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  • 1.
    Andersson, Gunnel
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Department of Social work, Stockholm university, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Engwall, Kristina
    Uppsala universitet.
    Standardized knowledge, the IBIC and knowledge-based social services2023In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, p. 1-14Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article discusses the contribution of standardized methods to knowledge-based social services. The point of departure for the study is theSwedish assessment method the Individual’s Needs in Focus (IBIC). Howdoes the IBIC, based on the terminology of the ICF, contribute to standardizeddocumentation and to a focus on the needs of the individual? Thestudy is based on 80 social service investigations, from four differentSwedish municipalities, concerning daily living support interventions, aswell as 13 interviews with case officers. Our analysis exposes major flaws interms of clarity and uniformity. The client’s needs may be seeminglyrandomly assigned to a particular life domain; environmental factorsand personal factors have no specified content, and the assessment ofthe degree to which functioning is limited is subjective. As a standardizedmethod, the IBIC fails in the fundamental requirement of providing a basisfor comparison – the headings do not necessarily coincide with thecontent. From a social perspective, one can also question why, accordingto the IBIC, needs are centred to functions, supposedly improved bypractice/learning. Overall, this also jeopardizes its value relative to goalfulfilment at both individual and aggregated levels. We argue that onereason why it is difficult to apply the IBIC is that its construction does notalign with the premise of social work. The IBIC constructs an approach toknowledge that tends to place a high premium on the simple and welldefined,rather than the holistic and complex.

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  • 2.
    Andersson, Peter
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Handling fear among staff: violence and emotion in secure units for adolescents2020In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 10, no 2, p. 158-172Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The Swedish National Board of Institutional Care (SiS) has reported a rise in violent incidents between staff and youth placed in secure units. This paper explores how secure unit staff narratively position themselves and youth when speaking about violence, and how staff describe the emotional impact violence has on them. The paper takes two theoretical starting points. First is the concept of emotional labour, including feeling rules, emphasizing that staff work with the emotions of others whilst also being expected to control their own. Second is the idea that the interaction among staff shapes various social representations and positionings. Five focus groups were conducted with staff (n = 27) who worked with both boys and girls at three different secure units in Sweden. The empirical data was first processed through narrative analysis and then by an interaction analysis. The results, presented as four excerpts within four themes, reveal collegial processes of narrative helping that steer group members to find emotional positions when talking about experienced violence, i.e., to find appropriate feeling rules. Furthermore, despite counter-narratives expressed by participants in the focus group, a representation of youth as violent persists. Finally, emotional labour seems to involve working with one’s own feelings and controlling the emotions of youth, not the opposite. The results suggest how important it is for staff to recognize youth from different templates and that violence can take various forms, and furthermore, that it is essential to make the emotion of fear visible in this context.

  • 3.
    Astvik, Wanja
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Mälardalen University, Sweden.
    Melin, Marika
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Allvin, Michael
    Uppsala University, Sweden.
    Survival strategies in social work: A study of how coping strategies affect service quality, professionalism and employee health2014In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 4, no 1, p. 52-66Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The restructuring of human service organisations into more lean organisations has brought increased work demands for many human service professions. Social work stands out as a particularly exposed occupational group, in which high work demands are paired with a large individual responsibility to carry out the job. The objectives of the study were to identify what kind of coping strategies social workers employ to handle the imbalance between demands and resources in work and to investigate how different strategies affect outcomes regarding health, service quality and professional development. 16 individual interviews and four group interviews with another 16 social workers were conducted. The analysis identified five different main types of strategies: Compensatory, Demand-reducing, Disengagement, Voice and Exit. An extensive use of compensatory strategies was connected with negative outcomes in health. Often these compensatory strategies were replaced or combined with different means of reducing the work demands, which in turn influence performance and service quality in a negative way. The results highlight dilemmas the social workers are facing when the responsibility to deal with this imbalance are “decentralised” to the individual social worker. When resources do not match the organisational goals or quality standards, the social workers are forced into strategies that either endanger their own health or threaten the quality of service.

