Starting with the Autumn 2005 edition, abstracts for articles published in the journal Canadian Social Work (CSW) are available on the CASW website (links below). Canadian Social Work is available in its entirety on the Members’ and Subscribers’ Sites of the CASW website.
Canadian Social Work Volume 15 (1) Autumn 2013
Canadian Social Work Volume 14 (1) Autumn 2012
Canadian Social Work Volume 13 (1) Autumn 2011
Canadian Social Work Volume 12 (2) Autumn 2010
Canadian Social Work Volume 11 (1) Autumn 2009
Canadian Social Work Volume 10 (1) Autumn 2008
Canadian Social Work Volume 9 (1) Autumn 2007
Canadian Social Work Volume 8 (1) Autumn 2006
Canadian Social Work Volume 7 (1) Autumn 2005
Abstract. South Asian families often consist of extended family members living within one household, where grandparents play an important role in parenting their grandchildren. Focus groups were conducted with parents and grandparents who live in multigenerational households, to ascertain the reasons why they chose to live in such an arrangement. Participant comments are summarized, and implications for practice are then discussed. This exploratory research study intends to further our knowledge of multigenerational parenting in South Asian homes; it is hoped that greater awareness of this practice will lead to better, more culturally-relevant social work services.
Social Work, BDSM and Vampires:
Toward Understanding and Empowering People with Non-traditional Identities
D J Williams, PhD
Social workers are obligated to embrace human diversity, challenge social injustice, and work to empower vulnerable populations. Two separate, but somewhat related, law-abiding populations that remain hidden due to legitimate fears of marginalization and oppression, including among social workers, are the BDSM and real vampire communities. In an effort to educate social workers who likely will encounter (whether knowingly or not) individuals with BDSM or vampire identities, this article discusses current scholarly literature on these communities and their practices. Suggestions for empowering people who practice BDSM or vampirism are also provided.
Quand la langue nous parle!
Les enjeux d’adolescents francophones en contexte minoritaire et une contextualisation de la pratique du travail social*
Marie Drolet, Isabelle Archand, Daphne Ducharme, Raymond Leblanc
The language that one speaks identifies the individual with a certain social group and distinguishes that individual from other people. Minority languages are seldom used in the public sphere and, instead, are confined to informal social networks and private life (Landry, 2012). Social work, a profession that advocates for the respect of human rights, has rarely focused on linguistic minorities (Harrison, 2009), and yet the language in use can become a source of discrimination (Lo Bianco, 2010). In an effort to better adapt the practice of social work to minority language situations, this article seeks to identify the perceptions of Franco-Ontarian adolescents regarding Francophones in minority settings. Qualitative interviews were used to uncover certain issues that these adolescents face on a daily basis. The youth participants wish to keep their affiliations with their minority Francophone community, while at the same time maintaining ongoing contact with the Anglophone majority, and even integrate positively into the majority. By contrast, the analysis of their verbatim comments shows that the adults that they spend time with, particularly at school, emphasize the vitality of the minority Francophone community and the use of standard French, which these adolescents find restrictive. Given that social workers intervene within the client context and often act as facilitators, the social work profession can contribute to the creation of a common ground between these two visions that drive ever-present issues within minority Francophone communities, as well as act on opportunities that may arise from these issues in order to strengthen cohesion in these communities.
Making the Invisible Visible:
A Workload Study on the Role of Field Education Coordinators in Canada
Laurie Macdonald, BSW, MSW
Field education coordinators (FECs) in Canadian schools of social work face common challenges, many of which pertain to the areas of workload and limited resources. The FEC position is a critical one, but tends to be allocated lesser status and power within programs, and those assigned to the role consistently speak of feeling isolated within their schools. One overriding factor is the lack of validation and support for field concerns within social work programs. In order to get a clearer picture of these dilemmas, FECs in Canada as well as other people dedicated to field issues were interviewed and their views explored. Recommendations for changes were distilled from the discussions.
The Canadian Social Transfer and the Social Determinants of Health
Last year the journal included a non-peer reviewed article on the same subject and it was well received by the journal’s readers. Given the continued importance of the issue and the contribution that this paper makes to add ammunition to the advocacy efforts of those attempting to reform the Canadian Social Transfer (CST), we are including a second paper. The CST is the primary source of federal funding that supports provincial and territorial education and social programs. Human rights advocates are increasingly concerned with the lack of federal accountability to ensure that Canadians have equity access to social programming. This paper explores the adequacy of the provision of those social services.
