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Socialsekreteraren och det familjehemsplacerade barnet: Om relationen, erkännandet och de institutionella förutsättningarna
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8337-7249
2019 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to study, analyze and understand the relationship between children and youth in foster care and their responsible child welfare workers. The empirical material consists of qualitative interviews with foster children (n=53, three interviews/child, in total 159) and child welfare workers (n=17) conducted in a national evaluation of a pilot project with supervision representatives, and two focus groups conducted for the thesis. Examples of central theoretical concepts in the thesis are institution, role, professionalism and recognition. The interviewed children highlighted that the relationship with child welfare workers is negatively affected by a lack of time, availability, and trust. The children desire close and trustful relationships with child welfare workers, but generally they expect a relationship characterized by distance and formality. The child welfare workers emphasized that the relationships are affected by organizational constraints, such as time pressure and lack of continuity. Further, the work is characterized by role conflicts and contradictory expectations of professionalism. On the one hand, the child welfare workers stress the importance of closeness and trust in the relationships. On the other hand, they are expected to maintain formality, distance and functional specificity. The current relationship is affected by institutional prerequisites that are made visible by prevailing regulative, normative, and cultural-cognitive expectations. These different expectations shape and constrain the child welfare workers’ discretion, at the same time as they also create internal conflicts. By applying the theory of recognition, it becomes evident that the foster child is expected to be recognized through closeness, rights, and solidarity by the child welfare worker. Under current institutional conditions, tensions arise between these different forms. The discussions focuses on which form of recognition should constitute the starting-point for the relationship, and how closeness versus distance is affected by recognition through rights.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University , 2019. , p. 120
Series
Örebro Studies in Social work, ISSN 1651-145X ; 22
Keywords [en]
foster care, foster child, child welfare worker, social services, relationship, institution, role, professionalism, discretion, recognition
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-72453ISBN: 978-91-7529-279-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-72453DiVA, id: diva2:1288648
Public defence
2019-04-05, Örebro universitet, Långhuset, Hörsal L3, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Peter Dellgran, Götebrogs universitet anges som opponent i den tryckta avhandlingen. Pga förhinder skedde sedan ett byte av opponent till Martin Börjeson, Ersta  Sköndahl Bräcke högskola. 

Available from: 2019-02-14 Created: 2019-02-14 Last updated: 2019-05-15Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Foster children's experiences and expectations concerning the child-welfare officer role: Prerequisites and obstacles for close and trustful relationships
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Foster children's experiences and expectations concerning the child-welfare officer role: Prerequisites and obstacles for close and trustful relationships
2017 (English)In: Child & Family Social Work, ISSN 1356-7500, E-ISSN 1365-2206, Vol. 22, no 4, p. 1415-1422Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The question of whether the Swedish social services are fulfilling their obligation to monitor and support children in foster care is attracting increasing attention. The importance of closeness and trust between children and their child-welfare officers has been highlighted in particular. The aim of this article is to study foster children's experiences and expectations concerning the role of the child-welfare officer, and how these constitute prerequisites for, and possible obstacles to the officers developing close and trustful relationships with the children under prevailing institutional conditions. Data from our evaluation of a national pilot project with supervision representatives provide the empirical basis. Our theoretical point of departure is that the relationship between the child and the child-welfare officer is affected by the officer's rolea role that is negotiated under the prevailing institutional conditions and in interaction with the children's experiences of and expectations about that role. The results show that most children emphasize that the relationship with their officer is negatively affected by a lack of time, availability, and trust. It is also weakened by the children's general expectation that child-welfare officers only act in their official role, a role that is associated with a formal and distanced relationship.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2017
Keywords
child welfare, foster care, interviewing children, professional ethics/issues
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-56215 (URN)10.1111/cfs.12362 (DOI)000412739100009 ()2-s2.0-85014796076 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-03-09 Created: 2017-03-09 Last updated: 2019-03-12Bibliographically approved
2. Professional dilemmas and occupational constraints in child welfare workers' relationships with children and youth in foster care
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Professional dilemmas and occupational constraints in child welfare workers' relationships with children and youth in foster care
2018 (English)In: Children and youth services review, ISSN 0190-7409, E-ISSN 1873-7765, Vol. 88, p. 333-340Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

At the same time as the number of child and youth placements in foster care is increasing in Sweden, some serious deficiencies have been highlighted, such as instability in placements and shortcomings in the social services' monitoring. Because the child welfare workers are ultimately responsible for these children's situation, understanding how they handle their multi-dimensional occupational role is crucial. The aim of this article is to study child welfare workers' individual and collective experiences of and expectations about their occupational role and responsibilities in their administrative and relational work with children and youth in foster care. Individual interviews with child welfare workers from a previous evaluation of a national pilot project, and two focus groups with child welfare workers, constitute the empirical basis. Theoretically the article explores central concepts such as sub-roles, dilemmas, professionalism, and functional specificity. The results show that the child welfare workers are burdened by a heavy workload, but that the prerequisites and the obstacles they face also must be understood in relation to prevailing contradictions and dilemmas in their occupational role. Even though the child welfare workers stress that professionalism is about putting relational work first, their activity is dominated by administrative tasks and functional specificity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-66184 (URN)10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.03.039 (DOI)000432640800038 ()2-s2.0-85044447636 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-03-27 Created: 2018-03-27 Last updated: 2019-03-12Bibliographically approved
3. Institutionella ramar för relationen mellan familjehemsplacerade ungdomar och deras socialsekreterare
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Institutionella ramar för relationen mellan familjehemsplacerade ungdomar och deras socialsekreterare
2018 (Swedish)In: Relationer i socialt arbete: i gränslandet mellan profession och person / [ed] Anders Bruhn & Åsa Källström, Stockholm: Liber, 2018, 1, p. 107-122Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Liber, 2018 Edition: 1
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-66185 (URN)978-91-47-11311-8 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-03-27 Created: 2018-03-27 Last updated: 2019-03-12Bibliographically approved
4. Individualizing or categorizing recognition?: Conceptual discussions concerning the relationship between foster children and their child welfare workers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Individualizing or categorizing recognition?: Conceptual discussions concerning the relationship between foster children and their child welfare workers
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-73096 (URN)
Available from: 2019-03-12 Created: 2019-03-12 Last updated: 2019-03-12Bibliographically approved

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