Child Welfare in Ontario & Canada
Mónica Ruiz-Casares, Deniz Kilinc
This updated study reviewed Canadian (a) statutory norms and jurisprudence to determine age at which children can be left unsupervised and (b) safety, child self-care and babysitting programs. Only three provinces establish a minimum age (12 or 16 years) at which children can be left alone or in charge of other children. Quebec is the only province with an age limit for leaving children unsupervised in a vehicle (seven years). Age is only one of the child factors generally considered by the courts in assessing adequate care and supervision. Canadian social services organizations advise that children under 12 years should not be left at home alone. Policy and advocacy efforts should provide accurate information and support to caregivers and children. This information sheet is an update of the 2015 information sheet with the same title (Ruiz-Casares & Radic, 2015).
An Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, Youth and Families. Technical Information Package
Indigenous Services Canada
Thanks to the efforts of people working across Canada, the Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (the Act), became law on June 21, 2019, and will come into effect as of January 1, 2020. This document is intended to serve as an implementation guide for the Act. This guide is not intended as, and does not provide, legal advice on the Act.
This summary document highlights key recurring recommendations on ‘aging out’ of care that have been put forward by youth in and from care, advocates and researchers from across the country since the late 1980s. Since 1987, 75 reports centered on youth in care and the ‘aging out’ of care process have been published across Canada, amounting to over 435 concrete recommendations for change to child protection policy and practice targeted to the transition to adulthood for youth in care. The authors of these reports range from national, provincial and territorial youth in care networks, provincial and territorial child and youth advocates, private foundations and university researchers in partnership with community-based organizations.
Public Health Agency of Canada
The objective of this project is to document the legislation, policies, and practices of each province and territory in the context of child protection. This report can be used as a reference tool to provide context for researchers and policy- makers who are interpreting child protection data.
Provincial/Territorial Protocol on Children, Youth and Families Moving Between Provinces and Territories
The purpose of the Provincial/Territorial Protocol on Children and Families Moving between Provinces and Territories (Protocol) is to outline the roles and responsibilities of statutory child welfare organizations (including government ministries, agencies, boards and societies and may include First Nations, Inuit and Métis child welfare organizations) when working together to provide child welfare services to children and families moving between provinces and territories (PTs). In this document these entities will be referred to as “the child welfare organizations”.
Marie Saint-Girons, Nico Trocmé, Tonino Esposito, Barbara Fallon
When child welfare authorities deem it unsafe for a child to remain in their home because of concerns related to abuse, neglect, or child/youth behaviours a parent cannot manage, they may place the child in out-of-home care. Nation-wide information on the number of children in out-of-home care is lacking in Canada – which largely stems from the fact that child welfare falls under the jurisdiction of provinces, territories, and First Nations. As a result, there is no centralized system for tracking the number of children in care, and reporting methods as well as inclusion criteria vary considerably across provinces, territories, and reserve boundaries. Although out-of-home placements are often necessary to ensure a child’s wellbeing or safety, high rates of placements can be an indication of a lack of access to support services and socio-economic conditions that impact a family’s ability to meet their children’s needs.
This article addresses the potential causes of the extensive racial disproportionality that has plagued the American foster care system. The analysis in Part II begins with a comprehensive dissection of the ASFA and its potential correlation to racial disproportionality. In section B of the analysis, the article then proceeds to argue that the failure of multiple states to provide adequate prevention services and programs likely contributes to the race gap in regard to lengths of stay in foster care. In section C, the third and final contention asserts that the consideration of race in the child placement process, specifically private adoptions, hinders the child’s ability to achieve permanency. In Part III, after a thorough analysis of the potential sources of the deeply-engrained racial disproportionality experienced by children of ethnic minorities in the current foster care system, this article provides several policy recommendations directed towards both the federal and state governments to alleviate this widespread racial disproportionality. The conclusion then recapitulates and reemphasizes the major points of this note.
Why Youth Leave Care: Understandings of Adulthood and Transition Successes and Challenges Among Youth Aging Out of Child Welfare
Sara Goodkind, Lisa A. Schelbe, Jeffrey J. Shook
Child welfare policies and practices are changing to allow more youth to remain in care beyond age 18. Yet, the majority of youth do not stay. Given recent evidence suggesting that remaining in care may be beneficial, there is a need to understand why youth leave. Using data gathered from in-depth interviews with young people aging out of care, this paper explores this question, relating it to youths’ understandings of adulthood and the successes and challenges they face during their transitions. We find that youth leave care because of misunderstanding and misinformation about the requirements for remaining in care, as well as because of a desire for autonomy and independence. Specifically, many youth equated adulthood with independence, and thus felt that they needed to leave care to achieve adulthood. Unfortunately, these efforts to be independent often hinder youths’ development of supportive relationships, which they reported to be one of the greatest challenges in their transitions. Based on these findings, we conclude by challenging the conflation of adulthood and independence, as well as of childhood and dependence, calling for connected autonomy as a goal for child welfare involved young people of all ages.
