Social assistance – such as out-of-home care – moves in a tense relationship between the various interests and demands for the participation of different actors. The creation of social participation and the common good is one of the central objectives of social services.
Child and youth welfare services – as a central component of the municipal provision of essential services – contribute to increasing the participation opportunities of their users and compensating for unequal and disadvantaged living circumstances. In this context, the professionals – as “community workers” – also formulate their own claims to participation. These demands can both: support user participation as well as conflict with it.
The geste project examines the practices of participation of users and employees in the field of residential care in England and Germany in the form of a bi-national comparison and evaluates their potential and consequences. This takes place against the background of nationally differing forms of governance of welfare services and varying forms of institutionalisation of participation and divergent forms of shaping professional community work. geste consists of the sub-projects for Participation and Users and Participation and professionals.
Alongside this interest in knowledge, geste also aims to initiate further development of the practice: The aim is to develop a concept of participatory engagement together with all project participants within a framework of regular workshops. The result should be a participatively developed, mature concept of involvement which fulfils the efforts to strengthen the rights of children and young people. With regard to the participation of employees, examples of good practice will be collected and made available in a vivid way.
The project is headed by Prof. ‘in Dr Zoë Clark (University of Siegen). The collaborative partners are Prof. Dr Wolfgang Menz (University of Hamburg) and Prof.’in Dr Anna Gupta (Royal Holloway University London).