Child Welfare and the Courts: An Exploratory Study of the Relationship Between Two Complex Systems


This exploratory study focuses on the relationships between professionals working in the juvenile dependency system, including judicial officers, attorneys, social workers, and court-appointed special advocates. It includes an examination of the quality of professional relationships, factors contributing to tensions, the consequences of difficult relationships, and strategies for improving relationships. It utilizes interviews and focus groups with professionals and focus groups with clients involved in the juvenile dependency system. The major findings address: (a) the nature and quality of professional relationships, (b) the structural and operational factors contributing to tension in those relationships, (c) client perceptions of professional relationships, and (d) respondent recommendations for improving professional relationships. This study is a contribution to the small but growing literature on the complexity of the interface between public child welfare services and the court system.

Carnochan, S.
Taylor, S.
Abramson-Madden, A.
Han, M.
Rashid, S.
Maney, J.
Teuwen, S.
Austin, M.J.
Publication date: 
October 7, 2008
Publication type: 
Journal Article