Fundamentally Unprepared

The victims were hardly prepared for the time after the coercive social or foster care measures. For a long time, there was hardly any support on the way to an autonomous life and support is still insufficient today.

© Our Faces – Our Stories, 2022

And the Sword of Damocles Always Hovers Over the Happiness

Victims of a social measure had only limited influence on when it would come to an end.

An important age limit was the coming of age, which was 20 until 1996. But this was not always the end of the official intervention. If a life was considered not conforming to society, there was the imminent risk of new measures. At the same time support services that were perceived as such were rare and the road to an autonomous life not seldom rocky. Not all managed, many committed suicide because they could not cope with what they had experienced. ...

Support Makes All the Difference

People who help others without asking where they come from can be decisive for their future life. People affected by social measures also found support again and again and manged to arrive in their own life.

Black and white photo with young Pastor Ernst Sieber in the center, holding a guitar, in a bunker room. Around a table, six other people stand or sit, all in winter clothing. They are listening to the music or engaging in conversation.

In winter 1963, the last time Lake Zurich froze over, pastor Ernst Sieber established an emergency sleeping facility for homeless in an old bunker. Photo: Jules Vogt

Since the 1960s, the Zurich pastor Ernst Sieber committed to support people who had been pushed to the margins of society. He was “streetworker” and “pastor of the homeless”. Sieber founded, among other things, the “Christuszentrum”, a residential community for stranded youths, many of whom had been brought up in children’s homes. They called their new home “shack”. Mario Delfino was the first resident.

Today Too: Not Prepared for Life

The lack of support on the way to an autonomous life is still an issue.

At the age of 18 one is now of age and state support ends for those who grew up in a home or a foster family. With the new rights also come obligations. On the way to an independent life, there are questions concerning moving out, job or money. To support young adults, people who themselves haven’t grown up with their birth family organise themselves ("Care Leaver").

We Talk in this Film