An exploratory study of supervision for child protection professionals working in multidisciplinary teams across seven European countries.


This study explored the experiences and views of supervision among child protection professionals in multidisciplinary child protection teams in seven European countries (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Moldova, Romania, and Serbia).

The aims of the study were to explore the different understandings, experiences, and challenges of supervision as experienced by child protection professionals involved in multidisciplinary casework with children and families. The specific objectives were to:

  • Provide a snapshot of supervision for child protection professionals working in multidisciplinary team settings across the region.
  • Explore the attitudes, behaviours, and perceptions of child protection professionals regarding supervision.
  • Identify key factors that hinder and promote supervision practices in multidisciplinary team contexts.
  • Provide a comparative analysis in the region.
  • Identify good practices.
  • Provide recommendations for strengthening supervision across the region and in specific countries.

Activities and Methods

We used a survey, key informant interviews, document analysis and a Q-method study.


The importance of supervision is widely recognised across the region, at least by those with experience and knowledge of it. Supervisors and supervisees alike are very positive about its benefits for multidisciplinary teams, individual workers and for children and families. There is a strong consensus about the need for developmental and emotionally supportive supervision. Supervision works best when it is provided separately from management, and when it is regular and consistent.

We also identified some different conceptions about what supervision is, how it should work and who it benefits the most. Some respondents said that supervision should ultimately benefit the child and focus on ensuring the quality of casework. Others said that supervision should ultimately benefit the worker and focus more on emotional support and development. Such differences were nuanced and should not detract from the consensus about the importance of supervision, and the need for emotional support and professional development. Examples of good practice were identified across the region, most notably in Croatia and Romania.

However, study respondents also raised significant concerns about a lack of supervision in many places. Given the complexity of child protection work, this means workers are left without sufficient support, resulting in a poorer quality of service for families, and burnout for the worker. Concerns were also raised about the availability of support for supervisors, a lack of understanding of supervision within the child protection system, and about the short-term nature of funding. In some countries, concerns were raised about the lack of a well-developed legal framework for the provision of supervision.

Lead Person

Principal InvestigatorDavid Wilkins
Related SchoolsN/A
Related partnersThe research has been produced in the framework of the
Child Protection Hub project.

supported by:
Austrian Development Agency, Oak Foundation,
Terre des hommes.

The research does not necessarily reflect the views of
the donors.

The research team consisted of:
Irina Adascalitei, Ines Rezo Bagarić, Milena Marinova,
Irina Opincaru, Olivia Pirtac-Goaga, Marija Nijemcevic Popovski,
Xheni Shehaj and Izela Tahsini,

with the technical support of the ChildHub team:
Marta Bene, Alketa Lasku, and Judit Nemeth-Almasi.
FundersThe Austrian Development Agency, Oak Foundation,
Terre des hommes.
Related publicationsN/A
Related links
Related documents