Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Simon, James


The focus of this study is social worker’s potential perspective on barriers to family reunification in a child welfare services agency located in Central California. A constructivist research paradigm was applied to this study as it permitted the researchers to use a subjective methodology for collecting qualitative data. The study gathered data using interviews with child welfare social workers to construct a joint understanding of social workers perspective on barriers they face when reunifying child welfare families. Child welfare social workers identified numerous barriers to effective social work both in practice and in policy. The barriers found were a lack of partnerships with outside agencies, funding, conflicting policies between the state and local level, high caseloads, and an overwhelming amount of social work job duties all of which affect family reunification according to the social workers’ perspectives. Social workers shared several factors decreased a worker’s effectiveness in serving families such as high caseloads and what practice and policy changes could address these issues. On a micro level, policy and practice changes should improve social work practice to decrease caseload size decrease, which may help families reunify.

Included in

Social Work Commons