Engaging in research has become a requirement of social work practice. Evidence-based practice and accountability are commonplace and there is an increased need for the integration of research-practice-policy to promote issues of social justice. Social work research encompasses complex ethical issues, and social workers are often faced with dilemmas of balancing research practices with ethical and professional obligations while not further marginalizing vulnerable populations. Social workers are required by the profession to engage in ethical research practice, but often in the absence of a formal review board, and review boards may not comprehend the extent or nuances of ethical issues that are specific to researching social work populations. While the Canadian Social Work Code of Ethics and Standards of Ethical Practice provide general information about ethical protocol, there is little coordinated guidance specific to social work research ethics. This article discusses the need to focus on social work research ethics; guidance from the literature, frameworks and codes of ethics; and the development of a social work research ethics agency framework. Recommendations for the further development of social work ethics dialogue, resources and action are also presented.
Social Investment in Children:
Comparing the Benefits of Child Protection Early Intervention and Prevention Programs in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia
Shelly Qualtieri, Susan Robinson PhD
Families in modern society experience many stressors, many of which can lead to child abuse and neglect in vulnerable families. The existence of one risk factor increases the chance of a second risk factor occurring and, in turn, often compounds the negative effects of each. The more complex or difficult the child’s home situation, the more important it is that multiple resources be used to support the family and ensure that the risk of harm to the child is reduced. This article discusses the need and provision of early intervention and prevention programs in the area of child protection, comparing the situations of Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia to see if there is international consistency in the design and implementation of these programs. It also conceptualizes expenditure on early intervention and prevention programs for children as prudent long-term social investment.
Rural Palliative Care
Nicole A. Epp
The right of every Canadian to have quality end-of-life care must become a core value of Canada’s health care system. The reality is, however, that Canadians living in rural areas have severely limited access to formal palliative care services. Social workers must be active in developing policies and advocating for equal treatment and access to services for Canada’s rural communities. Increased government funding is needed to provide for support systems in Canada’s rural society. This will enable the hiring of more social workers in the health care support system and facilitate their education about terminal illness, palliative care, death and dying.
During a terminal illness or following the loss of a loved one, some families are able to work through their grief independently. However, additional support from licensed social workers can significantly promote the healing process. While watching a loved one slowly fade away, little is more important than timely access to an educated palliative care team. This team must include social workers in rural Canada.
The author shares her personal experiences in trying to access educated palliative care teams for her son and family while living in a rural area.
The Impact of Regulation in Social Work:
Complaints Against Social Workers
Currently, all provinces in Canada have legislation regarding the regulation of social work. As outlined in regulatory bodies’ mandates and mirrored in the literature, protection of clients is a central feature. Debates remain in the social work literature about the prevalence of complaints and misconduct within the profession. This qualitative study explored the regulation and protection of clients by seeking the views of those providing social work services. The research questions were, “What are the views of registered and non-registered social workers about regulation?” and, “What are their experiences with the regulatory body?” Of particular interest (and not documented anywhere else in the literature), two participants shared their experiences in having been investigated by their regulatory body. The findings emulate discussions in the literature about the limitations of regulation. The discourse focused on the shared goal of protecting service users. However, questions were raised around the accessibility for service users to launch complaints. Limitations of the regulatory body’s ability to assess root causes of complaints versus its ability to investigate individual social workers’ practices was also discussed. Participants’ views suggested that an atypical model of self-regulation would best serve this unique and diverse profession and its affiliated service users, and would better manage the impact of complaints on social workers.
The Canadian Social Transfer (CST)
The journal does not usually include research that is not peer reviewed, but the importance of this issue and the recommendations put forward in this report warranted its inclusion. The Canadian Social Transfer (CST) is the primary source of federal funding that supports provincial and territorial education and social programs. While the Government of Canada recently announced that the 3% annual increase in the Canada Social Transfer will continue until the 2016-17 fiscal year, this paper demonstrates that accountability and equity for the delivery of social services across Canada should be of utmost concern. To read the full document click here
Canadian Social Work Volume 13 (1) Autumn 2011
The National Arts and Youth Demontration Project: Removing Barriers to Participation for Youth of Colour and Aboriginal Youth
Robin Wright, Giovani Burgos, Eric Duku
This study identifies barriers faced by youth of colour during participation in after-school arts programs and the best approaches developed to address such barriers. Using longitudinal data obtained from the National Arts and Youth Demonstration Project (NAYDP) youth self-reports, the impact of an inclusive after-school program was analyzed using growth curves and hierarchical linear modeling. The findings suggest that when addressing barriers to participation in poor urban settings, youth of colour do not face significantly increased barriers to program involvement than their white peers. In addition, addressing these barriers reduces group differences with respect to emotional and behavioural problems.
