Project

Back to overview

Integrity, autonomy and participation in child protection: How do children and parents experience the proceedings of Child and Adult Protection Authorities?

English title Integrity, autonomy and participation in child protection: How do children and parents experience the proceedings of Child and Adult Protection Authorities?
Applicant Cottier Michelle
Number 177445
Funding scheme NRP 76 Welfare and coercion
Research institution Département de droit civil Faculté de droit Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Legal sciences
Start/End 01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022
Approved amount 707'776.00
Show all

All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Legal sciences
Psychology
Sociology
Social work

Keywords (6)

Parental rights; Children's rights; Child protection proceedings; Autonomy; Integrity; Participation

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
How do children and parents experience the proceedings of Child and Adult Protection Authorities?Through historical and legal analysis as well as an empirical study in the French and German speaking regions of Switzerland, this project studies how children and parents understand, experience and respond to what happens to them during child protection proceedings.
Lay summary

Project description
In line with the goals of the NRP 76, this project aims to produce knowledge about key features of fair child protection proceedings. Historical analysis provides a record of existing historiographic knowledge about children’s and parents’ experiences of the actions and decisions of child protection authorities (pre-1981 and 1981-2012). Legal analysis studies the long-term development of parents’ and children’s rights in child protection proceedings (1907 - to date) and innovative developments in other countries. The empirical study in French- and German-speaking regions of Switzerland asks how parents and children currently perceive the actions and interventions of Swiss Child and Adult Protection Authorities (CAPAs). A final interdisciplinary phase will develop a draft legislation for a new child protection procedure and accompanying guidelines.
Context
Both historical and current international research indicate that child protection proceedings, being complex and controversial, create manifold opportunities for actions and interactions that children and parents may experience as violating their integrity and threatening their autonomy. To avoid this risk, it is necessary to know more about parents’ and children’s experiences with child protection authorities.
Aims
The project aims to study how children and parents understand, experience and respond to what happens to them during child protection proceedings, and in encounters with Swiss CAPAs, and what the characteristics of proceedings are that will encourage them, in particular the children, to make use of their right to be heard, and participate in ways that are both meaningful to them and have their best interest at heart.
Importance
The results will be of significance not only for scientific debate, but will also raise the awareness of child protection professionals regarding the conditions and settings that encourage and support genuine participation by children and parents. The project will furthermore provide information on innovative, deliberative models designed to facilitate participation in child protection proceedings, and thus help realise the full potential of the interdisciplinary composition of Child and Adult Protection Authorities in Switzerland.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 20.06.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Project partner

Publications

Publication
Les familles issues de la migration dans les audiences de protection de l'enfant en Suisse. Entre universalisme et psychologisation
Saugy Aude, Aeby Gaëlle (2021), Les familles issues de la migration dans les audiences de protection de l'enfant en Suisse. Entre universalisme et psychologisation, in TSANTSA – Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association, 26, 195-202.
Participation of Children and Parents in the Swiss Child Protection System in the Past and Present: An Interdisciplinary Perspective
Schoch Aline, Aeby Gaëlle, Müller Brigitte, Cottier Michelle, Seglias Loretta, Biesel Kay, Sauthier Gaëlle, Schnurr Stefan (2020), Participation of Children and Parents in the Swiss Child Protection System in the Past and Present: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, in Social Sciences, 9(8), 148-148.
Eingriffe in Familien früher und heute: Historische Beispiele von Kindswegnahmen und Einblicke in ein laufendes Forschungsprojekt zur aktuellen Kinderschutzpraxis in der Schweiz
Schoch Aline, Müller Brigitte (2020), Eingriffe in Familien früher und heute: Historische Beispiele von Kindswegnahmen und Einblicke in ein laufendes Forschungsprojekt zur aktuellen Kinderschutzpraxis in der Schweiz, in Wagenblass Sabine, Spatscheck Christian (ed.), Hochschule Bremen, Bremen, 26-34.
L’enfant issu de la migration et sa famille dans les procédures de protection de l’enfant et de l’adulte en Suisse
SaugyAude (2020), L’enfant issu de la migration et sa famille dans les procédures de protection de l’enfant et de l’adulte en Suisse, CIDE, Sion.
L’impact des droits humains en matière de placement de l’enfant en droit civil suisse (première partie)
SauthierGaëlle, CottierMichelle (2020), L’impact des droits humains en matière de placement de l’enfant en droit civil suisse (première partie), 2020, 890-938.
Note sur : Cour Européenne des droits de l’homme, Troisième Section Arrêt du 30 avril 2019 en la cause de T.B. contre Suisse – 1760/15
SauthierGaëlle (2019), Note sur : Cour Européenne des droits de l’homme, Troisième Section Arrêt du 30 avril 2019 en la cause de T.B. contre Suisse – 1760/15, in FamPra.ch, 2019, 1283-1295.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
European Interdisciplinary Socio-Legal Care Order Decision-Making Network Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
XVI EuSARF conference on «the Perspective of the Child» Talk given at a conference Children’s participation in child protection proceedings: Do you hear me? 31.08.2021 Zürich (online), Switzerland Schoch Aline; Aeby Gaëlle;
International Social Work Summer School HES SO VS “Child protection”, Sweden, Germany & Switzerland Talk given at a conference Toward a child-centric perspective in the field of child protection? Children’s participation in child protection proceedings in Switzerland 30.06.2021 online, Switzerland Schoch Aline;
Congress 2021 of the Swiss Sociological Association (SSA): Social justice in times of social change Talk given at a conference Der Umgang mit Spannungsfeldern und Ambivalenzen im Kindesschutz aus der Perspektive von Eltern und ihren Kindern 29.06.2021 Genève (online), Switzerland Aeby Gaëlle; Saugy Aude;
European Conference for Social Work Research (ECSWR) Talk given at a conference Child protection proceedings: information exchanges at the heart of participatory strategies 05.05.2021 Bucharest / online, Romania Schoch Aline; Aeby Gaëlle;
NFP 76 Programm-Workshop 2020: Interpretation von Fallakten und Einbezug der Betroffenensicht in der Forschung Talk given at a conference Sichtweisen der Kinder und ihrer Eltern zu KESB Interventionen: Herausforderungen, Grenzen und Perspektiven 09.12.2020 online, Switzerland Schoch Aline; Aeby Gaëlle;
The Kempe Center’s international virtual conference: A Call to Action to Change Child Welfare Talk given at a conference Participation of children in child protection proceedings: Areas of tension in practice 06.10.2020 Aurora, CO (online), United States of America Schoch Aline; Aeby Gaëlle;
INTERNATIONAL VIRTUAL CONFERENCE: Call to Action to Change Child Welfare Talk given at a conference Participation of children in child protection proceedings: Areas of tension in practice 06.10.2020 The Kempe Center, University of Colorado, United States of America Aeby Gaëlle; Schoch Aline;
Mid-term Symposium of European Sociological Association RN04 Sociology of Children and Childhood Talk given at a conference Toward a child-centric perspective in the field of child protection? Children’s participation in child protection proceedings in Switzerland 09.09.2020 Sion, Switzerland Schoch Aline; Aeby Gaëlle;
2. Forum Kinder- und Jugendhilferecht Talk given at a conference Partizipation im Kindesschutz – Rechte, Praxis, Entwicklungsbedarfe 21.11.2019 Mainz, Germany Schnurr Stefan;
Annual congress of the Swiss sociological association Talk given at a conference How do child protection authorities balance protection and self-determination in their proceedings?, 10.09.2019 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Aeby Gaëlle; Schoch Aline;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Scientific Exchange within NRP 76: The making of child protection in Switzerland yesterday and today. Normative turns and decision-making processes 16.09.2021 Genève, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Präsentation erster Ergebnisse der qualitativen Datenerhebung Talk 31.08.2021 KESB (Forschungspartnerin der Studie), Switzerland Schoch Aline; Biesel Kay;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Wie erleben Kinder und Eltern den Kindesschutz? Newsletter Soziale Arbeit FHNW German-speaking Switzerland 2020

