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Definition and Assessment of Quality and Deficiencies in Children’s Residential Homes: Professional and Supervisory Viewpoints

Tampere University
Duration of project1.8.2022–30.6.2026
Area of focusSociety

Doctoral research, social work


This dissertation examines the practices of defining and evaluating the quality and defects of substitute care in children’s residential homes in Finland. The study asks what quality and defects mean in the context of residential care and how do the practices that aim to maintain quality and identify and eliminate defects work. In addition, the study sheds light on how such practices define and shape the institutional role of child protection and residential care as well as its position in the society. In addition, the research will focus specifically on the relationship and possible conflicts between legal supervision, legal regulation and the practice in children’s residential homes.


The aim of the study is to analyse the practices of defining the role, mission and quality of child protection in residential care. The research questions are: 1) What do quality and shortcomings in children’s residential care mean and how are they defined? 2) How is the role and place of child protection defined in such social practices that assess residential care? The research data consist of individual interviews with professionals working in the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, Regional State Administrative Agencies and child welfare institutions, as well as written material produced by them in their work, such as inspection records, self-monitoring plans and plans for good treatment.


The theoretical and methodological contribution of the study is related to the theorizing and conceptual refinement of the institutional role and quality of child protection and the development of socio-legal research as part of social work research discussions. From the perspectives of the social and practical impact of the study, identifying and analysing the challenges of integrating the task of child welfare, everyday life and the norms that define it will at best enable the development of legislation, supervisory practices and professional activities in child welfare. The significance of the research topic is increased by the comprehensive reform of child welfare legislation initiated by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Funding source

The Foundation for Municipal Development, Olvi Foundation