapers, as positive, neutral or negative in German ones and not at all in most Danish articles. Cultural sensitivity in interventions is in the newspaper coverage of all three countries characterized mostly by an omission of the topic altogether. The comparative indicators applied in this study are suggested as powerful tools for further comparisons.