Date of Award
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Once upon a time there was a small kingdom of people with a dream. The dream was for a world where children could live free from harm. When any member of the kingdom found a child who had been harmed, the child was brought into the kingdom but those who hurt the child were never allowed in the kingdom .... even if they were children
And so the story begins. Child welfare agencies have struggled with finding ways to balance fulfilling their mandate of protecting children while still attending to broader social issues that cause problems for families in the first place. This paper uses story and metaphor to challenge the reader, and those working in child welfare, to consider some of the significant sources of oppression inherent in the work.
The purpose of this paper is to examine a small site of practice, located in a social housing neighbourhood, named New Beginnings that seeks to integrate community-based child protection work and community development. The study is based on findings from in-depth interviews with service providers, from both child welfare and other social agencies, affiliated with New Beginnings. The data is interpreted and discussed using a critical framework. Findings indicate that New Beginnings may be an example of innovation and creativity in a very financially restricted time for child welfare.
Despite the promise of the program, careful attention must be paid to the extraordinary power that those working with and for the very large kingdom embody.
This power cannot be extricated from the practice despite the friendly cover. The change in location, from a centralized to a community site, may create opportunities for relationship development and increased partnerships with neighbours to aid in community capacity building and system reform. However, this location change also has potential to create additional site of surveillance and ultimately greater oppression.
Esposto, Jill, "A Kingdom In Trouble" (2010). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4530.
McMaster University Library