Rethinking services and legislative frameworks for helping families facing mental health issues, substance abuse and addiction, family difficulties and crises in a context of poverty.
CWLC held a first meeting of advisors for the Beyond Neglect initiative in partnership with the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada and Youth in Care Canada in March 2020, with thanks to start up funding from the Sandbox Project. Beyond Neglect seeks to garner a better understanding of how we can best respond to the conditions that place children at an increased risk of neglect, with a distinct focus on meeting the needs of children and families.
Poverty underlies the experiences of most families involved in the child welfare system by creating an additional burden and toxic stress that reduces their capacity to meet their needs. According to the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect, children are most often removed from their homes when a caregiver experiences domestic violence (46%), has few social supports (39%) or is facing mental health issues (27%). Families who live in poverty are more likely to experience chronic difficulties related to these challenges and exceptional interventions by the state – namely, the removal of their children through the child welfare system.
Lack of supports or limited access to resources can worsen the challenges vulnerable families face, decreasing parents’ ability to provide safe and adequate environments for their children. This is especially true for younger children, who are placed in foster care more frequently in regions with higher rates of absolute poverty. Improving environmental circumstances can significantly reduce the risk of children being put into out-of-home placements.
Moving Beyond Neglect: Recommendations and Future Directions for Child Welfare Policy and Practice
We are excited to share our latest Beyond Neglect report!
This report collates outstanding neglect-related recommendations from 32 reports published by public and community organizations and advocates between 1992 and 2019. The compiled recommendations are supported by findings from our conversations from the past two years with stakeholders, experts and advocates in the fields of child welfare and family well-being. The result is a series of recommendations that reflects over two decades of guidance and calls for change. We present our findings through the lens of six key themes for moving beyond neglect.
Following the publication of our most recent Beyond Neglect report (above), we are excited to share the summaries of our calls to child welfare workers, agencies and policymakers, to support each group with the implementation of the recommendations from our report.
Beyond Neglect Webinar Panel Events, April 21, 22 & 23, 2021
Thank you to everyone who participated in our three-day event on the following topics:
What is a healthy family? Guidance from youth and Elders;
What is ‘neglect’? Challenging and redefining discriminatory concepts;
Using resources to effectively support child and family well-being;
Rights, legislation and moving beyond forensic approaches to child and family well-being;
Strengthening families and communities from the ground up;
Learning from current federal, provincial and territorial research-informed initiatives.
See below for briefing papers and guest panelists of the event.
The discussion outcomes from the event have been collated in a report summarizing the main barriers and potential solutions that would have the greatest benefit to those who are experiencing harm from inadequate and discriminatory social service systems.
Beyond Neglect October 2021 Webinar Summary
On October 14, 2021, the CWLC hosted a webinar with key child welfare experts to discuss actionable steps that stakeholders can implement to better support the families they serve. The opinions and recommendations from the panelists represent diverse experiences and expertise drawn from the child welfare sector and community-based approaches.
Throughout the conversation, a common theme emerged centered on intention, in that we must be more purposeful in the ways we define child and family wellbeing as well as in the ways we intervene with children and families. The conversation unearthed several key areas for child welfare professionals to consider.
The webinar highlights discussions by key child welfare experts on actionable steps that stakeholders can implement to better support the families they serve. We've summarized them into a resource for teams and professionals to use as they navigate best practices and how to redefine their approach to child and family well-being.
 Public Health Agency of Canada. (2008). Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect – 2008: Major Findings.
 Esposito, T. et al. (2017). Out-of-home placement and regional variations in poverty and health and social services spending: A multilevel analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 72, 34-43.
 Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty. (2017). Financial causes and consequences of child maltreatment. Fast Focus, 27.
 Esposito, T. et al. (2017).
Proudly supported by Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s COVID-19 Child and Family Support Fund.