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United we stand:  Collaboration as a means for identifying children and adolescents at risk
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Responsible organisation
2007 (English)In: International Journal of Social Welfare, ISSN 1369-6866, E-ISSN 1468-2397, Vol. 16, no 3, 202-211 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The study describes collaborative involvement of child welfare agencies in Sweden with mandated reporters and analyses the association between socioeconomic and demographic factors as well as collaborative involvement on referral rates. The empirical material consists of data collected on location in 100 Swedish child welfare agencies, augmented with register data. The study shows that: (i) collaboration is common in the child welfare field, (ii) structural factors moderately predict municipal variations in child welfare referrals and (iii) most importantly, that collaboration on the aggregate level seems to serve as a marginal, or even counter-productive, measure in identifying children and adolescents at risk. The results are particularly discussed in the context of policy principles in Swedish child welfare, i.e. collaboration as a statutory requirement for child welfare agencies and the official notion of collaboration as an important means to facilitate early interventions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 16, no 3, 202-211 p.
Keyword [en]
child welfare, child protection, referrals, collaboration
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25350DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2397.2006.00474.xOAI: diva2:199552
Available from: 2006-02-01 Created: 2006-02-01 Last updated: 2011-03-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Den kommunala barnavården - om anmälningar, organisation och utfall
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Den kommunala barnavården - om anmälningar, organisation och utfall
2006 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The thesis presents descriptions and analyses of the municipal-based work that precedes service provision in child welfare, i.e. referrals where concerns regarding children and adolescents are made from professionals and general public and the processing of these referrals within child welfare agencies. The central focus lies to examine the importance of organisational factors – such as formal structures, resources and working methods – in this work. The empirical material in studies 1-3 consists of data collected on location in 100 municipalities during 2001-2002 augmented with official statistics and register data. Data in study 4 consists of telephone interviews in the city of Stockholm’s 18 districts, written material and in-depth interviews in one of the districts.

Study 1 describes the extent and nature of referrals to child welfare agencies. The study shows that the extent of Swedish referrals occupies a medium position in an international perspective, that referrals mainly concern adolescents, and that child referrals to a comparatively little extent concern abuse and neglect.

Study 2 analyses the association between agency collaborative involvement with mandated reporters and referral rates. The association is overall marginal, indicating that merely the presence of collaboration in child welfare has poor effects on case finding.

Study 3 analyses the association between organisational factors and the provision of child welfare services. To some extent, the results suggest that personnel resources are linked to the extent of services provided to younger children. Specialisation in various forms, however, is not associated with variations in service provision.

Study 4 describes and analyses the impact of organisational solutions in line with New Public Management. The results indicate that this theoretical/ideological idea has limited practicality in concrete child welfare work.

An introductory section presents a comprehensive background to and the theoretical framework of the four studies. The theoretical framework consists principally of concepts and reasoning derived from new institutional theory. This framework is used to discuss results generated from the four studies. Specific attention is given to institutions and ideas in child welfare that have a ‘taken for granted’ status, such as early interventions, collaboration and the presumed appropriateness of a range of organisational settings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för socialt arbete - Socialhögskolan, 2006. 59 p.
Rapport i socialt arbete, ISSN 0281-6288 ; 117
Child protection, child welfare, referrals, organisation, barnavård, anmälningar, organisation
National Category
Social Work
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-809 (URN)91-7155-177-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-02-24, Aula Svea, Socialhögskolan, Sveaplan, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2006-02-01 Created: 2006-02-01Bibliographically approved

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