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Emotional kinship care and neutral non-kinship care - the struggle between discourses

  • Lina Ponnert
Publiceringsår: 2017-05
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 1084-1093
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Child & Family Social Work
Volym: 22
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

In this paper, social workers' ideas of kinship care and non-kinship care as foster placement alternatives for vulnerable children are analysed and discussed. The study is based on group interviews with Swedish social workers, using a discourse analytic approach. The interviews took two vignettes of children who needed an immediate and long-term placement because one of the parents had killed the other parent, as their point of departure. Domestic violence is a common social problem across countries, and controversies about placement alternatives become even more apparent when discussing lethal violence. The analysis revealed three main discourses: ‘emotional kinship care’, ‘neutral non-kinship care’ and ‘a real family’. The emotional kinship care discourse also revealed two competing sub-discourses: ‘emotions as glue that binds’ and ‘emotions as obscuring a child perspective’, displaying a struggle concerning the advantages and risks that social workers connected to kinship care. In this paper, the results and their implications for vulnerable children are discussed.


  • Social Work
  • children in care system
  • discourse analysis
  • foster care
  • kinship care
  • social work
  • violence


  • ISSN: 1356-7500
Lina Ponnert. Foto: Patrik Hekkala
E-post: lina.ponnert [at]



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