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Journal Article


Williams VN, Ayele R, Shimasaki S, Tung GJ, Olds D. Health Soc. Care Community 2019; ePub(ePub): ePub.


Prevention Research Center for Family and Child Health, University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado.


(Copyright © 2019, John Wiley and Sons)






Nurses and caseworkers engage in assessments with the families they serve. Nurse home visitors from Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) improve maternal-child health outcomes with first-time low-income mothers through care, education and support. In the United States, Child Protective Services (CPS) are state-level governmental agencies that protect children, including responding to reports of child maltreatment. This paper aimed to characterise similarities and differences in risk assessment practices between NFP nurses and CPS caseworkers in Colorado, United States. Using a grounded theory approach, we conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with 112 NFP and CPS workers from seven Colorado NFP sites from 2013 to 2015. Study sites were purposefully selected based on size, structure, geography and degree of collaboration with CPS. We conducted interviews first with NFP sites and used snowball sampling to recruit CPS workers. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, validated and then coded in NVivo 10. Memo writing was conducted to organise and link concepts within the theme of risk assessment. NFP and CPS workers emphasised the importance of risk assessment in their respective practices. Although there were similarities in the types of risks assessed, we found variations in work processes, operational definitions and methods of risk assessment between the two organisations that impacted inter-organisational collaboration to serve high-risk mothers and their children. NFP and CPS workers may have different roles and responsibilities but their underlying goals are the same - to keep children and their families safe and healthy. By understanding these similarities and differences in practice, there lies potential to improve collaboration between home visiting programmes and child welfare to provide integrated service delivery of high-risk families and prevention of future child maltreatment.

© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Language: en


child abuse; home visiting; multi-professional collaborations; risk assessment


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