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Home and (dis)continuity: Foster care for children with migrant backgrounds (HoMi)

Home and (dis)continuity: Foster care for children with migrant backgrounds (HoMi)

HoMi’s primary objective is to enhance the participation and wellbeing of children with migrant backgrounds living in foster care, through providing policy makers and practitioners with the knowledge they need to implement culturally sensitive services. To achieve this objective, we will a) analyse policy documents in six European countries, b) explore professional practice in Norway and Sweden, and c) follow a group of children and their foster carers in Norway and Sweden for three years.

Due to globalisation and increased migration across European countries, a growing number of children with migrant backgrounds are placed in foster care. However, we lack knowledge about how current arrangements meet the specific needs of these children.

In media debates, critics claim that child welfare services lack cultural sensitivity; that children’s cultural rights and needs are not sufficiently taken into account. Others point to the pitfall of over-focusing on ‘cultural’ aspects, thus overlooking children’s right to participation and protection.

HoMi explores how current arrangements impact on migrant children’s opportunities to participate and live well, while growing up in foster care and later in life.

We ask:

  • How do European state policies frame and give direction to foster care practice?
  • How can continuity be considered in best interest assessments for children with migrant background entering foster care?
  • What are child welfare workers and former foster children’s perspectives on the role of cultural background, when children are matched with foster carers?
  • How do children and their carers understand what it means to establish and maintain a place called ‘home’?

Based on the knowledge gained through this extensive data collection, HoMi aims to better understand the complex dilemmas at play and produce useful knowledge and recommendations for policy and practice.


Our project employs an innovative and participatory methodological design, combining pioneering qualitative data collection through photo-elicitation exercises with discussion of experimental vignettes in focus groups. Both methods enable participants to be actively involved in shaping and creating the data and elaborate on aspects that would otherwise be unexplored or silenced.

  • WP1 - document analysis,
  • WP2 - focus group discussions and individual interviews based on experimental vignettes
  • WP3 - photo-elicitation exercises and narrative interviews


Milfrid Tonheim

Research Professor - Bergen

+47 56 10 76 32

Project facts


Home and (dis)continuity: Foster care for children with migrant backgrounds (HoMi)




03.08.20 - 28.02.25



Total budget

11.994.000 NOK

Research areas

Research group

Research Topics


Research Council of Norway (RCN)



Project members

Ingrid Höjer
Elin Hultman
Frederikke Jarlby
Ragnhild Hollekim
Øyvind Samnøy Tefre
Raquel Herrero-Arias


NORCE, RKBU Vest, Göteborgs universitet, Universitetet i Bergen, Høgskulen på Vestlandet