Social work and the management of complexity in Swedish child welfare services

Ahmet Gümüscü, Lennart Nygren, Evelyn Khoo
2018 Nordic Social Work Research  
This paper elucidates how Swedish child welfare social workers manage complexity co-occuring in the families with which they work and the organisational contexts of practice. Focus groups were held with social workers in three municipalities in Sweden who described work processes generally and in response to a fictitious vignette. The vignette was constructed as a complex family situation to explore how social workers approach complexity when faced with a family with complex needs. Findings
more » ... ed that social workers are challenged in their everyday work where they are aware of the many needs in a family. They focus on immediate conditions for children while recognising that some problems are less amenable to being solved. However they try to manage complexities related to families as well as the structural conditions of work by sorting, prioritising and oscillating between a child focus and a family service orientation. This paper serves as a necessary reminder of the complexity of social work in the broader area of child welfare and raises further questions about the use of comparative typologies to explain social work practices KEYWORDS Complex needs; family; social services; Sweden; vignettes CONTACT Ahmet Gümüscü NORDIC SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH https://doi.
doi:10.1080/2156857x.2018.1542336 fatcat:cewkqtjs2jdtjdhrer6tef36gm