The role of place for transnational social workers in statutory child protection

Document Type


Publication details

Modderman, C, Threlkeld, G & McPherson, L 2019, 'The role of place for transnational social workers in statutory child protection', The British Journal of Social Work.

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Peer Reviewed



This article explores the experience and influence of place amongst transnational social workers. The concept of ‘place’ may be perceived as quietly existing in the background of everyday social work practice. Yet, transnational social workers in this study tell a different story about what happens to the role of place when social workers become globally mobile. The social work profession is embedded in place; qualifications and applications of social work are located within local and national context. Professional migration inevitably entails being separated from the construction of social work as it was known in the country of origin, which leads to an intersection between the context of social work, the role of place and redefining a professional home in an unfamiliar practice environment. This qualitative study explored the role of place for thirteen transnational social workers who relocated from the UK and Ireland to practice in Australia’s child protection system. Participants were interviewed twice over a three-year period to allow a deep understanding of the role of place and experience of ‘self’ over time. Findings highlight place-related change as a multidimensional experience that has a profound impact on transnational social workers.

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