Private and public actors in out-of-home child care processes

Since the 19th century, (semi-)private actors have played an important role in the out-of-home placement of minors. Since the 1990s, this has gained significance once again, especially in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. A strikingly large number of such placements have been registered in Berne and the Grisons.

  • Project description (completed research project)

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    The project investigates the situations in Berne and the Grisons from a historical and a sociological perspective, looking into the complex interaction between private and public bodies with regard to the out-of-home placement of children. It analyses how the transferring of state tasks to private – and in part commercially-oriented – institutions was, is, (and will be) legitimized as well as studying the impact of this mixed form of welfare economics on the children and their families. It raises the question as to the discourse and the conditions under which institutions and foster families taking on this task, “out of love”, become involved in the provision of these services. Within this context, e.g., the significance of gender-specific thought patterns as well as gender-oriented civil law and a gainful employment system discriminating women have coined the placement practices historically and still do so today.

  • Results

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    The summary of the results for this project are available here:

  • Original title

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    In the best interests of children? Private actors and public authorities in out-of-home child care processes in the cantons of Bern and Graubünden (1945 to the present)