Social Inclusion and Residential Child Care

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktForskningpeer review


Currently, the area of social child welfare is moving in a direction towards the establishment of more familiar living conditions for children and young people in out-of-home care. Historically, residential child-care institutions were comparable to closed environments in which children in care were brought up in isolation from other children and young people. Nowadays in Denmark, a set of political objectives encourages the idea of ensuring that children and young people remain in their known environments and participate in local school and leisure life, even though – for a period of time – they will have to live away from home.
The paper draws on a Critical Psychological conceptualisation of development through social participation (Klaus Holzkamp). In this perspective, growing up can, in general, be perceived as filled with challenges and dilemmas with respect to establishing relationships, taking part in communities and dealing with such tasks, requirements and interests that characterise life in and across contexts in modern society. Children learn to deal with such everyday-life challenges by taking part in communities; and, here, the point of special interest is that they learn together. In this perspective, to 'participate' should be construed in the sense of developing ‘a personal conduct of everyday life’ in a social life with others. This is why, theoretically, relations and networks must be understood as crucial in a personal learning what social practices are about. Thus, according to an inclusion perspective, the focal point of this presentation will be on how professionals – with focus on relations and networks – work with the expansion of social opportunities of participation for children and young people in out-of-home care.
This paper is based on a Danish practice-research project Børn og unges netværk- et fælles ansvar [Children and Young People´s Network – a shared responsibility]. For the period of a year, two researchers made observations within and across children´s everyday-life contexts in the course of their placement in a children´s home. Similar to previous research, our research shows that children´s personal relationships with family and friends may be fragile or have collapsed during placement. Professionals may have given up helping children to handle severe conflicts and keep the contact with important persons undergoing difficult periods in their lives. Our interviews provide an insight into the way in which children and young people living away from their family home will frequently struggle with the experience of being different, lonely and excluded from the communities in which they belong.
Observations made in respect of everyday life in a residential child care institution also show how, in practice, professionals work on the basis of complex and intricate issues that, not least from the children's perspectives, comprise a number of dilemmas. Examples from everyday life demonstrate that there are no clear-cut solutions. Over time, the professionals themselves should develop networks across children and young people's development contexts for the purposes of becoming enabled to research dilemmas and problem areas connected with children´s everyday life.
The presentation puts the inter-professional exploration of children’s perspectives of their everyday life in the foreground and argues that the perspective should be turned towards the development of professionals' practices in order to expand children´s opportunities of agency within their everyday communities. The intention is to contribute to the development of professional practice theories in relation to social inclusion in out-of-home care. How can we conceptualise the cooperative development of professional practices in order to establish flexible alignments of actions relative to problems within complex issues?
StatusUdgivet - 2018
BegivenhedEUSARF 2018: All children, all families - University of Portugal, Porto, Portugal
Varighed: 2 okt. 20185 okt. 2018


KonferenceEUSARF 2018
LokationUniversity of Portugal


  • anbragte unge
  • Børn og unge
  • anbragte børn


Schwartz, I. (2018). Social Inclusion and Residential Child Care. Abstract fra EUSARF 2018, Porto, Portugal.