  • 4.
    Bani-Shoraka, Helena
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Institute for Interpreting and Translation Studies.
    Designing and developing interprofessional education – an example involving social work and interpreting students in Sweden2023In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, p. 1-12Article in journal (Refereed)
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  • 5. Barck-Holst, P.
    et al.
    Nilsonne, Å.
    Åkerstedt, Torbjörn
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Stress Research Institute.
    Hellgren, C.
    Reduced working hours and work-life balance2022In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 12, no 4, p. 450-463Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Little is known about how reduced working hours affects the work-life balance of staff in the Swedish social services, or their recovery off-work in terms of specific everyday choices. Staff at a Swedish social work agency participating in a longitudinal trial of work-time reduction in the public services were interviewed about their experiences of work and private life after their work hours were reduced (n = 12). All the interviewees described feeling more positive anticipatory emotions when going to work, several felt that their relationships with colleagues had improved, and most felt their relationships with clients had improved. Several worried less over work, and most perceived the risk for exhaustion syndrome to be lower. Most experienced more positive anticipatory emotions when returning home from work, most of those with children felt that their relationships with their children improved, and those with partners felt their romantic relationships also improved. Several devoted more time to parents and siblings. Most devoted more time to friendship, and all described having more time for recovery activities. Several worried less over their private life. A process that established and maintained a positive work-life balance is suggested by the interviews as a whole, related to increased control over private life, a larger capacity to meet private demands, improved recovery in terms of both quantity and quality, and having access to more sources of formal and informal social support. 

  • 6.
    Berlin, Marie
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    von Greiff, Ninive
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Skogens, Lisa
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    The relation between out-of-home care, early school failure, and premature mortality: a 30-year follow-up of people treated for substance misuse in Sweden2021In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 11, no 4, p. 374-386Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Evidence from Swedish and international studies show that a high proportion of children from out-of-home care (OHC) have poor school performance and that this is strongly associated with their substantial risk of adverse development in future life. However, risk factors for poor school performance and adverse development are difficult to disentangle since they are often interrelated and enforce each other over the life course. This study examines premature mortality in relation to early school failure (drop-out from compulsory school) and OHC experience in childhood (0–17 years of age) among clients who were in treatment for substance misuse in the early 1980s (N = 1,036). The analyses were based on record linkages between interview data collected during treatment and national register data covering approximately 30 years of follow-up, from exit from treatment until 2013. Our results showed that 54 per cent had been placed in OHC as children, half before their teens and half as teenagers. The OHC population had a higher prevalence of school failure compared with clients who had not been exposed to childhood OHC. OHC was associated with an excess mortality, although this was only significant for females who had entered OHC before their teens. Adjusting results for school failure reduced their excess mortality by half, and additional life course factors associated with mortality among people with substance misuse adjusted for most of the remaining excess mortality. School failure was strongly associated with the excess mortality of females, but not with the excess mortality of males.

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  • 7.
    Björk, Alexander
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Reconsidering critical appraisal in social work: choice, care and organization in real-time treatment decisions2019In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 9, no 1, p. 42-54Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper seeks to provide an empirically grounded discussion of the critical appraisal model of Evidence-based practice (EBP) in social work practice. Studying real-time treatment decisions, the paper looks ethnographically at an attempt to implement critical appraisal in everyday social work practice, and problematizes some of the assumptions underlying this idea. Whereas critical appraisal tends to view treatment decisions as clear-cut events emanating from autonomous social workers, participant observation shows that decisions emerge over time and are ‘organizational’ rather than individual. Drawing on the notion of ‘logic of care’ and findings from studies of organizational decision-making, a more practice oriented understanding of treatment decision-making is outlined.

  • 8.
    Bromark, Kristina
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Spånberger Weitz, Ylva
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Erlandsson, Sara
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Schön, Ulla-Karin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Practitioners exploring intertwined challenges and possible solutions for user participation in social services2022In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite a strong emphasis on user participation in social services, scientific knowledge on how to achieve these goals is limited. The aim of this study is to explore what social work practitioners identify as challenging in implementing user participation and what solutions they propose to be necessary to meet these challenges. Future workshops were applied, combining data from brainstorming processes and from the participants’ analytical work, identifying current obstacles and co-creating solutions. The workshops took place at the Personal Social Services section in a suburban area outside a large city in Sweden with 95 participants. The findings are discussed in relation to a model of participation, where creating openings, opportunities, and obligations are essential. The participants highlighted the need to strengthen commitment to user participation, increased access to knowledge and methods that enhance user participation, and support from management, with increased resources to ensure continuous development and maintenance. Practitioners must be able to engage in user participation, and actions need to be taken at all organizational levels. To overcome a complex and intertwined set of challenges, an intertwined set of solutions is required. 

  • 9.
    Ekendahl, Mats
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Karlsson, Patrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Minas, Renate
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    EU citizens begging and sleeping rough in Swedish Urban Areas: social work perspectives on problems and target groups2020In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 10, no 2, p. 186-197Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    EU citizens from Central and Eastern Europe travelling to cities in other countries to make a better living have become an issue of major political concern across Europe. This study explores how professionals from Swedish municipal social service organizations in urban areas construct the phenomenon of poor visiting EU citizens. The impact of social constructions on the practice and design of policies makes it important to analyse how target groups, such as poor visiting EU citizens, are characterized and what normative assumptions are made about them. The study is theoretically based on Schneider and Ingram’s work on ‘Social Constructions of Target Populations’. Interviews with social workers in the three largest cities in Sweden were conducted. The results suggest a clear ambivalence among interviewees regarding how to conceptualize EU citizens. They were careful not to highlight any subgroups, instead defining the group as consisting of different individuals with varying needs. While the interviewees constructed members of the target group in a way similar to what Schneider and Ingram describe as dependents, they also attributed them with some agency. We conclude that this may be a reflection of the political and organizational setting in which social work with poor visiting EU citizens is conducted in Sweden.

