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Connecting father absence and mother blame in child welfare policies and practice
Children and Youth Services Review
This paper reports the results of research about fathers and child welfare conducted in a mid-size Canadian city. The overall study uses a variety of modalities to assess the current state of child welfare policy, practice and discourse with fathers of children who come to the attention of child protection authorities, with particular attention to fathers of the children of mothers who were adolescent at the time of at least one child’s birth. Our research includes birth/biological fathers, stepfathers and men providing emotional, financial or social support to a child or children. This paper reports on the first phase of the study, in which we reviewed a random sample of child protection case files utilising both quantitative and qualitative methods. Our analysis and discussion is informed by a review of recent child welfare literature related to fathers and by related research team members have completed or are currently engaged in, including studies about young mothers in care, kinship care, risk assessment, failure to protect and the narratives of child welfare workers. Our intention is to contribute to reframing child welfare practice, policy and discourse in ways that are more inclusive of fathers and less blaming of mothers.
Child welfareFamily social workFathers--CanadaMothers--Canada