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Danish Center for Welfare Studies

Making Policies: The History of the Danish Child Welfare System at the Local Level

Author: Cecilie Bjerre
Published: Journal of Policy History

This article examines out-of-home placements in Denmark over a seven-decade period from 1905 to 1975. The Danish state delegated this responsibility to a, using the words of Kimberly J. Morgan and Ann Shola Orloff, “difficult-to-classify public-private hybrid,” the Children’s Welfare Boards (CWBs). These CWBs comprised private citizens selected by the municipality. The article shows how the CWBs acted as interpreters, mediators, and implementers of state policy at the street level while also functioning as the direct link between government and citizens. The findings reveal an inherent conflict between center and periphery in that the state’s nationwide regulations and bureaucratic practices, intended to apply to all citizens uniformly, were to be implemented by local units within municipalities that operated according to logics other than those of the state. The vase of variations in child out-placement practices shows the importance of examining local variations in studying the history of policy implementation.


Access the article here.