Invisible children? Professional bricolage in child protection

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


In the last decades, child protection has been heavily criticized in many countries as fatal cases have caused public debates and political revisions. A study on the child protection system in Germany is presented. Responding to public criticism of fatal cases, new laws aimed for a stronger involvement of further professions beyond social workers who are traditionally holding the main responsibility. The study enquires in how far these revisions allow for a higher level of attention given to the children's conditions and sufferings. Data was gathered in five communities by interviewing practitioners of the social work profession, pediatric medicine, and midwifery on recent cases. By applying concepts of interpretive sociology of professions, 93 cases were systematically reconstructed. A typology of the different "mandates" of the occupations was developed, referring to the practitioners' interpretation of their main tasks in their case work. Validation of the qualitative analysis was sought by quantifying important characteristics of case trajectories. The results show that a mere addition of professional groups does not lead to a comprehensive consideration of the child's situation. The three professions only take specific aspects of children and according to their 'mandates' into account. Furthermore, social workers, having the competence of case coordination, occasionally exclude the knowledge of other professions from further proceedings.

ZeitschriftChildren and Youth Services Review
Seiten (von - bis)149-158
Anzahl der Seiten10
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.10.2015
Extern publiziertJa