Poverty-aware social work in the child protection system: A critical reflection on two single-case studies

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8 Scopus citations


In recent years, scholarly writing that calls for the development of a new child protection framework that contextualizes risk and links it to poverty and social marginalization has increased. Nonetheless, there is a lack of research on the challenges of implementing such a framework in frontline practice. Based on the ongoing, rigorous documentation of the author's experience, as a social work practitioner in a community child protection centre, this article presents two single-case studies that describe and conceptualize the potential contribution of the poverty-aware paradigm to the creation of a social framework for child protection practice. Utilizing critical reflection as a method of analysis, the findings reveal two major tensions entwined in poverty-aware child protection practice: the tension between focusing child protection interventions on parenting and focusing them on poverty and the tension between framing risk within a social context and framing it within the concept of the best interest of the child. Based on the case studies, seven poverty-aware practices to cope with these tensions are identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)610-618
Number of pages9
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • child protection
  • critical practice
  • critical reflection
  • poverty-aware social work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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