Delaktighet på barnets villkor : en kvalitativ studie om barns delaktighet i utredningen som utförs på utredningshem för familjer
Sammanfattning: The purpose of this qualitative study is to look into how social secretaries describe their work with children's participation in the assessment that is carried out at short-term residential facilities for families. Through their descriptions we can gain knowledge of what significance these social workers give children's participation in this context and create more nuances in the overall view on children's participation in Swedish child services. Built in this purpose, we have been interested in how the institutional circumstances can affect children's participation. The study is based on semi-structured interviews with seven social secretaries working in three different facilities for families in two Swedish municipalities. Based on our theoretical assumptions, which are Shier’s pathway to participation (2001) and the interpretation that Svensson, Johnsson and Laanemets (2008) made of Michael Lipsky's (1980/2010) concept of discretion, the interviews have been interpreted and analysed. We have anchored the essay's analysis framework in a social-constructivist approach. Our results show that the social secretaries places great emphasis on children's participation throughout the assessment process. The work is carried out in an incorporated way where the approach is characterized by seeing the child as an active part and a main person who has the right to participation in ways that works for that specific child. The descriptions show the individual secretaries' ability for child-friendly adaptation in working methods, as well as a shared responsibility for competence development. Experience are referred to as important, as well as reflection on the personal factors that can limit the work. In the result, we can see that a problematic theme lies in the interaction between the social secretary, the parents and the children. The family is in a difficult situation, often enlarged by the intervention in the family's life that moving to the facility entails. How well the collaboration works depends on the possibility to communicate and create relationships built on trust, which directly affects the degree of the child's participation. The result also contains recurring descriptions of how the social secretary decides when the child should be protected from burdensome details, mainly concerning the parents, which can also be regarded as a limiting factor. Conclusions we have drawn are that children's participation has a central position in these organisations, seen as an indisputable right for all children regardless of age and ability. The discretion of the social secretaries is not limited by organizational factors such as heavy workload or lack of time. It is mainly collaboration difficulties with the family that affect children's participation. However, frequent contact with the family during the long assessment period at the facility create good basis for cooperation, as well as the high degree of transparency and openness that permeates the assessment work according to the social secretaries. Success in relationship-building becomes crucial to children's participation, especially as the path to the child often goes through the parent.
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