Särskilda ungdomshem och vårdkedjor : Om ungdomar, kön, klass och etnicitet

Sammanfattning: This thesis follows a group of youths placed in secure unit care who have participated in a chain-of-care project aiming to better plan their discharge and aftercare. The overall aim of the thesis is to link a detailed description of these young people with an analysis of the project they participated in, and to undertake one- and two-year follow-up studies. Analytic focus is on the significance of gender, class and ethnicity. The study is mainly based on structured interviews performed at the secure units upon entry into care, discharge and at a one-year follow up. Data have also been used from criminal records and interviews with project staff.When entering care, these youths exhibited extensive problems in both family conditions and own behaviour. The major problem in boys was criminality while girls reported poor mental health. Professionals judge youth of foreign background as more criminal than youth of Swedish background despite a lack of difference in self-reported data. Some difference is also noticeable regarding class.Analysis of the project shows that out-of-home care was the most frequent intervention after leaving secure unit care, while other interventions were difficult to uphold over time. Few girls received help with their mental health problems. At the one-year follow up, the youths reported an overall better situation, although extensive problems still remained. Above all, girls’ mental health problems remained as before. At the 2-year follow up the study group was compared with a control group in order to investigate effects of the project regarding criminality and recommitment to secure unit care. The comparison shows that the project had no effect. This is discussed in relation to poor organization and the difficulty of adjusting a project like this to the target group, along with the substantial part played by gender, class and ethnicity in how the youth are construed and treated.