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Representations of Children’s Voices about their health in Social Services arguments in support of their decision
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Stockholm University, Sweden .
2013 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
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
Keyword [en]
Social welfare investigations; social workers arguments for decision: children’s voices about their health
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102183OAI: diva2:668968
Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2013-12-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Barnperspektiv i barnavårdsutredningar: med barns hälsa och barns upplevelser i fokus
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Barnperspektiv i barnavårdsutredningar: med barns hälsa och barns upplevelser i fokus
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Child perspective in child welfare investigations : children’s health and children’s experiences in focus
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.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 600Studies from the Swedish Institute for Disability Research, ISSN 1650-1128 ; 56
Child welfare investigations, documentation, children’s physicaland psychological health; children’s experiences, Barnavårdsutredningar, dokumentation, barns fysiska och psykiska hälsa, barns upplevelser
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Social Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-102187 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-102187 (DOI)978-91-7519-457-8 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-20, I:101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2013-12-02 Created: 2013-12-02 Last updated: 2013-12-05Bibliographically approved

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