'Normalizing the Novel': How Is Culture Addressed in Child Protection Work With Ethnic-Minority Families in Australia?
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To address the need for empirical evidence on how culture is and should be addressed in child protection work in Australia to ensure equity in service delivery, this study reviewed 120 case files of children from ethnic-minority, Aboriginal, and Anglo backgrounds and conducted 46 qualitative interviews with ethnic-minority client families and the caseworkers who service them. Overall, the results indicated that the issue of culture for ethnic-minority families receives less consideration than it does for Aboriginal families and more than it does for Anglo families, indicating that cross-cultural parity is yet to be achieved. To ensure equity in service delivery, it is important that culture is neither overlooked nor used to essentialize the needs and experiences of ethnic-minority families; balancing the amount of attention that culture receives in child protection work may help “normalize the novel”—that is, reduce the use of cultural stereotypes without reducing the significance of cultural factors in child protection work with culturally nonmainstream families. Mandatory consultation with “multicultural” caseworkers may help get the balance right and warrants future research.
Journal of Social Service Research
© 2013 Taylor & Francis (Routledge). This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Social Service Research on 12 Dec 2013, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01488376.2013.845126
Clinical Social Work Practice