The Ethics of Emotional Labor in Public Service: The Case of Children's Services Forensic Interviewers


The purpose of this paper is to reframe child forensic interviewing in terms of emotional labor. Child forensic interviewing practice illustrates a public service function that demands emotional labor yet fails to empower its workers with skills to preserve their personal wellbeing. Under an ethic of care, public servants are not the means to organizational ends. Failing to articulate emotional labor demands fosters occupational stress and burnout. While many studies examine negative psychological outcomes from public service work, few examine the impact on children’s services workers, and even fewer explore emotional labor as a mechanism through which negative outcomes arise.

Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance
Scott M. Mourtgos
Scott M. Mourtgos
Ph.D. Candidate

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Utah and a National Institute of Justice LEADS scholar. I study policing and criminal justice policy. I am particularly interested in public perceptions of police use-of-force and the criminal justice system, investigative techniques in sexual assault cases, and crime deterrence policy.