Gatekeeping in child welfare: a comparative study of intake decisionmaking by social workers in Canada and Sweden

Child Welfare. 2003 Sep-Oct;82(5):507-25.


This article details findings from social workers in Sweden and Canada, illuminating similarities and differences in gatekeeping in child welfare and child protection. Analysis revealed different patterns of inclusion and exclusion. Swedish child welfare includes a greater readiness to intervene with more resources and measures. Gatekeeping is assessment driven and focused on family preservation. In Canada, only the most needy children are eligible for a limited range of services. Gatekeeping is structure driven and narrowly focused on protection. Analyses of evidence-based research to improve outcomes for children and families must include comparisons of how different structural orientations influence management of referrals at intake. The authors discuss the implications of these findings.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Decision Making, Organizational*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Gatekeeping / organization & administration*
  • Gatekeeping / standards
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Social Work / organization & administration*
  • Social Work / standards
  • Sweden