Elisabeth Backe-Hansen is researcher I (professor) at Norwegian Social Research (NOVA), where she has been working since the Institute was established in 1996. She is a psychologist by education, and started her career as a clinical psychologist within the field of child protection. As a researcher she has worked with child welfare issues, but also with child and youth research. She was a member of the Norwegian Ethics Committee for the Social Sciences and the Humanities for nine years, with a special focus on involving children and young people in research. Her doctoral dissertation analyzed the ways child welfare workers justify out-of-home placement from a decision-theoretical perspective.
Elisabeth Backe-Hansen has worked with foster children and foster families, with child welfare assessments and as court-appointed expert in child welfare and child custody cases. Her year-long practice within the field of child welfare serves as an important guideline to her ongoing research, always serving as a reminder of the need to look for practical applications of research results. At present she is directing a research programme called “Foster care to match the needs of children”, which aims at creating new and sound research-based knowledge about Norwegian foster care. Another research interest is aftercare – how to improve the situation of young people formerly in public care.
Elisabeth Backe-Hansen has published extensively within the fields of child welfare, children and young people, including several publications about children’s participation in research.