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Making Decisions about Children in Care: A study of case conferences

  • Nigel Spence


This paper studies the decision-making processes that occur in child welfare case conferences. Using a small sample of eight case conferences the study focuses on the way child welfare professionals and parents interact in formulating constructions of “children’s needs” and “parental competence”. The case conference setting, group composition, sequence and the relationships between the health and welfare professionals present are also identified as key factors in influencing the outcome of the case conference.


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Contact address: 32 Stanley Street, Leichardt NSW 2040, Tel: 02 745 3133 Fax: 02 744 0871


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Packman, J. (1986) Who Needs Care? Social Work Decisions About Children, London: Basil Blackwell.
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Thorpe, R., & McCallum, S. (1989) ‘Empowering Parents Through Participative Case Planning in Child Abuse and Neglect’, in Social Work in the Australian Context. Proceedings of the 21 Biennial Conference of the AASW, Townsville, 1989.

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Making Decisions about Children in Care: A study of case conferences

  • Nigel Spence


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