Multi-professional work in child protection decision-making: An Israeli case study

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Based on the premise that functional, multi-professional work in the child protection process is crucial to the delivery of effective service, this article reports on a qualitative study carried out to evaluate inter-agency and multi-disciplinary practice in Israeli decision-making committees. The investigation was directed by the systems approach and looked at practice in the context of the work environment. It examined the cases of 21 families referred to the committees of one of seven social services departments, with follow-up after six months. Data collection involved observations of the discussions and interviews with social workers. According to the findings, school representatives were the only professionals outside of the social service system to participate in the committees, and the committee chairs and senior social workers were dominant in making intervention decisions. Indication of groupthink bias was also found. The follow-up data revealed partial implementation of intervention plans and limited improvement in the children's condition. The analysis identified several systemic sources of difficulty towards achieving meaningful interagency working, including a lack of legislation and departmental organizational conditions. The study advocates an alternative, fresh, whole system approach to the delivery of services for vulnerable children and families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Child protection
  • Decision making
  • Groupthink bias
  • Multi-professional work
  • Social worker
  • Systems approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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