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Protecting Our Children: A comparative study of the dynamics of structure, intervention and their interplay in Swedish child welfare and Canadian child protection
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Social Welfare.
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation is a case study of how two agencies in Umeå, Sweden and Barrie, Canada protect children found in need of child welfare services. The project's purposes are to describe how children are protected from harm in these two contexts, to illuminate the similarities and differences in the child welfare systems reflected at the local level, and explicate the significance of uncovered similarities and differences. The research project is grounded in three complementary theoretical approaches: i) social constructionism, ii) critical program evaluation theory, and iii) institutional ethnography. Using a model I developed to guide cross-national comaprisons, the research project explores three dimensions in the organization and delivery of services: i)Structure (service contexts and features), ii) Intervention (intervention process, and documentation and gatekeeping as two central aspects of intervention), and iii) the interplay between structure and intervention. The project combines methods including focus groups, qualitative application of the vignette technique, and analyses of assessment summaries extracted from case files at each agency. Finding from this investgation are reported in four papers. We identified differences in gatekeeping, use of social work skills, identification of clients, decision-making, and use of compulsory measures and the availability of other measures for clients. The documentation study showed that in Canada documentation is increasingly structured whereas in Sweden documentation is systematically varied but with narrative forms dominating. The different documentation trajectories in these nations are coupled to the paths they have taken with regard to the care and protection of children. We then focus on the "best interests of the child" principle. In Canada, the best interests principle is paramount but intimately connected to "need of protection" and risk assessment. In Sweden, the best interests principle is contibutory to the Social Service Act's emphasis on a solidaristic response to need. When data from this study are taken in context with other research in the field, it appears to give meaning to description of two models of state service for children in need because of abuse or neglect. Umeå is representative of some of the key elements in Swedish child welfare whereas Barrie is representative of some of the key elements in Canadian child protection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. , 200 p.
Series
Studier i socialt arbete vid Umeå universitet : avhandlings- och skriftserie, ISSN 0283-300X ; 39
Keyword [en]
Social service, child welfare, child protection, social services, comparative, cross-national, social work
Keyword [sv]
Socialt arbete
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-193ISBN: 91-7305-579-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-193DiVA: diva2:142467
Public defence
2004-01-30, Hörsal E, Humanisthuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2004-02-05 Created: 2004-02-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Child Welfare of Child Protection: Uncovering Swedish and Canadian Orientation to Social Intervention in Child Maltreatment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Child Welfare of Child Protection: Uncovering Swedish and Canadian Orientation to Social Intervention in Child Maltreatment
2002 In: Qualitative Social Work, Vol. 1, no 4, 451-471 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3660 (URN)
Available from: 2004-02-05 Created: 2004-02-05Bibliographically approved
2. Gatekeeping in Child Welfare: A Comparative Study of Intake Decisionmaking by Social Workers in Canada and Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gatekeeping in Child Welfare: A Comparative Study of Intake Decisionmaking by Social Workers in Canada and Sweden
2003 (English)In: Child welfare, ISSN 0009-4021, Vol. 82, no 5, 507-525 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article details findings from social workers in Sweden and Canada, illuminating similarities and differences in gatekeeping in child welfare and child protection. Analysis revealed different patterns of inclusion and exclusion. Swedish child welfare includes a greater readiness to intervene with more resources and measures. Gatekeeping is assessment driven and focused on family preservation. In Canada, only the most needy children are eligible for a limited range of services. Gatekeeping is structure driven and narrowly focused on protection. Analyses of evidence-based research to improve outcomes for children and families must include comparisons of how different structural orientations influence management of referrals at intake. The authors discuss the implications of these findings. 

Keyword
gatekeeping, child welfare, child protection, cross-national
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3661 (URN)000185301300002 ()
Available from: 2004-02-05 Created: 2004-02-05 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
3. Documenting child welfare investigations: A comparative study of uniformity and variation in Canadian and Swedish assessment summaries
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Documenting child welfare investigations: A comparative study of uniformity and variation in Canadian and Swedish assessment summaries
Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3662 (URN)
Available from: 2004-02-05 Created: 2004-02-05Bibliographically approved
4. Need, risk and a child's best interests: Explicating key principles in Swedish child welfare and Canadian child protection
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Need, risk and a child's best interests: Explicating key principles in Swedish child welfare and Canadian child protection
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3663 (URN)
Available from: 2004-02-05 Created: 2004-02-05 Last updated: 2013-03-12Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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More styles
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  • de-DE
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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