Ruth Gilbert, Alison Kemp, June Thoburn, Peter Sidebotham, Lorraine Radford, Dayna Glaser, Harriet L. MacMillan
Professionals in child health, primary care, mental health, schools, social services, and law-enforcement services all contribute to the recognition of and response to child maltreatment. In all sectors, children suspected of being maltreated are under-reported to child-protection agencies. Lack of awareness of the signs of child maltreatment and processes for reporting to child-protection agencies, and a perception that reporting might do more harm than good, are among the reasons for not reporting. Strategies to improve recognition, mainly used in paediatric practice, include training, use of questionnaires for asking children and parents about maltreatment, and evidence-based guidelines for who should be assessed by child-protection specialists. Internationally, studies suggest that policies emphasising substantiation of maltreatment without concomitant attention to welfare needs lead to less service provision for maltreated children than do those in systems for which child maltreatment is part of a broad child and family welfare response.
Joseph J. Doyle Jr.
The child welfare system investigates over 2 million children each year for parental abuse or neglect, yet little is known about the effects of removing children from home and placing them in foster care. Long-term outcomes are rarely observed, and children placed in foster care likely differ from those not placed, making comparisons difficult. This paper uses the removal tendency of investigators as an instrumental variable to identify causal effects of foster care placement on a range of outcomes for school-age children and youth. A rotational assignment process effectively randomizes families to these investigators. The results suggest that children assigned to investigators with higher removal rates are more likely to be placed in foster care themselves, and they have higher delinquency rates, teen birth rates, and lower earnings. Large marginal treatment effect estimates suggest caution in the interpretation, but the results suggest that children on the margin of placement tend to have better outcomes when they remain at home, especially for older children.
Neil Gilbert, Nigel Parton, Marit Skivenes
This volume builds upon and advances the comparative analysis of child protection systems that was conducted in the mid-1990s and presented in Combatting Child Abuse: International Perspectives and Trends (Gilbert, 1997). Prompted by the rapid increase in reports of child maltreatment from 1980 to the early 1990s, that study compared social policies and professional practices in nine countries, examining differences as well as common problems and policy orientations. … Since the mid-1990s, however, much has changed in the realm of child welfare and how states define and deal with their responsibilities for children at risk. This book sets out to identify and analyze these changes and their implications, with a particular focus on assessing the extent to which the child protection and family service orientation continue to provide a helpful framework for understanding and comparing systems in different countries.
Kathleen Kufeldt, B. D. McKenzie
In 1994 a group of researchers and decision makers met to discuss the state of child welfare. Also present were a few practitioners and two youth in care. Six years later, when they met again, the number of practitioners and youth had grown considerably and were joined by a strong contingent of foster parents. Thus the findings and insights presented were affirmed or challenged by those most affected OCo those on the front line. It was an exciting event, worth capturing in book form.
According to the United Nations’ latest data, the United States has more children living in poverty than any other industrialized nation in the world. More than a fifth of all children grow up in poverty. The poverty rates for African-American and Latino children often exceeds 40 percent.
Furthermore, the United States–a country that once pioneered strategies to prevent child abuse and that now spends more money fighting child abuse than any other industrialized country–also has the highest rate of child abuse in the industrialized world.
Against this background, Duncan Lindsey, a leading authority on child welfare, takes a critical look at the current welfare system. He traces the transformation of child welfare into child protective services, arguing that the current focus on abuse has produced a system that is designed to protect children from physical and sexual abuse and therefore functions as a last resort for only the worst and most dramatic cases in child welfare. In a close analysis of the process of investigating child abuse, Lindsey finds that there is no evidence that the transformation into protective services has reduced child abuse fatalities or provided a safer environment for children. He makes a compelling argument for the criminal justice system to assume responsibility for the problem of child abuse in order for the child welfare system to be able to adequately address the well-being of a much larger number of children now growing up in poverty.
Child Welfare 1872-1989 is the first comprehensive book on the history of social policy and child welfare from the 1870s to the present. It offers a full narrative of the development of social services for children, covering a range of topics including infant life protection and welfare, sexuality, child guidance, medical treatment, war time evacuation, and child poverty. Equally importantly the book studies the attitudes [of] policy-makers towards children. It reveals the way in which children have been viewed both as victims of and threats to the society in which they lived.