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Using the capability approach in social work with unaccompanied young adult refugees

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Abstract
This study reviews two different types of frontline social services for unaccompanied young adult refugees participating in an intensive Social Support Programme implemented in 2016-2019 by a local municipality. More specifically, the study took a phenomenological research approach to review the impact of intensive case management and specialised educational/occupational orientation services on young refugees' capabilities and agency to reach aspired life goals. The capability approach has been applied as a theoretical framework for identifying opportunities and challenges in this regard. The paper covers a mixed-method design that includes qualitative and quantitative data. The qualitative data are drawn from 42 in-depth interviews with 24 young refugees and one interview and three focus group discussions with 10 service providers. The article also includes a limited amount of longitudinal statistics on the aspirations of 31 young refugees upon entering and exiting the support programme. Findings This article shows theoretical and empirical evidence for utilising the capability approach to review social services for young refugees. Findings suggest that social workers and refugees face intersecting structural and interpersonal tensions that counteract with the expansion of young refugees' capabilities and agency to reach their aspired life goals. Specific strategies are suggested to diminish described challenges. Applications Social work with unaccompanied young adult refugees should shift its attention from integrating these young individuals into the dominant social order, to prioritising their human development.
Keywords
Social Sciences (miscellaneous), Health(social science), Social work, refugees, cultural competency, case management, social justice, culturally sensitive, SOUTH-AFRICA INSIGHTS, ASYLUM-SEEKING, PEOPLE, CHILDREN, DURBAN, AGENCY, UK

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Citation

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MLA
Van Raemdonck, Laura, et al. “Using the Capability Approach in Social Work with Unaccompanied Young Adult Refugees.” JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK, 2021, doi:10.1177/14680173211009744.
APA
Van Raemdonck, L., Clycq, N., & Mahieu, R. (2021). Using the capability approach in social work with unaccompanied young adult refugees. JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK. https://doi.org/10.1177/14680173211009744
Chicago author-date
Van Raemdonck, Laura, Noel Clycq, and Rilke Mahieu. 2021. “Using the Capability Approach in Social Work with Unaccompanied Young Adult Refugees.” JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK. https://doi.org/10.1177/14680173211009744.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Van Raemdonck, Laura, Noel Clycq, and Rilke Mahieu. 2021. “Using the Capability Approach in Social Work with Unaccompanied Young Adult Refugees.” JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK. doi:10.1177/14680173211009744.
Vancouver
1.
Van Raemdonck L, Clycq N, Mahieu R. Using the capability approach in social work with unaccompanied young adult refugees. JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK. 2021;
IEEE
[1]
L. Van Raemdonck, N. Clycq, and R. Mahieu, “Using the capability approach in social work with unaccompanied young adult refugees,” JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK, 2021.
@article{8713564,
  abstract     = {{This study reviews two different types of frontline social services for unaccompanied young adult refugees participating in an intensive Social Support Programme implemented in 2016-2019 by a local municipality. More specifically, the study took a phenomenological research approach to review the impact of intensive case management and specialised educational/occupational orientation services on young refugees' capabilities and agency to reach aspired life goals. The capability approach has been applied as a theoretical framework for identifying opportunities and challenges in this regard. The paper covers a mixed-method design that includes qualitative and quantitative data. The qualitative data are drawn from 42 in-depth interviews with 24 young refugees and one interview and three focus group discussions with 10 service providers. The article also includes a limited amount of longitudinal statistics on the aspirations of 31 young refugees upon entering and exiting the support programme.

Findings

This article shows theoretical and empirical evidence for utilising the capability approach to review social services for young refugees. Findings suggest that social workers and refugees face intersecting structural and interpersonal tensions that counteract with the expansion of young refugees' capabilities and agency to reach their aspired life goals. Specific strategies are suggested to diminish described challenges.

Applications

Social work with unaccompanied young adult refugees should shift its attention from integrating these young individuals into the dominant social order, to prioritising their human development.}},
  articleno    = {{146801732110097}},
  author       = {{Van Raemdonck, Laura and Clycq, Noel and Mahieu, Rilke}},
  issn         = {{1468-0173}},
  journal      = {{JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK}},
  keywords     = {{Social Sciences (miscellaneous),Health(social science),Social work,refugees,cultural competency,case management,social justice,culturally sensitive,SOUTH-AFRICA INSIGHTS,ASYLUM-SEEKING,PEOPLE,CHILDREN,DURBAN,AGENCY,UK}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  title        = {{Using the capability approach in social work with unaccompanied young adult refugees}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/14680173211009744}},
  year         = {{2021}},
}

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