Completed project on intercantonal differences in child protection

As a result of new child and adult protection legislation, cantonal child placement policies are now based on harmonisation and professionalisation. As yet, however, there has been no harmonisation of funding.

The child and adult protection legislation that came into force 10 years ago is the result of an almost historic harmonisation process that has resulted in professionalised, cross-communal authorities in most cantons. The result has been a certain degree of constancy despite growing case numbers. Nowadays, specialists conduct investigations and take decisions. This development means that child and adult protection authorities’ work is currently more centred on child welfare than ever before. However, funding has yet to be harmonised.

This means there is some variation in cantonal-level child protection and the way it is implemented. The results indicate that there is a connection between funding models and placement decisions. Children are more likely to be placed in care if the Canton is responsible for funding than if the responsibility lies with the communes. This can be explained by the fact that the Cantons are less likely to avoid expensive placement measures than the communes.

The surveys have also shown clearly that there are still large gaps in the data on placement practice. To tackle the issue of proactive cross-cantonal service planning, it is therefore also important to develop systematic national statistics on the number and nature of placements.