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Asessments and decisions.: From report to intervention in Child Welfare
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences.
2011 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Assessments and decisions. From report to intervention in Child Welfare


This article discusses the factors that influence decision making in front-line child welfare in Sweden and the implications for different groups of children, types of social problems and for the character of the work.  Data stem from a study of social workers’ handling of reports and requests that were followed until interventions were decided upon or cases closed without intervention. Risks were found to be considered in a narrow perspective. Where no distinct criteria for eligibility are at hand voluntary counselling is offered, mainly directed to mothers. Children are not in focus and the attitude is to keep them out of the system for their own good. In deciding eligibility to scarce services of the ‘right’ clients, high work pressure creates a focus on sorting and gate-keeping activities. This crucial sorting process displays the pattern of a heavily tapered funnel with few interventions at the end. Put into an institutional context, social workers discretion can be explained as a rational way for practice to handle organizational limitations, restricted resources and changing policies. By using a ‘consensual ideology’ to handle the contradictory demands of protection and welfare issues, practice keeps clients at a distance instead of working closely together with them.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Assessment, Decision making, Child Welfare
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-111755OAI: diva2:776486
European Conference for Social Work Research 2011
Available from: 2015-01-07 Created: 2015-01-07 Last updated: 2015-01-07

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