Working with families with difficult social background: The Swedish way

The most important idea of the ProChil project is learning from each other, listening to each other, getting inspiration from abroad. As the systems of Early Childhood Education and Care varies in different EU countries, there are different methods, different ways to deal with problems. In the project each of the partners deals with a specific topic. In March, during our stay in Antwerpen we had the possibility to discuss these topics. Johanna and Sofie from Brudhammars Förskola, our  Swedish partners, held a workshop about addressing special educational situations. 

In a short series of article we will bring you information on the following topics:

  • Adaptation to ECEC
  • Self esteem of the child
  • Integration of children with another mother tongue
  • Working with children from families with different social problems
  • Working with children with special needs

Working with children from families with different social problems 

When there are children from families with social problems, it is important for the teachers of course that the children themselves are doing well. By Swedish law the teachers have a duty to report problems, which means that they must report to social authorities if they suspect that there is a situation where the child may suffer.

If the teacher do not suspect that the child is harmed but they feel like the guardians need support in her parenting role, the teachers have different alternatives. The preschool can offer a meeting, teachers can contact various support groups, both municipal and private, and they can also contact the social authority where they can get advice and help on how to proceed.

The teachers in preschool can only suggest and offer different help suggestions to the family, but they never have the right to force guardians to take this help. If we work with a family with several siblings which is in a difficult situation, a network meeting may be organized involving several instances. It may be social authorities, school, preschool, psychologist and other authorities that concern the family. This is done to get a complete picture of the family’s situation and to find a slolution that we can work with together.

If the teachers suspect that the child is living in any form of abuse, we must by law report this to the social authority. A notification is usually preceded by a conversation with the guardians where the teachers tell them that they will do a report. The teachers will not have this conversation if they think that the child may be suffering more after it. After the conversation, a report is made by the preschool manager to the social authority who starts an investigation. Sometimes pre-school may complete their report in order for the authority to get a clear picture of the suspicion.

During the investigation, the child stays at preschool as usual and the staff, as they leave the application, have no further investigation obligation.