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Disability, Family, and Support: A Quebec-Switzerland Cross Perspective

Geneviève Piérart, Sylvie Tétreault, Pascale Marier Deschênes, Sophie Blais-Michaud

This text offers a cross-analysis of support for the families of handicapped children in Québec and in French-speaking Switzerland. For each region it presents the main legislation tied in with family policies regarding handicaps, Social Security provisions, and the organization of social, educational, and health services. The two territories share a joint historical heritage, based on a humanitarian approach to handicaps. In the 1970s, the claims of associative movements allowed both those regions to initiate a professional structure with respect to the support of handicapped persons and their relations. Currently, the Québec system is set in an ambulatory perspective, whereas in French-speaking Switzerland it is still the specialized institutes that play a major role. In both these Francophone sectors of Federal States, major needs still exist as regards the families of handicapped children, despite the development of innovative solutions.