Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-8bbf57454-5qtdt Total loading time: 0.287 Render date: 2022-01-21T12:08:25.455Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

10 - Discourses, Approaches and Strategies on Errors And Mistakes in Child Protection in Germany

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 March 2021

Judith Masson
Affiliation:
University of Bristol
Nigel Parton
Affiliation:
University of Huddersfield
Tarja Pösö
Affiliation:
University of Tampere, Finland
Get access

Summary

Introduction

A detailed history of child protection scandals in Germany is yet to be written. But most early scandals in the German Empire (1871–1918) and the Weimar Republic (1918–33) seem to relate to cases of institutional neglect or institutional abuse (see, for example, Banach, 2007; Richter, 2011: 200). In addition, there was a lot of moral outrage regarding especially moral neglect in lower-class families (Dickinson, 1996). The idea that the state, as represented by state-funded child protection agencies, has the capacity and the obligation to detect maltreatment (however defined) in families in a reliable way and should be held liable for failing to do so, appears to have been absent. By contrast, in the last quarter of the last century the situation changed. Starting with cases in Osnabrück (Mörsberger and Restemeier, 1997) and Saarbrücken, both medium-sized towns in Germany, the failure of child and youth welfare authorities (Jugendämter) to protect children in their own or in foster families became the focus of media attention. This focus has continued ever since with a series of highly publicised child protection scandals referred to by the children's first names for example, Kevin (Brandhorst, 2015), Lea-Sophie and Jessica. Because maltreatment-related child deaths have actually become less prevalent over the whole period (UNICEF, 2003) and Germany has never had a strong culture of holding administration accountable, this phenomenon needs to be explained.

Several developments may have contributed. First, during a phase of social optimism between 1980 and 1990 there was a massive expansion of child and youth welfare in-home services for families in need (Siegner, 2009). This process signalled a changing conception of the role of the state in social matters in continental Europe. Beyond just providing financial benefits, the idea of a ‘caring state’ adopting a social investment strategy was formulated (van Kersbergen and Hemerijck, 2012). Such a state was far more present in the everyday life of vulnerable families and in their social networks, making the detection of maltreatment in families a much more realistic objective. Second, a liberal concept of the defence of children's personal rights against parents as well as the state took hold (Kessl, 2017).

Type
Chapter
Information
Errors and Mistakes in Child Protection
International Discourses, Approaches and Strategies
, pp. 173 - 192
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×