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Using ‘Consensual Ideology’: A Way to Sift Reports in Child Welfare
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2014 (English)In: British Journal of Social Work, ISSN 0045-3102, E-ISSN 1468-263X, Vol. 44, no 1, 63-80 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article discusses the factors that influence decision making in front line child welfare in Sweden and the implications for different groups of children, types of social problems and for the character of the work. Data stem from a study of social workers’ handling of reports and requests that were followed until interventions were decided upon or cases closed without ntervention. Risks were found to be considered in a narrow perspective. Though Swedish child welfare has been recognised as a family service system, need aspects are down-prioritised. Gender-related attitudes are reflected in the labelling of ‘capable’ mothers and in the higher probability of girls being investigated. In deciding eligibility to scarce services of the ‘right’ clients, high work pressure creates a focus on gate-keeping activities and the attitude is to keep children out of the system for their own good. This crucial sorting process displays the pattern of a heavily tapered funnel with few interventions at the end. Put into an institutional context, social workers’ discretion can be explained as a rational way for practice to handle organisational limitations, restricted resources and changing policies. Demands of protection and welfare issues are handled by individualising difficult social conditions and by ‘consensual ideology’.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Vol. 44, no 1, 63-80 p.
Keyword [en]
Assessment, child welfare, discretion, gate-keeping, institutional context
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-96411DOI: 10.1093/bjsw/bcs094ISI: 000331052000005OAI: diva2:665778

Published for the British Association of Social Workers, this is the leading academic social work journal in the UK. It covers every aspect of social work, with papers reporting research, discussing practice, and examining principles and theories. It is read by social work educators, researchers, practitioners and managers who wish to keep up to date with theoretical and empirical developments in the field.

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Available from: 2013-11-20 Created: 2013-11-20 Last updated: 2014-03-26Bibliographically approved

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