Participation in organizational cultures of residential care

Project: Research

Project participants



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 Cultures
- Type formation of organizational cultures of residential care
- 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

b) Power Dynamics

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

Research outputs