Social work

experience and methods

The legitimation contradictions of the child removal from a family: the perspective of the social worker


The aim of the article – to reveal the contradictions of the child removal from a family legitimacy, which emerge in the interaction of legal, professional and personal factors while the social worker makes up the decision concerning the child removal from a family. In some countries the law is one of the main powers in the social work, which gives the opportunity to act: "too little, too late"; "too much, too soon"; "just right" (Braye, Preston Shoot, 2006). The theoretical research concept is based on the critical theory paradigm. It aims to appeal to the critical approach and critical social work. The qualitative approach was chosen for the study. The selected study of using vignettes method element was used for the semi-structured interview questions. The study data was analysed based on the grounded theory strategy. Eight social workers participated in this research. In the initial stage of the study the three main topics were analysed, which later were divided into the categories, revealing the positions expressed by the participants, i.e. a social worker is "a lawyer", a social worker – "a professional" and a social worker "a just woman" showed up. The first position, i.e. "a lawyer" showed that the social workers participating in the decision to remove a child from a family is typical for the legal acts, which establish the provisions of the child custody determination. The aim of the social worker referred as "a professional" is to save the child's biological family and it focuses on the search for the possibilities for children to remain in the family. The position of the social worker as "a just woman" revealed that social workers participating in the decision to remove a child from a family inevitably encounter the emotions, which are painful and lead to the particular professional frustration.


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