Stress and Coping in Parents of Medically At-Risk Infants: The Need for Social Work Support
Michèle Preyde, Tracey Dingwall
With the increasing medical capacity to care for infants with serious illness, the special care nursery (SCN) can now provide intervention and care for infants at higher risk than in the past. The admission of one’s infant to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or an SCN is a stressful event for parents. Much of the research has been conducted in the NICU in tertiary care hospitals. Little is known about the experience of parents with infants in the SCN in community hospitals. The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of the experience of parents with infants in the SCN and to characterize that experience. Parents reported that the greatest amount of stress related to the interruption in their role as parents, and that they employed a range of coping strategies, relying especially on social support and positive reappraisal. Parents offered several suggestions for improving their experiences in the SCN—in particular, greater involvement with social workers. Implications for social work practice and research are discussed.
Speaking, Hearing and Understanding the Stories We Hold as Health Care Providers
Patricia McGillicuddy, Tracy Johnson, Phyllis Marie Jensen, Margaret I. Fitch, Merle Audrey Jacobs
The authors focus on the results of a qualitative study by a team of social work and nursing researchers investigating the nature and extent of vicarious traumatization in the work experience of 20 physicians, nurses, and social workers during professional training and in clinical practice. The authors take a qualitative, narrative approach to understanding the professional care experiences and workplace context reflected in stories that are remembered as difficult, unresolved, or worrisome. A number of recurring themes emerged from the research as contributing to the development of vicarious traumatization and aiding or hindering its resolution. There was significant overlap among both the themes and the nature of the stories told among the professions interviewed. The deliberative delineation of these themes in education, mentorship and practice may assist in recognizing and ameliorating traumatic effect and enhancing hope and pride. This points to the need for heightened awareness and interdisciplinary education focused on the emotional impacts of working with patients/clients in health care team settings and the powerful potential of storytelling.
Implications of Delayed Parenthood for Individuals and Families
Teresa K. Lightbody
There has been a developing trend among Canadian women toward delaying the birth of their first child until their thirties. Many reasons account for this postponement of parenthood, including greater social acceptance, increased awareness and use of assisted reproductive technologies, delaying of first marriage, competing roles for women such as their schooling or career, and financial constraints. Couples may postpone childbirth to avoid having to balance multiple roles, to obtain financial security, and to be able to cover the cost of child care. Late childbearing has important implications for individuals and families. Although the postponement of parenthood is related to more established careers, higher incomes, and enhanced parenting practices, the trend can also be associated with more difficulties with conception and complications with pregnancy, inadequate social support, and struggles with initial maternal adjustment. These challenges have important implications for social workers. Because there continues to be identifiable gaps in the research exploring the trend of delayed parenthood, more comprehensive study on this topic would better equip social workers to work with parents who choose to postpone parenthood.
Experiences of Newly Qualified Canadian Social Workers
Andrea M. Newberry
Occupational stress, especially among young social workers or those new to a field, can cause emotional distress, stress-related illness, absenteeism, turnover, and reduced performance. Social workers face the unique stressors of secondary trauma, compassion fatigue, work overload, ambiguous roles, and burnout. All of these can lead to emotional exhaustion and, in extreme cases, potential exit from the field, especially in those who have not learned how to deal with these challenges early in their careers. A review of the literature was performed in order to assess what is known about the occupational stressors of new Canadian social workers. There is a paucity of peer-reviewed, research-based scholarship addressing this subject in Canada. Researchers in the United Kingdom and, to a lesser extent, the United States have explored this subject, however. These foreign literatures reveal significant stressors for the newly qualified social worker and provide evidence of the importance of initiating, socializing, and training new members in achieving a successful school-to-work transition. While the Canadian practice context is different, the analytical grounds of the American and British research can be extrapolated to the Canadian context to provide a foundation for analysis of implications for practice as well as further research.
Effects of a Group Therapy Program Led by Social Workers for Adolescent Girls Who Have Experienced Sexual Abuse
Geneviève Paquette, Marc Tourigny, Jacques Joly
The effects of a group therapy program on the cognitive distortions, coping strategies, and behavioural problems of adolescent girls (n = 35, mean age of 14.3 years) were evaluated using a quasi-experimental non-equivalent control group design with pre- and post-test measures. The therapy, led by two female social workers, consisted of 18 two-hour weekly sessions centered on various recovery themes. An eclectic viewpoint was adopted and various technical approaches were used. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) results show a statistically significant improvement by participants on several variables, compared with non-participants. When pre-test levels of the variables as well as other services received during the group therapy are controlled for, the analysis still yields fewer positive, significant results. The final findings indicate that the group therapy program is effective in improving coping strategies and reducing both externalized and internalized behavioural problems in sexually abused girls. The implications concerning social work practices with adolescent girls who have experienced sexual abuse are discussed in light of the outcome of the program’s effects.
