Child protection practice in a call centre: An emerging area of social work


  • Sue Hanna Senior Lecturer at the School of Health and Social Services, Massey University.



child protection, social work practice, call centres, child youth and family, technology,


Social work services based in call centres represent a controversial and often negatively viewed development in the context of service delivery. Little is known, however, about the professional knowledge, values and skills required in this work environment, or of the strengths and learning opportunities this area of practice has to offer social work in general.

This paper discusses the findings of a qualitative research project which involved 14 Intake Social Workers (‘ISWs’) at the Children Youth and Family (‘CYF’) National Contact Centre (‘NCC’), (formerly known as the National Call Centre). The aim was to ascertain how ISWs constructed their child protection social work practices in an environment where they communicated with their clients exclusively by using information and communication technology (‘ICT’) procedures. Participants were also asked to comment on their perceptions of the NCC as a place to work.

The findings demonstrate the development of a unique skills set that combines elements of social work and traditional call centre work, where social workers must form constructive relationships with callers who have complex problems and sets of expectations, and with the technology that mediates their practice in this highly regulated, pressured work place. 


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How to Cite

Hanna, S. (2017). Child protection practice in a call centre: An emerging area of social work. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 20(3), 34–43.