Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Why do they stay? A study of resilient child protection workers in three European countries

Kullburg, Karin; Campanini, Annamaria; Hojer, Staffan; Frost, Elizabeth; Sicora, Alessandro

Why do they stay? A study of resilient child protection workers in three European countries Thumbnail


Karin Kullburg

Annamaria Campanini

Staffan Hojer

Profile Image

Liz Frost
Associate Professor in Social Work

Alessandro Sicora


© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Whilst 50% of child protection workers across much of Europe and the affluent ‘West’ leave after two years, many stay and develop substantial professional careers. This paper discusses research in Italy, Sweden and England examining what factors explain ‘remaining’ for more than three years in this stressful job. Underpinned by a hermeneutic epistemology, qualitative interviews were undertaken and subject to an interpretative thematic analysis. The findings proved to be complex and multi-layered and this paper presents an overview of these. The theoretical framework for the project mainly drew on organisations and resilience, and the initial sections of the paper consider how formulations of resilience as contextual and relational can elucidate professional sustainability. Organisational issues are considered, including the impact of work management, of supervision and of allocation in different national contexts. The paper also focuses on the role of friendships and informal support at work. Threaded through these established themes are more, perhaps surprising, concepts: for example, creativity, power, reflexive spaces and interpersonal relations as explanatory of remaining in child protection work.


Kullburg, K., Campanini, A., Hojer, S., Frost, E., & Sicora, A. (2018). Why do they stay? A study of resilient child protection workers in three European countries. European Journal of Social Work, 21(4), 485-497.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 20, 2017
Publication Date Jul 4, 2018
Deposit Date Feb 23, 2017
Publicly Available Date Feb 24, 2017
Journal European Journal of Social Work
Print ISSN 1369-1457
Electronic ISSN 1468-2664
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 4
Pages 485-497
Keywords resilience, child protection social workers, European comparative research, professions
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in European Journal of Social Work on 20th February 2017, available online:


You might also like

Downloadable Citations