Stress coping strategies in child protection services

The decisions child welfare officers make are complicated and are based partly on their own investigations, partly on cooperation with, and experience of, other local government officers. "My master's thesis shows that even the more experienced child welfare officers are uncertain about what decisions are the correct ones in individual cases," says Arve Lerum at the Nordic School of Public Health (NHV).

The study also shows that the decision-making process can be laborious and a source of great stress for those responsible for the welfare of children and adolescents.

"Strategies for coping with stress, both at the individual and organizational level, should be developed locally and be anchored among individual local government officers and management," says Arve Lerum. "Achieving good results for users of these services is an important coping factor."

Child welfare officers can be criticized both for decisions that are taken and not taken. Arve Lerum has interviewed child welfare officers in Danish and Norwegian municipalities (barnevernsarbeidere) and compared the results.

A Danish child welfare officer illustrated the issue of uncertainty in the following way: "We cannot just say this is how we do it and that's how it works. I believe it has a lot to do about not having found a method, you just follow this method here, and that's how it works.

"A child welfare officer in a Norwegian municipality: "I have to say that I become more and more doubtful about what is right in different types of situations. Because we also have to look at it from the perspective of what would follow instead."

Child welfare services also have expectations on other local government services, which a Danish child welfare officer expressed accordingly: "Great pedagogues run around in our large groups of children and neglect to put their foot down because they don't really know what they've seen. That's dangerous."


  1. katherine elaine fiori katherine elaine fiori United States says:

    CPS caseworkers lie lie lie on court documents to support their claim that the children need to be removed from the home. They like to cover their asses when they have even a minute uncertaintly of having legal justification for removing the children.  They lie about and criminalize parents and kin of the child to support their claim that the only suitable place for the child is a foster home. The family court judge eats up those lies like its strawberries and whipped cream. Lying-assed caseworkers!  

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