Coercive decisions in Switzerland through the lens of international standards : foster care placements


This research will be the first study specifically exploring coercive decision-making in foster care in the Swiss context through the lens of evolving international standards.

​​​​Project description ​(ongoing research project)

In practice, international standards have progressively created frameworks and essentially limitations on coercive decision-making in order to better uphold children’s rights. As such, the research will examine in which ways and to which extent the contemporary Swiss system complies with these evolving norms.

It will specifically examine the Swiss system of removal and placement decisions in foster care and where possible, adoption, by undertaking a legal analysis exploring legislation and policy as well as undertaking qualitative research to understand Swiss practices through in-depth interviews and case studies.


The Swiss system of child protection is particularly diverse and fragmented due to small-scale federalism, which has hindered an analysis to date and thus limited the knowledge required for any (opportunities of) improvements. The study results will contribute to a country-wide improvement of coercive decision-making in child protection.


The main objective of this research is to facilitate the alignment of Swiss laws, policies, and practices in foster care with international standards. By achieving this goal, the children and families concerned will be able to fully enjoy their rights and the benefits of this child protection measure, when it is truly necessary.


The research will identify where coercive decisions in foster care have occurred outside the safeguards of international standards, creating opportunities to rectify these limitations as well as offering solutions for the children and families concerned. It will comprise recommendations for policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholders.

Original title

Evaluation of coercive decision-making in adoption and foster care in Switzerland through the lens of international standards.

Project leader(s)

  • Prof. Dr. Philip D. Jaffé​, University of Geneva
  • Mia Dambach, Universität Genf/Child Identity Protection, Research lead
  • Cécile Jeannin, Universität Genf/Child Identity Protection, Research lead
  • Christina Baglietto, Child Identity Protection, Partner
  • Laurence Bordier, Child Identity Protection, Partner



Further information on this content


Prof. Dr. Philip D. Jaffé Universität Genf CIDE – UNIGE 18 ch. de l’Institut 1967 Bramois 027 205 73 06