Path dependency, child protection, residential care, institutionalization, children in care


Despite the development of alternative forms of care, international and domestic pressures for change, and over 20 years of efforts at deinstitutionalization, the Czech Republic has one of the highest rates of institutionalization of children in Europe (UNICEF, 2012). The continuing reliance upon residential care for children by the child protection system, particularly for children who are disabled or of Roma descent, demonstrates a case of path dependency in which a solidification of the system’s response is rooted in its past. Understanding the impact of historical precedence is key to reforming the current system.

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