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audio clip to be listen/ enable you answer the questions.


2) Required Readings/ articles

Cameron, G., Freymond, N., Cornfield, D. & Palmer, S. (2007). Positive possibilities for child and family welfare: Expanding the Anglo-American child protection paradigm. In G. Cameron & N. Coady (Eds.), Moving toward positive systems of child and family welfare: Current issues and future directions (p. 1-77). Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Press. (Uploaded in file)

Sinhu, V. & Kozlowski, A. (2013).  The structure of Aboriginal child welfare in Canada.  The International Indigenous policy Journal, 4(2). http://ezproxy.library.uvic.ca/login?url=http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/iipj/vol4/iss2/

Question to be answered in 300 words:

1) What does a human rights framework contribute to a child protection service-delivery system?

2) What are the major themes that stood out in the lecture, readings and clip?

3) Do any of these themes have any relevance to your personal and professional learning and aspirations as a social worker in Canada?  If yes and/or no, explain why and how.

In addition share your own thoughts, feelings, ideas, experiences and analysis the themes and concepts provided in the course materials. This is a social work course, so make use of ‘I’ to personalize your feeling and thoughts. for example: I believe in, I think it’s important to… and so on..

Unit Three Lecture Notes
Unit Three – Family and child welfare policy paradigms and service delivery models

In Canada, family and child welfare legislation and policies are the responsibility of provinces and territories, though it must be kept in mind that provincial policies are impacted by federal social welfare policies. In addition to legislation, every jurisdiction has policy manuals, standards and protocols that provide definitions of abuse and neglect and specify criteria and procedures to be used in determining whether abuse or neglect has taken place or is likely to take place. Because teaching the specifics of each jurisdiction is beyond the scope of this course, students should expect to familiarize themselves with the legislation and policies that apply in their jurisdiction, for example through accessing related websites and using public and university libraries.

Provinces and territories control legislation, resources and all government agencies responsible for delivering child welfare and related services. Provinces and territories also initiate all major inquiries and legislation reform initiatives through Royal Commissions, Review Panels, Community Consultation and the like. In most provinces and territories, most non-statutory family and child welfare services are provided through contractual relationships between the government and non-government agencies. All critical family and child welfare decisions, such as, should this child be apprehended; should this adoption be approved; have the rights of a child in care been respected; and has the ‘correct’ benefit been paid to a family or individual are made or reviewed by courts or similar adjudicative bodies.

Although every provincial and territorial jurisdiction in Canada has developed its own child protection legislation and definitions of abuse and neglect, there are many similarities among them. These include the idea that individual families are responsible to care for, supervise and protect their children; that children have a right to protection; that the state has a role in protecting children from harm; and that the least disruptive and/or intrusive type of intervention must be provided.

In all Canadian jurisdictions, decisions about children must demonstrate that they meet the “best interests of the child” standard because this standard has been enshrined in both child welfare and family law in Anglo-American contexts as the paramount consideration. This injunction is present in common law, the parens patriae responsibility of the courts, and in all provincial and territorial child welfare law. Parens patriae is Latin for “father of the people”. In law, it refers to the power of the state to usurp the rights of the natural parent, legal guardian or informal carer, and to act as the parent of any child or individual who is deemed to be in need of protection, such as a child whose parents are unable or unwilling to take care of him or her, or an incapacitated and dependent individual.

In this course you will explore the implicit race, class, gender, etc. dimensions of the “best interests” standard and consider whether this standard represents the best foundation for family and child welfare policy.  Examining family and child welfare policy beyond the Anglo-American context provides insight into how the policy development process is a political process that includes some and excludes or marginalizes others. For example, Indigenous peoples, who have been massively and disproportionately affected by family and child welfare policy, had until the last decade or so no involvement in the development of family and child welfare policy. In Canada, policy development processes have been and continue to be dominated by elites, who are careful to explain child and family problems through notions of individual family (usually individual mother) dysfunction with little or no reference to contextual factors such as Indigeneity or poverty.

Canadian service delivery systems currently prioritize the protection of children above and before all other concerns. Intervention in individual families is rationalized as the need to respond to current or recently past harm or to prevent future harm to children.  In many jurisdictions, child welfare authorities rely on actuarial measures such as risk estimation to justify intervention and adversarial court systems to confirm them. Both processes confer considerable authority on child protection systems and individual workers. In these systems, providing supports and resources to families is a secondary consideration when it exists at all.

In many European countries, providing support to children and families and ensuring that children are well-cared for are significant system goals. Intervention is often focused on ensuring that families are adequately resourced and supported and it is not necessary to demonstrate the existence of current or possible future harm in order to access resources and supports. When court systems are involved, the emphasis is usually on reaching a collaborative agreement with the family, including what supports the community or state might provide.

Historically, the care of children was seen as a community responsibility in most Indigenous communities, and extended family and community members had important roles to play in caring for children and youth. The genocidal policies associated with European colonization of the Americas destroyed many of these traditional relationships, as did the assimilationist policies of residential schools. Canadian Indigenous communities are now recovering these principles of community care as they develop and take over responsibility for child welfare. Alongside developing community care systems for children within community, Indigenous nations are attending to processes of community healing and reconciliation.  Many resources are available on Indigenous child welfare in Canada and students should familiarize themselves with the history and current situation of Indigenous peoples in their jurisdiction.

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