Kiireellisen sijoituksen päätöksenteko lastensuojelun sosiaalityöntekijän työnä

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisMonograph


Decision-making of emergency placement as a social worker’s everyday work task

This study examines emergency placement decision-making as an everyday work task and a working practice of a social worker. This study is linked to research debate on assessment and decision-making. The methodological base of this study lies on constructionism, which suggests that knowledge is developed in social interactions. The research rests on ethnographic approach. Research material was collected in 2015—2016 and it consists of observation and expert interviews (51). This material is coded using Atlas.TI software and analysed using content analysis.

The research indicates that assessment and decision-making is a multi-stage process that takes place in social relationships. Assessment and decision-making are distinguished as separate parts of a process. However, these two parts are partly overlapping and superimposed. Starting point of the assessment is not conceptualised identically in all situations. Start of the assessment is subject to a confirmation of immediate danger of a child or any doubts that a child’s well-being and safety might be compromised.

Situations of immediate danger are divided to 1) distinct cases of immediate danger, 2) cases, where there is a doubt of immediate danger, and 3) cases, where the immediate danger of the situation is uncertain. Assessment is an essential yet independent part of the decision-making process. In this stage a social worker creates an assessment base by analysing different information types such as intuitive information, factual information, empirical information, and emotional information. These information types are used in the assessment phase. Sometimes assessment is made in situations where there are major gaps of information or almost no information at all. Analysis is made through knowledge work: by considering the information, confirming the information, or excluding the information. Knowledge work is conducted in social relationships with a child, the child’s parents, co-workers, team, manager, and other professionals. This involves hierarchical knowledge. Decision-making is work that happens in social interactions. It is a circular process that proceeds chronologically and has separate working phases.

The creation of the assessment base enables the decision-making process and the final decision. The past, the present and the future are reflected in the decision-making process when a social worker implements an emergency placement. While making the decision, a social worker tries to create interpretations by reflecting information on the child’s past, the present situation, and the future. This happens in situations which are marked by rush and fragmentariness of the information at hand. Impact of the decision-making is assessed in relation to the present, the future, and desired outcome in a child’s life. Decision-making aims to contribute to a better future for a child.
Original languageFinnish
Place of PublicationTampere
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-03-2509-1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Publication series

NameTampere University Dissertations - Tampereen yliopiston väitöskirjat
ISSN (Print)2489-9860
ISSN (Electronic)2490-0028

Cite this