A coercive protection? Assessing child protection norms and decision-making

It is on the basis of a transversal approach (administrative decisions and decisions under civil and penal law) that this socio-historical research project will investigate the changes to coercive measures taken by the state to protect minors in the French-speaking part of Switzerland between 1960 and today.

  • Project description (ongoing research project)

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    This socio-historical research project aims at clarifying the changes to protective systems for minors in the French-speaking part of Switzerland between 1960 and today.

    The analysis will be based on two axes:

    1. changes to the normative framework (laws and guidelines) for the protection of minors as well as
    2. the decision-making processes (notifications, evaluations, decisions) that lead to the taking of protection measures, based on the analysis of personal files, qualitative interviews, and ethnographic observations.

    Two contradictory case studies in the cantons Geneva and Wallis will allow us to illuminate our research hypotheses on the different impacts of the implementation of minor protection policy in the past fifty years.

  • Background

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    It is with this study that we wish to clarify and understand uncertainties with regard to state interventions in view of protecting minors during a historical period that was apparently characterized by contradictory dynamics (increasing importance of the rights of the child and juridification of the protection of minors). This genealogical investigation of the past fifty years wishes to identify the changes to coercive protection measures used as a lever for the protection of minors.

  • Aim

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    This project aims at analysing the taking into consideration of the rights of children and families with regard to child protection measure decisions over the course of the past fifty years. This analysis will look into the perspectives and practices of the authorities and institutions concerned in order to achieve better understanding for how they exercise their mandates, with due regard for changes to regulatory requirements and considering the parties involved.

  • Relevance

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    The research results will lead to a better understanding of the processes and the challenges as well as helping to decrease uncertainties of various different parties: social scientists interested in a better understanding of the protective institutions, families and individuals impacted in the past and today as well as public institutions wishing to gain better understanding of the protection practices).

  • Original title

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    A coercive protection ? Assessing child protection norms and decision-making in the age of children's rights (French speaking Switzerland, 1960s–2010s)