Child protection and foster care: The impact of institutions, funding, and implementation

How do federalistic differences manifest themselves in child protection? To which degree do they influence child protection and foster care policies? Which measures will be funded at which regional level? Is there a correlation between funding, the authority to decide, and responsibility?

  • Project description (ongoing research project)

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    This project wishes to ensure a systematic analysis of cantonal child protection policies, their inherent financial dependencies, and the impact on child protection practice in 26 cantons over the course of time. To the present state of knowledge, no in-depth investigation of the economic ties resulting from these cantonal policies has been carried out. This project will bridge this research gap by analyzing the different organizational framework conditions as well as the various financing mechanisms applied between 1970 and today. The systematic analysis of the political and financial structures in the cantons over the course of time and the combination of economic and the political analyses will contribute to improving child protection with the means available.

  • Background

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    Despite the fact that a national law on child protection has been in force since the beginning of the 20th century, in this field, the cantons have always held the responsibility for organization and financing. This federalistic division of responsibilities has remained unchanged under the new child and adult protection law. In the light of the above, research on this topic undertaken to date demonstrated a high degree of heterogeneity in cantonal child protection policies and their implementation.

  • Aim

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    It is the goal of this project to bridge a significant research gap. Prior to 2013, there was no systematic overview of cantonal foster care policies and hardly any research into economic incentives, as based on institutional agreements and the financing mechanisms of these policies. We will therefore carry out a systematic analysis of the policies and their possible economic incentives and impact on child protection practice in Switzerland’s 26 cantons over the past decades.

  • Relevance

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    The practical significance of the project is based on the fact that institutional framework conditions and financial regulations can lead to differences in child protection. First, we will argue the advantages and disadvantages of different institutional framework conditions. Second, we will investigate how different funding systems influence the choice of measures. Third, we will examine to which degree the incentive structures influence decision-making and lead to suboptimal results.

  • Original title

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    Effects of institutional settings, financing systems andimplementation policies on placements