Matching in practice – how to find the right foster family home for the right child
Primary investigator: Ann-Sofie Bergman, Centre for social work, Uppsala University.
Participating researchers: Ulrika Järkestig Berggren, Linnaeus University, Maria Eriksson, Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University College, Kristina Engwall, Uppsala University, Miia Bask, Uppsala University.
Project description: The concept of matching refers to the process when a foster home is selected to fit an individual child in placement. Matching is important for the quality of care, as the foster carers need necessary resources to meet the child’s needs. Failure in matching can have negative consequences for the child, for example in the form of so called "breakdowns", which lead to change of foster homes. There is a lack of empirical studies of how the social services manage matching in a Swedish context, studies that can provide knowledge about which problems arise and how they can be managed. The aim of the study is to explore the social services' practice when matching children and foster carers to ensure that the children will receive good care. The study has primarily a qualitative approach and is carried out partly with case-file studies and partly with interviews with professionals who work with matching. Social workers at the municipal social services as well as staff in private consulting firms will be interviewed about their work with matching. The study will be conducted in different municipalities with geographical distribution. Examination of case files can make visible the perceptions of the professionals and the knowledge on which they base their assessments. In interviews, professionals will reflect on what factors they perceive as most important in matching and what complicates the process.