Child protection decision making: A factorial analysis using case vignettes

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Social Work, 57(1), 83-90.

Using case vignettes, this study explored the decision making of child welfare practitioners in British Columbia. Case and organizational factors were measured in terms of how they influence decisions about risk level, service provision, and importance of client contact. Results indicate that practitioner decisions were made through an integration of objective, procedural, and experiential knowledge. Risk level and service provision decisions were influenced by the practitioner degree, supervision satisfaction, and child welfare experience, as well as case factors. The amount of contact with service users and importance of home visits were significantly influenced by practitioner gender, age, degree, role, job satisfaction, community experience, delegation experience, and practice in urban location. Authors suggest that child welfare decision-making goes beyond full reliance on decision-making tools and that internalized subjective knowledge plays a role in the process. 

Research Areas

Province / Territory
Canadian CW research
Journal article