Objectives: Our goal was to examine how professionals assess children at risk and their parents, and decide on particular interventions. Specifically, we explored whether their assessments and decision-making are influenced by (1) the mother's degree of cooperativeness and/or (2) the country in which the worker lives (Canada or Israel). Method: Workers working in the child welfare field (N 181) were presented with a case vignette and asked to assess the child and parents, and the degree of risk to the child, and make an intervention recommendation. The measures used in this study were based on previous work and field-tested in both countries. Results: Significant differences were found between the two countries regarding workers' age and level of experience, with Canadians being older and more experienced than Israelis. Significant differences were also found between the two countries regarding the assessments of the child and parents and also of risk to the child, with Canadians assessing significantly more stringently than Israelis. The difference in levels of experience between the two countries did not explain these differences; however, it did influence intervention recommendations, only for those with 3 years or more of experience. Within this group, significantly more Canadians than Israelis recommended removing the child from the home. Regarding maternal cooperativeness, this factor did affect workers' assessments of the mother, but not of the father or child, or the worker's recommended intervention. Israelis' assessments were significantly more influenced by the mother's cooperativeness than Canadians'. Conclusions: Significant differences were found between the Canadian and Israeli professionals in this study in both their assessments and their intervention recommendations. These appear to reflect the different social, cultural, and political contexts in which these professionals work, and underscores the value of cross-national comparative studies in child welfare.
- Child welfare
- Risk assessment