“Sometimes I feel at home” Adolescents’ narratives of everyday life in residential care
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonJournal of Children's Services. 2022, . https://doi.org/10.1108/JCS-12-2020-0086
Purpose: A residential care is home for children who live there and is simultaneously a workplace for employees aiming to safeguard the needs and development of children. Studies have shown that adolescents’ descriptions of life in residential care are connected to feelings of otherness and deviance. The purpose of this study is to explore how adolescents in residential care in Norway relate residential care as a home to their experiences of everyday life in this context and to their relationships with the employees. Design: The study draws on individual, qualitative interviews with 19 boys and girls (aged 15-18 years) living in residential care homes in Norway. The interviews explored their narratives of everyday life in residential care. The adolescents were encouraged to tell about yesterday and were asked follow-up questions regarding everything that had occurred during encounters with employees. The Norwegian Center for Research Data approved the study. Findings: The analysis shows tensions in the adolescents’ accounts between the institution as an abnormal context and their own subject position as normal. By drawing upon the terms ‘stigma’ and ‘recognition’ in the analysis, the study shows how recognizing relationships between the youth and staff decrease the potential to experience stigma. Originality: This study contributes to existing knowledge on social work in residential care. The paper shows how the institutional framework and employees’ practices impact adolescents’ self-understanding and their experiences of residential care as a home.