Barriers to knowledge acquisition and utilization in child welfare decisions: a qualitative study

Paul McCafferty, Brian Taylor

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

Background
Permanency decisions in child welfare are recognised as being challenging. Nevertheless, society and the profession expect that professional judgements should be of the highest quality, consistent, reliable, fully justified and informed by evidence of what works, particularly where decisions are potentially life changing. However, barriers to knowledge acquisition and utilisation exist, preventing practitioners from gaining the full range of knowledge they require, leading to permanency decisions being interventionist and protectionist in orientation (McCafferty, 2020). Think-aloud protocols and semi-structured interviews, in conjunction with a specifically designed vignette, were used with social workers (N=17) in statutory services to explore barriers to knowledge acquisition and utilisation in permanency decisions for children in state care. NVivo 11 was used to analyse the data and generate themes.

Findings
The main barriers to knowledge use were (1) misunderstanding or misuse of theory; (2) limitations in training and learning; and (3) organisational issues.

Conclusions and Implications
By developing a real-world understanding of the barriers and listening to the views of the professionals themselves, we can begin to realistically inform policy and practice, with the aim of decreasing the barriers to knowledge acquisition and utilisation in permanency decision-making. If we appreciate the barriers to knowledge acquisition and utilisation in permanency decision-making more fully, then perhaps we can reduce them, thereby facilitating more fully informed decisions that best serve the individual needs of children and their families
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 06 Apr 2022
EventEuropean Conference Social Work Research - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 06 Apr 202208 Apr 2022

Conference

ConferenceEuropean Conference Social Work Research
Country/TerritoryNetherlands
CityAmsterdam
Period06/04/202208/04/2022

Keywords

  • decision making
  • Child Protection
  • Knowledge
  • Barriers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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