Schoch, A. et Aeby, G. (2022). Ambivalence in Child Protection Proceedings: Parents’ Views on Their Interactions with Child Protection Authorities. Social Sciences, 11(8), 329.
Child protection is a field characterized by intrinsic tensions and ambivalence, related to the state’s intervention in the family sphere and to a double mandate of care and control. This article focuses on the participation of parents in statutory child protection proceedings and the ambivalence they experience in their interactions with the Child and Adult Protection Authority in Switzerland (CAPA). The aim is to explore parents’ views on what they consider as hindering or enabling in their interactions with the CAPA in order to be able to fully participate in child protection proceedings. The article is based on a large interdisciplinary research project including multi-perspective cases collected in four cantons of Switzerland and puts the focus on in-depth interviews with ten birth parents. Results show that ambivalence is inherent to the interactions between parents and the CAPA, as the mere opening of child protection proceedings is experienced as a threat to the parents’ integrity. Establishing trust, recognizing parents’ expertise and acknowledging their needs are key to re-establishing parental integrity, which seems to be a fundamental pre-requisite for reducing ambivalence and enhancing participation in child protection proceedings.