Community-based multi-professional child protection decision making: systematic narrative review

Ravit Alfandari, Brian Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Multi-professional approach to child protection decision making is widely promoted by service organisations, although the conditions for this to be effective are little known.
Objective: This systematic narrative literature review explored empirical evidence on the implementation of multi-professional child protection decision making in community settings. Of particular interest were the contextual conditions upon which joint working is build (inputs), aspects of interactional functioning (mediators), and the results of working together (outputs).
Participants and setting: Five electronic bibliographic databases were selected for the search. The review was restricted to articles published in peer-reviewed journals, in the English language for ten years, from 1st January 2010 to 31st December 2019. Of the 6,934 studies retrieved, 30 studies undertaken in six countries were included.
Methods: The systematic approach to literature reviewing utilised was ‘Systematic Narrative Review’. This approach starts with clearly formulated questions, employs systematic, explicit, and replicable processes for searching the literature to retrieve research, retains quality appraisal limited to publications in peer-reviewed journals, and uses a narrative synthesis.
Results: The analysis outlined key building blocks that form the structure for collaborative decision making and identified cognitive, relational, and behavioural interactional properties that occur when making decisions together. Limitations of the published literature hinder the ability of making robust inferences about outcomes of collaborative decision-making practice.
Conclusion: The article discusses the next steps for research and implications for policy and practice for promoting useful multi-professional working in child protection decision making in the community.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105432
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Early online date15 Dec 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Dec 2021


  • child abuse
  • child protection
  • child safeguarding
  • decision making
  • multi-professional working
  • community
  • inter-disciplinary
  • risk
  • assessment
  • Review Article


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