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Child Welfare

Connecting Research, Policy, and Practice, 2nd edition

Kathleen Kufeldt

Publication Year: 2011

Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. xi-xii

The second edition of Child welfare: Connecting research, policy, and practice evolved from an event 17 years ago. In 1994, the first Canadian Child Welfare Research and Policy Symposium, sponsored by the former National Welfare Grants Program of Human Resources Development Canada, took...

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pp. xiii-xiv

Strengthening the connection between research, policy, and practice is imperative if we wish to improve life chances for children in care. The number of children in care is significant, and growing. In the first edition of this book, Thériault (2003) reported that there were over 60,000 Canadian children...

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pp. xv

As noted in the preface, the second edition of Child Welfare contains entirely new material. Every effort has been made to include coverage of the key issues and contemporary research findings that might illuminate this complex and challenging field of practice. To do this, we surveyed the work of...

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Setting the Context: Child Welfare Law in Canada

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pp. 1-18

Child welfare is a unique and challenging context for social workers, in large part because the provision of many of the services to children and families takes place through the legal process. The child welfare worker is motivated by a desire to help children who may be abused or neglected, preferably...

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Part I: Insights from the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect

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pp. 19-21

Part I provides information from the Canadian Incidence Study about the child welfare landscape in Canada. The first province-wide incidence study of abuse and neglect in Canada was completed in Ontario in 1993, and the Canadian Incidence Study (CIS) in 1998 was the first national study...

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1. Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect: Changing Patterns of Reported Maltreatment, 1998 and 2003

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pp. 23-35

Over the past 25 years, clinical research involving abused and neglected children has shifted the focus from battered and sexually abused children to understanding the emotional, social, and cognitive effects of a range of forms of maltreatment, including neglect, emotional maltreatment, and exposure to...

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2. The Response of the Ontario Child Welfare System to Neglect: 1993 to 2003

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pp. 37-55

Canada’s first child protection legislation, Ontario’s Children’s Protection Act (1893), was originally conceived to respond to the plight of abandoned and neglected children (Swift, 1995a). However, by the 1960s, with elevated concerns about “battered child syndrome” (Kempe, Silverman, Steele...

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3. Factors Associated with the Decision to Provide Ongoing Services: Are Worker Characteristics and Organizational Location Important?

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pp. 57-73

October, 1998—Concerned neighbours refer two children to two child protection agencies in Canada for reported neglect. One child is referred to a large child protection agency in a metropolitan area, the other to a small rural agency. The characteristics of the cases are remarkably similar. Both involve...

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4. Canadian Child Welfare Worker Qualifications Examining a Changing National Profile

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pp. 75-88

The dramatic increase in reports of child abuse and neglect to Canadian child welfare authorities between 1998 and 2003 has been well documented by analyses comparing data from two cycles of the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS–1998 and CIS–2003) (Trocmé...

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5. Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect: Themes and Implications

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pp. 89-97

Many advocates of child welfare reform will point to the inherent limitations of the child protection paradigm of practice, where primary attention and most resources are devoted to the investigation of referrals alleging child abuse or neglect. More resources, it is argued, ought to be devoted...

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Part II: The Continuum of Care

Part II consists of three sections. The first, early intervention and support, focuses on research aimed at services that can assist families and avoid the need to take children into care. The second section is concerned with the various options available when a child is in need of alternative care, including...

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6. Differential Response in Child Welfare A New Early Intervention Model?

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pp. 101-115

This chapter reviews the development of differential response systems in child welfare since the late 1990s, with particular attention to Australia, the United States, and Canada. It describes the nature and scope of differential response systems, reviews some of the findings from early efforts to evaluate...

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7. Doing the Work: Child Protection Jobs in Centralized and Accessible Service Delivery Models

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pp. 117-130

The purpose of this chapter is to explore the effects of service delivery location on child protection services. In particular, it examines whether locating child protection services in settings that are more accessible to clientele makes a difference in how front-line child protection employment is...