  • 10.
    Enroth, Nicklas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    EU citizens and undocumented migrants in the news: quantitative patterns of representation in Swedish news media 2006-20162022In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 12, no 5, p. 749-762Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Undocumented migrants and poor EU citizens have been frequent topics for Swedish political debate and media reports in recent years. However, there is a lack of representative, large-scale studies on media representation of these groups. This study aims to compare and analyse (1) the broad patterns of representation of EU citizens and undocumented migrants in Swedish national press and (2) how these patterns relate to relevant regulative events over the period 2006–2016. Theoretically, it draws on critical discourse analysis and social problems theory. The sample includes 10 022 referrals in 5411 news articles and the methodological strategy is inspired by corpus-driven discourse studies. Words that tend to occur in the near vicinity of the migrant categories (collocates) are a primary focus for the analysis. The study finds that media referred to EU citizens by employing poverty related discourses during the period 2013–2016 and that the governmental term ‘vulnerable’ EU citizens was adopted in media when a national coordinator was appointed. In contrast, undocumented migrants were associated with discourses on social rights over a time period (2008–2013) when rights to health care and education were debated and subsequently introduced. 

  • 11.
    Hussénius, Klara
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Intersectional patterns of social assistance eligibility in Sweden2021In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 11, no 1, p. 19-33Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study examines patterns in social worker decisions on social assistance eligibility in Sweden. Focusing on intersections between applicants’ gender, country of birth and family situation, factors that statistically anticipate decisions on granting assistance to individuals from different sub-groups were explored. The sample comprises 423 applications and four sets of modified Poisson regression models were conducted. The results strengthen the impression of social assistance assessments as a practice marked by the professionals’ categorizations. In line with previous research, social workers seem to act upon, and reinforce, a male breadwinner model by putting more emphasis on men’s efforts to establish self-support. Female applicants, in turn, are seemingly less likely to be granted assistance if they are assessed as having a problem with abuse of alcohol or illicit drugs. Also, having a family seems altogether to have a negative impact on women’s chances of approval. When considering gender and country of birth, decisions on social assistance eligibility largely reflect patterns of unemployment.

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  • 12.
    Härd, Sofia
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    von Greiff, Ninive
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Skogens, Lisa
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Balancing standards and flexibility – Preconditions for a recovery-based tool in a Swedish alcohol and drug treatment context2022In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 12, no 4, p. 564-577Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article presents the outcome of the first phase in the development of a recovery capital-based assessment tool in a Swedish alcohol and drug treatment context. In the process of studying the potential usefulness of such a tool, other aspects besides psychometric properties and validity have been examined. The experience and knowledge of professionals in the Swedish alcohol and drug treatment context represent the empirical data. Five group interviews have been conducted with staff from different alcohol and drug treatment facilities in Sweden. The respondents were asked to discuss an outlined idea of a recovery capital-based assessment tool. The transcribed interviews were thematically analysed and divided into three themes: the impact and need for assessment and evaluation, the need for flexibility and simplicity, and the role of the professional. The findings indicate that there is a demand for a strength-based tool in the Swedish alcohol and drug treatment context. There was a divergence between the professionalism of the social work practitioners and the use of assessment tools. To meet this divergence, the professionals emphasized aspects such as simplicity and flexibility. The findings indicate that the conditions are favourable for the implementation of a recovery capital tool in a Swedish alcohol and drug treatment context, but certain questions remain unanswered. This requires further cooperation with professionals, and in particular provides them with the possibility to reflect on its usefulness and applicability, while applying it to their daily work and procedures. 

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  • 13. Högdin, Sara
    et al.
    Sjöblom, Yvonne
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Leaving home in early youth: Influential factors in running away from home or being thrown out2012In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 2, no 1, p. 39-58Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The main objective of this article is to investigate the extent to which youth in Sweden run away from or are thrown out of their homes. A further aim is to determine what conditions lead up to and triggers such a break-up and to see what takes place during the break-up process itself. In our results roughly one in ten of youth in Sweden (≈11%) had experienced a difficult break-up from home by running away or being thrown out. Over 30% of those placed in foster families or institutions had run away from home or been thrown out. By our results, only a minority of runaways do so for the excitement or the fun. The majority made clear that their running away was a flight from the family rather than to something exciting and adventurous. It is also obvious from the results that young people who have run away three or more times are more severely at risk than those who have experienced only one or two break-ups from home. For some of these young people, a breakaway from home is the start, however premature, of an independent adult life. This vulnerable group of young people should be entitled to support from the social welfare system during their transition to adulthood.

