Me and my foster family – lending a hand to better well-being is the name of an ambitious project aimed at strengthening the well-being and learning of children and adolescents placed in foster families. The project is carried out by researchers at NUBU. It is initiated by the Tryg Foundation that funds the project with 17 million DKK. Furthermore, Den A. P. Møllerske Støttefond has granted 6,4 million DKK.
Systematic measurements of foster children’s well-being and learning progress
Foster children and adolescents’ well-being have the potential to improve substantially if the main caregivers around them systematically follow the children’s development and intervene with relevant and effective efforts. That is the primary hypothesis of this project.
Hence, in this project municipalities, foster families and researchers work together to choose and adjust measurement tools that can help foster families improve the well-being and learning of their foster children in everyday life. Today the well-being of these children is followed by the social workers and family care consultants. In this project, however, also the foster parents, the primary teacher or kindergarten teacher are asked to take part in the assessments of the foster child’s well-being and learning progress – and even the child itself if old enough.
The measurement tools provide an opportunity to compare the child’s development and well-being with that of other children the same age.
“Adults that engage with a child on everyday basis will often have a good sense of the child’s overall well-being and learning progress. However, by time a child’s bad thriving and low academic performance risk becoming a new normal. Just as it happens when we drive a car for many hours at the highway: at some point in time, we become blinded by the speed. The measurement tools in this project serve as a kind of speedometer for adult care-givers and professionals at risk of becoming ‘blinded by speed”, explains Charlotte Bredahl Jacobsen, project manager in NUBU.
Increased well-being – better lives
The project’s short-term goal is to improve the well-being and learning of the foster children and adolescents. In the long-term, it will improve the children’s opportunities for mastering their own lives and lead to a smoother path towards an education, work, good health and the avoidance of social problems.
Me and my foster family – lending a hand to better well-being started in the autumn of 2017 and is set to run in a trial period of 4 years. In April 2020 the testing of the tools will start in eight Danish municipalities.