Date of Award
Master of Social Work (MSW)
The job of a frontline child protection worker is highly demanding and very emotional. Issues of job-related stress have become an inevitable part of child welfare practice. The majority of research that attempts to understand the stress experienced by child protection workers perpetuates a larger held belief that places the responsibility of managing stress upon the individual worker. This body of research also offers micro-level strategies for alleviating the stress experienced by workers.
This research project sets out to understand the issue from a broader perspective and to consider socio-economic factors as central to the critical analysis. The purpose of this research project is to engage in conversations with frontline child protection workers in order to build a sense of the context in which these workers experience job-related stress. A contextual framework is missing from most of the research that has attempted to understand the experience of job-related stress of frontline child protection workers.
The two themes that connected all the research participants was the degree to which their agencies acknowledged stress as an issue and the strength of supportive networks within their work environments. From the responses of the workers it was apparent that their work environments do not necessarily provide a safe haven for them to acknowledge the emotional impact of their job and to simply think about the work they do. The author suggests that further research that challenges the structure of broader systemic issues will be the best path to begin developing strategies to alleviate the stress experienced by child protection workers and to retain experienced, educated and dedicated workers who are committed to ensuring the safety of children.
Henderson, Bonnie E., "The Managerial Structure Of Child Welfare: Perspectives From Frontline Workers" (2008). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4807.
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