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Caught Between a Troubled Past and an Uncertain Future: The Well-Being of Asylum-Seeking Children in Sweden

Chapter in book
Authors Ulla Björnberg
Published in Family well-being : European perspectives / Almudena Moreno Mínguez, editor.
Pages 261-275
ISBN 978-94-007-4353-3
Publisher Springer
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Pages 261-275
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4354-...
Keywords asylum seeking childre, resilience, asylumseeking families
Subject categories Sociology

Abstract

Abstract Drawing upon a study of the experiences of asylum-seeking children and their families in Sweden, this chapter examines how children cope with their life situations while awaiting their asylum decisions. What influences the well-being of asylum-seeking children caught up in a tension between experiences of past and present exclusion and expectations of improvement upon arrival in the host country? The analysis is based on qualitative interviews with 18 children (aged 9–18) and 18 parents (one parent for each child). The interviewed families had been waiting for a decision on their residence permit application for several months and sometimes even years. Utilizing concepts such as resilience, social capital, trust, and social recognition, the ways in which social networks might function as important resources fostering the well-being of asylum-seeking children and their parents are assessed. Possibilities for social networking among the interviewed children were found to be often constrained due to their specific social and legal situation in the host country. They were also undermined by their family circumstances and factors related to their past experiences and the challenges inherent in their everyday life during the waiting period. Concrete measures to support asylum-seeking families and their children in order to foster their well-being are suggested.

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