Journal Article

Perceptions of Stigma and User Involvement in Child Welfare Services

E. M. SCHOLTE, M. COLTON, F. CASAS, M. DRAKEFORD, S. ROBERTS and M. WILLIAMS

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 29, issue 3, pages 373-391
Published in print June 1999 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online June 1999 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.bjsw.a011463
Perceptions of Stigma and User Involvement in Child Welfare Services

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SUMMARY

This paper explores the perceptions of social disqualification or ‘stigma’ that service users attributed to public child welfare services in random samples of service users taken from the Netherlands, a part of Spain (Catalonia) and a part of the United Kingdom (Wales). It was found that, in all three samples, foster and residential care invoked the greatest sense of stigma, while the health related and the preventive family services were perceived as the least stigmatizing types of public welfare services. Comparative analysis further revealed that a positive attitude towards the use of public welfare services, a perception of supportive or non-stigmatizing social norms regarding the use of such services, and a perception of public welfare services as helpful correlated in all three samples with higher levels of user satisfaction and involvement in the services. It was further found that, in the British and Spanish samples, a positive attitude towards public welfare services, as well as a perception of public welfare services as helpful for their recipients, were the predominating factors promoting higher levels of satisfactory user involvement in the services, while, in the Dutch sample, a perception of supportive social norms was the factor that most promoted satisfactory user involvement.

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Subjects: Social Work

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