Unaccompanied Minor Refugees in Institutional Care

The project will scrutinize the accommodation and care of unaccompanied minor refugees, thereby taking into consideration different historical contexts as well as different forms of care in order to provide insights for science, specialist practice, and policy-making as well as making suggestions.

  • Project description (ongoing research project)

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    The project will analyze how the accommodation and care of unaccompanied minor refugees who due to a) asylum law, asylum policy and asylum bureaucracy, b) ethnical and cultural foreignness experiences, and c) concepts of child-appropriate growing-up and need for help can be associated with aspects of welfare as well as coercion. Current accommodation and care will be analyzed from an ethnographic perspective, i.e. by means of observations of and interviews with the persons concerned, thereby taking into due consideration different forms of accommodation and care (centers, adult housing, foster families). Historically, the project will focus on documents containing information on select groups of unaccompanied teens who fled to Switzerland between 1947 and 1981.

  • Background

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    There are hardly any trustworthy research results on the accommodation and care of unaccompanied minor refugees and the corresponding coercion measures taken, not only in Switzerland. Consequently, there is a lack of empirically substantiated knowledge on historical developments and on the current situation. Vocational practice, therefore, sees itself confronted with numerous opportunities and challenges that, to date, can only be reflected upon insufficiently.

  • Aim

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    Different questions are addressed: How do the different actors experience and assess the different care contexts? How do the actors involved ensure everyday care? Which requirements do the actors need to meet? In which manner should verified insights be made available for scientific discussions and how should suggestions be made to practitioners and policy-makers in view of ensuring further development?

  • Relevance

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    The special potential of this analysis lies in the consideration of various different historical contexts and their comparison to different forms of care, thereby taking into account the perspectives of the persons concerned as well as the longitudinal design of the study. The project also foresees close reference to practical questions as well as cooperation with practitioners and the results should offer insights and suggestions for specialists, practitioners and policy-makers.

  • Original title

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    Experiencing Care – Experiencing Coercion? Unaccompanied Minor Refugees in Institutional Care