  • 14.
    Hübner, Lena
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Constructing relations in social work: client, customer and service user? The application and relevance of the term user in social work discourse2014In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 4, no 2, p. 87-98Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of the article is to accomplish a critical discussion of the terms service user/user and through this highlight the power of language in social work. Two main issues are dealt with: to study to what extent the terms service user/user are applied when addressing recipients of social services in the UK and in Sweden, and to discuss the relevance and meaningfulness of the term in Swedish social services discourse. The point of departure for the study is the reappearance of the term user in Swedish social work discourse in the context of a campaign for evidence-based social work. Through search in 11 volumes of research journals in the UK and in Sweden, it can be concluded that the application of the term service user are quite common in the UK, simply as a synonym for client. The term’s equivalent in Swedish, user is not extensively applied in Sweden. The application of the term user in Swedish social work discourse can be relevant when considering the supportive side of social work, but is shown to be problematic when it comes to statutory services like compulsory treatment or the removal of children from parents. The term hides questions of power and unequal relations immanent in the delivery of social services and social work.

  • 15.
    Hübner, Lena
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Reflections on knowledge management and evidence-based practice in the personal social services of Finland and Sweden2016In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 6, no 2, p. 114-125Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Evidence-based practice (EBP) is a form of knowledge management and is a trend that has influenced many professional fields during the past 10–15 years, including social work. In Sweden, a campaign for an implementation of EBP has been launched towards social work practice from the Swedish central authority since the late 1990s. Knowledge management in social work can however take other directions which seem to be the case in Finland. Finland and Sweden bear many resemblances concerning political and administrative structures as well as approaches in the social services. Both countries also have highly educated social workers. The main question for the study was how come demands to implement EBP in the personal social services have been so strongly articulated in Sweden but not in Finland. The aim was to reflect on knowledge management in social work in two similar cases, Finland and Sweden, focusing EBP. Results show that the close contacts between representatives of the Swedish authority and proponents of a radical EBP version in the US was a decisive factor for the campaign towards social work in Sweden. Such mediators and proponents seemed to be absent in Finland. The length and the focus on academic skills in the education of social workers in Finland is seen as a contributing factor, giving Finnish social workers a sense of being ‘true professionals’ and thus more independent towards external demands.

  • 16.
    Korkmaz, Sibel
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Carolina, Överlien
    Lagerlöf, Hélène
    Youth intimate partner violence: prevalence, characteristics, associated factors and arenas of violence2022In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 12, no 4, p. 536-551Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Internationally, it is established that many youth experience violence within their romantic intimate relationships (youth intimate partner violence, Youth IPV). In Sweden, however, despite a well-developed research field on domestic violence and violence against children, knowledge about the prevalence of Youth IPV remains lacking. Therefore, taking its starting point in a mixed-method study on youth IPV in Sweden, this study presents incidence rates of Youth IPV victimization in a sample of Swedish youth, as well as associated factors to such victimization. Arenas of violence – i.e. settings where the violence takes place – are also addressed. In total, 59.7% (n = 526) of study respondents reported having experienced some form of IPV either once or multiple times. The results suggest gender differences: girls reported higher rates of victimization, especially for multiple experiences of violence. Markers for IPV victimization are presented. It is shown that Youth IPV happens in arenas to which adults have access. Viable markers for victimization are suggested; furthermore, the belief that ‘only at-risk youth experience IPV’ is challenged. It is critical that Youth IPV be considered a social problem in Sweden, deserving of specific attention and interventions. Youth IPV does not happen behind closed doors, but under the same roof as adults who have the obligation to protect them (i.e. parents and school staff) and this offers unique opportunities to respond and help. Further research should investigate the support offered to IPV-exposed youth, thereby shifting the focus to how this social problem is tackled.

