The Intersection of the Child Welfare Profession and Maltreatment Fatalities

  • Emily M. Douglas


This chapter focuses on the intersection of the child welfare profession and maltreatment fatalities. The child welfare profession largely engages in the tertiary prevention of child maltreatment, meaning that workers respond to instances of abuse and neglect that have already occurred or where imminent risk of harm is present. Thus, CWWs are uniquely positioned to prevent the worst outcomes of maltreatment—the death of a child. Research in this area, however, shows that workers are inadequately prepared to prevent children dying from maltreatment, in that their knowledge of risk factors is particularly low. Further, CWWs report begin engaged with and monitoring families in the lead-up to a death. Unlike popular myth, research shows that CWWs who experience the death of a child on their caseload are not young, experienced, or uneducated, in fact, just the opposite. This chapter also explores how workers respond when a child on their caseload dies. Finally, there is discussion regarding how workers may miss warning signs leading up to a child maltreatment fatality.


Child maltreatment death Child welfare profession CWWs and child death Child welfare and PTSD Child welfare and strength-based approach 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily M. Douglas
    • 1
  1. 1.Bridgewater State UniversityBridgewaterUSA

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