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8. Child Welfare Interventions That Make Sense to Mothers

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pp. 131-143

Child welfare interventions focus heavily on the evaluation and rehabilitation of mothering practices (Davies & Krane, 1996; Miller, 1991; Scourfield, 2001; Swift, 1995b; Turney, 2000; Risley-Curtiss & Heffernan, 2003). For mothers, involvement with systems of child welfare, particularly child placement...

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9. Projet Famille: A Family Therapy Project for Neglectful Families

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pp. 145-156

Experienced researchers and social workers in the field of youth protection in Quebec wanted to examine a key intervention related to the following question: Does ecosystemic family intervention aiming to improve family functioning help neglectful or at-risk families respond more adequately to...

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10. Foster Care: An Essential Part of the Continuum of Care

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pp. 157-172

This chapter’s focus is on fostering by unrelated families. Chapters 11 and 12 consider kinship care. Traditional foster care is practised within the social and cultural norms of a society and its particular construct of child welfare. In some countries identity is very much tied into family, and taking in a...

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11. Finding the Best Home: A Comparative Analysis of Kinship and Foster Care Placements

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pp. 173-185

Being a child protection worker in today’s changing social context can be a very daunting position. One of the most critical decisions that front-line workers and supervisors face is whether to remove children from the care of their parents, and if so, where to place these children. Often, the decision...

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12. A Bicultural Response to Children in Need of Care and Protection in New Zealand

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pp. 187-200

New Zealand (Aotearoa) is a South Pacific island nation of 4.17 million people, whose population is 15% indigenous Maori, 68% European (Pakeha) descent, 6% Pacific Island, and 9% Asian (Statistics New Zealand, 2007). Ethnic diversity is increasing: immigration policies have resulted...

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13. Experiences of Foster Carers’ Children An Overview of the Research

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pp. 201-213

Although research about foster carers’ children has existed for 37 years, a systematic body of research only began to emerge after 1993. This chapter is based on research findings from thirteen studies and two projects conducted between 1993 and 2007 that, taken together, capture the voices of...

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14. Making Group Home Care a Positive Alternative, Not the Last Resort

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pp. 215-228

Residential care for young people has been challenged in recent decades in terms of its suitability as a form of extrafamilial care for children and youth. Based upon the findings of a research study of 10 residential programs in British Columbia, this chapter presents a theoretical framework for...

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15. The Changing Face of Adoption

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pp. 229-243

At one time adoption was a means of finding families for babies, usually surrendered by the birth mother for reasons of poverty or the stigma of single parenthood. By the end of the twentieth century, there were far fewer babies being placed for adoption. More efficient birth control methods and the...

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16. Factors Associated with Family Reunification among Adolescents in Residential Care A Quebec Perspective

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pp. 245-257

Placement in substitute care, generally viewed as a temporary measure, too often becomes long-term. Studies have shown that children risk being adrift in the substitute care system (Bullock, Gooch, & Little, 1998; Johnson, 1998; Millham, Bullock, Hosie, & Haak, 1986; Proch & Howard...

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17. Aging Out of Care and the Transition to Adulthood: Implications for Intervention

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pp. 259-266

The purpose of this chapter is to highlight critical areas for intervention with Canadian young people who are exiting care to live on their own as young adults. The chapter is based on a review of literature documenting the clinical and developmental issues that arise in this population. It draws on recent...

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18. Knock, Knock, Who’s There… for Youth? The Experience of Support When Aging Out of Foster Care

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pp. 267-279

This chapter provides a summary of selected results from a longitudinal study designed to examine what happens to youth following their exit from government care in British Columbia. The overall goal was to better understand the supports and resources that make a positive difference to youth and that...

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19. Providing a Seamless Continuum of Care Themes and Implications

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pp. 281-289

Legislation that allows the state to intervene in the lives of children and families is based on the principle of children’s best interests: these include the rights of children to be protected from abuse and to receive a certain standard of care (i.e., to be free from neglect). When that intervention requires...