  • 17. Lilliehorn, Sara
    et al.
    Isaksson, Joakim
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Salander, Pär
    Two sides of the same coin – Oncology social workers' experiences of their working life and its pros and cons2023In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 13, no 2, p. 267-279Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    From the litterature we learn that social workers in health care are exposed to different stressors connected to the risk for the development of burnout or traumatization. However, there is a lack of studies that focuses on the social workers' own narratives on the burdensome, but also the rewarding aspects, of social work in health care. This study focuses on social work in oncology. Thematically structured qualitative interviews were conducted in a narrative form with 20 oncology social workers, half of whom were less experienced and half of whom were more experienced and with additional training in psychotherapy. The interviews focused on 'pros and cons of practicing social work' and the results were categorized by means of the similarities-differences technique. The burdensome cons concerned 'Organizational and professional barriers' and 'Demanding cases', with the latter divided into 'Impasse because of hopelessness' and 'Impasse because of helpnessness'. The rewarding pros categories all concerned meaningfulness including 'Organizational meaningfulness', 'Meaningfulness from giving', 'Meaningfulness from receiving', and 'Meaningfulness from personal development'. Our findings indicate that the burdensome and rewarding aspects are two sides of the same coin. They are interconnected in the sense that the strain and challenge of being in situations of psychological despair also imply emotional satisfaction due to an experience of meaningfulness.

  • 18.
    Lundström, Tommy
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Sallnäs, Marie
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Familiepleje i Danmark [Foster Care in Denmark]2018In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 8, no 3, p. 287-288Article, book review (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Familiepleje I Denmark by Bryderup, Engen and Kring (2017) is a very ambitious piece of work. The book has more than six hundred pages, and includes a Danish national empirical study of foster carers and foster children, the historical and socio political context of this type of care, a comparative sub study of care in Norway, Sweden and England in relation to Denmark, as well as an extensive review of research on foster care and children in placement. According to the authors, too little is known about the foster care system and the children in it. Therefore, the overall aim of the book is to bring knowledge to a field with big knowledge gaps.

  • 19.
    Lundström, Tommy
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Sallnäs, Marie
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Shanks, Emelie
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Stability and change in the field of residential care for children: On ownership structure, treatment ideas and institutional logics2020In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 10, no 1, p. 39-50Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The field of residential care for children and youth in Sweden is often termed unstable and turbulent. During recent decades the field has been subject to many changes. In this study, the development and changes in the field of residential care for children and youth in terms of ownership structure and treatment ideas will be analysed. The study is particularly focused on the changes in ownership structure that have taken place during the 2010s. It also analyses changes in treatment ideas, and discusses how these may relate to transformations of ownership structures as well as to dimensions of institutional logics, such as legislation and other types of normative pressure from the environment.

    The result reveals that of the approximately 450 treatment oriented residential care units (excluding homes for refugee children), close to 80 % are today run by private companies and to a growing extent by large for-profit corporations. Parallel – and possibly related – to the changes in ownership structure, the dominant treatment ideas have changed over time. The changes in the field can be summarised as a transformation from small-scale establishments with a family logic, to large-scale establishments with a professional logic, or more specifically from a domination of small family run units with milieu therapy to big business and a focus on evidence based interventions.

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  • 20.
    Matscheck, David
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Piuva, Katarina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Exploring the effectiveness of the coordinated individual plan in Sweden: challenges and opportunities for collaborative care2023In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The increasing specialization and differentiation within welfare organisations in Sweden and internationally have, due to fragmentation and inflexible boundaries, resulted in ineffective care for users. In order to improve care, the Coordinated Individual Plan (CIP) was introduced by the government in Sweden 2009 with the aim of improving collaboration between social service and health care. Persons with concomitant mental health problems and substance abuse were on of the target groups. Earlier studies by the authors indicate that CIP has had limited impact. Use of CIP has been unsystematic and the user/patient's roll less central than expected. This study investigates what can contribute to these findings, based on professionals' experience of their participation in CIP. Interviews were conducted with 20 professionals in the social service and health care sectors and analyzed by qualitative content analysis, using the theoretical perspectives of institutional isomorphism. Findings indicate that, while the professionals were positive to the idea of CIP to improve the situation for the individual user/patient, coercive isomorphism in the form of CIP also led to a more confrontational view of collaboration which doesn't necessarily solve problems for the individual. Organizational and professional perspectives were cited, which can be linked to issues of organizational uncertainty. The study confirms earlier findings indicating that a stronger, team-based model is needed, with development based on professional experience, as the coercive aspect tends to take precedence over professional activities connected to mimetic and normative isomorphism.

  • 21.
    Matscheck, David
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. FoU Nordost [RD Northeast], Danderyd, Sweden.
    Piuva, Katarina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Eriksson, Lisbeth
    Åberg, Martin
    The Coordinated Individual Plan – is this a solution for complex organizations to handle complex needs?2019In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 9, no 1, p. 55-71Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Persons with mental health problems and substance abuse often have complex needs requiring many kinds of help concurrently. In Sweden, an attempt has been made to counterbalance the effects of fragmentation by means of legislation on collaboration, requiring on the individual level the use of Coordinated Individual Plans (Sw. Samordnad Individuell Plan, SIP). The aim of the study is to explore collaboration as it is indicated in SIP and other case documentation with focus on how SIP is motivated, and what kind and degree of collaboration is indicated by the documentation. 12 individual case files have been studied in six local authorities and the results have been analyzed in relation to a regional collaboration agreement and local collaboration agreements. The results show unclear motivation for SIP and that SIP is primarily used for documentation of short-term planning. Use of SIP and participation in SIP appears also to be uneven. The authors characterize SIP as an unsystematic form of interagency meeting, with documentation indicating a relatively low to moderate level of collaboration. The authors question whether SIP is an optimal form for collaboration and suggest that more distinct models such as case management or multidisciplinary teams could be more effective.

