Social workers’ assessments of children’s health when arguing for children’s needs
2015 (English)In: Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, ISSN 0738-0151, E-ISSN 1573-2797, Vol. 32, no 4, 301-308 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In Sweden, child-related social services constitute an institutional body that conducts both preventive and supportive work for children in need of health support. However, in the social services Act (2001:453) there are few concrete statements about how social workers should assess children’s health. In this study we therefore explore how social workers in Sweden adapt to the task of assessing children’s health. Specifically, we investigate the ways in which children’s health is explained in the context of reaching conclusions about the concrete needs of children. Inspired by a social constructionist and discursive analytical approach we analysed 60 written investigations where health concerns were expressed at the point of initiating an investigation. The findings are that social workers limited their assessments of children’s health, using only a few words when mentioning health aspects. There was a difference in how they described physical- and psychological health problems. When they did pay attention to children’s psychological health this was mostly carried out with the use of one single explanation for the cause of the health condition; parental misbehaviour. Besides, this explanation fitted the suggested support. Signs of children’s psychological problems were described by their own destructive behaviour. Physical health was only briefly mentioned and the recommendations for child support involved external assistance. This means that social workers could use a simplified explanatory model lacking descriptions of each child’s life situation. This way of limiting assessment may hinder a deeper understanding of causes and consequences and thereby impose limits on specifying the particular support the child needs.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer US , 2015. Vol. 32, no 4, 301-308 p.
Social services written assessment; children’s ill-health; limited information; simplified explanatory model
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102182DOI: 10.1007/s10560-014-0371-3OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-102182DiVA: diva2:668964