How Professions Narrow Their Horizons: The Impact of the Professional Definition of Social Problems.
Germany’s child protection social work will serve as an example to discuss the impact of the professional mandate of social work. Although explicit case deliberations for reviewing allegations of child abuse and neglect have been established, case narrations (given by frontline workers in child protection) show that the professional routines are rather rigid.
Firstly, they routinely focus on the mother as the central client, who is portrayed as overwhelmed with her day-to-day management. Secondly, violence is seldom problematized and only attributed to the fathers or male partners who in return are never addressed as a client. Thirdly, children remain the blind spot, as they are only marginally considered in case investigations and as addressees of interventions. We conclude that the professional mandate of social work applies a rather narrow mode of repairing the private life, leaving further aspects of the problem aside.