University of Illinois at Chicago
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Decision Making at the Intersection of Criminal Behavior and Child Maltreatment

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posted on 2015-10-21, 00:00 authored by Melinda J. Baldwin
Through a grounded theory analysis of face-to face interviews, this study builds a theoretical understanding of the decision processes used when removing a child from the home using the Decision Making Ecology (DME) to explore the how Child Protective Service workers use maternal criminal history to make removal decisions and how organizational and external factors in the agency’s contextual environment impact CPS workers’ decisions in the evaluation of risk factors, especially that of criminal history. This study illustrates that the Decision Making Ecology provides an effective conceptual framework to understand the influences on CPS workers’ removal decisions. However, it is not simply identifying the composition of the different factors that is enlightening, but as this study illustrates, it was the interaction amongst the factors that is important in deconstructing the decision-making process. Understanding that decision-making is situated in a context and that the factors may work together in such a way to promote better decisions, or against them, is critical to deconstructing the process.



Dettlaff, Alan J.


Jane Addams College of Social Work

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Committee Member

Leathers, Sonya Gleeson, James P. Baumann, Donald Rycraft, Joan

Submitted date



  • en

Issue date


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