Child Welfare Workers Who Experience the Death of a Child Client

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Abstract

Annually, almost 2,000 children die from maltreatment; 30%-40% are known to child welfare agencies. Critics attribute these deaths to young, inexperienced, untrained workers. This study used a multi-state sample of 123 child welfare workers who had experienced a fatality to address: 1) the characteristics of workers, 2) how workers approached the case, and 3) the fallout after the fatality. Workers were in their late 30s, were well educated, and had several years of experience. They felt confident in handling the case leading up to the fatality, felt supported by coworkers, and did not use formal support. Implications for administrators are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-72
Number of pages14
JournalAdministration in Social Work
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • child welfare
  • fatality
  • risk assessment
  • social work administration
  • training

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