Anti-Communism in the Cold War and Its Impact on Six Canadian Social Workers
Communism has been a persistent concern in Canada since the inception of the RCMP in 1920 (Hewitt, 2002), however, a particularly intense period of anti-Communism coincided with the Cold War period in Canada and in the United States (US). The term “Cold War” was first used in 1947 during congressional debate in the US to refer to the growing tensions between the Soviet Union and the West (Scher, 1992). Reg Whitaker and Gary Marcuse (1994) define the early Cold War from 1945 to 1957 as “Act One” in a play that continued for the next four decades. In the post-World War II period, fear of Communism was used to dampen public dissent and contain socialism while a liberal capitalist agenda was advanced. Coercion occurred through surveillance, government legislation, the undermining of progressive unionism, and collaboration between Canadian and American border officials. Media campaigns aimed at dismantling postwar peace, consumer and daycare movements also occurred. Canadian social workers on the political left experienced the effects of anti-communism in the 1950s and well beyond into the 1970s and 1980s. Oral interviews conducted by the author with six former social workers on the political left, reveal their personal experiences of the Cold War tensions. As the stories demonstrate, these social workers were targeted because the nature of their activism ran counter to the prevailing liberal capitalist ideology.
Advocacy in social Work: Recovery-Focused Systems for People Living with Serious Mental Health Issues (SMHI)
Ameil J. Joseph
Studies have demonstrated for decades that people living with serious mental health issues (SMHI) are able to recover and live satisfying and productive lives in the community. Although the recovery model has been adopted by many mental health service providers, many people still experience systemic barriers to social inclusion and hindrances to recovery by formal helping systems. These barriers and hindrances include experiences of societal stigma, abuses of power and a lack of access to needed supports, such as employment, housing and income. Social workers, due to their extensive involvement at all levels of care to people suffering with SMHI, and the particular values of their profession (with its emphasis on larger systemic areas that are not traditionally accepted as points of intervention for mental health treatment, i.e., inclusion, employment, housing, income and societal stigma) possess key insight and are uniquely placed to potentially create and direct the urgent change and improvements required in Canadian mental health care.
This article examines recent developments and ongoing shortcomings in recovery, identifies issues related to the use of multiple perspectives, and
discusses the important role of social work in the advocacy for recovery-focused systems for people with SMHI.
The Ongoing Problem of Bullying in Canada: A Ten-Year Perspective
Faye Mishna, Debra Pepler, Charlene Cook, Wendy Craig, Judith Wiener
To examine trends in bullying prevalence rates in elementary schools, this study compared data collected in 1993 (two schools; n = 229) and 2003 (four schools; n = 159) in Toronto. Schools were selected primarily on school board recommendations in 1993 and in order to ensure diverse socio-demographic representation in 2003. A self-report questionnaire adapted from Olweus (1989) was administered in both studies. In 1993 and 2003, approximately half of all participants indicated they experienced bullying in the current school term. Chi-square analyses revealed little significant difference in students' experiences of bullying across the ten-year period, highlighting the ongoing impact of bullying in selected Toronto schools. Challenges and opportunities regarding bullying are discussed, including the need for greater national attention to this field.
An Exploratory Study of School Social Work in Ontario
Rick Csiernik, Gail Lalonde
Studies have demonstrated for decades that people living with serious mental health issues (SMHI) are able to recover and live satisfying and productive lives in the community. Although the recovery model has been adopted by many mental health service providers, many people still experience systemic barriers to social inclusion and hindrances to recovery by formal helping systems. These barriers and hindrances include experiences of societal stigma, abuses of power and a lack of access to needed supports, such as employment, housing and income. Social workers, due to their extensive involvement at all levels of care to people suffering with SMHI, and the particular values of their profession (with its emphasis on larger systemic areas that are not traditionally accepted as points of intervention for mental health treatment, i.e., inclusion, employment, housing, income and societal stigma) possess key insight and are uniquely placed to potentially create and direct the urgent change and improvements required in Canadian mental health care. This article examines recent developments and ongoing shortcomings in recovery, identifies issues related to the use of multiple perspectives, and
discusses the important role of social work in the advocacy for recovery-focused systems for people with SMHI.
