Sina Furnes Øyri and Inger Johanne Bergerød have been awarded a contract research project on a nationwide supervision of the child welfare service's follow-up of children in foster homes in 2022-2023.
The project will examine the impact of an upcoming country widesystem audit on the child welfare services’ management and work practices. The project focuses on the work process related to the follow-up of children living in foster homes after proven regulatory breaches.
The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision has the overall professional responsibility for supervision of child welfare services, social services, health and care services and public health work. The Norwegian Board of Health conducts regular nationwide inspections in the child welfare, social and health service areas.
Wants to improve supervision and knowledge development
“In the autumn of 2020, the Norwegian Board of Health decided that the work within the areas of child welfare and social services in Nav should be organized as a development project, for the period 2022-2023, including a research and development part (R&D project)”, states Sina Furnes Øyri. She is employed as a postdoctoral fellow at the research center SHARE – Center for Resilience in Healthcare. The centre is affiliated with the Faculty of Health Sciences.
The purpose of the development work is to improve the nationwide audit and contribute to knowledge development within the audit subject:
“We will follow the nationwide audit and systematize knowledge about the approaches used. The goal is for this to contribute to learning and knowledge about the importance of nationwide supervision and which supervision approaches prove appropriate”, states Inger Johanne Bergerød. She is employed as a research coordinator and postdoctoral fellow at SHARE.
The research project is linked to the last phase of the supervision process and will examine the changes the child welfare service makes after proven violations in the work process related to the follow-up of children and young people placed in foster homes.
“These can be conditions both at the system level in the child welfare service (management and internal control) and in the practice (follow-up of children in foster homes)”, states Øyri.
Mapping using semi-structured interviews
According to her, the investigations aim to map the following aspects:
What measures and activities does the service initiate after the audit has pointed out offenses?
How do the services organize and carry out self-assessment and change work after supervision has pointed out offenses?
In what way do managers and employees in the child welfare services describe that the supervision has contributed to a change in practice?
The research project has a «single embedded case study design». Data are obtained via individual semi-structured interviews with managers and employees in the child welfare service. These are carried out after implementation of nationwide inspections.
“The total number of informants is outlined to 20 - 25 people, but will be assessed in more detail on the basis of resource scope and organization in the individual child welfare service. Audit reports and self-assessments will be used as background documentation”, states Bergerød.
Text: Eigil Kloster Osmundsen
Project Managers: Sina Furnes Øyri & Inger Johanne Bergerød
Time frame: 22.12.2021-31.12.2023.
Funding: The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision; National Budget; Ministry of Children and Families.
Budget: 1.5 mill. NOK + additional expenses (travel costs, external transcripts etc).
«The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has in recent years ruled Norway in several cases concerning child welfare. It is important to research the child welfare service's practice, in order to find possible points for improvement».