Institutional Care Settings for Children and Young People As Strategic Resource

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Sylvia MEICHSNER, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
This paper seeks to examine the use of institutional childcare as a strategic resource and coping strategy for children and young people living in adverse circumstances. It will draw on empirical material from different studies, including a qualitative longitudinal study on residential settings for children and young people in a large Mexican-American border town. It will provide an overview over the specific features of this urban agglomeration and their relevance for families, children and young people. Spaces for agency in the face of social exclusion and poverty will be identified in a second step before case studies on individual children exemplify the at times utilitarian use of care facilities through service consumers.

In so doing the paper contributes to two debates. On the one hand it will add to the controversial discussion around institutional childcare, its potential usefulness as a tool for child saving and its possibly damaging effects on child development. On the other hand it will raise and discuss questions regarding the conceptualization of child agency.