The Influence of Child Protection Orientation on Child Welfare Practice

Trevor Spratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

76 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports the findings of the second part of a two-part research project examining the potential for social workers to make changes in their work with families and children. While social workers in the United Kingdom have been encouraged to shift from a child protection to a child welfare orientation in their practice, such changes have been hampered by professional and organisational concern to manage risk. The research explores the influence of a child protection orientation on practice in child welfare cases. The findings, from two file analyses and interviews with twenty-six social workers, indicate that such an influence is indeed apparent. This is evidenced in two ways; firstly patterns of practice in child welfare cases are similar to those in child protection cases. Secondly, while the majority of social workers express an attitudinal desire to move towards a child welfare orientation, they still prioritise the management of risk in their practice. It is argued that social workers need permission from their employing organisations to make changes in their practice. This, in turn, requires such organisations to state clear goals in line with a child welfare orientation and develop holistic strategies to achieve these.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)933-954
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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