In the eyes of the beholder: Parental and professional value mismatch in child risk and protection in two communities in Israel

Yochay Nadan*, Dorit Roer-Strier, Netanel Gemara, Shelly Engdau-Vanda, Dafna Tener

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This paper aims to identify several of the mismatches at play when social workers encounter families belonging to diverse groups and assess risk, well-being and protection for children. Two minority groups in Israel were studied: the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia. A context-informed approach was adopted to explore the subjective perceptions and constructions of “risk,” “well-being,” and “protection” among parents of the two communities (N = 60) and the social workers who work with them (N = 50). The social workers included some who belong to the minority groups they serve and others who are from the majority group. The analysis of the interviews yielded two main themes: (a) an understanding of the discrepancies in parents' and professionals' perceptions and constructions of “risk” and “protection” for children as the product of differences in the values, norms and contexts of these two groups; and (b) the implications of these discrepancies for the relationship between professionals/social service agencies and parents who are potential service users. Our findings call upon professionals to re-visit “universals” in the “risk” discourse while taking into account the realms of culture, ethnicity, religiosity, spirituality and community life when assessing risk and treating children and families of minority communities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Correspondence should be addressed to Yochay Nadan, The Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel. (E-mail: The authors would like to thank the following graduate students for their assistance in data collection and analysis: Michal Gatenio-Kalush, Bat-Chen Karni and Rivka Keesing. This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) (Grants No. 1935/15; 1958/17). Yochay Nadan and Dorit Roer-Strier were involved in the conception, design, data analysis, drafting the article and editing. Netanel Gemara and Shelly Engdaw-Vanda were involved in the data collection, data analysis and drafting the article. Dafna Tener was responsible for data interpretation and drafting the article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 International Union of Psychological Science


  • Context-informed perspective
  • Culture
  • Perceptions of risk for children
  • Religion
  • Social work


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