This article considers selected drivers of decision variability in child welfare decision-making and explores current debates in relation to these drivers. Covering the related influences of national orientation, risk and responsibility, inequality and poverty, evidence-based practice, constructions of abuse and its causes, domestic violence and cognitive processes, it discusses the literature in regards to how each of these influences decision variability. It situates these debates in relation to the ethical issue of variability and the equity issues that variability raises. I propose that despite the ecological complexity that drives decision variability, that improving internal (within-country) decision consistency is still a valid goal. It may be that the use of annotated case examples, kind learning systems, and continued commitments to the social justice issues of inequality and individualisation can contribute to this goal.
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