Relationship Building with Adolescents Indefinitely - Experiences of Care Workers in Restricted Emergency Residential Care for Adolescents on Long-term Placements in Norway
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- Studentoppgaver (SV-IS) 
In this study my aim was to explore how care workers within a Child Welfare Emergency Residential Facility for Adolescents experienced relationship building with adolescents on prolonged stay. The research question I wanted to answer was “How do care workers in a Child Welfare Emergency Residential Facility experience relationship building with long term placed adolescence with restrictions?”. To answer the research question and understand the care workers subjective experiences, I used a qualitative research design. I chose case study as my research method, as there is little pre-existing research on emergency residential care. Through qualitative in-depth interviews with four care workers, my objective was to explore their understanding of relationship building in this context, assess the challenges they encountered, and examine the strategies they applied when building relationships. My study found that the uncertainty of long-term placements caused unpredictable conditions for care workers with regard to providing systematic and trauma informed care. Coercive restrictions caused ethical dilemmas and limitations to positive relationship building and provoked aggressive behaviour. Care workers required self-awareness and reflexivity when interacting with the adolescents, to reduce violence and prevent burnout. Challenging behaviour was seen as a contributor to mental distress, and participants addressed lack of qualifications to meet the adolescents’ needs as an additional concern. Limited means to provide a meaningful stay required care workers to use themselves and their personal traits actively in interaction with the adolescents. Experienced based practices enabled the care workers to use creative strategies to ease the burden of prolonged placements. Conscious understanding of the effect of the relationship, and the implications that relationship building may have on the adolescents, were highlighted as important qualities for care workers. Recommendations of this study call for a reduction in long-term placements and the need of more comprehensive research on emergency residential care.