• John Sloth Nielsen
  • Ina Skov Christesen
In a Danish welfare society, we can`t tolerate children being exposed to neglect. The consequence of this is, that Denmark for many years has chosen to place children and young people in foster care or at an orphanage. During the last 25 years we have both worked as frontline employees in the area of vulnerable ​​children and families. In that time, we have experienced that the effect of children placements has been constantly debated and several studies have shown, that young people who have been placed outside their own family, perform significantly worse in adulthood than their peers. This assignment is based on empirical data from a group of young people, who previously have been placed outside their home and who have responded to a questionnaire survey on experiences from their time, living in an orphanage or in foster care. In addition, we interviewed two young people about the importance of contact with their biological family during and after placement. We have searched for positive statements. We also wanted to investigate whether it is possible to support a placed child's relationship with the biological family, to make the relationship relevant and sustainable in the years after a placement. The work with placed children and their families are complex, and our attention to the importance of treating all cases individually based on a holistic understanding of the child and the family's situation has been sharpened. We have concluded it is necessary to strive for greater stability in the case processing. The placed children find it difficult to share their personal views with changing social workers and knowledge of the individual child is needed in order to put the child's words in the right context. We have also found that the placed children - despite the fact that their life is different from the majority of their peers - need to feel as "ordinary" as possible and that strong relationship between the placed child and at least one adult at the placement has great significance for the child's development. 4 Furthermore, we found that although it is not always possible to maintain a good and rewarding relationship between the placed child and the biological family, it is important to work for its success through the time of placement. The young people who are placed in foster care or in an orphanage, struggles with their identity, as being born into a family and subsequently placed in an institution or in foster care can be experienced as a fragmented life.
Publication date8 Jun 2020
Number of pages55
ID: 414296595