Amsterdam Center for Child Studies - ACCS

Parents and Children in Society: an Interdisciplinary Research Program



The quality of society is closely linked to the quality of the upbringing and development of its members. In turn, however, the quality of the latter is in part dependent on the quality of society’s care for parents and children. In this interaction, parents, children and society each have their own interests, rights and duties that are complexly intertwined with one another. This complexity is evident, for example, in those cases where a decision is needed as to whether the rights of one (for example a parents’ right to rear their own child) should prevail over the rights of the other (for example the right of a child to protection), or when the question is at stake whether society should preventively intervene in families with a heightened risk for juvenile delinquency or child abuse. In matters such as these scientific knowledge is indispensable. This knowledge concerns, for example, risk factors of delinquency, effects of preventive programs, judicial and philosophical principles of child protection, family policy, moral and emotional development, sequelae of childhood traumas, neurological aspects of antisocial behaviour, etc.


Issues where the interests, rights and duties of children, parents and society are at stake are multifaceted and require the collaboration of various scientific disciplines. At the Free University, prominent, fundamental, innovative and socially motivated research is highly valued. With regard to research concerning parents, children and society the Free University incorporates excellent expertise for an interdisciplinary approach. The Faculties of Psychology and Pedagogics, Law, and Medicine have bundled their expertise in a multidisciplinary research institute: the Amsterdam Center for Child Studies that was founded in January 2002.







The aim of the ACCS is to provide a scientific contribution to insights in (disturbed) processes of child rearing and development, and to encourage the application and implementation of research findings for policies and programs that concern parents and children. The ACCS fosters multidisciplinary research issues related to:

• parenthood, childrearing, and child development;

• (effects of) preventive and curative interventions to assist and promote childrearing and child development;

• philosophical, judicial and empirical justification of legal systems concerning parenthood, childrearing and child development.



The special expertise that is concentrated in the ACCS is furnished by the following chairs, each illustrated here by a research project:

  • Child Maltreatment (prof. dr. F. Lamers-Winkelman; sexuality of children and child sexual abuse)
  • Forensic Child and Juvenile Psychology (prof. dr. R.A.R. Bullens; assessment and treatment of juvenile sex and/or violence offenders)
  • Family and Juvenile Law (prof. dr. J.E. Doek; responsibilities of parents after divorce)
  • Child- and Youth Psychiatry (prof. dr. Th.A.H. Doreleijers; (assessment and treatment of antisocial behaviour)
  • Juvenile Mental Health Care (prof. dr. R. Hirasing; mental health for multiproblem families)
  • Developmental Psychology (prof. dr. J.M. Koot; emotional development)
  • Juvenile Delinquency & Social Development (prof. dr. R. Loeber; prediction and prevention of juvenile delinquency
  • Special Education (prof. dr. C. Schuengel; attachment and foster care)
  • Family and Policy (prof. dr. H.J. Schulze; effects of family policy on childrearing)
  • Clinical Neuropsychology (prof. dr. J. Sergeant; neuropsychological aspects of aggressive behaviour)
  • Child Protection (prof. dr. N.W. Slot; effects of the supervision order)
  • Developmental Psychopathology (prof. dr. H. Stegge; anger, shame, guilt and psychopathology in children)
  • Rights of the Child from an International Human Rights Perspective (prof. dr. J.C.M. Willems; rights of the child with respect to childrearing and child abuse)



Amsterdam Center for Child Studies (ACCS)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Mw.dr. Dorien Graas

Van der Boechorststraat 1 / room 3C-15

1081 BT Amsterdam