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Keywords:

  • child abuse;
  • child protection (policy and practice);
  • communication and child social work;
  • outcomes in child welfare intervention

ABSTRACT

This paper presents the findings of a study that looked at social workers' perspectives on parental engagement in making the difficult choice of either taking the child into care or keeping the family together. The paper first explores the specific context of children at risk in Romanian society and explains that in this middle-income nation there is an absence of evidence-based risk assessment tools, which prompts social workers to use their own ‘common sense’ risk assessment indicators. The findings of this small-scale, non-representative study on several public non-voluntary child protection services in Romania suggest that social workers' perceptions of specific dimensions of parental engagement in non-voluntary child protection may influence service delivery decisions and outcomes.