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Barnperspektiv i barnavårdsutredningar: med barns hälsa och barns upplevelser i fokus
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Child perspective in child welfare investigations : children’s health and children’s experiences in focus (English)
Abstract [sv]

Avhandlingens övergripande syfte var att fördjupa kunskapen om hur socialtjänsten synliggör barns fysiska och psykiska hälsa samt barns egna upplevelser i barnavårdsutredningar. Resultaten diskuteras utifrån rättsliga förutsättningar samt teorier om barn som subjekt och sociala aktörer. De fyra delstudierna visar att det finns begränsningar i hur hälsan samt barns upplevelser beskrivs om man vill förstå deras behov av stöd. En anledning till detta kan vara att den rättsliga regleringen inte per automatik ger barn status som subjekt och aktörer. Resultaten tyder på att barnperspektivet i både den rättsliga regleringen och genomförandet av barnavårdsutredningar har stärkts jämfört med vad som visats i tidigare forskning men det behövs en utvecklad analys och argumentation kring barns upplevelser och barns hälsa. En sådan förståelse ger förutsättningar för att barn blir synliggjorda utifrån sina unika förutsättningar vilket säkerställer att socialtjänsten tar hänsyn till deras unika behov.

Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis is to explore how the physical- and psychological health of children – as well as children’s own experiences – are represented in child welfare investigations. The results are discussed with reference to both legal regulations and theories, which identify children as subjects and social actors in their own right. The four studies show that there are limitations in how children’s health generally, along with their experiences more specifically, are described. The consequence is a diminishing of the chances to understand the child’s need for support. One reason for this might be that legal regulations for social welfare investigations do not automatically ascribe to children the status of subjects and social actors. Compared with previous research, results gathered in this thesis indicate that the child’s perspective has been strengthened in both law and in social welfare investigations. All the same, there is still a need for more developed analyses of children’s health as well as children’s experiences. Such an understanding requires that children be seen from their unique positions, ensuring moreover that social services take into account the specific needs of individual children.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. , 64 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 600Studies from the Swedish Institute for Disability Research, ISSN 1650-1128 ; 56
Keyword [en]
Child welfare investigations, documentation, children’s physicaland psychological health; children’s experiences
Keyword [sv]
Barnavårdsutredningar, dokumentation, barns fysiska och psykiska hälsa, barns upplevelser
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102187DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-102187ISBN: 978-91-7519-457-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-102187DiVA: diva2:668992
Public defence
2013-12-20, I:101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:00 (Swedish)
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2013-12-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Vulnerable children's health as described in investigations of reported children
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Vulnerable children's health as described in investigations of reported children
2013 (English)In: Child & Family Social Work, ISSN 1356-7500, E-ISSN 1365-2206, Vol. 18, no 2, 117-128 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study explores whether the social services weigh in health aspects, and what these may be, when investigating reported childrens life situation. Information about physical and psychological health aspects for 259 children in 272 investigations was included. Overall, information about childrens health was limited. Problematic emotions were the most commonly reported health aspect in the investigations, whereas suicidal thoughts, self-harm behaviour and gastrointestinal and renal diseases were mentioned least of all. A cluster analysis revealed that the low level of health information group included the largest sample of data and consisted of investigations with minimal information about childrens health. The three other cluster groups, Neurological diseases and psychosomatic symptoms, Emotional health and Physical and psychological health and destructive behaviour, consisted of investigations conducted mostly according to the model called Childrens Needs In Focus (BBIC, in Swedish, Barns Behov i Centrum). Although these investigations also produced limited information, they provided more than those assessed as having a low level of information about health aspects. The conclusion is that it is necessary to increase information about health aspects in investigations if social welfare systems are to be able to fulfil their ambition of supporting vulnerable childrens need of health care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2013
Keyword
health, social service investigation, vulnerable children
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-92695 (URN)10.1111/j.1365-2206.2011.00807.x (DOI)000317068800002 ()
Available from: 2013-05-16 Created: 2013-05-16 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Social workers’ assessments of children’s health when arguing for children’s needs
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Social workers’ assessments of children’s health when arguing for children’s needs
2015 (English)In: Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, ISSN 0738-0151, E-ISSN 1573-2797, Vol. 32, no 4, 301-308 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, child-related social services constitute an institutional body that conducts both preventive and supportive work for children in need of health support. However, in the social services Act (2001:453) there are few concrete statements about how social workers should assess children’s health. In this study we therefore explore how social workers in Sweden adapt to the task of assessing children’s health. Specifically, we investigate the ways in which children’s health is explained in the context of reaching conclusions about the concrete needs of children. Inspired by a social constructionist and discursive analytical approach we analysed 60 written investigations where health concerns were expressed at the point of initiating an investigation. The findings are that social workers limited their assessments of children’s health, using only a few words when mentioning health aspects. There was a difference in how they described physical- and psychological health problems. When they did pay attention to children’s psychological health this was mostly carried out with the use of one single explanation for the cause of the health condition; parental misbehaviour. Besides, this explanation fitted the suggested support. Signs of children’s psychological problems were described by their own destructive behaviour. Physical health was only briefly mentioned and the recommendations for child support involved external assistance. This means that social workers could use a simplified explanatory model lacking descriptions of each child’s life situation. This way of limiting assessment may hinder a deeper understanding of causes and consequences and thereby impose limits on specifying the particular support the child needs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer US, 2015
Keyword
Social services written assessment; children’s ill-health; limited information; simplified explanatory model
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102182 (URN)10.1007/s10560-014-0371-3 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Representations of Children’s Voices about their health in Social Services arguments in support of their decision
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Representations of Children’s Voices about their health in Social Services arguments in support of their decision
2014 (English)In: International Journal of Social Science Studies, ISSN 2324-8033, E-ISSN 2324-8041, Vol. 2, no 2, 1-9 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research points to the importance of involving children in social investigations, since their perception of their own situation and needs may differ from what others take to be the case. There is however no specific recommendation of how children’s voices should be inscribed in such investigations. This study explores if and how children’s voices are represented in the final part of the social investigations where social workers argue in support of their decision. It has a specific focus on how children’s voices about their health are included when, at the point of initiating an investigation, concerns have been raised about their physical and psychological well-being. Inspired by a social constructionist and discursive analytical approach we analyzed 60 arguments in as many social investigations. The findings are that children’s psychological-, physical health or general well- being was mentioned in 46 of the 60 argumentations. The child’s own thoughts about his or her health were represented in 12 of these 46 arguments. Instead, children’s health was mostly represented by referrals to other persons. In those 12 arguments where children’s views are presented they were reported in different ways. Their view could, for example, be sparingly reported and be used in order to confirm a previous statement or opinion. Two of the cases go more into details about what the children actually have said about their health. We conclude that if the representation of the child’s own voice is excluded it is difficult to understand if and how a children’s perspective of their health has been taken into consideration in the decision process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Redfame Publishing Inc., 2014
Keyword
Social welfare investigations, social workers arguments for decision, children’s voices about their health
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102183 (URN)
Note

