FARMING FAMILIES AS FOSTER FAMILIES: THE FINDINGS OF AN EXPLORATORY STUDY ON CARE FARMING IN SWITZERLAND

  • Clara Bombach University of Applied Sciences
  • Renate Stohler University of Applied Sciences
  • Hans Wydler University of Applied Sciences
Keywords: foster care, care farming, farming for health, green care, multifunctional farms, Switzerland

Abstract

The terms “care farming” and “social agriculture” are used to describe the foster care that farming families provide to children, adolescents, and adults. Whereas some European countries have national systems that provide support for care farming, little is known about care farmers in Switzerland. Best estimates show that at least one percent of all agricultural family operations provide care services in Switzerland; accordingly, care farming is a component of Swiss foster care. Against the background of the recent revision of the Child and Adult Protection Act [Kindes- und Erwachsenenschutzgesetz] and of legal provisions in relation to foster care, a qualitative system analysis was carried out in three cantons in 2013. The aim of the system analysis was to describe the context and importance of care farming and to identify the attitudes and working methods of both child and adult protection authorities and family placement organizations in relation to placements in agriculture. As part of the study, documents were analyzed and expert interviews were held with representatives of both groups. The interviewed representatives of the placement authorities regard placements in agriculture as a viable option, in particular for adolescents, if the match between the client and foster family is suitable. According to the surveyed family placement organizations, the interest among farming families in offering foster places is considerable. The study presents care farming as one care service within a complex support system for children and adolescents, and raises new questions for investigation by more detailed research projects.

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Published
2015-05-04
How to Cite
Bombach, C., Stohler, R., & Wydler, H. (2015). FARMING FAMILIES AS FOSTER FAMILIES: THE FINDINGS OF AN EXPLORATORY STUDY ON CARE FARMING IN SWITZERLAND. International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, 6(3), 440-457. https://doi.org/10.18357/ijcyfs.63201513564