Project on out-of-home child care processes completed

Foster families receive little public recognition and are often under-remunerated and under-supported, thus endangering the well-being of the children and young people affected.

Image caption: Large family of foster children set up in 1911 in Tramelan (Bern). An "Institution pour l’éducation des enfants de buveurs". Image from: Nicole Favre, Philippe Schaer, Analyse des besoins dans le Jura bernois pour les Petites Familles, Geneva 2000. 

The research team’s look at the past and present of the fostering system has revealed that it remains in a financially precarious state to this day. Traditional ideas about what constitutes a family and the upholding of traditional gender roles mean that insufficient financial resources are being allocated to the care of children in foster families. Although foster families, especially foster mothers, perform an important and extremely demanding task, they receive very little public recognition. In addition, there has been a general lack of places available in suitable foster families for some time now. This situation increases the risk that foster children, who form part of a particularly vulnerable population group, will be insufficiently protected, thus impairing their chances of building a good start in life.

A systematic and critical discourse on support, remuneration and assistance for foster families is called for. Where new legal bases and recommendations for the out-of-home placement of children exist and could be used to make improvements, their impact must be evaluated in detail. Last but not least, customised support is needed for persons formerly in care who are now suffering from the (long-term) consequences of their placement.