Date of Award
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Front-line child protection workers are professionally socialized to practice within dynamic child welfare conditions which are defined and influenced by the current socio-political climate. Sandwiched between an anti-oppressive practice framework and insufficient resources, child protection workers are often scapegoated for the deficiencies in an increasingly inadequate system. The front-line child protection worker often endures direct (i.e., aggression) or indirect (i.e., death of a child on a caseload) critical incident stressors, or traumatic incidents from service users. These incidents may cause post traumatic stress. This stress may negatively impact the worker, which in turn may affect the worker's ability to relate to the service user and, ultimately, protect the child or children at risk. In this study, six, in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted. These interviews focused on how the front-line child protection worker defined critical incident stressors, how they responded to such stressors, how they utilized various coping methods, and how effective these methods were to the worker. While it became evident that all study participants may have exhibited some characteristics of post traumatic stress, it is neither known how transitory nor significant these characteristics might be in the workers' lives. Research to saturation needs to be conducted on this subject in order to discover how post traumatic stress might affect the front-line child protection worker.
Kleban, Irene, "The Effects of "Critical Incident Stressors" on Front-line Child Protection Workers" (2008). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4754.
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