Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Rosemary Link, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Laura Boisen, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Liesl Marcuson, MSW


While clergy in Minnesota are mandated to report child abuse, they are also mandated to keep information confidential. While many studies have been completed looking at the behavior of mandated reporters, and many others have been completed looking at the ethical issues faced by the clergy who experience this dual mandate, little research has brought the two together. This qualitative study explored the perceptions of child protection workers in Dakota County in Minnesota, and pastors in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who serve congregation in Dakota County.

The findings show that within each group there are a variety of understandings of mandated reporting, the clergy privilege, and what clergy should do when faced with this dilemma. There are also different perceptions of the relationship between the child protection system and the church - all the way from no relationship at all to current examples of partnership. This study shows that there may be merit in intentionally developing healthy communication between pastors and child protection workers, actually reading the statutes that mandate reporting and clergy confidentiality, improving the support and education that already exists, and considering specific solutions to the dilemma.


SC 11.MSW.2000.Thomsen.BM

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