‘Deviation’ as a potential resource

On this website you can read about the research project ”Deviation as a potential resource”. The project is funded by the Obel Family Foundation and will be carried out from September 2012 to November 2017.
Under ‘activities’ you can see and follow our latest activities in connection with the project.
Under ‘your experience’ you can share your experience with being placed in foster care or residential homes or your personal experience with turning difficulties into strengths.

Professor in Social Science, Hanne Warming will be responsible for the overall coordination. In addition, Ph.D. students Signe Fjordside and Manon Lavaud, student assistants Rosa Haumark Carlsen and Sara Romme Rasmussen are also working on this project. Initiator of the project, Jonas Sekyere, who should also have participated, lost his life 17th November 2012 under tragic circumstances. 

This project is therefore dedicated to Jonas.

A visionary approach to the social work with vulnerable children and youth

Children growing up under difficult conditions usually develop differently than other children. For instance they can both acquire unique characteristics such as responsibility, reflexivity and the ability to read other persons’ needs, but also characteristics such as anxiety, loneliness and self-hate.

Yet, it is very rare that these qualities, which these children have developed, are recognised as competences and seen as a resource in the further development of the child. Instead, these special characteristics are seen as symptoms of ”mis-development”. Therefore, these characteristics and competences become something that has to be compensated for, before the child can have a ”healthy” development. Normality becomes the most ambitious goal. However, this goal is often considered as being unrealistic, and thus the expectations for the children are downgraded. Instead, focus is on compensation rather than development in the work with these children.

The question is whether or not the goal of normality is too ambitious – or if it is rather mistaken, and that there is a need for other goals. In this project, we focus on the unique qualities that these children and youth develop. The objective is partly empirically based theory building, and partly development and testing of a new method to recognise and work with the unique qualities of these children and youth as a potential resource in their lives and development.

The project consists of 3 intertwined sub-projects:

1) Basic research: Mapping existing knowledge and experiences about the work with vulnerable children and youth
2) Development project: Developing and testing a new method in two selected care centers and two municipal foster care departments
3) Follow-up research: Experience gathering, analysing and dissemination of the results.

Read more about the project and the three sub-projects under ’about the project’.

The project is a part of two research networks at Roskilde University called CEBUFF and CSCCP, as well  the international research network TRUDY and the ’National Network for Social Pedagogy and Social Work’.