Safety for children first: focus on children in intensive family case management

Inge Busschers, Leonieke Boendermaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


When following a systems-based approach in child protection, caution is needed
to stay focused on the safety of children. However, practice-oriented knowledge
on how to succeed is lacking. To explore whether professionals were able to
keep focus on child safety, research was carried out into the experiences of case
managers applying an innovative, systems-based methodology in child protection
and youth parole services in the Netherlands, named: Intensive Family Case
Management (IFCM). A representative sample of family meetings at the Youth
Protection Amsterdam Area agency was monitored. Additionally, quality assurance instruments, case notes, and Family Plans filled out by case managers and their supervisors were examined on the use of children’s safety and needs tools. The results show that family meetings were organised in half of the cases. In only 25% of these face-to-face contacts all the family members were present. In nearly all families, the tools for child safety (94%), children’s needs (81%), and safety and risk assessment (90%) were used. Although the implementation of the IFCM methodology was still ongoing at the time of data collection, the analyses showed that case managers used the tools for almost all families. In contrast to this they had difficulties in adequately applying the systems-based approach. The results suggest that ongoing monitoring and support in daily practice is essential for working in accordance with a systems-based approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40 - 56
Number of pages17
JournalInternational journal of child and family welfare
Issue number1/ 2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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