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UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LILLEBÆLT Shared responsibility for children in care Ida Schwartz, ph.d., University College Lillebaelt, Center for Multydiciplinary.

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Presentation on theme: "UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LILLEBÆLT Shared responsibility for children in care Ida Schwartz, ph.d., University College Lillebaelt, Center for Multydiciplinary."— Presentation transcript:

1 UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LILLEBÆLT Shared responsibility for children in care Ida Schwartz, ph.d., University College Lillebaelt, Center for Multydiciplinary Work and Social Inclusion, Research and Innovation

2 Professional in a residential institution: “There is much pity for these children, because they have a hard life. But they have also got at potential for development – there is always something good” (Member of staff in a residential institution ) ISCAR

3 Education of children in care  Children in care are among the most disadvantaged groups in our society and currently there is much societal concern about how these children can achieve the same “life chances” as other children.  These differences are often explained by pointing to the individual or to social inheritance.  However research has shown that educational achievements in compulsory school are crucial for the child´s opportunities in adult life  Participation in children´s learning and playing communities during school is seen as a part of children´s broader development of a personal conduct of everyday lives as adults ISCAR

4 Research questions 1. How do professionals from different contexts develop common goals and work together in order to support education of children in care? 2. How do municipal governmental systems create conditions for these joint contributions? 3. How does this project contribute to theoretical discussions about inter-professional corporation? ISCAR

5 Research design The presentation builds on a collaborative research project, together with Anne Boye Hansen and Gitte Stokholm, University College Lillebaelt. We: - followed four children (at the age of 10-15, living in two municipal residential institutions) for five months in their everyday lives in and across residential institution, school and leisure time. - made participatory observations in the children´s everyday lives and in inter-professional meetings across schools and residential institutions. - interviewed professionals involved in the education of children in different contexts, such as staff in residential institutions, teachers in school and social workers focusing on inter-professional cooperation. - interviewed children and their parents ISCAR

6 An empirical example Vera is 10 years old and she is placed out of home because of severe neglect. Her parents are divorced; they fight about Vera and try to make alliances with her against their former spouse. Vera attends a school for children with special educational needs (behavioral problems). At a meeting with professionals from her residential institution, teacher from school and the social worker from the municipality, both show concerns about Vera having serious trouble concentrating and learning. From the teachers view Vera easily gets involved in conflicts, and reacts by fighting or running away. Occasionally the teachers think they have to restrain her physically. The residential institution and the school both focus on the treatment of Vera´s emotional and behavioral problems. The school and the residential institution agree that Vera does not learn much in school and it is established as a fact, that it is the family-conflicts that restricts Vera´s opportunities for learning: She needs to be treated for her emotional problems before she can learn in school. ISCAR

7 Social worker from the municipal social system At a meeting the social worker from the municipal social system tries to challenge this common understanding but does not succeed: “The residential institution does this and the school does that. There is not much you can change. Basically you purchase a certain solution. It is not easy to get influence with your professional opinion about what is going to happen with this child.” Purchasing a solution refers to governmental systems based on neo-liberal theories of Public Management. In the municipal system social problems must be defined as packets, which are supplied on a market. ISCAR

8 How to understand inter-professional work Anne Edwards: The importance to develop “object-oriented interagency”, where professionals share common knowledge and goals in order to facilitate their work on complex social problems in children´s lives. She suggests an inter-professional practice consisting of a “generative, forward-focused negotiations of interpretations and responses” What constitutes the common goals and tasks? The object is a subject who “bites back” ISCAR

9 How to understand inter-professional work Charlotte Højholt: The starting point is to share knowledge about children’s everyday lives as seen from their perspectives – children learn and develop together with other children. Professionals are engaged in different parts of children’s lives in different institutional contexts and they work with different tasks and goals connected to children’s development. These different perspectives can be conflictual or a rich source for the exploration and change of children´s conditions of participation ISCAR

10 Changing a child´s conditions of learning  The case points to the way a problem is locked by the division of labor in separate institutional contexts.  Each professional context works with its own pieces of a problem in a child´s life, but they don´t recognize them as connected in a shared concern.  Neo-liberal governmentally systems seem to support, that social problems are defined as isolated packets.  To change this deadlock: the common goal in inter- professional cooperation could in this case be understood as the change of Vera´s conditions of educational learning. ISCAR

11 Personal development as connected to learning in communities  We need more knowledge about how Vera can become active in her own educational trajectory and how the three professional parts could support her in this together. What is at stake for her in her social participation in everyday life and what are the parents perspectives?  In this way inter-professional cooperation can be understood as building on concrete, detailed and distinct knowledge about conflictual aspects of a child’s life, which is at the same time situated, flexible, and goal- orientated.  My point is to raise the question of how to understand children´s personal, emotional development as connected to the inter-professional support of the learning communities they participate in. ISCAR

12 References  Axel, E. (2011). Conflictual cooperation. Nordic Psychology, 63(4),  Berlin, M., Vinnerljung, B., & Hjern, A. (2011). School performance in primary school and psychosocial problems in young adulthood among care leavers from long term foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 33,  Bryderup, I. M., & Trentel, M. Q. (2012). Tidligere anbragte unge og uddannelse (1. udgave ed.). Århus: Klim.  Dreier, O. (2009). The development of a personal conduct of life in childhood. In T. Teo 1963-, P. Stenner, E. Park, A. Rutherford, C. Baerveldt & International Society for Theoretical Psychology. Conference (12 : 2007 : Toronto,Ont.) (Eds.), Varieties of theoretical psychology : International philosophical and practical concerns (pp. 412 p.). Concord, ON: Captus University Publications.  Edwards, A. (2009). From the systemic to the relational: Relational agency and activity theory. In Sannino, A. Daniels, H. Guttierez, K. (Ed.), Learning and expanding with activity theory (pp ). Cambridge: Cambridge: University Press.  Edwards, A. (2010). Being an expert professional practitioner: The relational turn in expertise Springer.  Højholt, C. (2006). Knowledge and professionalism from the perspectives of children. Critical Psychology: International Journal of Critical Psychology, 19,  Højholt, C. (2011). Cooperation between professionals in educational psychology - children's specific problems are connected to general dilemmas in relation to taking part.. In H. Daniels, & M. Hedegaard (Eds.), Vygotsky and special needs education: Rethinking support for children and schools (pp ). London: Continuum Press.  Ploug, N., Socialforskningsinstituttet, & Social Arv. (2005). Social arv. Kbh.: Socialforskningsinstituttet.  Schwartz, I. (2014). Hverdagsliv og livsforløb. Tværprofessionelt samarbejde om støtte til børn og unges livsførelse. Århus: Klim.  Vinnerljung, B. (2011). Hjälp fosterbarn att klara sig bättre i skolan. In A. Frederiksson, & A. Kakuli (Eds.), Ett annat hemma. om samhällets ansvar för placerade barn (pp ). Stockholm: Gothia förlag. ISCAR


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