Abstract

This project asks how children and parents understand, experience and respond to what happens to them during child protection proceedings, and in encounters with Swiss Child and Adult Protection Authorities (CAPAs), and what the characteristics of proceedings are that will encourage them to make use of their right to be heard, and participate in ways that are meaningful to them. The project therefore aims to explore the relationships between the written law, the implementation of the law and the experiences of children and parents involved in child protection proceedings. The project combines historical analysis, legal analysis and a multi-method empirical study. The historical analysis will provide a record of existing historiographic knowledge about children’s and parents’ experiences of the actions and decisions of child protection authorities (pre-1981 and 1981-2012), and follows recommendations on systematic reviews. The results of existing and ongoing historical, interview-based studies on how the guardianship authorities’ actions have been experienced by those involved in child protection proceedings have not so far been systematically brought together. By doing this, the historical analysis will produce new insights and provide a valuable knowledge base for the legal analysis and the empirical study. The legal analysis will consist of three parts. The first will aim to give a clear picture of the legal framework in place when parents and children encountered the former guardianship authorities; and will discuss shifts in legal discourse. The focus will be on the Swiss Civil Code of 1907, which entered into force in 1912, with revisions in 1978, 1981, 2000 and 2013, designed to improve the legal position and participatory rights of children. The second part will analyse the legal framework post-2013 and will clarify the legal context of the encounters between CAPAs and children and parents examined in the empirical study. The third, comparative law part, will aim to identify innovative and deliberative models developed abroad of the involvement of children and parents in child protection proceedings. The empirical study is designed to be a comparative method triangulation study combining qualitative and quantitative methods; it includes three elements. Firstly, eight multi-perspective case studies will be conducted (two in each of the four participating CAPAs; with equal numbers in French- and German-speaking regions). As such it will include: (1) Participant observation of several stages of a child protection procedure where the CAPA is involved. (2) Interviews with children and parents, and group interviews with members of the authority involved. (3) Case file analysis. Secondly, two online surveys will be conducted, one addressing children and parents, the other, members of CAPAs. Questionnaires will be informed by insights obtained from the multi-perspective case studies used to identify the communications, settings and situations in child protection proceedings that are conducive, or unconducive, to experiences of integrity, autonomy and children’s and parents’ participation. Thirdly, in each language region three focus group interviews will be conducted: two with children (aged 8 -17); two with parents, and two with members of CAPAs. Combining historical, legal and social science perspectives, and taking into account the results of the historical analysis, the legal analysis and the empirical part of the project, a final interdisciplinary phase will develop: (a) draft legislation for a new child protection procedure; (b) guidelines for CAPA professionals and child welfare agencies. In line with the goals of NRP 76 we aim to produce knowledge that enables professionals to recognise the factors that ensure genuine participation by children and parents in the processes of assessment, hearing (“Anhörung”/”audition”) and the pronouncement of decisions taken by the CAPA. The project aims to provide information on innovative, deliberative models designed to facilitate participation in child protection proceedings, and thus help realise the full potential of the interdisciplinary composition of Child and Adult Protection Authorities in Switzerland.
-