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In this study, we analyse 32 district court decisions regarding custody transfers from the birth parents to the foster parents in Sweden. When a child has been in foster care for three years, in order to enhance stability for child, the local social welfare committee considers a transferral of custody to the foster parents following an application to the district court. Although all but one of the decisions in our study favoured a custody transfer, the courts acknowledge different reasons for this. Specifically, there is vagueness about whether or not functioning contact between the child and birth parents is a hindrance in custody transfer. Our findings stress the need for clarification in the law regarding the criteria for custody transfer in order to reach a more unified judgment. Furthermore, the district courts do not sufficiently acknowledge children’s views, and we suggest that children and young people should be made more visible in the decision-making process.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.