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  • 22. Nykänen, Pia
    et al.
    Schön, Ulla-Karin
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Björk, Alexander
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Shared decision making in social services–some remaining questions2023In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 13, no 1, p. 107-118Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Recent years have seen increased emphasis on person-centring and user involvement in healthcare delivery and social services. In Sweden, the rights of users to participate in and influence care planning and services are stipulated in the Social Services Act, the Health Care Act and the Patient Law. Shared decision making (SDM) is presented as a supportive collaboration between users and staff, drawing on users’ preferences and values as well as the best available evidence to discuss options and reach a consensus on care decisions. However, studies on the implementation of SDM in somatic care illustrate challenges, such as staff trying to persuade users to agree to a particular option rather than offering opportunities to discuss various alternatives. The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare recommend that SDM should be offered in social services support in relation to certain groups. However, the imperative that ‘SDM should be offered in the social services’ raises questions; in addition to the question of how SDM should be understood, we need to account for why SDM should be offered, who should offer SDM, when it should be offered, to whom and regarding which decisions. The questions concern justification as well as clarifications. The aim of this article is threefold: to discuss SDM and its components; to deliberate upon what SDM may imply to the social services and finally, to suggest some preconditions that should be present for an implementation of SDM.

  • 23.
    Nylén, Hedvig
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Children's rights organizations in Sweden and their relation to public child welfare2024In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper presents a mapping of the Swedish children’s rights organizations (SCROs) and an analysis of how these organizations relate to public child welfare. SCROs represent a children’s rights discourse and are active as voice and service producers in the field of social work with vulnerable children. It can be presumed that SCROs affect public child welfare and by extension vulnerable children in need of support. This warrants a mapping of the SCROs and an examination of their organizational and professional space in regard to public child welfare. In total, 22 SCROs were found through internet searches (keywords e.g. ‘children’s rights’, ‘organization’, ‘association’ and ‘commitment’) and categorized based on a qualitative content analysis of the organizations’ websites. Seven SCROs operating on a domestic level are analysed in regard to their provided voice and service efforts. The findings suggest that there has been a growth in the number and activities of SCROs. Based on critical children’s rights studies and the concept of child rights governance, the ideological shift from child protection to children’s rights among these organizations is discussed. The rhetoric of SCROs implies a positioning of public child welfare as an ultimate duty bearer, while the organizations take on an expert role. Furthermore, SCROs appear to assume the role of child rights advocates. From a critical perspective, the children’s rights discourse brought forward by SCROs involves a juridification that risks to polarize the relation between children and public child welfare as well as undermining the legitimacy of public child welfare.

  • 24.
    Pålsson, David
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Adjusting to standards: reflections from 'auditees' at residential homes for children in Sweden2016In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 6, no 3, p. 222-233Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In recent years, state inspection of Swedish residential care for children has been reinforced. This study explores how inspections are perceived from the point of view of residential staff. The empirical material is based on interviews (n = 23) with residential staff and managers (n = 55) of residential homes subject to requirements from the Swedish Inspectorate. The material has been analysed using concepts shedding light on the different aspects of how audit affects ‘auditees’. The results suggest that inspections have mainly shaped the administrative part of care; that compliance with regulatory standards bring about stability in the work performed; that the standard-setting sometimes creates tensions between professional judgment and formal authority; and that inspections play an accreditation role for the residential homes. The implications of this are discussed, e.g. that the regulatory standards seem to target aspects of care that are alternatives to those of evidence-based practice, that general standards to some extent challenge the possibilities of organising the care according to the individual needs of the children and that the receptiveness of professionals to inspection ideas entails both possibilities and obstacles for the development of a professional field.

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  • 25.
    Pålsson, David
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Supervising a family or a service? Social worker approaches to foster care supervision in six Swedish authorities2023In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In many countries, local supervision is the main activity to control foster care. In Sweden, the legislation stipulates that foster parents have a supervising social worker (SSW) and the foster child an assigned social worker (CSW). This article describes and analyses how child welfare authorities organize and social workers handle the supervision of foster care. The study is based on data (policy documents and 18 individual/group interviews with 43 managers/social workers) collected from six Swedish child welfare authorities. Analytically, the study assumes that the position of foster care between the private and the public spheres paves the way for different ideas regarding how to conduct supervision that can be broadly based on trust or control vis-à-vis foster homes. The findings show that supervision is differentiated and varies more between foster parents and children than between authorities. Supervision approaches are identified that can be analysed as being more or less trust-based (discreet and affirming) or control-based (compensating and interfering) towards foster parents and children, but overall trust-based approaches dominate. The approaches imply different levels of involvement in care and vary regarding emphasis on the private and the public aspects of fostering. The discussion focuses in particular on the potential impact of different supervision approaches on the foster care service.

