Uppdrag med förhinder. Bemötande av familjer med migrationsbakgrund inom den sociala barnavården.
Abstract Title: Mission with obstacles. Treatment of families with migration background within the child protection organisation Author: Ing-Marie Johansson Key words: Child protection, etnicity, ethnic minority background, culture, migration, teen-agers, social worker, trust, power, discretion, accountability, empowerment, social work Distribution: University of Gothenburg, Department of social work, Box 720, S-405 30 Göteborg. ISBN: 978-91-86796-85-3 ISSN: 1401-5781 Internet: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/28840 This thesis examines the impact of ethnic minority background in child protection. The main objective is to discuss the social and economical situation of migrant children placed in out-of-home care. Additionally it discusses how children and their family members view treatment they receive in the human services organisations in general and especially in child protection. The research combines a quantitative and a qualitative approach and three different data sets are used to achieve the aim of the thesis. The quantitative study is based on data from several national registers for ten entire birth cohorts (n>1 million) and examines the representation of first generation immigrant children among first time entries into out-of-home care (foster/residential care) at ages 7-12 and 13-17. The second is a qualitative study based on in-depth interviews with seven young men aged 14-22 in out-of-home placements or with a recent history of out-of-home care in, with social workers in charge and with social pedagogy staff. Four adult carers volunteered for an interview. Altogether 25 interviews were performed. The third data set draws on material from joint Nordic (Nordplus) master courses that were arranged in order to promote a more inclusive and empowering way of working with children and families in child welfare. The thesis investigates the relationship between power and trust in child protection where the aim is to change problematic situations for disadvantaged children. To achieve that, trustful relationship between family members and social workers are of crucial importance. Trust is an essential element on a societal as well as on a relational level. However, establishing a trustful relationship means that the family members have to put themselves in a state of vulnerability as they are dependent on the goodwill of the social worker. Thus the social worker needs ample time in general, especially in relation to service users with ethnic minority background as they might have experiences from distrust and deceit in previous encounters with civil servants in Sweden or elsewhere. Another important element in the establishment of trustful relationships is discretion. The Swedish social services act is vaguely expressed and allows a high level of discretion. However the level of discretion is dependent on allocated resources and a supportive climate in the organisation. The thesis concludes that conditions on a structural level have a major impact on people’s lives and the socio-economical background of the families are of greater significance than ethnic background in placements in out-of-home care. Still, the social workers in my research study do not emphasize the importance of structural conditions in the life of the ethnic minority families. Being a political organisation, child protection is guided by legislation and a set of governmentally sanctioned perspectives and theories. In this complex context the social workers act in two ways. Either they treat all service users equally irrespective of cultural background or they apply an ethnically sensitive approach. The common denominator of the positive narratives of the family members is reciprocal trust between family members and social workers. The young men and their families stress the importance of trustful, sensitive and confirming relationships within the child protection context. A trustful and reciprocal treatment can possibly contribute to a better integration in the Swedish society by creating opportunities for exchanging information about each others cultures and views. Social work with children and families with ethnic minority background brings the competence of the social workers to a head. Besides the need of solid general knowledge in social work there is also a need for knowledge of the cultural background and experiences of the families. The latter kind of knowledge is often obtained in a good working relationship with the family.
Parts of work
Publikationslista I. Vinnerljung, Bo, Franzén, Eva, Gustafsson, Björn, Johansson, Ing-Marie (2008) Out-ofhome care among immigrant children in Sweden: a national cohort study. International Journal of Social Welfare, 17, pp. 301-311. II. Johansson, Ing-Marie (2011) The multicultural paradox: The challenge of accomodating both power and trust in child protection. International ocial ork, vol. 54, pp. 535-550. III. Johansson, Ing-Marie (2012) Betydelsen av kunskap och tillit i socialt arbete med barn och familjer med migrationsbakgrund. Inskickad till Socialvetenskaplig idskrift. IV. Johansson, Ing-Marie, Sewpau , Vishanthie, Horverak, Sveinung, Schjelderup, Liv, Omre, Cecilie, Brönholdt, Lis (2008) Empowerment and globalisation in a Nordic social work context. International Journal of Social Welfare, 17, pp. 260-268.
Doctor of Philosophy
Göteborgs universitet. Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten
University of Gothenburg. Faculty of Social Sciences
Department of Social Work ; Institutionen för socialt arbete
Fredagen den 20 april 2012, kl 10.15. Hörsal Sappören, Sprängkullsgatan 25, Göteborg
Date of defence
child protection, ethnicity, ethnic minority background, culture, migration, teen-agers, social worker, trust, power, discretion, accountability, empowerment, social work