Community Work Approaches to Child Welfare
edited by Wharf, Brian
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.close this panel