Factors that determine decision making in child protection investigations: A review of the literature
The aim of the study was to conduct a systematic review of the literature on factors that determine decision making in child protection investigations. More specifically, to investigate the existing research on the 4 factors that are considered fundamental for child protection decision making: case characteristics, caseworker characteristics, organizational characteristics, and external factors. The results indicated that child welfare decisions to investigate a case and/or to implement services are influenced by characteristics of the case, the social worker, and the organization, in addition to external factors. These elements work together to determine the outcome of an investigation. There are some substantial differences between various countries connected to disparities in child welfare legislation, support apparatuses, culture, ideology, and socio‐economic factors. It is methodologically challenging to design studies that capture all possible variables associated with case factors, social workers, and organizational factors. However, multilevel analyses of the types of variables that are most significant to case outcome conclude that caseworker assessments corresponded to organizational factors. Furthermore, decisions are better explained by characteristics of the child welfare organization than by characteristics of the social worker.
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Lauritzen, C., Vis, S.A.M. & Fossum, S. (2018). Factors that determine decision making in child protection investigations: A review of the literature. Child & Family Social Work, 23(4), 743-756, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12446. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.