Research project on foster care placements completed

In the past, children in Switzerland have often been unlawfully separated from their families. The observance of international standards has helped to professionalise the decision-making process.

For many years, children in Switzerland were often placed in care against their parents’ will. Decisions to remove children from their families and to place them with foster families in Switzerland were often not in line with international standards. It was only once these standards had been adopted that a clear framework could be created that permitted compulsory measures in certain circumstances. Standards such as the Hague Accords, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Quality4Children standards had a major impact.

The research project compared the legislation, policies and practice in Switzerland with international standards. Switzerland has on the whole aligned itself to these standards, for example in professionalising the decision-making process or providing support for foster families. As the research shows, however, there is still some room for improvement. The standards are often perceived by specialists as being abstract and sometimes difficult to comply with. Efforts in the areas of prevention and reintegration into the family could thus be improved.