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Critical Debates and Developments in Child Protection: Some Introductory Comments
 
 
Article

Participation of Children and Parents in the Swiss Child Protection System in the Past and Present: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

1
Institute for Studies in Children and Youth Services, School of Social Work, University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland FHNW, 4132 Muttenz, Switzerland
2
Centre for Evaluation and Legislative Studies, Faculty of Law, University of Geneva, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
3
Independent researcher, 8820 Wädenswil, Switzerland
4
Centre for Children’s Rights Studies, University of Geneva, 1950 Sion, Switzerland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2020, 9(8), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9080148
Received: 6 July 2020 / Revised: 10 August 2020 / Accepted: 12 August 2020 / Published: 18 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Debates and Developments in Child Protection)
As in other European countries, the Swiss child protection system has gone through substantial changes in the course of the 20th century up to today. Increasingly, the needs as well as the participation of children and parents affected by child protection interventions have become a central concern. In Switzerland, critical debates around care-related detention of children and adults until 1981 have led to the launch of the National Research Program ‘Welfare and Coercion—Past, Present and Future’ (NRP 76), with the aim of understanding past and current welfare practices. This paper is based on our research project, which is part of this national program. We first discuss three overarching concepts—integrity, autonomy and participation—at the heart of a theoretical framework in order to understand the position of parents and children in child protection proceedings. Secondly, we critically analyze the historical and legal development of the child protection system in Switzerland and its effects on children and parents from 1912 until today. Thirdly, we give an insight into the current Swiss child protection system, with an investigation of hearings of parents and children conducted by the Child and Adult Protection Authorities (CAPA) based on participant observations. In particular, we show the importance of information exchanges and of signs of mutual recognition. Finally, in light of our findings, we discuss the interplay between socio-historical and legal developments in child protection and their consequences for the integrity, autonomy and participation of the people involved. View Full-Text
Keywords: child protection; child protection system; participation; integrity; autonomy; historical analysis; legal analysis; participant observation; human rights; children’s rights; Switzerland child protection; child protection system; participation; integrity; autonomy; historical analysis; legal analysis; participant observation; human rights; children’s rights; Switzerland
MDPI and ACS Style

Schoch, A.; Aeby, G.; Müller, B.; Cottier, M.; Seglias, L.; Biesel, K.; Sauthier, G.; Schnurr, S. Participation of Children and Parents in the Swiss Child Protection System in the Past and Present: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Soc. Sci. 2020, 9, 148. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9080148

AMA Style

Schoch A, Aeby G, Müller B, Cottier M, Seglias L, Biesel K, Sauthier G, Schnurr S. Participation of Children and Parents in the Swiss Child Protection System in the Past and Present: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Social Sciences. 2020; 9(8):148. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9080148

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schoch, Aline, Gaëlle Aeby, Brigitte Müller, Michelle Cottier, Loretta Seglias, Kay Biesel, Gaëlle Sauthier, and Stefan Schnurr. 2020. "Participation of Children and Parents in the Swiss Child Protection System in the Past and Present: An Interdisciplinary Perspective" Social Sciences 9, no. 8: 148. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci9080148

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