Rethinking Child Welfare in Canada


256 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7710-8828-0
DDC 362.7'0971




Edited by Brian Wharf
Reviewed by James S. Frideres

James S. Frideres is associate dean (research) in the Faculty of Social
Sciences, University of Calgary, and author of A World of Communities:
Participatory Research.


Four authors contribute the seven chapters that make up this book. Part
1 describes the development of child welfare policy in Canada. Chapter 1
discusses the structure of the family in the late 19th century, and
reviews the social conditions that led to a concern about
“childhood.” Chapter 2 analyzes current child welfare policy and
legislation, and presents case studies to show how four different
Canadian child welfare programs were established, and how they operate.
Chapter 3 examines the professional lives of child welfare workers,
while Chapter 4 provides an overview of the work of four major
constituencies in child welfare—advisory councils, voluntary child and
family service agencies, advocacy organizations, and community-based

Part 2 focuses on new directions for child welfare. Chapter 5 presents
information on the past and current experiences with Native people,
while Chapter 6 provides a detailed account of feminist theories and
their application to child welfare. The final chapter offers several
proposals for reforming child welfare in Canada. The authors argue that
Canadians need to rethink the objectives and purpose of child welfare,
to recognize the changes that have taken place in our society, and to
develop new policies and delivery services accordingly. Burgeoning
social problems underlie the need to question why the present system
seems to failing our children.


“Rethinking Child Welfare in Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,