Macro impacts on caseworker decision-making in child welfare: a cross-national comparison

Joe Duffy, M.E. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This paper focuses on the factors impacting on decision-making in child and family social work through a cross-national comparison. In doing so, the larger arena of the political and social contexts of both the United States and Northern Ireland are examined. For each of the countries we describe the historical and political context of child welfare, particularly the tension between child safety and family support, and how children’s rights are attended to and interpreted in each country. This discussion also examines the extent to which decision-making in each jurisdiction is influenced by constitutional imperatives, with particular reference to the US Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. From this general comparison we conclude with observations about child welfare decision-making within the national context and offer suggestions for further theoretical development in this area whilst also examining where the practices in each jurisdiction may benefit from review.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-54
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Work
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jan 2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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