Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Lanesskog Deirdre


In child welfare agencies, the Structured Decision-Making (SDM) Safety and Risk Assessment tools are utilized to support social workers in assessing families and make informed decisions while investigating child abuse and neglect. In the past, numerous studies have evaluated the strengths and weaknesses the SDM safety and risk assessment tools; however, studies have neglected social workers’ perspectives on using the tools during their investigations.

Using a quantitative approach, this study examines social workers’ perceptions on the usefulness of the SDM safety and risk assessment tools during their investigations. IS social work participants from one California county agency completed an online questionnaire using Qualtrics software. The data was analyzed using statistical tests including frequencies, independent samples t-tests, and ANOVA. In order to compare groups of participants’ perceptions of the SDM safety and risk tool, we created a composite score to reflect participants’ overall perceptions of the tool.

The results revealed no statistically significant differences in social workers’ perceptions about the tool based on participants’ work experiences (more or less than 5-years’ experience) or by participants’ job titles (social worker III, IV, and V). Because these findings cannot be generalized to social workers in other counties, future research should survey social workers from various counties in California to obtain more generalizable results.

Included in

Social Work Commons