Informal pathways as a response to limitations in formal categorization of referrals in child and family welfare

Anne Marie Anker Villumsen, Lene Mosegaard Søbjerg

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The study consists of eight interviews with 11 social workers in four Danish municipalities. The study examines social workers’ immediate assessment of new referrals. Which challenges do social workers encounter and what justifications do they use? This study shows an interesting span between formal categorization and informal pathways in the decision-making process regarding referrals. Time and timeframes constitute an over-all dilemma during assessment and in the decision about how to react to a referral. When social workers create individual pathways in assessing referrals, the purpose is to compensate for limitations in the formal system of categorization. This includes both safeguarding children in a short-term perspective and enabling a more sustainable long-term change in the family to the benefit of the child at risk.
Translated title of the contributionUformelle veje som reaktion på begrænsninger i formelle kategorier til inddeling af underretning
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic Social Work Research
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • socially endangered youth
  • socially endangered

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