Learning from practice dilemmas in the human services: the case of children's contact centres

Burton, Judith A. (2005) Learning from practice dilemmas in the human services: the case of children's contact centres. In Social Change in the 21st Century, 28 October 2005, QUT, Brisbane.

PDF (66kB)


Work in human service organisations is value laden and involves transactions with people whose responses cannot be foreseen. This contributes to the unpredictable and indeterminate nature of practice. It is argued here that enacting values in this complex context requires workers to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity. I suggest that analysis of practice dilemmas is one way to support practitioners in managing uncertainty and improving services. This paper illustrates the utility of the notion of practice dilemmas via analysis of the work of practitioners in children's contact centres. A core value of practice in this setting, as in other settings where children are clients, is that the child's best interests are paramount. Analysis centres on how tensions involved in enacting this principle allow us access to practitioners' thinking around how to provide better direct services and to identify changes that may be worthwhile at agency and systems levels.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

1,735 since deposited on 10 Feb 2006
161 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 3506
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: human services, values, dilemmas, child's best interest
ISBN: 1741071089
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIAL WORK (160700) > Counselling Welfare and Community Services (160702)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Judith A. Burton
Deposited On: 10 Feb 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:15

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page