Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


James Gladstone




Despite the vast research available in child welfare services, little has been written about the fit between clinical social work practice and child welfare work. When the field emerged from the prescriptive and intrusive practices of the Ontario Risk Assessment Model (ORAM) , it ushered change towards Differential Response (DR), a strengthbased, client-inclusive model that relied heavily on the skills of clinical social work practice, thus making it necessary for the field to reevaluate service delivery and the philosophy surrounding risk and protective services to children and families.

Through the use of qualitative interviews, this study examines the experiences and perspectives of five child welfare supervisors as they support the implementation of clinical practice through competing demands and a child welfare mandate whose mission is to protect children.

An analysis of the participants interviews reveal experiences mixed with successes and obstacles as it examines factors which are likely to increase or decrease the engagement of clinical practice in a child welfare agency. The main areas identified include case load management, delivery of services, support for front line workers and philosophy of the agency.

The study supports the need for further research in this area to inform policy development, training considerations and service delivery processes in effort to further support the implementation of clinical practice in child welfare work.

McMaster University Library

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