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  • 26. Selvik, Sabreen
    et al.
    Øverlien, Carolina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work. Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies (NKVTS), Norway.
    Children with multiple stays at Nordic refuges for abused women: conclusions, challenges, and causes for concern2015In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 5, no 2, p. 98-112Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article sheds light on the situation of children in refuges for abused women in the Nordic countries, with a special focus on children with multiple stays. Almost as many children as women live in refuges, but research on this marginalised group of children is scarce. This article overviews and summarises existing quantitative and qualitative data to examine what we know about children in refuges in a Nordic context (Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden). The literature shows that focus on children at the refuges is gradually increasing. However, major discrepancies among the Nordic countries exist in terms of which data are collected (if any), how it is presented, and what services and help are provided to children. The article also identifies and discusses some of the challenges faced by children with multiple stays at refuges: their prolonged exposure to domestic violence, disruptions in close relationships and repeated disruptions in preschool and school attendance. The available literature suggests reason for concern in regard to the risks of developing social and psychological difficulties, limited access to resources that can help develop resilience to violence, and school failure and drop-out. The article calls for further research on this particularly vulnerable group of children.

  • 27.
    Shanks, Emelie
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Mejdell Bjerland, Gina
    Privatizing the central core of social work. Exploring the use of agency social workers in the Swedish social services2023In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 13, no 1, p. 50-62Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The use of staffing agencies and agency social workers in statutory social work has not been given much attention from scholars, despite the extensive implications it may have for the organizations, employees and clients. By analysing the result of structured telephone interviews with representatives from 102 Swedish municipalities, this article brings some knowledge to this scarcely researched field. The aim is to map the extent of use of agency social workers, to analyse the reasons behind the use, and to identify any potential variation between municipalities and branches of social work. The findings show that the use of agency social workers is common, widespread and surprisingly unrelated to socioeconomic, geographic and demographic characteristics of the municipalities. The most common reasons for hiring agency workers appear to be related to achieving numerical stability of staffing levels, despite vacancies and recruitment difficulties. Although there were few detected differences between municipalities, there were great differences between branches of social work. It was far more common for child welfare units to contract agency social workers compared to social assistance and substance abuse units. Considering the vulnerability of the children that come into contact with the social services and the importance of continuity in these cases, this is a cause for concern. In addition, practically all hired agency social workers were contracted to investigate and assess the clients’ needs, i.e. partaking in the exercise of public authority, which adds legal and professional complexity.

  • 28.
    Skogens, Lisa
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    von Greiff, Ninive
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Conditions for recovery from alcohol and drug abuse: comparisons between male and female clients of different social position2016In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 6, no 3, p. 211-221Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This study adduces an interactive perspective on treatment and relates to research describing change as a process. It focuses on differences in how the importance of internal and social factors for the change process is described among male and female clients of different social position. The concept of recovery capital is used as analytic tool. Female and male clients were interviewed and asked to talk about factors they perceived as important for initiating and maintaining change. The use of a relatively large amount of interviews strengthen the possibilities of drawing generalized conclusions on differences between the groups, making comparisons possible while still keeping the qualitative meaning of the investigated factors. The most important finding in the study is that the implications of different factors during the change process seem to relate to gender stereotypes and that the client’s social position (defined as marginalized or integrated) seems to be important for how gender stereotypes emerge. It is argued that gender stereotypes can serve both as a support and a hinder during recovery. This is discussed using the concept of recovery capital to illuminate qualitative differences regarding the importance of internal and social factors for the process of change for men and women of different social position.

