Compulsory measures in secure residential youth care institution

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In the field of political theory, the moral justification of coercive acts of care is a subject of ongoing debate. The ethics of care claims that coercive acts of care can be deemed legitimate if they effectively address the needs of those individuals under care. For this reason, the ethical theory is being criticised for the potential risk that caring acts might transform in repressive measures, and would lead to a diminishing of freedom and autonomy of the care recipient. As a result, the caring relationship becomes illegitimate. This thesis analyses the moral justification of compulsory measures in secure residential youth care institutions and explores the extent to which power can be employed in asymmetric caring relationships. In doing so, this thesis finds that the use of coercion is sometimes inevitable and not inherently wrong. Given that youngsters often struggle with complex behavioural issues, a certain degree of coercion can be the morally right type of care, only if this coercive care is carried out in a legitimate, respectful manner.
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