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Issues » 2018/6 - Assessment in Social Work »

Kateřina Glumbíková, Soňa Vávrová, Dana Nedělníková

Assessment Perspectives in the Social and Legal Protection of Children


OBJECTIVES: To describe two revealed views in the social and legal protection of children: (1) idiographic and (2) nomothetical, and, subsequently, clarify their implications in practice. THEORETICAL BASE: The assessment and decision-making of social workers take place on several levels: personal, interpersonal, contextual and critical. The idiographic view emphasizes uniqueness and an individual approach. Conversely, the nomothetical view treats an at-risk child through a certain level of unified judgment based on the objectification of the case. Preferring the elements of the given view influences both the intervention and the assessment process. The nomothetical approach could limit the autonomy and subjective decision-making of the client. METHODS: Within the qualitative research strategy, the data obtained from 9 facilitated workshops with social workers of social and legal protection were analyzed and interpreted. OUTCOMES: The idiographic view enables social workers to cope with the increasing complexity of the situations being resolved. The nomothetical view defines the scope of their competence given by the legislative framework. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: We consider it important to apply the two views in harmony, with an emphasis on the participatory decision-making methods embedded in the legislative framework.


social and legal protection of children, assessment, nomothetical concept, idiographic concept

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