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Part III: Indigenous Issues in Child Welfare

It was clear to the editors, when preparing the first edition of this text, that greater attention should be devoted to the special concerns of Indigenous communities and their children. Part III focuses on some of these concerns. The contents of Chapter 20 are compelling in that they confirm the...

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20. Disproportionate Representation of Indigenous Children in Child Welfare Systems: International Comparisons

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pp. 293-305

The overrepresentation of Indigenous children in the child welfare system is a major policy challenge for wealthy countries with colonized Indigenous populations. The legacy of colonization is evident in the huge gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous well-being on most social and...

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21. Understanding the Overrepresentation of First Nations Children in Canada’s Child Welfare System

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pp. 307-322

The overrepresentation of First Nations children in the child welfare system results from complex interactions between historical patterns, social policies, bureaucratic structures, and the needs of children, families, and communities. This chapter summarizes some of the major factors that have...

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22. From Child Protection to Community Caring in First Nations Child and Family Services

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pp. 323-338

The negative effects of colonization on the well-being of Aboriginal children and families have been well documented both in this book and elsewhere (see among other sources Blackstock, 2003; McKenzie & Morrissette, 2003; Sinclair, Bala, Lilles, & Blackstock, 2004). These effects include parenting...

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23. Wrap a Star Blanket around Each One Learning from the Educational Experiences of Indigenous Former Children in Care on Coast Salish Territory

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pp. 339-352

The goal of the qualitative doctoral research project on which this chapter is based is to learn from 15 urban Indigenous former youth in care in ways that will help to develop a holistic, Indigenous child welfare educational model. By learning from the lived experiences of those that survived the child welfare...

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24. Indigenous Issues in Child Welfare Themes and Implications

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pp. 353-366

Part III touches on some of the current issues and developments in Indigenous child welfare. It is not fully comprehensive, as the nature and scope of services—particularly in Aboriginal child and family services in Canada—have expanded significantly over the last few years. Some new developments...

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Part IV: Selected Practice Issues

The practice issues presented in this section have been chosen for their particular relevance to current child welfare discourse, though for somewhat different reasons. In 2003 we commented: “Social work records are remarkable for the absence of information about fathers. One disturbing effect of...

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25. Risk Assessment in Child Welfare Use and Misuse

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pp. 369-383

Child welfare workers face difficult decisions in attempting to meet what may be perceived as competing goals: safeguarding children and preserving family unity. The realities of child protection casework place pressure on workers to “get it right” when assessing risk, as there are potentially harmful...

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26. Engaging with Fathers in Child Welfare

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pp. 385-397

Today, men are present in the lives of child welfare-involved children as resident or non-resident fathers, stepfathers, the mothers’ partner, the mother’s brother or father, and family friends. Yet the overwhelming focus of child welfare policy, practice, research, and education is mothers. This chapter...

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27. Critical Issues of Practice and Protection in Relation to Families and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

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pp. 399-409

The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the broad social and political response to the issue of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) as it relates to women’s health research in Canada and child protection. It is critical to recognize that the myriad of disabilities caused by alcohol...

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28. Children with Disabilities in Care in Manitoba

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pp. 411-422

Children with disabilities are overrepresented in the child and family service system, and there is increasing concern about their growing numbers in care (Fudge Schormans & Brown, 2006). Because of additional risk factors associated with disability, these already vulnerable children have a greater...

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29. Child Welfare Challenges for Developing Nations

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pp. 423-436

This chapter explores the child welfare challenges in developing nations by considering some of the major systemic factors that relate to the practice of child welfare and child protection. The overarching challenge is that of developing humane policies and programs in ways that do not replicate...

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30. Selected Practice Issues: Themes and Implications

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pp. 437-442

The perennial problem in the child welfare field is managing competing values. As Bala points out in the Introduction to this book, there is tension between parental rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the rights of children to protection from harm. The social workers charged with...

