Comparisons of international child welfare systems have identified two basic orientations to practice; a ‘child protection’ orientation and a ‘child welfare’ orientation, which are founded upon fundamentally different values and assumptions regarding the family, the origins of child care problems, and the proper role of the state in relation to the family. This paper describes a project which sought to compare how undergraduate social work students from three European Universities perceive risk in referrals about the welfare of children and to explore the impact of different cultural, ideological and educational contexts on the way in which risk is constructed by students. Students from Northern Ireland, Germany and Poland examined three vignettes via ten online discussion fora each of which provided a narrative summary of their discussion. The paper presents some findings from the analysis of the qualitative data emerging from the student discussions and draws out the lessons learned in terms of how the project was designed and implemented using online discussion fora.
- Online learning
- Child abuse