Genesis and impact of psychiatric expertise on child placement
This research project examines psychiatric assessments within the context of child placements between 1921 and 1974. Among the central questions raised, we ask who is considered to be an expert, how an expert’s opinion is formed, what it comprises and what its impact was and is on the life of the person concerned.
Project description (completed research project)
This project critically investigates the role played by psychiatric assessments as regards to the placement of young children and children in their teens in children’s homes and foster families. It is based on the methodology of a quantitative analysis of approx. 3,500 patient files compiled by the Zurich cantonal child observation wards, Stephansburg (1921–1944) and Brüschhalde (1945–1974), as well as on a qualitative analysis of individual medical and life histories as well as interviews with the persons who were assessed in these institutions. Given that the patient records and assessments were mainly worked out by physicians and thus reflect their perspectives, it was essential that the perspectives of the persons concerned were considered in form of interviews and that a source-critical review of the files was carried out.
Genesis and impact of psychiatric expertise on child placement, 1921-1974