Legitimitetsudfordringer i et kommunalt perspektiv: I relation til særlige vanskelige børnesager

Susan Bjerregaard

Student thesis: Master executive thesis


Over a long period, there have been stories in the media about children and youngsters, who are exposed to massive abuse and neglect and where the safety net of society haven’t been effective and caught and helped the children in time. The general authorities concerning vulnerable children and youngsters have traditionally had major difficulties concerning managing the area, as well as being characterized by rising spending expenses and substantial budgetary overruns. In parallel, the attention from the media has been growing, stories about children and youngsters, where the municipalities have failed to intervene in time or where the placement families / -institutions have hugely neglected their responsibilities concerning care have constantly come to public attention. Every time the municipalities are blamed for not living up to their obligations. The attention from the media in a number of individual cases has meant that the area has been exposed to new reforms and regulatory constraints. There is no doubt that there has been mismanagement in many of the complex child cases the public has become aware of. I have in my master’s thesis hypothesized that the massive attention has had an influence of the perceived legitimacy of the local Child and Family Departments, both in a citizen’s perspective and within our own ranks. I have focused on examining whether the municipal legitimacy is challenged, based on my own work in a local Child and family Department in Hvidovre. I chose to explore the area from a hypothesis that particular difficult children’s cases’ exposure to the media creates legitimacy challenges both internally and externally based on the questions: What is the impact of negative publicity, for a local Child and family Department handling complex children’s cases, concerning the legitimacy of the department? What options can be used to obtain renewed legitimacy? Overall I can conclude that the negative publicity about local Children and Family Department’s handling of difficult child cases are challenging to the legitimacy. This is evident both in the handling within the Child and Family Department, in the communicative handling of press cases and in texts and discourses in recent reforms which legislature drafted and got passed.

EducationsMaster of Public Governance, (Executive Master Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages72