Does Collaboration Include or Exclude? Participatory Aspects of Collaboration between Welfare Agencies when Investigating Suspected Child Abuse
Varying degrees of collaboration and consultation in the area of child and family welfare in the public sector has grown rapidly since the 1980s, especially concerning children at risk. Collaboration is understood to provide a more holistic view of the individual's needs, lead to better care and treatment as well as increase knowledge in general. Collaboration in that sense constitute a flexible approach to decision making processes and problem solving. There is however a lack of scientific research showing the effects of collaboration, or that collaboration leads to positive outcomes for the target groups. Viewed in this light, one main task is to describe the collaborative processes and effects of those processes. In this article, empirical results are presented from an evaluation study of pilot projects of integrated services, located in six places in Sweden, where social workers, police investigators, prosecutors, child psychiatrists, forensic medicine technicians and peadiatricians collaborate when investigating suspected child abuse. The article discusses participatory aspects of collaboration. The results are analysed in terms of inclusion/exclusion on two levels, i.e. on an inter-professional level and on a target group level. The study shows that there are various including and excluding effects on both levels, and thus that exchange and influence between the professionals have implications such as varying accessibility, participation and outcomes for the target groups. The effects are explained in terms of competing legal regulations, organizational structures as well as professional norms.
- Law and Society
- child abuse
- integrated services
- competing norms
- Children's Advocacy Centers
- sociology of law
Law and Justice in the Risk Society, the Research Committee of Sociology of Law, annual meeting.
- Utvärdering av Barnahus - nationell utvärdering