Parental responsibility («Elterliche Sorge»)

Parental responsibility (Art 296 ff. ZGB) includes all rights and duties of parents towards their children. The parents share these duties. Even if they separate, joint parental responsibility is the rule. They must also settle questions of care and maintenance jointly or have them settled by the authorities. Joint parental responsibility is the right to make the important decisions in the child's life together. This includes, for example, education, parenting style as well as medical and religious decisions. In serious cases of risk to the child's well-being, the KESB or the court can withdraw parental responsibility from one parent. However, the right to personal contact continues to exist. The obligation to pay maintenance also does not cease. If parental responsibility is withdrawn from both parents, the child is assigned a guardian (Art 311 para. 2 ZGB, «Vormund»).

Patient Decree («Patientenverfügung»)

A patient decree is a written declaration. In it, any person capable of judgement can state how they wish to be cared for or looked after in the event that they are no longer able to express their own wishes (Art. 370 ff ZGB). They can also appoint a private individual to make decisions on their behalf if they are no longer able to do so themselves. The patient decree should also contain a date and a signature and be kept in an accessible place.

Pedagogical family support («Sozialpädagogische Familienbegleitung»)

Pedagogical family support is a temporary measure for families in difficult circumstances. It is intended to support parents in coping with everyday life. At the same time, it is intended to promote the child's development and guarantee its protection. The measure is prescribed by the KESB and monitored by the deputy.
Family support is provided by external providers. The staff usually have a pedagogical background and always work in a goal-orientated manner. For example, they guide the parents in recognising their parenting skills and support them in their everyday lives. The child's parents must contribute to the programme according to their financial means.

Personal contact («Persönlicher Verkehr»)

If a parent no longer lives with the children, the parent still has the right to contact with the child and vice versa (Art. 273 ZGB ). The Swiss Civil Code (ZGB) refers to this as personal contact. This means that they are allowed to visit each other (visiting rights) and talk to each other on the phone, chat or write emails. However, the extent of personal contact depends on the circumstances and the age of the child. As the child gets older, his or her opinion must also be taken more into account.
If there are problems between the parents regarding personal contact, they can ask the KESB for help. The KESB can, for example, regulate the right to personal contact with an official decision. If the child's welfare is jeopardised, it can restrict or, if necessary, even stop it.

Person of trust («Vertrauensperson»)

Persons, adults, children or adolescents who are affected by a measure taken by the child and adult protection authority (KESB) can be supported by a person of trust before this authority. This person can either encourage them or speak on their behalf by accompanying them to a meeting with the authority or by helping them with written submissions. In the latter case, the person concerned must always sign the petition themselves. The KESB may reject a trusted person if they appear unsuitable. In the case of children, a hearing takes place without the parents or a person of trust being present. An exception to this is the child representative (child advocate) appointed by the KESB, who may accompany the hearing.

A person in care-related hospitalisation has a right to a person of trust who accompanies them during their stay and is granted special rights (Art. 432 ZGB).

Power of attorney («Vollmacht»)

Anyone can draw up a power of attorney for personal matters, for example if they have to go into hospital and are unable to go to the bank or post office themselves during this time. In this case, they can authorise someone else to carry out these transactions or issue them with a general power of attorney. (Art. 32 ff. and Art. 394 ff. OR). As soon as the person is able to do so again, they can carry out these tasks independently. However, if they fall seriously ill and become incapable of judgement or even die, the power of attorney expires. Unless it states that it is still valid in the event of incapacity. However, the authorised representative must then contact the responsible KESB. The authority will check whether the interests of the person concerned continue to be protected or whether it will nevertheless set up a deputyship.

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