Social workers as relational actors : descriptions of care order preparations in Finland
Eronen, Tuija; Korpinen, Johanna; Pösö, Tarja (2022)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
This article examines what social workers do when preparing the removal of a child into public care in statutory child welfare. The focus is on how social workers describe both their ‘doing’ and themselves in care order preparations. Care order preparations take place at the crossroads of the different needs and rights of children and their parents as well as those arising from professionalism, law and bureaucracy. They involve the use of professional and public power given to social workers. The thematic analysis is based on interviews with Finnish social workers (29) in which they describe a preparatory process. The analysis focuses on the descriptions of ‘doing’ and those of the ‘doer’. Talking, writing and coordinating form an essential part of social work in the descriptions of care order preparations. When describing their work, social workers speak about themselves as relational actors and very little as agents of the statutory, bureaucratic system. This reflects the non-adversial nature of the Finnish child welfare system with its emphasis on consensus as well as the current dominant discourse on what ‘good’ social work in child welfare is. Given the nature of care orders and the restrictions on family life likely to arise as a result of the preparatory process, other approaches to describe ‘doing’ care order preparations could be expected as well.
- TUNICRIS-julkaisut