Assessing Risk in Child Protection and Child Welfare Services: a scoping review
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Background and objectives: Risk assessments in child protection and child welfare services are designed to strategically evaluate and analyze children who are at greatest risk of maltreatment and neglect. Norway does not have a national framework on how to assess children at risk, nor any evidence-based research showing that their assessment tools are effective. The purposes of this review were to (a) identify studies assessing risk of child maltreatment and neglect in this field; (b) describe which and how risk factors should be used; and (c) map the literature to better understand the quality of the risk assessments. Method: For this scoping review, Web of Science, MEDLINE and PsycINFO were the main sources of data. The data were searched for published and peer-reviewed English language quantitative studies from 2009-2019. Results: 15 publications met the inclusion criteria. They showed that risk factors could be divided into three categories: child functioning, parent care and, family and environment. Risk factors related to primary caregiver were dominating. The quality assurance of the risk assessment tools showed to differ in both reliability and validity. Implications: This review identifies the need to consider all aspects of the three categories to provide critical thinking and achieve a holistic perspective of a child’s needs. It also questions the quality of the risk assessment tools used today, but implies the importance of testing and adapting the items to a targeted population.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
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