Critical thinking in child welfare supervision

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Decision making in child welfare is complex. As administrators seek to prepare their workforce for this challenging task, agencies commonly look to trainings as the primary way to develop new workers. This article asserts supervision as an essential part of enhancing the knowledge of workers. In addition, reflective supervision that prompts critical thinking can also develop the analytical skills needed to respond to the complex situations commonly seen in child welfare. To assess the degree to which reflective supervision is being used, a mixed methods online survey was administered to 348 caseworkers, supervisors, and administrators at a large public child welfare agency to measure activities indicative of critical thinking in supervision. Results suggest that despite some level of critical thinking, supervision in child welfare could be advanced through an increase in supervisory interaction that fosters critical thinking ultimately supporting decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-78
Number of pages11
JournalAdministration in Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Child welfare supervision
  • Critical thinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Administration


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