Project: Participation in Residential Childcare

Diagram "Participation in Residential Childcare ©Copyright (c) 1998 Hewlett-Packard Company
Diagram "Participation in Residential Childcare

Aims

Since the introduction of participation rights for young people related to the UN CRC worldwide, empirical studies have reported barriers and obstacles in the implementation of participation, especially in residential care. The scope of the participation rights of the UN-CRC is critically assessed, especially regarding the link between participation and protection. The child´s best interest is essential for participation rights and protection. But it is also been pointed out that the definition of the child´s best interest lies in powerful discourses among adults which exclude young people’s views and impede informed decision making. The socio-cultural image of children as in need of adult protection – and the underlying power – limits young people’s participation.
Complaints procedures that could be used by children and young people were introduced mandatory in Germany since 2012. This was part of the Federal Law for the Protection of Children and related to the guidelines of the UN CRC. Only a few researchers have analyzed these complaints procedures, how they work and if they secure participatory rights of children and young people in residential care.
The project starts to research participation and complaint procedures in organizational cultures of residential care in child welfare in Germany. Additionally, underlying power dynamics of participation processes are reconstructed.

Partial objectives

a) Organizational Culturesb) Power Dynamics

Type formation of organizational cultures
of residential care

 

 

Reconstruction of implicit power
processes between young people and
skilled workers concerning participation
and complaint procedures in institutions.

Theoretical and empirical reconstruction
of complaint procedures
Analysis of the interactions and conflict
dynamics between young people and
skilled workers and among young people
in formal and informal participation and
complaint procedures.
Investigation of potential protective
functions of formal participation
and complaint procedures
  • Procedure
  • Innovation and Perspectives
  • Previous Publications on the Topic

Procedure

22 institutions are qualitatively investigated nationwide. Focus groups with staff and young people (migrants, refugees and natives) are going to be conducted in addition to interviews with the management of the facilities.
A pilot study has already been carried out and initial research results have been obtained. Eight cases of the pilot study that have been evaluated are included in the evaluation of the project. In total, 30 institutions in Germany are being assessed with qualitative methods.

Procedure

1st work phase: Data collection and thematic development
2nd work phase: First evaluation of the data material
3. Workshop with experts to discuss the findings
4. cross-case generation of types
5. Final report and publications

Innovation and Perspectives

The project answers important questions concerning participation and complaints in residential care.  Although the Federal Child Protection Act has made the conceptual introduction of participation and complaint procedures obligatory for institution, so far there has been little knowledge about the effects, opportunities, as well as limitations of these procedures.
The project further examines the influence of power dynamics on the participation of natives and migrants or refugees in residential youth care.

Previous Publications on the Topic

Book Chapters and Articles
Participation of young people in residential groups and foster families – Introduction In: Claudia Equit (Ed.): Children's Rights to Participate in Out-of-Home Care: International Social Work Contexts. Routledge (submitted)
Participatory processes and the victimisation of young people in residential groups in Germany. In: Claudia Equit (Ed.): Children's Rights to Participate in Out-of-Home Care: International Social Work Contexts. Routledge (submitted)
Challenges and progress for participating young people in residential groups and foster families. In: Claudia Equit (Ed.): Children's Rights to Participate in Out-of-Home Care: International Social Work Contexts. Routledge (submitted)
Equit, C. (2021): Die Förderung von Bildung durch professionelle Beziehungsgestaltung in stationären Erziehungshilfen. In: Behnisch, M./Schäfer, D. (Hrsg.): Professionelle Nähe in der Heimerziehung. IGFH Eigenverlag (submitted)
Equit, C. (2020): Bilder von Jugend und Erwachsenheit in der Heimerziehung aus der Perspektive von Adressat*innen und Fachkräften. In: Ritter, B./ Schmidt, F. (Hrsg.): Sozialpädagogische Kindheit(en) und Jugend(en). Weinheim und Basel: Beltz Verlag. S. 257-273.
Equit, C. (2018): Organisationskulturen der Aneignung, Fürsorge und Compliance im Bereich der Heimerziehung. In: Neue Praxis. Zeitschrift für Sozialarbeit, Sozialpädagogik du Sozialpolitik. 1, S. 16-28.
Equit, C. (2017): Organisationkulturen der Beteiligung und Beschwerde in der Heimerziehung. In: Equit et al. (Hrsg.): Beteiligung und Beschwerde in der Heimerziehung. Frankfurt a.M. S. 168-186.
Equit, C. (2017): „Also ich muss sagen, ich bin extrem glücklich, dass ich hier bin.“ Emotionen, Anerkennung und Macht in stationären Erziehungshilfen. In: Sozialmagazin. Die Zeitschrift für Soziale Arbeit. Themenheft Emotionen und Affekte,42,7-8, S. 66-73.

Recent books
Claudia Equit (Ed.): Children's Rights to Participate in Out-of-Home Care: International Social Work Contexts. Routledge (submitted)
Equit, C./Flößer, G./Witzel, M. (Ed.) (2017): Beteiligung und Beschwerde in der Heimerziehung. Frankfurt a.M.