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Children who disclose physical abuse: A retrospective cross-sectional study of Swedish social workers’ assessments of risk, need, and decisions on service
The City of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department of Social Work, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7351-9140
2024 (English)In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

One of the challenges facing child welfare services (CWS) in Sweden is offering equal services to all children in need of protection and support. International research has suggested that unequal access to CWS exists but in Sweden the research evidence is weaker. This retrospective cross-sectional study of child welfare investigations focuses on the extent to which differences exist in social workers’ assessment of risk, need and decisions on services for children suspected of exposure to physical violence by a parent, which cannot be explained by the individual child’s documented risk exposure. A random sample of reports during the period 2018–2020 was drawn from seven CWS offices. Frequencies for background characteristics were obtained and comparisons between groups were performed using Chi2 and t-test. We carry out statistical analyses of the relationship between child and family characteristics and social workers’ determination of risk, need, and decision on services. We also investigate the relationship between documented risk factors and social workers’ determination of risk, need, and decision on services. Our study did not find any clear evidence of unequal provision of services based on child or family characteristics. Results indicate that cumulative risk and marital status appear to be the main determining factors for assessments of risk, need and decision on services. However, after adjusting for several background factors, the main explanatory variables underlying decisions on services are accumulated risk and economic stress. Although we must interpret these findings with caution, these results are in line with previous studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2024.
Keywords [en]
Child welfare service, inequality, Integrated Children’s System/BBIC
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-63788DOI: 10.1080/2156857X.2024.2319091ISI: 001171748400001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85186175203Local ID: HOA;;941151OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-63788DiVA, id: diva2:1843433
Funder
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and WelfareAvailable from: 2024-03-11 Created: 2024-03-11 Last updated: 2024-03-19

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Olsson, Tina M.

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