Hilma Forsman. Foto: Rickard Kihlström

Hilma Forsman


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Arbetar vid Institutionen för socialt arbete
Telefon 08-16 32 49
Besöksadress Sveavägen 160, Sveaplan
Rum 649
Postadress Institutionen för socialt arbete 106 91 Stockholm


  • Socialt arbete: Barn och ungdomar II, 7.5 hp (avancerad nivå)
  • Skolsocialt arbete och elevhälsa, 7.5 hp (avancerad nivå)
  • Kvantitativ forskningsmetod, 7.5 hp (avancerad nivå)
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Huvudsakligt forskningsområde

Socialt utsatta barns utveckling, betydelsen av skolprestationer och interventionsstudier.



Dåliga utbildningsutfall bland barn med erfarenhet av samhällsvård – Studier om påverkan, utbildningsvägar och interventioner



Lars Brännström, Bo Vinnerljung och Marie Sallnäs



I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 2019. Hilma Forsman. Oxford Review of Education 45 (4), 502-518

    The book-gifting programme, the Letterbox Club, was developed as a response to the increased interest in ways of improving the educational outcomes of children in out-of-home care. By reporting quantitative and qualitative findings from a Swedish trial, and compiling findings from previous British evaluations, the purpose of this paper is to further our understanding of the programme’s potential impact. Pre/post measurements of the reading age of 72 foster children showed an average improvement of 2.5 months in comparison to the national average. With some exceptions, interviews with children and carers showed that the programme was well received and indicated that it could increase reading engagement and carer involvement. The current empirical base knowledge suggests that the Letterbox Club has a small impact on foster children’s literacy. The results do not allow for causal interpretations. Long-term outcomes are unknown. The programme lacks a theoretical foundation, and the implementation is dependent on individual and contextual factors. However, the programme is simple to administer, low-cost, and can reach a large number of children. The article therefore suggests that the Letterbox Club could be seen as a general supportive measure, and promotion of carer involvement is proposed as a way of improving its potential impact.

  • Artikel A decade lost
    2018. Ylva B. Almquist (et al.). Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 72 (11), 997-1002

    Background: Past research has consistently identified children with experience of out-of-home care (OHC) as a high-risk group for premature mortality. While many have argued that educational success is a key factor in reducing these individuals’ excessive death risks, the empirical evidence has hitherto been limited. The aim of the current study was therefore to examine the potentially mitigating role of educational success for the association between OHC experience and premature mortality.

    Methods: Drawing on a Stockholm cohort born in 1953 (n=15,117), we analysed the associations between placement in OHC (ages 0-12), school performance (ages 13, 16, and 19), and premature all-cause mortality (ages 20-56) by means of Cox and Laplace regression analysis.

    Results: The Cox regression models confirmed the increased risk of premature mortality among individuals with OHC experience. Unadjusted Laplace regression models showed that these children died more than a decade, based on median survival time, before their majority population peers. However, among individuals who performed well at school, i.e. scored above-average marks at age 16 (grade 9) and age 19 (grade 12), respectively, the risks of premature mortality did not significantly differ between the two groups.

    Conclusion: Educational success seems to mitigate the increased risks of premature death among children with experience of OHC.

  • 2017. Lars Brännström (et al.). Child Maltreatment 22 (3), 205-214

    International research has consistently reported that children placed in out-of-home care (OHC) have poor outcomes in young adulthood. Yet, little is known about their outcomes in midlife. Using prospective data from a cohort of more than 14,000 Swedes born in 1953, of which nearly 9% have been placed in OHC, this study examines whether there is developmental continuity or discontinuity of disadvantage reaching into middle age in OHC children, compared to same-aged peers. Outcome profiles, here conceptualized as combinations of adverse outcomes related to education, economic hardship, unemployment, and mental health problems, were assessed in 1992–2008 (ages 39–55). Results indicate that having had experience of OHC was associated with 2-fold elevated odds of ending up in the most disadvantaged outcome profile, controlling for observed confounding factors. These findings suggest that experience of OHC is a strong marker for disadvantaged outcomes also in midlife.

  • 2017. Hilma Forsman. Child & Family Social Work 22 (1), 409-418

    Previous studies have shown that paired reading, a structured literacy intervention, is a promising method for improving looked-after children's literacy skills. The aim of this study was to explore variations in foster carers' experiences of conducting the intervention. Interviews were carried out with 15 Swedish foster carers with varying experiences in programme compliance and of practicing the method. Findings suggest that the intervention process starts with getting carers involved, which seems to be dependent on a positive carer attitude. Integrating the reading training in the everyday life is another important aspect, which evolves around motivating the child and prioritizing the reading sessions. Furthermore, the results emphasize the need of having a flexible approach when delivering the intervention. The results suggest that it is possible to engage foster carers in literacy training for looked-after children and that paired reading can provide a model for competent reading and also result in improved child/carer relations. However, participants need support, and in some cases adjustments in the day-to-day delivery of the intervention are required.

