Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Instabilitet för barn i samhällsvård: [Instability in child welfare placements]
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2012 (Swedish)In: Socionomens forskningssupplement, ISSN 0283-1929, no 31, 34-43 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper analyzes stability in out-of-home care for children in Sweden. The study has focused on placement breakdown but also used planned movements and re-placement to study placement stability. The sample consists of 213 children who started 317 placements during 2005 and 2006. Social work case files were examined to follow every placement for, at most, two years from the day that the placement began. Those children who finished their period of care during the study’s follow-up period were monitored for one year after completion of placement to see if "returns home" were stable or if the child was re-placed in care. The analyses reveal that a significant majority of children who returned home from care did so before social workers considered care no longer necessary. The most common reason for end of a placement for preschool aged children was placement movements and for teenager’s placement breakdowns. This result indicates that type of instability depends on children’s age. As in other research, our study revealed teenagers or children with aggressive behavior had an increased risk of placement breakdown. The risk for re-placement increased if the child’s last placement ended because parents withdrew their consent for placement or if the child was placed in institutional care. This study points to the need to discuss the importance of consent, particularly parents of younger children and with youths themselves. It also indicates that if social service wants to increase placement stability they have to take the age of the child in consideration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Sveriges socionomers, personal- & förvaltningstjänstemäns riksförbund (SSR) , 2012. no 31, 34-43 p.
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-49697OAI: diva2:456651
Available from: 2011-11-17 Created: 2011-11-15 Last updated: 2013-05-03Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Barn som flyttas i offentlig regi: En studie av förekomst och upplevelser av instabil samhällsvård för barn
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Barn som flyttas i offentlig regi: En studie av förekomst och upplevelser av instabil samhällsvård för barn
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Moved around by social services : A study of the incidence and experience of instability for children in out-of-home care
Abstract [en]

The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the incidence of instability in out-of-home care for children and how children experience this instability. The dissertation consists of two studies. The quantitative study is based on an examination of social work case files of 213 children who began 317 placements in 2005 and 2006. Every placement was followed for a maximum of two years. The qualitative study used interpretive phenomenology as method and is based on interviews with 12 purposively selected children who had experienced placement breakdown at some point during 2011 or 2012.  

The quantitative study shows that the majority of children had experienced problems in their home environments prior to placement. Most commonly reported was parents’ substance abuse or mental health problems. Preschool and schoolchildren were more often placed in care due to neglect whereas adolescents were placed because of their own behavior problems or relational problems. Children in the qualitative study described that the problems they experienced prior to coming into care continued to influence them during their time in care.

The quantitative study indicates that different types of instability are associated with children’s ages. That is, breakdown was most common for adolescents whereas preschool children more often experienced planned placements changes. Children in the qualitative study gave similar descriptions of planned placement changes and placement breakdown. The difficulty with which these children experienced the move from a foster family or group home depended on their relationship to caregivers. Therefore, planned placement changes from foster homes or institutional settings in which children reported being happy were described as more difficult than breakdown in placements from which children wanted to move. In children’s views, breakdown was caused by mismatches between them and caregivers, mistreatment in care settings, and their own behavior problems. However, children explained that when social workers did not listen to them, behavior problems in the form of running away, self-harming or behaving badly, were the only way of ending placements in which they were miserable.

All children in the qualitative study described a wish for close relationships with consistent adults and an opportunity to feel that they belong somewhere. These fundamental needs were difficult for them to have satisfied due to their parents’ problematic life histories, instability in care which repeatedly placed children in new care situations, and a lack of continuity of social workers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2013. 69 p.
Studier i socialt arbete vid Umeå universitet : avhandlings- och skriftserie, ISSN 0283-300X ; 77
Breakdown, children, foster care, instability, institutional care, planned placement changes, youth.
National Category
Social Work
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-68307 (URN)978-91-7459-580-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-06-05, Samhällsvetarhuset, Hörsal s 213 h, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2013-05-15 Created: 2013-04-16 Last updated: 2013-05-03Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(249 kB)648 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT04.pdfFile size 249 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Skoog, ViktoriaKhoo, Evelyn
By organisation
Department of Social Work
Social Work

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 657 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 749 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link