Paradoxes of Child Welfare: A Study on the Dynamics of German Family Law and Public Child and Youth Services

Application: Professor Ferdinand Sutterlüty
Project team: Professor Ferdinand Sutterlüty; Sarah Mühlbacher, M.A.; Annika Wagner, B.A.
Funding institution: Volkswagen Foundation
Funding period: 1 April 2015 to 15 January 2019

This research project, which is situated in the sociology of family, childhood and law, is based on the finding that in the attempt to protect and promote child welfare, the constitutional state repeatedly produces counterproductive effects. In other words, family court proceedings and interventions in family life by providers of public child and youth services have effects that run counter to the normative principle that caused the general clause on child welfare to be established in law in the first place and that has been operationally institutionalized by the authorities of the youth welfare office. This is the phenomenon to which the phrase “paradoxes of child welfare” refers. However, the project will not content itself with the diagnosis that court decision-making processes and legal interventions can produce results that diverge dramatically from the intentions of the focus on child welfare. It will examine the case of Germany in order to show the extent to which the development of this area of law from the 1960s onward can be seen as the continued attempt to interpret the normative paradoxes perceived by both the relevant professions and the general public and to remedy them by instituting appropriate reforms.

 

Conferences

Interdisciplinary Workshop »Agency, Self-Determination, Autonomy: Questioning Key Concepts of Childhood Studies«. December 6–7, 2017; Institute for Social Research at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, organized by Ferdinand Sutterlüty and E. Kay M. Tisdall in cooperation with the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh.

Interdisziplinärer Workshop »Zur sozialisatorischen Bedeutung der familialen Triade«. 7. Oktober 2016; Institut für Sozialforschung, organisiert von Kai-Olaf Maiwald und Ferdinand Sutterlüty.

Interdisziplinäre Tagung »Der Streit ums Kindeswohl. Genese und Deutungen eines spannungsreichen Konzepts«. 16. und 17. Januar 2015; Professur für Soziologie mit dem Schwerpunkt Familien- und Jugendsoziologie an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main in Kooperation mit dem Institut für Sozialforschung, organisiert von Ferdinand Sutterlüty, Sabine Flick und Christian Zeller.

 

Publications

Sutterlüty, Ferdinand und Sabine Flick (Hg.) 2017: Der Streit ums Kindeswohl. Weinheim und Basel: Beltz Juventa.   | mehr …

Sutterlüty, Ferdinand 2017: Normative Paradoxien der rechtsstaatlichen Sorge um das Kindeswohl, in: Ders. und Sabine Flick (Hg.): Der Streit ums Kindeswohl. Weinheim und Basel: Beltz Juventa, 52–87.

Sutterlüty, Ferdinand 2017: Autonomieprinzip und Kindeswohl: Ansprüche des Familienrechts mit paradoxaler Wirkung?, in: Tanja Betz, Sabine Bollig, Magdalena Joos und Sascha Neumann (Hg.): Gute Kindheit. Wohlbefinden, Kindeswohl und Ungleichheit. Weinheim und Basel: Beltz Juventa (im Erscheinen).

Sutterlüty, Ferdinand und Sarah Mühlbacher 2017: Prekäre Autonomie ‒ Kinderrechte zwischen Selbstbestimmung und Fürsorge, in: Berliner Debatte Initial 28. 2, 32–45.

Sutterlüty, Ferdinand 2017: Normative Paradoxes of Child Welfare Systems: An Analysis with a Focus on Germany, in: International Journal of Children’s Rights 25. 1, 196‒230.

Sutterlüty, Ferdinand 2016: Paradoxale Effekte der Orientierung am Kindeswohl, in: fiduz 19. 1, 20‒21.