Community Work Approaches to Child Welfare presents a number of case studies that illustrate alternative approaches to child welfare that recognizes the strengths and tenacity of families who live in resource poor and essentially unfriendly environments (and that would drive middle class professionals to distraction!). The strengths of these families can be harnessed to improve their situation and that of others. Community work approaches are provided by accessible organizations that involve families in the design and implementation of programs that affect them and that are dedicated to developing the capacity of communities to care for children and families. The case studies range from urban child welfare agencies in Toronto and Winnipeg, to the rural setting of Hazelton, B.C. and to examples of First Nation communities that have taken control of child welfare. The studies are written by Canadian scholars who are widely recognized for their innovative research and writing in community work and child welfare.
Community Work Approaches to Child Welfare is also an indictment of the policies and practices that now govern the provision of child welfare services in Canada. The indictment argues that the policies that hold parents, and particularly single parent women, responsible for the care of their children without regard for the circumstances in which these families live is neither realistic nor helpful. It further holds that individualized and office-based practice dominated by a paradigm of risk turns clients into objects thereby robbing them of their dignity and strengths. Community approaches make a viable alternative.
The late Brian Wharf was Professor Emeritus, School of Social Work and Faculty of Human and Social Development, University of Victoria. During his career at the university he was Director, School of Social Work, Dean, Faculty of Human and Social Development, Professor in a multi- disciplinary graduate program and Acting Director, School of Public Administration. He was the author/editor of numerous books, including Connecting Policy and Practice in the Human Services with Brad McKenzie.
1. Introduction, by Brian Wharf
2. Getting to Now: Children in Distress in Canada's Past, by Veronica Strong-Boag
3. Community Social Work in Two Provinces
I. The Neighbourhood House Project in Victoria and the Hazelton Office of the Ministry for Children and Families, Brian Wharf
II. Community Child Welfare: Examples from Quebec, by Linda Davies, Karen Fox, Julia Krane, and Eric Shragge
4. Community Organizing in Child Welfare
I. Changing Local Environments and Developing Community Capacity, by Brad McKenzie
II. Child Protection Through Strengthening Communities: The Toronto
Children's Aid Society, by Bill Lee and Sharon Richards
III. Learning from the Past / Visions for the Future: The
Black Community and Child Welfare in Nova Scotia, by Candace Bernard
and Wanda Thomas Bernard
5. Community Control of Child Welfare: Two Case Studies of Child Welfare in First Nations Communities
I. Watching Over Our Families and Children: Lalum'util' Smun'eem
Child and Family Services, by Leslie Brown, Lise Haddock, and Margaret
II. Building Community in West Region Child and Family Services, by Brad McKenzie
6. Searching for Common Ground: Family Resource Programs and Child Welfare, by Janice McAulay
7. Building a Case for Community Approaches to Child Welfare, Brian Wharf