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Social work and the management of complexity in Swedish child welfare services
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5437-4572
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1940-1811
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9787-362X
2018 (English)In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This paper elucidates how Swedish child welfare social workers manage complexity co-occuring in the families with which they work and the organisational contexts of practice. Focus groups were held with social workers in three municipalities in Sweden who described work processes generally and in response to a fictitious vignette. The vignette was constructed as a complex family situation to explore how social workers approach complexity when faced with a family with complex needs. Findings showed that social workers are challenged in their everyday work where they are aware of the many needs in a family. They focus on immediate conditions for children while recognising that some problems are less amenable to being solved. However they try to manage complexities related to families as well as the structural conditions of work by sorting, prioritising and oscillating between a child focus and a family service orientation. This paper serves as a necessary reminder of the complexity of social work in the broader area of child welfare and raises further questions about the use of comparative typologies to explain social work practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
complex needs, family, social services, Sweden, vignettes
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-153055DOI: 10.1080/2156857X.2018.1542336OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-153055DiVA, id: diva2:1260737
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2010-0198Available from: 2018-11-05 Created: 2018-11-05 Last updated: 2019-04-05

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Gümüscü, AhmetNygren, LennartKhoo, Evelyn

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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Output format
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