Risk assessment and decision-making in child and family welfare are important tasks of social work. They are also two of the more difficult ones. Both are constrained and facilitated by formal frameworks in nation-al legislation and local settings. However, the challenges embedded in the decision-making process cannot always be accommodated in formal structures. As a result, social workers create informal and individual pathways of action. This article sheds light on the relationship between formal categorization, dilemmas in decision-making and informal logics when assessing referrals in child and family welfare services. The study consists of eight interviews with 11 social workers in four Danish municipalities. The study exam-ines social workers’ immediate assessment of new referrals. Which challenges do social workers encounter and what justifications do they use?This study shows an interesting span between formal categorization and informal pathways in the decision-making process regarding referrals. Time and timeframes constitute an over-all dilemma during assessment and in the decision about how to react to a referral.When social workers create individual pathways in assessing referrals, the purpose is to compensate for limitations in the formal system of categorization. This includes both safeguarding children in a short-term perspective and enabling a more sustainable long-term change in the family to the benefit of the child at risk.
- Anne Marie VillumsenLene Mosegaard Søbjerg
Om denne udgivelse
Publiceret iNordic Social Work Research