Schools can be an arena for age appropriate and objective information about the support families can get from the child protection services (CPS). There is reason to believe that many children have misconceptions about the CPS and are afraid to talk to the social workers who investigates if there is reason to be concerned about a child’s well-being. The aim of the study was to investigate the prevalence of misconceptions about child protection services (CPS) among school children in Norway.
A questionnaire containing 10 statements that measure children’s misconceptions and attitudes about the CPS was developed and distributed to 215 children aged 11–15 years old (M = 12.2 years).
The results showed that 10.7% of the sample have a misconception about children being removed from their homes by CPS and that 17% of the sample had a negative perception of the CPS in general.
The child might wrongfully get the impression that it is at risk of being removed from the parents. Participation in assessment and planning may be challenging for a child under such conditions. Therefore, it is important that adults who work with children are aware that these misconceptions are quite common, also among youth.
The prevalence of misconceptions about CPS among children in the general population as well as those in contact with CPS indicate a need for age-appropriate information. If such misconceptions are prevented it might be easier for children to reach out for help if they or somebody they know, are subject to abuse or neglect.