Title: Between resilience and vulnerability life trajectories from care to adulthood in Switzerland (1950-1990)
Authors : Gabriel, Thomas
et. al : No
Conference details: ECER 2019, Hamburg, Germany, 2 - 6 September 2019
Issue Date: 2019
License (according to publishing contract) : Licence according to publishing contract
Type of review: Peer review (abstract)
Language : English
Subjects : Resilienz; Vulnerabilität
Subject (DDC) : 155: Differential and developmental psychology
362: Health and social services
Abstract: During the 20th century, tens of thousands of children and adolescents in Switzerland were placed in residential child care or foster families. Several studies suggest that little attention was paid to the integrity and well-being of these children neither during care nor in transitions to adulthood. One of the objectives in our research on “life trajectories after residential care in the Canton of Zürich (1950-1990)” was to determine, if the formative experience of growing up in residential care between 1940 and 1990 resulted in similar outcomes for different individuals. In particularly we wanted to understand if and how the life trajectories of adults related to their experiences in residential care and to following transitions in adulthood. Thus we’ve conducted biographic-narrative interviews with 37 former residents aged 45-85. The research project was part of the research network "Placing Children in Care: Child Welfare in Switzerland (1940-1990)," which was financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation. We have chosen an approach that allows us to trace, analyse, and to interpret the patterns of people's lives, the crises they experience, and their coping patterns. Further historical and sociological sub-projects allowed us to contextualise our results in time. Some results from our research project show: - how leaving care became part of discourse and practices on different levels, - how former placed children experienced processes of leaving lasting years and decades, - risks of formal and structure-orientated (instead of subject-orientated) concepts and understandings of leaving care, - and what recent research and practice could learn from the past. Initial findings suggest that there are complex interactions between resilience and vulnerability. As Werner and Smith have pointed out, "Not all development is determined by what happens early in life." Our results show surprisingly strong impacts of residential care on a persons life manifests itself in critical life events and in certain life domains even decades after persons have left care facility. The issue of transitions to adulthood after care was part of professional discourses on basis of different scientific backgrounds in Switzerland between 1940 and 1990. One of the strongest concepts that was responsible for certain efforts was the concept of “pursued welfare” (“nachgehender Fürsorge”). Further results show that some professionals and residential care homes also started to create some unique forms of leaving care settings supporting young people’s agency and capabilities bottom up – but without any holistic concept and exchange.
Departement: Social Work
Organisational Unit: Institute of Childhood, Youth and Family (IKJF)
Publication type: Conference other
URI: https://digitalcollection.zhaw.ch/handle/11475/18177
Appears in Collections:Publikationen Soziale Arbeit

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