  • 2017. Hilma Forsman, Bo Vinnerljung. Skolsocialt arbete, 195-205
  • 2017. Lars Brännström (et al.). International Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect 67, 408-418

    Little is known about developmental outcomes in midlife of persons who were placed in out-of-home care (OHC) in childhood. Utilizing longitudinal Swedish data from a cohort of more than 14,000 individuals who we can follow from birth (1953) to the age of 55 (2008), this study examines midlife trajectories of social, economic, and health-related disadvantages with a specific focus on the complexity, timing, and duration of disadvantage in individuals with and without childhood experience of OHC. Roughly half of the OHC alumni did not have disadvantaged outcomes in midlife. However, experience of OHC was associated with a two-fold risk for various forms of permanent disadvantage, net of confounding factors. Implications for research, policy, and practice are discussed.

  • 2016. Hilma Forsman (et al.). International Journal of Child Abuse & Neglect 57, 61-71

    Research has shown that children in foster care are a high-risk group for adverse economic, social and health related outcomes in young adulthood. Children's poor school performance has been identified as a major risk factor for these poor later life outcomes. Aiming to support the design of effective intervention strategies, this study examines the hypothesized causal effect of foster children's poor school performance on subsequent psychosocial problems, here conceptualized as economic hardship, illicit drug use, and mental health problems, in young adulthood. Using the potential outcomes approach, longitudinal register data on more than 7500 Swedish foster children born 1973–1978 were analyzed by means of doubly robust treatment-effect estimators. The results show that poor school performance has a negative impact on later psychosocial problems net of observed background attributes and potential selection on unobservables, suggesting that the estimated effects allow for causal interpretations. Promotion of school performance may thus be a viable intervention path for policymakers and practitioners interested in improving foster children's overall life chances.

  • 2015. Bo Vinnerljung (et al.).

    Samhället har tagit på sig ett stort ansvar för de barn som placeras utanför hemmet. Många av dem har upplevt svårigheter och inte fått tillräcklig omvårdnad. Ska dessa barn få samma möjlighet till ett gott liv som sina jämnåriga kamrater behöver de därför ett minst lika bra omhändertagande, av både fosterföräldrar och samhället i stort.

    Barn som lever i fosterhem är en mycket heterogen grupp. De behöver olika vård och bemötande i familjehemmet för att utvecklas optimalt. Just detta mycket komplexa förhållande berörs inte i denna kunskapsöversikt. Här har vi valt att fokusera på samhällets grundläggande omhändertagande av barnen.

    Tre primära beståndsdelar i den nordiska välfärdsmodellen är att ge barn en god och jämlik utbildning, förebygga hälsoproblem och underlätta övergången från barndom till vuxenliv. Det är dessa områden som beskrivs här. Den nordiska forskning som finns pekar på att barn som växer upp i fosterhem inte får samma goda stöd som andra barn på dessa områden och det tycks inte bli bättre under tiden i vård!

    Nordens Välfärdscenter och författarna presenterar konkreta rekommendationer om hur man kan förbättra situationen för fosterhemsplacerade barn. Det är rekommendationer som sannolikt förhindrar utanförskap och ohälsa för ett antal av dem på både kort och lång sikt.

  • 2014. Bo Vinnerljung (et al.). Adoption & Fostering 38 (4), 361-373

    A UK literacy intervention – Paired Reading – was replicated in seven Swedish local authorities, with 81 foster children aged 8–12 participating in a 16-week trial. Ability was measured pre/post intervention with age-standardised literacy tests and a short version of the WISC-IV. Results confirm and expand findings from the UK, namely that: almost all foster carers and children completed the programme (attrition 2.4%), average improvement in reading age was 11 months, basically the same as in the UK; younger children (aged 8–9) improved significantly on all four administered standardised reading tests, and on the WISC-IV Vocabulary subtest. Older children (aged 10–12) improved significantly on three of five literacy tests and on the WISC-IV Vocabulary subtest. On the short version of WISC-IV, vocabulary improvements over time reduced the proportion of children who could be classified as having ‘weak cognitive skills’ (IQ <85) from 54% to 36%. This finding is in line with results from other studies, indicating that scores from cognitive tests of pre-teen children in out-of-home care should not be regarded as fixed and can be improved by effective interventions.

  • 2012. Hilma Forsman, Bo Vinnerljung. Children and youth services review 34 (6), 1084-1091

    The educational underachievement of children in out-of-home care has been known for decades. In this scoping review, we compiled and analyzed – with a narrative approach – evaluated interventions that aimed to improve foster children's school achievements. Despite a comprehensive searching strategy, only eleven relevant studies were found, indicating that little has been done in intervention research to improve educational outcomes for children in public care. Nine out of the eleven interventions reported some positive results. Literacy was improved in most studies, while evaluated attempts to enhance numeracy skills yielded mixed results. Positive results came from a range of different interventions, e.g. tutoring projects and structured individualized support. We conclude that most focused interventions seem to improve foster children's poor academic achievements, but tutoring projects have so far the best empirical support from evaluations with rigorous designs. Also there's a definite need for more intervention research.

Visa alla publikationer av Hilma Forsman vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 7 januari 2020

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