Coercion in foster homes is not uncommon
A new report shows that children in foster homes are restrained, locked up, and monitored. Foster parents have different understandings of what they are allowed to do.
“The results from our investigations show that coercion in foster homes is not uncommon. Yet, coercion is a topic that is rarely talked about or is part of the guidance for foster parents,” researcher Esben Olesen at Nordland Research Institute says in a press release (link in Norwegian).
He has led the work on a new report commissioned by the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir), investigating the setting of boundaries and the use of coercion on children in foster care.
“What one actor perceives as normal child-rearing may appear as coercion to others. Among foster parents, we find that they have different understandings of what is allowed or not allowed for them to do when they set boundaries,” Olesen says.
The Norwegian broadcasting corporation NRK (link in Norwegian) writes that the report shows that children in foster homes are restrained, locked up, monitored, and deprived of the opportunity to communicate with the outside world.
Associate Professor Marius Storvik is another of the researchers behind the report. He says that they have also found significant weaknesses in the existing supervisory systems for foster homes.
“This has led to several undesirable events not being detected or addressed in time. The lack of effective supervision puts children's welfare at risk and requires immediate attention,” he tells NRK.
Department Director Anders Sunde at Bufdir says they take the findings about weaknesses with the supervisory personnel seriously and that they will follow up on the results.
Translated by Alette Bjordal Gjellesvik.