Decisions in Child Protection: Heuristics, Law and Organisation

Frank Cloyd Ebsen, Idamarie Leth Svendsen, Line Leth Pape, Susanne Jørgensen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelForskningpeer review


With theories of heuristics and decision-making ecology as our analytical lens, we ex- amined social work practitioners’ use of heuristics (rules-of-thumb) as a response to real-world situations, emphasising the legal framework and how the work was organ- ised. The data comprised eleven exploratory and follow-up group interviews with thirty-nine social workers and team leaders, observations of 108 decisions in child cases during eighteen meetings, and an analysis of fourteen case files in two Danish municipalities. Open, interpretative coding was used within a systemic approach, using Fish et al. (2008). Three heuristic rules guided decisions in all cases: (i) Form and main- tain the first impression. (ii) When in doubt or disagreement, wait. (iii) Avoid parents’ resistance. Key takeaways are that these heuristics help social workers and managers and are connected to satisficing strategies as a natural response to legal and organisa- tional factors. However, the heuristics can also lead to a lack of transparency, delayed interventions and other kinds of bias. We point out the need for understanding such patterns through an extended research to facilitate better and timely feedback to practitioners on their decisions
TidsskriftThe British Journal of Social Work
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)2940-2957
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2023
BegivenhedPresentation Kings College London - Kings College, London, Storbritannien
Varighed: 16 maj 202316 maj 2023


Foredrag/oplægPresentation Kings College London
LokationKings College


Dyk ned i forskningsemnerne om 'Decisions in Child Protection: Heuristics, Law and Organisation'. Sammen danner de et unikt fingeraftryk.