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The management of professional roles during boundary work in child welfare

Authors


Christopher Hall, Research Design Service (RDS), School of Medicine and Health, Wolfson Research Institute, Queen's Campus, Stockton, UK
E-mail: c.j.hall@durham.ac.uk

Abstract

Hall C, Slembrouck S, Haigh E, Lee A. The management of professional roles during boundary work in child welfare

Int J Soc Welfare 2010: 19: 348–357 © 2010 The Author(s), Journal compilation © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and International Journal of Social Welfare.

This article examines the ways in which child welfare professionals negotiate their roles and those of other professionals in home visits with clients, in this case the parents of young children. The concept of boundary work is developed within the context of the professional–client encounter. Drawing on Goffman's concept of ‘footing’, the analysis examines how professionals attend to ways of constructing family problems in terms of appropriate professional interventions – both from themselves and others. It is argued that the careful consideration of how problems merit interventions displays an adherence to the development of the supportive relations which move beyond strict professional remits. The article adds to the research evidence, which sees inter-professional coordination as a complex matter, located in everyday practice rather than as advocating more tightly monitored procedure.

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