G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Kannatteleva ja jännitteinen tukiperhetoiminta : lastensuojelun tukiperhetoiminnan käyttöteoria ja tukisuhteet (2020)

Svenlin, A.-R. (2020). Kannatteleva ja jännitteinen tukiperhetoiminta : lastensuojelun tukiperhetoiminnan käyttöteoria ja tukisuhteet [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU dissertations, 180. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8011-5

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Svenlin, Anu-Riina

eISBN: 978-951-39-8011-5

Journal or series: JYU dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 180

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (268 s.)

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: Finnish

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8011-5

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


This study explores the Support Family as a child and family welfare intervention. Support Families are volunteers who provide community-based support to children and parents coping with a range of psycho-social challenges. The child usually spends one weekend a month with a Support Family. The research focuses on informal practice theory, sometimes described in social work as ‘practice wisdom’, that guides the intervention, on the different actors, on the content and effects of the intervention, and on social mechanisms that explain how a relationship develops over time between the two families. The theoretical framework underpinning this study consists of critical realism (CR) and CAIMeR-theory, based on CR. CAIMeRtheory aims to explain direct practice with clients in social work. The research has applied a case study strategy; the case study was carried out in a child welfare unit, in a medium-sized city in Finland. Data was collected from focus group discussions with social workers in child and family welfare, conducted in 2011 (N=6), and from interviews with children, parents and support families (N=15), conducted in 2014. The study explored six different support relationships. Theory-based content analysis has been applied. This study shows that practice theory is complex. Based on the support relationships, critical points in the practice theory are identified, concerning both objectives and content of the intervention. Support Family intervention is based on the temporary strengthening of the network. This appears to conflict with one of the main purposes of the intervention - to bring safe and reliable relationships to the child's life. The content of the intervention for the child is based on everyday care, stimulation, exposing the child to alternative role models, interaction between children, and interaction between child and adult(s). For a parent, the core of the intervention consists of both respite care and a collaborative partnership offered by the Support Family. The study identified three mechanisms. The ‘echo Mechanism’ explains the receipt of support. The ‘mirror Mechanism’ describes how the parent becomes empowered through interactions between themselves and the Support Family. The ‘support-producing context Mechanism’ appears to energise the child and profile the effects, especially of the physical environment as part of the intervention. The study identifies a need to strengthen networks for the child and parent(s) on a more permanent basis.

Keywords: support families; child protection; non-institutional social care; critical realism

Free keywords: tukiperhetoiminta; KAIMeR-teoria; tilapäishoito; käyttöteoria

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Last updated on 2022-24-11 at 20:48