Recent demographic evaluations show that foreign residents in Italy have tripled in the last ten years. The condition of being a migrant places individuals and families in a state of vulnerability, due to the demanding acculturation process and to the struggle in mediating between the culture of origin and the one of the host country. When Social Services are involved in the assessment of risk of maltreatment of families, a key element is the accuracy in the detecting the most prominent risk factors and the presence of protective factors. The aim of the present study is to appraise the efficacy of the Risk and Protective factors Protocol (Di Blasio, 2005) when applied to immigrant families. A comparison was made between 20 social records of Italian families and 20 social records of immigrant families referred to Social Services due to the risk of maltreatment to their children. Results show that risk and protective factors assessed by the Protocol are functional to identify specific instances of vulnerability related to the condition of being mi grants, and to differentiate between high and low risk families independently from the country of origin.
Keywords: Immigration, risk factors, protective factors, risk assessment