Creating Promising Futures Through Social Construction
By LETICIA RODRIGUEZ March 2019VUB Vrije University of Brussels
ENFOQUE Niñez is a Paraguayan non-governmental organization created with the mission of providing a concrete response to protect children and adolescents who have been or are at risk of being separated from their families as the result of judicial orders. The organization developed a method for working collaboratively with children, adolescents and their families that are referred to them. The aim of this practice based research was twofold. First, to explore if and how collaborative work practices, as developed by ENFOQUE Niñez, can be helpful for adolescents involved. Second, to explore the lived experiences and challenges as encountered in collaborative practices by adolescents, family homes members, and professionals.
Starting from social constructionism as the philosophical and epistemological orientation, a dialogic collaborative research was performed in which the voices of three protagonist groups of actors involved in the therapeutic and social work process, were included: young women, family home mothers, and members of the professional team of ENFOQUE Niñez. Besides the researcher, which is also part of the ENFOQUE Niñez’s team, 19 other persons participated in the study. The data consisted of transcribed (individual and group) dialogues, which were analyzed using Constructionist Grounded Theory as a methodological framework.
The protagonists considered that the relationships developed during the collaborative work processes were helpful when characterized by participation, support, co-responsibility, relational ethics, love and trust. However, these characteristics are regularly under pressure, due to a number of challenges, which appear in the complexity of these situations. Within the meaning the working processes have had, the experience of living with a family home, team working and collaborating in a responsive and dialogical way to the uniqueness, became relevant.