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Special needs education and school mobility: School outcomes for children laced and not placed in out-of-home care

Journal article
Authors Åse Hansson
Jan-Eric Gustafsson
Bo Nielsen
Published in Children and Youth Services Review
Volume 94
Pages 589-597
ISSN 0190-7409
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Pages 589-597
Language en
Keywords Placed in out-of-home care, Special needs education, School mobility, foster-care, welfare clients, youth, disabilities, achievement, resilience, inclusion, barriers, students, plight
Subject categories Pedagogy, Social Work


The aim of the study is to describe and discuss differences between children placed in out-of-home care and non-placed children in the Swedish compulsory school, with respect to special needs education, school mobility and academic achievement. Data was retrieved from the Swedish longitudinal Evaluation Through Follow-up (ETF) project, which includes a combination of survey and register data. Five cohorts were included in the study: children born 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987 and 1992. The results show that placed children with average cognitive ability have lower grades than could be expected. However, this group of children is not more exposed to special needs education focused on improving academic performances than non-placed children with corresponding cognitive ability. A hypothesis was formulated, that the many relocations that placed children are exposed to could affect the quality of special education services, and that the negative effects of school mobility on grades thus could be mediated through the special needs education students receive. Results from regression analyses suggest that early inclusive special needs education has a positive effect on student achievement in general and particularly so for children placed in out-of-home care. However, for inclusive special needs education in Grades 7 to 9 the estimated effect was negative.

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