Family support as a working style in child protection in Italy: A comparative study on social workers' child welfare attitudes

Barbara Segatto, Anna Dal Ben, Selene Genre Bert, Rami Benbenishty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Comparative studies on child protection decision-making highlight the implications and determinants of differences in child welfare systems internationally and reinforce discussions regarding child protection practices and family support when a child is exposed to inadequate parental care. To date, Italian child protection studies have highlighted a system characterised by a strong degree of variability related to the absence of practices shared nationally. Differently, this comparative study focuses more on similarities within the Italian context, seeking to understand how they influence practices. The opinions of 188 Italian social workers with respect to the substantiation of maltreatment, risk assessment and intervention recommendations were compared with the results of a recent study involving practitioners in Israel, Northern Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands. The main outcomes show that Italian social workers prefer a family support orientation, meaning that children are usually removed from their home only if necessary and generally with the aim of reunification with their families. The study also reveals that Italian professionals are more in favour of residential care than foster care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-345
Number of pages9
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Child & Family Social Work published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Open Access Funding provided by Universita degli Studi di Padova within the CRUI-CARE Agreement.

FundersFunder number
Università degli Studi di Padova


    • Italian social worker
    • child protection
    • comparative studies
    • decision-making
    • maltreatment substantiation
    • risk assessment


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