Bättre beslut: en studie av socialsekreterarnas handläggning av omhändertagande av barn
1987 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Better decisions : a study of social workers when taking children into care (English)
This study treats the problems that the social worker (the child welfare worker) is faced with, when deciding to take a child into compulsory care. Empirical data (with particulars of the children and parents involved) covering the public child care at a local authority, was collected from its records and by means of interviews. Data concerning the social workers was obtained through observation, interviews and questionnaires. Out of 166 new child care clients during one year, 77%were teenagers, and nine out of ten children taken into care were adolescents.Taking up a position in child care cases and making decisions about courses of action were mostly difficult or even painful for the social worker. The decision to take a child into care was considered the hardest task in social work.The social worker's dilemma is created by the requirements of the law that any decision to take a child into care should be based on satisfactory predictions of the consequences for the child.The social worker's agony arises out of her attempts to motivate such predictions when in fact she is convinced, through experience,that very few, if any, of the consequences can be safely established.Empirical data showed that motivations of the decisions given in the investigation for the court were often vague and implicit. This may be explained by referring to the emotionally experienced conflict between prediction and subsumption.In other empirical data social workers described their anxiety when handling cases where children are taken into care. This may be analysed as 'the agony of decision-making', caused by their choice between alternative courses of action, and 'the agony of separation' brought about by the social worker's identification either with the child or with its parents.The proposed model for decision-making aims to reduce the social worker's agony, by shifting some of her burden of responsibility over to the society. This is achieved by letting the grounds for a decision to take a child into care rest explicitly on the principia of subsumption. The social worker's task is thereby limited to assessments of the child's present situation. Three criteria of assessment, child abuse, sexual abuse and 'Good-Enough Parenting' are suggested. The study points out the importance of specifying what is counted as 'Good-Enough Parenting'.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1987. , 200 p.
Studier i socialt arbete vid Umeå universitet : avhandlings- och skriftserie, ISSN 0283-300X ; 5
social worker, children, take into care, foster care, decision-making, anxiety, legal regulations, prediction, subsumption, Good-Enough Parenting
Omhändertagande av barn, Sverige
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-68289ISBN: 91-7174-300-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-68289DiVA: diva2:616235
1987-09-19, Samhällsvetarhuset hörsal B, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00