• Lea Westfall Pedersen
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
This master thesis is a qualitative study about foster parents' own children’s experience with their everyday life in a foster family and what importance it has for their adult life. There is a lack of research in the field of foster care in a Danish context, even though the placement outside the home has been used for more than three hundred years. Nevertheless, there is a wide social policy interest in making use of earlier and more placements outside the home, which may have an impact on foster parents' own children, which is overlooked in this area. The scientific direction for this master thesis is phenomenological and social constructivism, which is seen through a methodical openness to the field and a conviction that individuals and society are a product of social- and historical processes. The empirical material is produced by semi-structured interviews, which have been used to gain data in terms of foster parents' own children's subjective life narratives. These interviews have been performed online because of the opportunity to quickly build a trustful relationship with the informants. Additionally, the study has an inductive approach, which means the empirical data will be the starting point for the analysis. The theoretical framework in this paper is the interactionist perspective of social work, the systems theory perspective of social work, and Erving Goffman’s theory about role-playing and impression management. The systems theory helped to understand the foster family as a social system, which is organized by multiple subsystems. Further, the interactionist perspective of social work has been used to illustrate and explain the relationship-work foster parents' own children do in their upbringing. That involves constructing a good and trustful relationship with the foster children, taking care of them, motivating them through emotional support, and trying to put themselves in the foster child’s position. Goffman’s theoretical concept has contributed with an explanation of the foster parents’ own children’s interaction with other people and how they try to manage their impression of themselves. Furthermore, how their role has been developed through social interaction. Based on the empiric data the conclusion is that foster parents’ own children have a very different experience with the everyday life in a foster family and their social role is characterized by an expectation that the children are mature, healthy, and have had good upbringing conditions, which make these children overlooked in the system. This can be a problem if the foster parents' own children don’t thrive in the foster family. The result of this study is that foster parents’ own children are not involved in the political discussion in Denmark and there is a lack of social services for them. Growing up in a foster family gives foster parents’ own children a high degree of social skills but has also meant that some of the informants have difficulty dealing with feelings in their adult lives and have a need to be reflective of their childhood
Publication date2022
Number of pages78
ID: 472222314