Swedish foster care found lacking

Social services' system for placing young people in foster care falls short, shows a new nationwide study presented by Sweden’s county councils on Monday.

Around 10,000 children and young people are currently placed in foster homes.

A review shows that several municipalities aren’t following Sweden’s social services laws when it comes to family home care.

There are examples of children being placed in foster homes for up to four years without having received more than occasional visits from social services.

“Care should be followed up and reviewed every six months–which is mandated by law, and there are many instances where people aren’t living up to this rule. People aren’t following existing regulations,” said Karin Björnson, head of the county councils’ working group.

“Follow ups on how children feel and how things are going for them in school ought to be carried out even if it’s not written in the laws. That is what parents do in general and society has taken over that responsibility when children are placed in foster homes,” said Björnson.

The report doesn’t show exactly which municipalities are breaking the rules. However, it is obvious that the level of social service support for vulnerable children and young people depends on a great degree on where in Sweden the affected children live.

However, there is also some good news when it comes to social service support efforts: the investigation of children has gotten better and the range of outpatient treatments has increased.

The study was carried out at the request of the government and presented on Monday to Sweden’s Minister for Elderly Care and Public Health Maria Larsson.