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Research project Infants in out-of-home care: Prevalence, care histories, and adult outcomes

Each year, around 1 percent of European children are placed in out-of-home care (OHC ). In Sweden, the risk of placement is greatest during the teenage years. However, a significant proportion of all children are placed in OHC as infants (<12 months).

Despite these children’s extreme vulnerability and specific needs, the knowledge about their characteristics, care histories, and long-term development is very limited.

The aim of this project is to examine infant placements in OHC from a life course perspective. More specifically, the project will describe the children and their background, map out their OHC /child welfare histories, and examine their health and psychosocial outcomes in adulthood.

The project is based on longitudinal register data from ten Swedish birth year cohorts including more than 1,000,000 individuals (of which around 0.5 % have been placed in OHC as infants). The cohort will be followed from birth (1972-1981) to the age of 38-47 (2019). The unique data material makes it possible to study how children placed in OHC as infants differ from peers who were never placed or who had their first OHC experience at later stages of childhood. The analysis is also intended to identify possible subgroups of infants placed in OHC.

Project members

Project managers

Hilma Forsman


Department of Social Work
Hilma Forsman. Foto: Rickard Kihlström