A Different Kind of Care: The Social Pediatrics Approach


187 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7735-2801-6
DDC 618.92




Reviewed by Henry G. MacLeod

Henry G. MacLeod teaches sociology at both Trent University and the
University of Waterloo.


Dr. Gilles Julien taps into two significant concerns: the need to invest
in children and the need for the medical profession to look beyond
treating illnesses with drugs and to consider elements of the
patient’s social environment that may require family and community
intervention instead. Poverty, and its effects on health and well-being,
is a much more widespread affliction threatening children in Canada than
diseases such as cancer. Dealing with symptoms is easier than addressing
the impact of poverty.

Julien argues that pediatricians have a role in ensuring that children
who are often labelled and dismissed as “problem children” get the
help they need from family and society—“Pediatricians practise
pediatrics. Social pediatricians stick their noses into anything and
everything that can help children, especially children in distress”—
and that the goal of social pediatrics is “to promote a compassionate
relationship ... involving the therapist, the child, the family, and the

Part 1 presents the theory of social pediatrics. It provides an
excellent overview of Gilles’s approach. Part 2 tells the stories of
some of the children he has helped. These stories, which are very
moving, are grouped under the search for “feelings,” for
“identity,” and for “meaningful connections.” They help to
demonstrate clearly his framework and method.

Child-welfare practitioners will find the content familiar but will
appreciate another voice advocating on behalf of the best interests of
children. Although most pediatricians are compassionate in their
relationships with children, many would benefit from the broader
perspective A Different Kind of Care brings.


Julien, Gilles., “A Different Kind of Care: The Social Pediatrics Approach,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 17, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/29374.