"Lost in the shuffle": follow-up with victims of child abuse

Morris, Anne M. (1992) "Lost in the shuffle": follow-up with victims of child abuse. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Child abuse has become an important topic in today's society. Increased awareness of abuse as a problem has led to a rise in the number of reported cases, which has put pressure on already overburdened social service agencies. In an effort to improve service to clients the Department of Social Services in St. John's, Newfoundland established a Child Abuse Treatment and Prevention Unit. This thesis looks at the ability of the social workers at the Child Abuse Treatment and Prevention Unit and the district offices of the Department of Social Services, within the St. John's area, to provide adequate treatment and follow-up to their clients. Information is based on a period of participant observation at the Unit during which time the social workers there and at the district offices were interviewed. Interviews were conducted with 36 clients who had been referred to the Child Abuse Treatment and Prevention Unit to determine their perceptions of the types of services they received. These clients discussed positive and negative aspects of their treatment and offered suggestions for improvement. -- The findings suggest that the social workers' efforts to help their clients were constrained by the bureaucratic structure in which they operated. They were overworked and overburdened with large case loads. They lacked sufficient financial and referral resources. Workers experienced feelings of isolation in the district offices where job satisfaction was low and staff turnover high. The workers at the Child Abuse Treatment and Prevention Unit developed an informal organization or sub-culture which did not solve the structural problems but allowed them to acquire informal mechanisms to cope with the situation and thus provide a better service to clients. -- These findings suggest that changes are necessary in the organization of Child Protection Services as part of the bureaucratic structure. The positive aspects of the Unit, e.g. the support network for the workers, need to be reviewed and extended to others involved in child protection services. An ongoing evaluation that consults with clients as the service receivers should be a component of child protection services. This would enable adjustments to be made on a regular basis that would improve service to clients and make the social workers’ job easier.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5958
Item ID: 5958
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 156-160.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: June 1992
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Abused children--Services for--Newfoundland and Labrador

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