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Flying to a foreign horizon on your own - About unaccompanied children’s everyday life in Sweden
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare. (ICU CHILD)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8690-3002
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare. (ICU CHILD)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9496-4342
2012 (English)In: Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development 2012; Action and impact 8-12 july: Youth and participation / [ed] Eva Holmberg-Herrström, 2012Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Sweden is the country in Europe which in 2010 received the highest number of unaccompanied children. They came mainly from Afghanistan (1153) and Somalia (533) but also from several other countries. The aim of this study is to review and describe the situation for unaccompanied children in a city in Sweden. In the current study mixed methods were used - documents, statistical information, interviews, assessments. The study is a longitudinal study. The results from interviews with 10 unaccompanied children show that more than half of the children had been travelling to a country where they already had a relative. Statistics from the local authority show that 27% of the unaccompanied children have a kinship-placement. For the other children flying to a foreign horizon seem to be away from a situation than to something. Just one of the children has another reason than migration from a violent or threatening situation. Migration to education is the perspective of this child. Another important result of our interviews is that as many as eight out of ten young people have contact with one parent. A parent may be dead, but they have found and are in contact with at least one parent. How their contact with the family looks like, with whom and how often vary considerably for individual young people. It has also varied the time and manner in which they been able to find any parent. Young people’s mental well-being is not entirely satisfactory, according our study results. Many feel alone, sleep poorly and are stressed. At the same time they see themselves as happy and the view of the future seems bright. It can be interpreted as contradictory, but it need not be, because of it can be a sign of the complexity of the unaccompanied children’s life. As the study results show there is a varied background to escape the situation in their home country. The unaccompanied children are fleeing from threats to life and seem to have been sent to Europe to protect them. Parental contact on-line or phone is also thus a central part of many of the youngsters. It can be contact on a daily or less often, but has great importance for young people to get together his life, for young people’s wellbeing and their ability to emotionally put together their difficult life puzzles and for young people’s educational achievement and motivation for school work, as parent/s at home encourages studies.

A presentation of the  study was made  at a workshop – Youth and participation. In this presentation the focus was in the unaccompanied children’s participation in decisions and their relationships with biological parents, foster parents and personnel at the local authority and Solitario.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012.
Keywords [en]
unaccompanied children, on line parenting, fostercare, youth
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-16266OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-16266DiVA, id: diva2:572174
Conference
Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development 2012; Action and impact 8-12 july
Available from: 2012-11-26 Created: 2012-11-26 Last updated: 2017-02-08Bibliographically approved

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Brunnberg, ElinorAytar, Osman

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