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Outsourcing the core of social work? Consequences of the organisational development within social services in Sweden

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Helena Johansson
Mona Franséhn
Publicerad i ENSACT, Istanbul, 17-19/4 2013
Publiceringsår 2013
Publicerad vid Institutionen för socialt arbete
Språk en
Ämnesord youth, laymen, social work profession
Ämneskategorier Socialt arbete, Familjeforskning, Ungdomsforskning


Sweden has a long tradition of using laymen as supportive persons within the social services. One of the most popular interventions is to support children and teenagers by using a contact family or a contact person. At present about 20 000 young persons in Sweden have this intervention and the situation has been stable during the last decade. The paper is based on an on-going study titled Society as a teenage parent . The focus is on teenagers between 13 and 20 with experience of having a contact person for a year or more. The aim is to gain knowledge on what content is included when the social services decides to indicate a contact person for a teenager. Further to investigate how this can be understood as a way of executing parental responsibilities where the family of origin seems to fail. The project design includes focus groups with social workers, contact persons and school representatives; analysis of social work case files as well as interviews with the young person, the contact person, the parent(s) and the social worker. The study has been conducted in three different municipalities in the western region of Sweden during the last two years and is still in progress. A result of the study so far is that social workers seem to be more of an outsourcing consultant, dealing with different bureaucratic matters in order to fulfil their responsibility in relation to society. The contact person intervention has both the character of a voluntary intervention, accomplished by laymen, and a professional or semi-professional intervention where different professionals get involved. In both cases the social workers are the organisers while the contact persons work in direct contact with the teenagers, the kind of work we normally connect to the “core of social work”. The paper and presentation will deal with the questions: In which way will this change have an impact on the future development of social work profession? What are the advantages and disadvantages? What are the alternatives?

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