Presentation on theme: "Changing children’s services: challenges for education,"— Presentation transcript:
1 Breaking the barriers: Changes in support for children and families in Iceland Changing children’s services: challenges for education,social work and health care professionals.Getting it right for every child: Childhood, Citizenship and Children’s Services
2 Introducion Background. The Icelandic Society and indicators on children’s well-being.New laws and services.My research: Parents perspectiveson support due to disability in the family.Who is the good professionalReflections and lessons learnt.
3 Questions for this paper: What are the lessons learnt from my study on parents experiencesof formal and informal support provided because of disabilityin their families that might speak to a broader international audience?What kind of service system (s) appear most effective in the eyesof parents and why?What is a good professional from the parents perspective – and hasthat changed over time?Implications for changing children’s services?
4 Population 317. 376 people. Nordic type welfare state Population people. Nordic type welfare state. High living standard.Economic vulnerability.Iceland is generally considered a relatively peaceful environment
5 A few facts about Icelandic children (Ref. OECD –Innocenti Card 7)Material well-beingHealth and safetyEducational well-beingFamily and peer relationshipsBehaviour and risksSubjective well beingOn all these dimensions Iceland ranks similarly to other Nordicnations. But we rank average or just below average in the PISA evaluation
6 Milestones: Law and services UN convention on the rights of the Child from 1989 signed by Iceland 1990This resulted in review of various laws and regulations, and institutionsrelated to the rights, protection and the well being of children.Ombudsman of children established by law 19951992 Law on the division of tasks between the stateand municipal authorities experimentalmunicipalities.1995 Government Agency for Child Protection1998 The Children’s House2000 Act on Paternity and Maternity Leave.2002 A new Child protection Act2003 Act in respect of ChildrenPost 2000 new acts on education from preschoolsto universities.2007 A statutory plan on the affairs of children and youth
7 My study: The study 2005/The focus is on parents’ perspectives of informal and formalsupport due to a child’s disability – over time.Their children labelled with disabilities are born betweenThis is a time of great changes both in theIcelandic society and in it’s welfare policy.
8 Theoretical frame and perspectives The main theoretical frame is Social Constructionismpoststructuralism and social capital theories are also applied.Concepts: Formal and informal support, social capital:bonding, bridging and linkingMethod:The study is qualitative. The research focuses on parents of children labelledsignificantly disabled.Data:Semi-structured interviews with one or both parents of 65 families withdisabled children and youth borne 1974 to 2007.Total 96 interviews and interviews with 15 professionals (doctors and health workers,social workers, teachers and bureaucrats), three focal group interviews withbureaucrats and local administrators, and document analysis.
9 What is a family?Family is a process of interactions and activitiesbetween persons who consider themselves asbelonging to a family
10 Some findings:Fathers have much less access to bonding capital than mothers,but more access to bridging and linking capital.How parents work through difficulties is related to:If the child is expected to live or dieAccess to social capital especially bonding capitalWhether or not they have previous knowledge of disability –or access such knowledge from other families.Parents education and personal resourcesFlow of information and short waiting lists / timeAccess to necessary, sufficient and flexible services as time goesby and the child’s and the family’s needs change.Support from a stable professional who has access to all relevantservice system, asks parents for their needs and offers support in equalpartnership.Empowering engagement with social capitals, especially withbonding capital reduces the parents periods of stress and sorrow.Access to bridging and linking capitals opens and maintainsaccess to appropriate services.
11 LessonsProfessionals should help families repair, strengthen and buildsocial capitals.Professionals should guide parents through the servicemaize - but in a collaborative way (try and disrobe theirprofessional power).Support should be aimed at the whole family rather justindividual children in need.Support needs to be flexible.The same support person with a human face, withaccess to different systems.
12 What is a good professional from the parents perspective – and has that changed over time?
13 Parents and professionals Unequal power relationships? Parents: Professionals:as clients as expertsas paraprofessionals as transplantersas consumers as service providersas disepowered as empoweringas negotiators as negotiators
14 Breaking barriers: Challenges and Empowerment It is not justindividual challengea family challengea professional’s challenge
15 Working for Change individual and his or her families schools systems communitiessociety