Document Type

Transforming Front-Line Child Welfare Practices (2010)

Publication Date



Faculty of Social Work


This report addresses two important questions: how much emphasis is placed on building positive relationships with families and communities across agency based, integrated service, and community and school based models of service delivery? And, how successful is each model at building relationships, minimizing stigma for families, and improving the image of child welfare in the community?

Educating clients and the community about child welfare services was identified as an important role for workers in some sites and not in others. While families’ fears of child protection services were a concern, some workers also expressed a fear of their clients and feared for their own personal safety in their work. Service providers within each model seemed to be oriented to different aspects of relationship building and also had different advantages and disadvantages. For example, community based and school based models provided unique forums for engaging with clients and other service providers. Heightened awareness and concern about stigma in many agency based settings was noted; while, in community based and school based settings workers saw themselves on the front-line of improving the agency’s image and building relationships with the community.