Aufsicht und Vertrauen : Der Schutz von Kindern und Jugendlichen in stationären Einrichtungen der Jugendhilfe als Aufgabe überörtlicher Behörden

Mühlmann, Thomas LSF

Umfassend beschreibt der Autor die behördliche Aufsicht über Einrichtungen der stationären Hilfen zur Erziehung. Dabei beleuchtet er ein bisher kaum erforschtes Arbeitsfeld der Kinder- und Jugendhilfe aus mehreren Blickwinkeln. Er arbeitet Recht, Strukturen und Geschichte der „Heimaufsicht“ auf und stellt darauf aufbauend die Ergebnisse eigener empirischer Untersuchungen vor. Der Autor analysiert das professionelle Selbstverständnis von Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeitern zweier Landesjugendämter auf der Grundlage teilnehmender Beobachtungen. Ergänzt wird dies durch Ergebnisse einer bundesweiten Befragung von Einrichtungsträgern. Aufgezeigt werden Widersprüche und Klärungsbedarf hinsichtlich der Aufgaben und der Rolle der Einrichtungsaufsicht, aber auch Perspektiven für eine strukturelle Weiterentwicklung. Als zentrale Bedingung für eine funktionale Aufsichtspraxis identifiziert der Autor eine konstruktive und strukturelle Verknüpfung von Kontrolle und Vertrauen. Die Aufarbeitung bietet sowohl für die wissenschaftliche und fachpolitische Debatte zum Kinderschutz als auch für Akteure in der sozialpädagogischen Praxis einen weitreichenden Einblick und eine detaillierte Analyse des Arbeitsfeldes.

The subject of this dissertation is the monitoring of residential child care settings by public authorities in Germany. Its goal is to provide a broad description of structures, laws, rules, difficulties, conflicts and future tasks of regulating the safeguarding of minors in residential care settings. An empirical study researching the self-image of responsible monitoring staff constitutes the core of this analysis. The dissertation considers five different analytical and empirical perspectives on that subject: First, the legal and organizational structures in the public care system are analyzed which apply in the fields of monitoring of residential units and safeguarding of minors. The following chapter retraces the history of these laws and structures while identifying flaws and difficulties in the political regulation since 1920. A third perspective arises from a theoretical discussion of the concepts of trust and control. Analyzing the relationship between trust and control in asymmetrical interactions between organizations provides the basis for understanding difficulties and challenges in the cooperations between monitoring authorities and providers of residential child care. The fourth and main part of the dissertation is constituted by a qualitative empirical study on the two monitoring authorities in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It is based on an ethnographical participant observation which was conducted in 2010 and 2011. The empirical data was interpreted according to the Grounded-Theory-Methodology following Juliet Corbin and Anselm Strauss. The fifth part gives an account of the perspective of non-profit and profit-orientated private providers for residential child care units on the monitoring actions. An online-survey with around 300 participants forms the basis of this chapter. The data was interpreted with multivariate statistical methods. The main findings of the dissertation were the following: The agents in charge of monitoring of residential child care settings of today are still encountering conflicts and difficulties which had been identified since the first regulations on this subject were issued in the beginning of the 20th century. The main conflict for staff of public authorities in attending to their monitoring responsibility emerges between the necessity of building a trust-based relationship to providers of care institutions on the one hand and the requirement of “distrustfully” controlling these institutions on the other hand. Throughout the history of monitoring residential child care settings this conflict was confronted primarily with two strategies: The first strategy of authorities was an overemphasis of trust which lead to a nearly “symbiotic” relationship to child care providers. The other strategy involved an overuse of distrustful measures such as formal control and (necessarily superficial) inspections. A way of combining trust- as well as mistrust-based interactions is still to be developed by the monitoring authorities. A major reason why this has not succeded yet seems to be that neither politicians nor authorities, providers or the public share a common concept of the role, tasks and responsibilities the monitoring authority should meet. As a consequence, public monitoring authorities still face insufficiencies regarding resources and political support. The ethnographical research revealed that the monitoring staff tried to solve the immanent conflict mostly by applying individually configured strategies. Trying to combine trust and control they mainly use strategies which are common in asymmetrical relationships between social educational workers and clients. From their point of view, a trustful relationship forms the basis for every professional interaction with providers. Formal control and formal intervention measures were primarily associated with insecurity and discomfort, yet were deemed necessary while variants of social control were preferred. However, social control measures like utilizing “professional intuition” fail to supply sufficient “evidence” if sovereign interventions against providers become necessary and need to be legally vindicated. In summary, existing monitoring strategies can possibly be sufficient if providers cooperate trustfully with the authorities. However, if trust in cooperations is not strong enough the authorities do not seem to have other efficient strategies at their disposal which leave a certain grade of autonomy to the providers and simultaniously fulfill the role of a “guardian of trust” for users of the facilities as well as the public. The findings of the survey among providers suggest that monitoring authorities need to establish consistent, transparent and reliable criteria of judging the quality of institutions if they seek the trust of providers. Concluding from this, monitoring authorities and providers of care institutions should increase their efforts to negotiate certain “standards” of child care which are equally reliable and valid in terms of securing the children´s best interest. The survey suggests that around 80% of the participants have trust in the respective monitoring agent, though. It can be summarized that an intensified public debate about the role and the responsibilities of the authorities in charge of monitoring residential child care institutions is required. This is necessary to determine which resources are needed to meet these public expectations. Secondly, normative thresholds for possible interventions against care providers need to be further elaborated because, at the time this study was conducted, their definition was mostly left up to individual judgement. These elaborations should still leave room for individual judgement but could provide the monitoring staff with the required normative orientation. This includes discussing minimum standards for residential child care providers but also establishing certain standards for monitoring measures, such as a minimum time period between inspections or guidelines for the monitoring staff on possible strategies in cases of insecurity (e. g. supervision by colleagues or routines for managing insecure situations).

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Mühlmann, Thomas: Aufsicht und Vertrauen. Der Schutz von Kindern und Jugendlichen in stationären Einrichtungen der Jugendhilfe als Aufgabe überörtlicher Behörden. 2014.

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