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Browsing by Subject "barn som far illa"

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  • Wik, Julia (2022)
    All children have the right to grow up in safe conditions. Despite this, many Finnish children live in poor living conditions. The school and especially the class teacher plays a central role in noticing signs of child maltreatment and reporting their concern. According to the Child Welfare Act, school professionals are mandated to report if they suspect child maltreatment. Previous research shows how reporting is problematic and many teachers feel fear and uncertainty about making child welfare reports. Functioning collaboration between school professionals and social workers can prevent child maltreatment. Previous studies show how negative experiences of collaboration with child welfare services can raise the threshold for reporting one’s concerns. The aim of the study is to investigate the school professionals’ experiences of feeling concerned about a child and to straighten out the school professionals’ and social workers' descriptions of approaches and types of collaboration when concerns about a child occur. Qualitative research interviews were used as the data collection method for the study. The interviews were held with informants from several professional groups, since concern for children requires interprofessional collaboration in many situations. The informants in the study were three class teachers, three special education teachers, two school counselors and three social workers. In total, nine interviews were held with the eleven informants, eight individual interviews and one group interview. The interviews were transcribed and analysed using a thematic analysis. The results of the study showed how noticeable changes in a child's behavior, appearance or wellbeing aroused the school professionals’ concern. School professionals experienced concern that children of today grow up under stressful conditions, grow up too quickly and have uninvolved guardians. The school day was experienced as hectic, without enough time and resources to identify and support all children at risk. The school professionals felt that they can communicate concerns at an early stage and collaborate with guardians. The school professionals’ descriptions of their working methods when concerns about a child occur, were consistent with how the social workers wish the school professionals to work. Several of the school professionals experienced the collaboration with child welfare services as insufficient while the social workers' experiences of collaboration with the school were described more positively. Both the school professionals and social workers thought that the collaboration and communication could be developed if the school professionals would be more involved and received essential information on the child’s case. The study shows a need for guidelines on how the collaboration should be designed and an increased opportunity to meet and develop an understanding of each other's professions.