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Care home placements in the canton of Zurich

At a glance


Outplacement or care home placement is a momentous event in a person’s life. What precedes this decision and what does it mean for the affected persons’ subsequent life trajectories? This is the central question in the
SNF research project «Care home placements in the canton of Zurich: effects of administrative decisions between 1950 and 1990 on the subsequent life trajectory».

Initial position
In the interdisciplinary Sinergia research project «Placing children in care: Child welfare in Switzerland (1940–1990)», researchers at various Swiss tertiary institutions are addressing the system of care home upbringing in the second
half of the 20th century. The overall project is divided into three subprojects, one of which is being conducted at the ZHAW School of Social Work.

The ZHAW subproject investigates the effects that administrative decisions and interventions had on the subsequent life trajectories of outplaced persons. Here, the logic of the administrative interventions is linked to the
resulting consequences in the subsequent lives of the former outplaced children and juveniles. Unlike in the overall project, the focus is on the years between 1950 and 1990.

The subproject’s central questions are as follows:
• What paths led to the outplacement?
• What effects did the administrative decisions have?
• How did professional methods and standards in administrative practice develop between 1950 and 1990?
• Was there an increase in awareness with regard to making life trajectories central to casework?
• What individual life trajectories occurred after outplacement?

The subproject investigates intended and unintended effects of administrative interventions and outplacement on the post-institutional biographies of affected persons. For this purpose, historical and biographical analyses are combined:

• Perspective A analyses the custodial authorities’ administrative decisions and justifications on the basis of documented cases. (Nadja Ramsauer, Susanne Businger)
• Perspective B investigates the effects of the outplacements on the subsequent life trajectories of former care home children. (Thomas Gabriel, Clara Bombach, Samuel Keller)

Further information