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Part V: The Search for Best Practice

Part IV identified and discussed some selected practice issues. This section includes six chapters based on research regarding best practice, and in so doing offers some optimistic directions for improvement of the child welfare system. The common focus in these chapters is the desire to effect practice...

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31. Family-Centred Child Welfare Practice

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pp. 445-458

This chapter applies family-centred practice (FCP) concepts to the front-line child welfare context. It is recognized that child welfare practice occurs on a continuum, ranging from the least restrictive (or voluntary) to the most restrictive (or involuntary) services, often based on a range of legal...

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32. Using Looking After Children Data to Link Research to Policy and Practice in Out-of-Home Care

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pp. 459-471

This chapter looks at linking research to policy and practice in out-of-home care. It sets out the prerequisites for evidence-based decision-making; that is, evidence relevant to policy and practice, available when needed and communicated in a way which maximizes its use. The quality of relationships...

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33. The Looking After Children Approach in Quebec: An Evaluation of the Experiences of Youth, Caseworkers, and Foster Parents

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pp. 473-485

Placement in out-of-home care, and particularly placement in foster families, has an important role in the continuum of services offered to young people and families in difficulty. In Quebec, in 2007–8, almost 31,900 young people were referred to the...

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34. Guided Practice in Australia: Research, Implementation, and Child and Family Perspectives on Looking After Children and the Assessment Framework

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pp. 487-500

The search for best practice in Australian child welfare services is, as elsewhere in the world, affected by multiple factors. Policies and processes for the assessment and provision of services to children identified as at risk of abuse and neglect in Australia are subject to eight individual state and...

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35. Resiliency: Embracing a Strength-Based Model of Evaluation and Care Provision

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pp. 501-514

Stress, hardship, and misfortune resulting from personal or situational experiences can affect children and adolescents as well as adults. While some may develop serious and long-term educational, psychological, and social problems, a greater number grow up to lead healthy and productive lives in...

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36. The National Child Welfare Outcomes Indicator Matrix (NOM) and Its Application in a Child Welfare Agency

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pp. 515-529

Across Canada, social service providers are increasingly being asked to evaluate the outcomes of their interventions. These outcomes occur at different levels: the broad system level, including provincial and national perspectives; the program or agency performance level; and the clinical practice...

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37. Implementing the Integrated Children’s System in the United Kingdom A Summary of the Main Findings

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pp. 531-543

The Integrated Children’s System was designed in early 2000 as part of the U.K. government’s ongoing reform program for children’s services in England and Wales. It was designed to ensure that assessment, planning, and decision-making led to good outcomes for children in need and their families. It built...

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38. The Search for Best Practice: Themes and Implications

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pp. 545-549

Some key themes emerge from this exploration of the search for best practice. The first, and arguably the most important, is the growing recognition that child welfare, and child protection in particular, should reflect how well society looks after its children. Looking after children well cannot...

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Part VI: The Future of Child Welfare

In this final section we focus on the future of child welfare. In Chapter 39 we identify some of the critical issues to be faced if children and families are to receive the quality of service that we would wish for our own. These issues range from micro-level concerns such as attention to all key stakeholders...

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39. Critical Issues in Current Practice

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pp. 553-567

When we contemplate the issues still to be faced in child protection and child welfare, there is room for optimism but not for complacency. Our optimism is inspired by increasing recognition not only of the complexity of this field of practice, but also of the issues that have yet to be addressed...

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40. The Policy, Practice, and Research Connection: Are We There Yet?

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pp. 569-587

This final chapter examines the current policy, practice, and research connection. As indicated, we begin with a summary of the theoretical underpinnings of child welfare research and practice, followed by discussion of methodological challenges inherent in social work research. After exploring...


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pp. 589-671

List of Contributors

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pp. 673-677

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781554583683
E-ISBN-10: 1554583683
Print-ISBN-13: 9781554583300
Print-ISBN-10: 1554583306

Publication Year: 2011