At the time for thesis presentation publication was in status: Manuscript

Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
4. How Social Workers Portray Children’s Perceptions When Constructing Their Identities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How Social Workers Portray Children’s Perceptions When Constructing Their Identities
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Social Science Studies, ISSN 2324-8033, E-ISSN 2324-8041, Vol. 1, no 2, 73-81 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Constructions of institutional identities are necessary when assessing children’s needs and making intervention decisions. To be able to make holistic descriptions of children’s identities, social workers have to listen to children’s perceptions of themselves and their surroundings. In this study we explore how social workers construct children’s identities when portraying the children’s perceptions in social investigations conducted according to the BBIC model when concerns have been expressed about the children’s health.  Inspired by a discursive analytical approach, we focused on the language used.

We analysed descriptions of children’s perceptions in 35 written investigations. We found that in terms of words used, the children’s perceptions were given greater attention than those of parents and others (e.g. teachers, doctors). When focusing on the quality of these constructions, the main patterns found were that social workers more frequently submitted non-explanatory rather than explanatory descriptions.

We also found that social workers differ in the way they handle the task of reporting children’s voices. These findings indicate that the use of the BBIC manual needs to be developed to ensure children are not just listened to and their perceptions described, but also that children are constructed as agents of their life. To obtain a holistic view of children’s life-world, there is a need of identity descriptions that include details of how children understand their problems, what they experience as positive and what is acceptable support for them.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Redfame Publishing Inc., 2013
Keyword
Social service investigations, identity construction, children’s perception, non-explanatory descriptions
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102184 (URN)10.11114/ijsss.v1i2.130 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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