Kinship-carer project in Sweden Katarina Graffman
ObjectivesKinship-Carers Sweden: Sweden came into the project, about 6 month later than the rest, due to the fact that Turkey left the project. This had a great impact on the recruitment for the study. In Sweden, Kinship-carer are The National Board of Health and Welfare´s responsibility. Regulated through the Social services act. The Social services are main instances for everything that involves children and families. Especially if there are drug use or abuse in the picture as well. We managed to get 17 face-to-face interviews, most of them through snowball-sampling. We based the Handbook on interviews with kinship carers as well as interviews with scientists working in this field.
Objectives… Feedback from the Social services (professionals) has been very rare. Mostly this has to do with their extreme workload and because they don´t cooperate with external organizations like Mentor. All kinship-carers expressed gratitude towards the project. To talk about their situation with someone that wasn´t involved with the authorities gave them an opportunity to speak freely without fear of retaliation. Kinship carers asked for straight forward information, things that they could do right now!
Main findings from the interviews: Almost all of the carers had difficulties in handling their own emotions, regarding their role within the family. Taking care of your relative’s children because their parents are drug abusers creates emotional distress such as: shame, disgrace, anxiety, guilt and hate. All carers ask for help to sort out their feelings towards their relatives and also within their family. All carers asked for a manual. They all wanted something written about what to do, what to think/plan, what to expect and when etc. The paper and scripts that social services handle out are too complicated and written for those who already know how the system works.
The handbook; Interviews with kinshipcarers, Social services and professor Bo Vinnerljung. Compilation of information from this sources. Doing a first draft of the handbook and havingcarers, and professionals to read it, and give feedback Doing a second and third draft and proofreading Handing out the handbook to professionals at a symposium Sendingout the handbook to all social service´soffice and FACO, the mainorganiszation for kinshipcarers.
Similarities and differences in handling Kinship: An universal lesson in this project would be that all Kinship- carers, no matter what country or culture they belong to, finds the socio-emotional issues to be the hardest and most difficult to handle. Prerequisite the families economy is good enough. Differences in socioeconomics, culture and how authorities or politicians act according to the Kinship- carer issue, are probably the most significant factors for each country and how they address the question. Sweden has a strict an well regulated policy in this matter. In Sweden Kinship-caring is taken care of by the Social services, they are obliged to handle this kind of issues. This made it very difficult for us in Sweden to make the study. Social services have neither time, personnel or interest in giving other organizations their help.
Quoted from the Social Services Act: “Transfer to an alternative (foster) home; When a parent is unable to care for a child at home for some reason, the child may be placed in a family care home or institution. Before making this decision, the Social Services should always check first whether the child can be taken care of by a relative or other person close to the child. If your child is placed in an alternative home, the Social Services are responsible for ensuring that the child receives good care. For instance, the Social Services must provide support to you, your child and your family to help you keep in touch with each other and continue your relationship even if the child is living in a new home. If a parent disagrees with the Social Service’s decision to move the child, and the Social Services feel that this measure is necessary in order to meet the child´s needs, the Social Services may apply to the County Administrative Court to approve the transfer under the Act on Care of Young Persons (lagenomvårdavunga, LVU). If your child is moved to an alternative home, you are responsible, as the child´s guardian, to contribute to the costs of moving the child The Swedish Parliament (Riksdagen) has decided that financial assistance(also known as social security or income support) shall be granted for reasonable expenses for: _ food _ clothes and shoes _ play and leisure time _ consumable goods _ health and hygiene _ daily newspapers, telephone costs and television license
Quoted from the Social Services Act… Each year, the Government establishes standard levels for these costs, which apply throughout Sweden. These cost levels are referred to as the national standard (riksnorm). The Government decides how much money each household is entitled to according to the national standard. A larger sum may be granted if there are special grounds for it, for instance if you have special dietary requirements for medical reasons. The Social Services may also grant you a sum that is below the national standard, if there are special grounds for doing so.
The right to financial assistance also covers reasonable costs for: _ accommodation _ household electricity _ work-related travel _ home insurance _ membership in trade unions and unemployment benefit funds.”