Höga förväntningar på kontaktpersoner?
En studie av föräldrapraktiker och insatsen kontaktperson för ungdomar inom socialtjänsten
High expectations of contact persons? A study of parental practices and the contact person intervention for young people in social services
A contact person for teenagers, an intervention offered by the social services, is discussed in this article on the basis of a qualitative study accomplished in 2010–2014. It is based on focus groups, documents and interviews with teenagers, parents, contact persons and social workers. Research dealing with the contact person intervention takes partly contradictory views. In qualitative studies the contact person system has been described as a positive intervention of all categories involved. During the last few years it has been questioned, especially in a comprehensive quantitative study, indicating that the intervention even seemed to increase the risk of being placed in out-of-home care in the future. In this article we present a deepened picture of the teenagers in the study with a focus on their backgrounds and life situations. The background factors we have discovered, often invisible in a register study, point to the very complex situations the social services have to handle. Another part deals with how the intervention can be understood in relation to parenting and specifically which dimensions of parenting the social services judge as inadequate. In the analysis of the contact persons’ assignments it is obvious that the social services plan the intervention based on the parents inabilities to guide and support their teenagers. The contact person is often supposed to act as a ”compensating” parent.