Hotel California: a new research project on the lock-in effects when care under the2019-12-04
When courts decide whether to continue or discontinue care under the Care of Young Persons (Special Provisions) Act (LVU) previous judgements are, in practice, indicative. This means that children and adolescents who have previously been subject to enforced protective custody tend to remain in care for a considerably longer time. The preconditions for the discontinuation of care under LVU is a new research project in law at Karlstad Business School and the University of Gothenburg.
Enforced protective custody pursuant to LVU can be an option when there are circumstances in children’s home environment or lifestyle that are deemed detrimental to their development or jeopardise their safety. The project ”Hotel California – Path Dependency in Proceedings Concerning Discontinuation of Child Protective Custody” focuses on the discontinuation of care and the preconditions of the decision process.
”We would like to investigate if previous decisions weigh too heavily when new decisions are taken. Do case managers and courts, for example, apply stricter criteria when assessing family and home circumstances when deciding upon the cessation of care than when the initial decision was made? We have observed that when decisions to discontinue or continue are taken, previous rulings are in practice followed. The result is a lock-in effect. The risk of this ”path dependence” calls for an analysis of the degree to which children or young people are assured a legal and fair judicial review when new decisions are to be made according to LVU,” says Håkan Gustafsson, professor of Jurisprudence at Karlstad Business School.
Strengthening the rule of law for young people
The project will be carried out in collaboration with the researchers Sebastian Wejedal, from the School of Business, Economics and Law, Gothenburg University, and Allison Östlund from the School of Public Administration, Gothenburg University. The researchers will jointly review all decisions made at the Administrative Court in Gothenburg pertaining to the cessation of care under LVU in 2007–2016. They will also interview active judges, case managers in social services, and family and children’s legal counsels to form an overall view and practical insights into factors that influence the handling of cases and proceedings. The focus on termination decisions regarding care under LVU will contribute new knowledge and issues to address in an uncharted area of Swedish jurisprudence.
The project was recently granted SEK 4.5 million by the Research Council. The aim is to contribute to improved legal certainty and judicial protection for young people in legal processes regarding LVU.