How effective do families of non-English speaking background (NESB) and child protection caseworkers in Australia see the use of interpreters? A qualitative study to help inform good practice principles
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Little empirical research has been conducted in Australia on what constitutes as effective practice with interpreters in child protection matters. This study aimed to address this gap. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 29 non-English-speaking background (NESB) client families and 17 child protection caseworkers (as part of a larger study). Four examples of good practice (e.g. accurate translation) and 14 examples of ineffective practice emerged. The examples of poor practice were consequently grouped as issues with: (i) interpreters (e.g. inaccurate translation); (ii) caseworkers (e.g. insufficient time); (iii) NESB families (e.g. refusing to use an interpreter); and (iv) resources (e.g. insufficient face-to-face interpreters). As expected, the results largely replicate the (scant) national and international literature, indicating that features of good practice, and barriers to them, are similar across multicultural countries. This paper does however argue that training for interpreters dealing in such sensitive matters and training for caseworkers on working effectively with interpreters seem to be at the heart of good practice. This study is significant because it draws on the richness of data that qualitative methods offer to identify the full range of relevant variables and provide empirical support for principles of good practice.
Child & Family Social Work
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: How effective do families of non-English speaking background (NESB) and child protection caseworkers in Australia see the use of interpreters? A qualitative study to help inform good practice principles, Child and Family Social Work, which has been published in final form at Dx.doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12088.
Clinical Social Work Practice