Skolfam is a Swedish acronym of School and Family. The aim is to strengthen school results for children in foster care. It was developed in Helsingborg 2005, and is a work in a network frame of around 26 Swedish municipalities (Oct 2015). It can be described as a structured assessment, monitoring and follow-up, based on standardized instruments.
Children in long term foster-care have an almost three times higher risk ratio for having mean grades among the lowest sixth. An even higher risk ratio was found when researchers investigated the probability of leaving studies after mandatory school. This tend to result in problems, such as unemployment, health issues, drugs and other individual and societal problems related to social exclusion.
But the good news is that risks of having these troubles, are cut by roughly half if children in foster care don´t fail in school. And this is what Skolfam is all about. By mapping individual childrens capacity to perform in school we can find exactly what is needed to make sure that children get the most out of every lesson in school.
This is what happens: A school psychologist and a special education teacher assess childrens strenghts and gaps in psychological factors as well as maths and language. They make a structured plan together with the school and foster parents, and perform regular checkup meetings in school for two years. Then we do the same assessment again, using the same standardized tests and forms as the first time. This means that we can measure the effect, which usually is really good.
So far, over 500 children are enrolled in Skolfam in Sweden and a growing number of children in foster care has experience of finishing school with possibilities to further studies in higher levels. Skolfam has so far enhanced the probability of finishing complimentary school with grades good enough to further studies from 6 out of 10, to 8 out of 10. That is something we, and our children in foster care, are very proud of!