Project on placements of Swiss and foreign minors completed

From 1940 to 1975, the authorities compulsorily placed Swiss and Italian minors in children’s homes and with foster families in the border cantons of Valais and Ticino. This occurred irrespective of their place of origin.

The border between Switzerland and Italy played an important role in the history of child placement. The Swiss authorities placed children from Switzerland and Italy in institutions on both sides of the border. Reasons for this included the lack of institutions in the canton of Ticino and insufficient places in the existing Ticino institutions.

Another reason for these placements outside the home country was the language problem that children from Ticino would face in the French-speaking and German-speaking regions of Switzerland. According to those responsible for the placements, such language problems did not allow any appropriate “re-education work”. Placements in Italy did away with these linguistic and social barriers.

The research project contains 12 recommendations summarised under the following five headings: paying greater attention to the cared-for individual and their background, the key importance of participation, expanding the educational services on offer, improving the transitional phases, better coordination between the institutions involved and greater public awareness.