Teaching and learning decision making in child welfare and protection social work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


: This chapter begins with reflections on the author’s own ‘journey into risk and decision-making’ during 10 years of practice and 25 years teaching social workers on this topic. Challenges in teaching and learning the knowledge and skills required for professional judgment in child welfare and protection are considered in terms of models of decision-making and models of cognitive learning processes. This is illustrated with aspects of teaching about decision-making on qualifying and post-qualifying social work courses in Northern Ireland, such as relating understandings of professional judgment and decision-making processes to assessment and care planning practice; legal aspects of making reasonable, reasoned decisions; understanding the value of and challenges in using statistical data on risk factors within decision-making; using models of professional judgment to reflect on practice; ensuring role clarity; and developing skills in engaging other professionals in decision processes. The chapter concludes with a discussion of future directions in learning and teaching about professional judgment in child welfare and protection, including (1) the science of decision-making (including use of risk factors), (2) the art of decision-making (including understanding judgment processes using psychosocial rationality concepts), (3) evidencing what works in terms of teaching decision-making, and (4) building a knowledge base to inform teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDecision Making and Judgement in Child Welfare and Protection:
Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Research and Practice
EditorsJohn Fluke, Mónica López López, Rami Benbenishty, Erik North, Donald Baumann
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780190059552
ISBN (Print)9780190059538
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 20 Jul 2020


  • child abuse
  • child welfare
  • child protection
  • decision making
  • professional judgement
  • risk
  • assessment
  • social work


Dive into the research topics of 'Teaching and learning decision making in child welfare and protection social work'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this