Constructions of vulnerability by different groups of welfare professionals

Birgitte Theilmann*, Erik Laursen

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article has examined the various ways vulnerability among children is constructed by four groups of welfare professionals (teachers, daycare workers, social workers, and health care workers) within a Danish welfare context. Based on an empirical research project that featured a large number of interviews, the article has demonstrated how professionals construct vulnerability from a combination of their professional background and experiences in their working practice related to vulnerability among children. The research findings have revealed that professional employees in general tend to link vulnerability among children to either diagnoses and deviant behavior or a child’s family context. At the same time, professional employees tend to ignore the possibility that vulnerability might be produced inside an institutional context like a school or kindergarten. In linking vulnerability to the child’s family context, professional employees generally point to classic forms of risk and social problem factors related to children’s families.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3838
JournalProfessions and Professionalism
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Interdisciplinary cooperation
  • Social work
  • Vulnerable children


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