Representations of Children’s Voices about Their Health in Social Services Arguments in Support of Their Decision

Elin Hultman, Ann-Christin Cederborg


Research points to the importance of involving children in social investigations, since their perception of their own situation and needs may differ from what others take to be the case. There is however no specific recommendation of how children’s voices should be inscribed in such investigations. This study explores if and how children’s voices are represented in the final part of the social investigations where social workers argue in support of their decision. It has a specific focus on how children’s voices about their health are included when, at the point of initiating an investigation, concerns have been raised about their physical and psychological well-being. Inspired by a social constructionist and discursive analytical approach we analyzed 60 arguments in as many social investigations. The findings are that children’s psychological-, physical health or general well- being was mentioned in 46 of the 60 argumentations. The child’s own thoughts about his or her health were represented in12 of these 46 arguments. Instead, children’s health was mostly represented by referrals to other persons. In those 12 arguments where children’s views are presented they were reported in different ways. Their view could, for example, be sparingly reported and be used in order to confirm a previous statement or opinion. Two of the cases go more into details about what the children actually have said about their health. We conclude that if the representation of the child’s own voice is excluded it is difficult to understand if and how children’s perspective of their health has been taken into consideration in the decision process.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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