  • 29.
    Stenius, Kerstin
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD). National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Helsinki, Finland.
    Storbjörk, Jessica
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences, Centre for Social Research on Alcohol and Drugs (SoRAD).
    When the organization is a problem: An empirical study of social work with substance use problems in more or less NPM-influenced Swedish municipalities2023In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 13, no 1, p. 36-49Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    New Public Management (NPM) has added new aspects to the conflict between political-bureaucratic steering and professional autonomy in the search for a substance use treatment system (SUT) that is economic and characterized by high quality, accessibility, and professional discretion. This article analyses if and how organizational aspects of NPM imply additional challenges for professionals and SUT. The experiences of 29 social workers, in different positions in the services and administration of SUT, in six municipalities with different degrees of NPM and post-NPM, form the empirical data. Many quality problems were common across municipalities: frequent unevaluated reforms, lack of resources for SUT, and cooperation issues. Several problems were especially pronounced in statutory social work. NPM added challenges. Competition with private providers was viewed as initially (in the 1990s) having improved treatment, but the present market was regarded as creating quality problems without savings. Cooperation between providers was a special quality challenge in NPM municipalities, and NPM added to treatment continuity challenges. While accessibility for resourceful clients was linked to NPM models, treatment for less resourced users was obstructed by NPM. Workplace climate and trust issues were more problematic in the most NPM-permeated municipalities. Professional discretion was difficult to link to local NPM degree. Increased standardization and documentation were often accepted as improving quality. While a system based on competition ideology appeared destructive for treatment quality, post-NPM reforms with cooperation between needs-assessment, treatment, and economic support, conformed better with professionals’ perceptions of good treatment.

  • 30.
    Stranz, Hugo
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Wiklund, Stefan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Karlsson, Patrik
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    People processing in Swedish personal social services: On the individuals, their predicaments and the outcomes of organisational screening2016In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 6, no 3, p. 174-187Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    By utilising data on nearly 1 200 individuals subject to investigations in the three Swedish personal social services (PSS) domains – child welfare (CW), social assistance (SA) and substance abuse treatment (SAT) – this article aims at describing and analysing the individuals processed in PSS as well as the outcome of the filtering process. Specific attention is paid to the extent the PSS domains differ in these respects. The main findings are: (i) a large proportion of clients subject to investigation are men, singles (most common without children in SA and SAT) and a born outside of Sweden (CW and SA). In terms of overall predicaments, SAT raw material seem more exposed than that of SA whereas there are fairly low concentration of abuse and neglect in CW; (ii) recidivism rates are high in all PSS domains: about half of the sample are already known by the agencies; (iii) out-screening are similar in SA and SAT (about 25%) but substantially higher in CW (about 50%). The investigative process is associated with considerably low external and in particular internal referring, indicating an apparent silo mentality between the PSS domains.

  • 31.
    von Greiff, Ninive
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Skogens, Lisa
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    The mechanisms of treatment – client and treatment staff perspectives on change during treatment for alcohol problems2013In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The overall aim of this study is to increase the understanding of operative factors in the treatment process by studying how clients and treatment unit staff perceive the relevance and value of the alcohol treatment intervention for a positive process of change. The specific research questions are: (1) How do clients describe the relevance and importance of treatment interventions in their own process of change? (2) How do treatment staffs describe experience and perceptions of how their work can contribute to a successful change process among treated clients? (3) How do client and the treatment staff descriptions relate to each other? Interviewees (40 clients and eight professionals) were recruited from four treatment units in the Stockholm area. In the results, the three treatment components most emphasised by clients are structure and regularity, friendship and support of the group and the personal conduct and professionalism of the staff. Both of the components referring to the client group and to the staff were also brought forward by the professionals interviewed. In treatment, the client group is used as an important tool for creating a sense of trust, confidence, acceptance and collaboration – all central components of the treatment alliance concept. With reference to the notion of rebuilding/extending recovery capital, it is suggested that in addition to the addiction problem intervention, a more extended system of support is vital for more marginalised clients.

  • 32.
    von Greiff, Ninive
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Skogens, Lisa
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Topor, Alain
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
    Supporting recovery in social work with persons having co-occurring problems – clients’ and professionals’ perceptions2020In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588, Vol. 10, no 2, p. 173-185Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The study focus on how clients with co-occurring problems describe the importance of treatment factors for the recovery process and how these descriptions relates to professional descriptions. 40 client interviews and 15 interviews with professionals were conducted. Three major themes emerge in the results: medication, methods and the professionals.

    The amount of contact with psychiatry and social services that these clients often have through the years can lead to a ‘learned passivity’ towards their own recovery process. Thus, an important task for the professionals is to break through passivity and isolation. This can be done by treating the client like an ‘ordinary fellow human’. Besides the actual professional tasks, small things seem to be important; greeting the person, paying respect when entering some one’s home, etc.

    When a social network is missing, the professional can sometime fill this gap, but if this is to promote recovery, it seem important that the professional social network is used as a bridge to other social networks.

    The professionals as a group, including the environment, emerge as important. Accordingly, to be supportive as a group, and be able to act like ‘social role models’, the professionals need to have working alliances also between themselves. The environment can also offer tools that can be used for socialization that interfere with the ‘learned passivity’ and instead includes and respects the client. This, together with the results highlighting the importance of creating safe milieus, confident and secure professionals, puts focus on how the professional work is organized.

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