Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism Bergen

Literature Update

LITERATURE OVERVIEW: See our list of recently published articles of interest.
How articles are selected

  • An overview of articles is collected based on TOC alerts from journals by the publishers: Taylor & Francis, Sage Publications, Cambridge University Press, Oxford Academic.
  • The short list is selected based on an assessment of the articles theoretical, methodological and/or empirical relevance to the projects at the Centre.
  • Please note that the list of articles is not based on a qualitative assessment of the articles scientific contributions or level.
  • Questions: Barbara Ruiken

ILLUSTRATION: Centre for Research on Discretion and Paternalism / MGalloway, Wikimedia Commons


Mind the gap: Parental and professional perceptions of ‘risk’ for children living in poverty (Yona & Nadan, 2021)

This article explores the perceptions and constructions of child risk and protection for children growing up in poverty, from the perspective of parents and social workers serving them, in an impoverished neighbourhood in Israel. Of the 50 indepth semi-structured interviews conducted overall, 35 were with parents and 15 with social workers employed by the neighbourhood’s social services department. The analysis yielded three themes: The first focuses on the social services’ involvement in the neighbourhood. While social workers viewed the social service agency’s location within the neighbourhood as positive, offering the opportunity to build a close relationship with the local population, some parents experienced this proximity as intrusive. The second theme deals with gaps in perceptions of help: Whereas parents felt that they needed material assistance, social workers preferred to offer therapeutic assistance. The third theme relates to the child-at-risk label, with diverging perspectives between social workers and parents regarding the extent to which living in a poor neighbourhood places a family at risk. Our findings highlight the importance of incorporating anti-oppressive and poverty-aware paradigms in social work practice and education.

Navigating the context of uncertainty in child protection practice (Žalimienė et al., 2021)

This article offers a conceptual framework within a decisionmaking (DM) context in situations, when child protection workers have to decide to either remove a child from his or her parents care or leave him or her in a family. Based on the thematic analysis of data from the 33 interviews, we have developed the concept of DM context as a space of uncertainty which is multilayered and implies an inherent duality of each contextual element. The study contributed to the research on work in a private setting, by revealing the role of agency culture and public attitudes in child protection workers’ decisions.

Being child-centred: Factors that facilitate professional judgement and decision-making in child protection (Bastian et al., 2022)

This paper presents findings from a qualitative study that focused on factors that facilitate professional judgement and decision-making that is child-centred. Appreciative inquiry informed the methodology that enabled four focus groups (n = 50) with child protection practitioners who worked with children and young people living outof-home care. The study found that, firstly, child protection practitioners had clear conceptualizations of what child-centred practice means and, secondly, articulated how functioning teams, effective organizational structures and relationships were crucial to child-centred practice. The findings point to the importance of relationality in effective child-centred professional judgement and decision-making in child protection contexts.

Measuring parenting capacity for disabled children using a child protection assessment (Flynn, 2020)

Summary: Childhood disability can heighten risk of neglect and abuse and may also impinge upon the parenting task. Even so, a gross deficiency of published literature on social work parenting capacity assessment for disabled children is evident. This paper provides a critical commentary on approaches to assessments of the capacity of parents of disabled children. International review of literature on this subject matter is enacted across three themes.

Findings: Themes refer to limitations to the uptake of disability-specific parenting assessment tools, use of existing generic frameworks and supplementation of generic frameworks, respectively. Throughout, a composite conceptual frame is taken up, entailing the conventions of a seminal social model of disability, extended through an affirmative non-tragedy lens. The intention is to contest articulations of disability grounded in tragedy and melancholia, otherwise instantiated by links between disability with child maltreatment in this paper.

Applications: Application of insights from this paper within professional social work practice can enhance evidence-informed parenting capacity assessment.

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