The Challenge of Fundamentalism for Social Work Ethics: Can Anti-Oppressive Social Work Include Orthodox Religion?
James R. Vanderwoerd
The newly-adopted Code of Ethics of the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW, 2005a) includes in its preamble: The Code of Ethics does not specify which values and principles are most important and which outweigh others in instances of conflict. Reasonable differences of opinion exist among social workers with respect to which values and principles should be given priority in a particular situation (p. 2). This article explores the implications of the Code of Ethic’s openness to the “reasonable differences of opinion” clause with particular attention to groups of people who might be identified as “fundamentalist.” This article argues that recent trends in immigration and religion will require the social work profession to reflect on how it can remain committed to anti-oppressive practise, while at the same time making room for the perspectives of those belonging to religiously orthodox groups. A multiple-pluralities approach that recognizes the narrative character of human beings is suggested as one way to resolve potential conflicts.
L'Expérience des familles lors du placement d'un parent âgé en institution
Jean-Martin Deslauriers, Louise-Hélène Bourdeau
To fully illustrate families’ experiences when a placement is required, this review of the literature first situates the family in its overall social and demographic context. We learn that with the greying of the population, more and more people are facing the prospect of one or both parents being institutionalized, and under unfavourable conditions. Health and social services are struggling to adequately meet the needs of families in this situation. There is a gap between the needs of these families and the government’s response. This article also describes how family members cope with the transition to an institution and identifies the key factors influencing this experience, which is often a time of crisis for families.
Rôles et contributions des travailleuses sociales en centre hospitalier universitaire
The need to better define the roles and contributions of social workers that are based in University Hospitals is central in establishing and solidifying professional practice and identity. This article will add to the reflections and debates relevant to these issues. A qualitative study was conducted in order to give voice to the practitioners. Social work faces difficulties in defining its raison d’être in this environment. University hospital social workers take on a large scope of roles but they differ in regards to the different wards or programs where they are assigned. Individual factors must also be taken into consideration. The pressure to discharge patients, the increase in workload and rhythm of work are amongst the factors contributing to the erosion of clinical responsibilities to the benefit of more technical tasks and liaison and broker functions. The author believes that, with regard to this issue, social work needs to clarify its contribution because the legitimacy of the profession is at stake.
L'exercice du travail social dans la seule province officiellement bilingue du Canada : Défis et possibilités
New Brunswick holds the unique distinction of being Canada’s only officially bilingual province. Government services, including social welfare and education, are available to every citizen in either French or English. A research study explored social workers’ views on the challenges and opportunities of official bilingualism, particularly in a context in which the Acadian francophone population historically has held minority status. The results emphasize the need for social workers to expand their linguistic abilities to include minoritized languages.
The impact of Globalization of Social work Education and Practice: The Case of Developing Countries
This paper critically examines the impact of globalization on social work education and practice using developing countries as a case study. It
argues that although there are negative aspects to globalization, it does offer increased opportunities for exchange and mutual problem solving, in addition to presenting an agenda of shared problems. These opportunities can be beneficial to social work educators and practitioners in developing countries. The paper concludes by arguing that the challenge for social workers in these countries is “to prepare for seizing these opportunities by accepting globalization and interdependence as ‘irrefutable facts’ and to overcome tendencies toward isolationism that prevent that recognition” (Healy, 2008, p.48).
The Social Worker Satisfaction Scale: A Measure of Social Worker Subjective Well-Being (SWB) As It Pertains to the Workplace
Theresa J. B. Kline, John R. Graham
The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the psychometric characteristics of the Social Worker Satisfaction Scale. The scale assesses social worker satisfaction in three areas of their work life: the organizational environment, satisfaction with the professional associations, and satisfaction with workload. This study builds on earlier work where these three themes were identified by practicing social workers as relevant to their subjective well-being. Factor analyses supported a three-dimensional model and the internal consistencies of the subscales were good to excellent. Future research should focus on developing a nomological net around this construct.
Raising Consciouness About Homelessness and Poverty Through Poetry
Chris Wanamaker, Christine A. Walsh
The increase in homelessness in recent years can be attributed largely to political, economic and social forces beyond the control of the individual. However, the explanations commonly offered refer almost entirely to the characteristics of individuals. Reading, creating and discussing poetry can effect a change in the kinds of attributions people make about the issue, from those that primarily hold the individual responsible, to those concerned with the influence of the political and economic landscape. This paper reviews the literature and offers practice examples of how participation in the arts, such as poetry, can encourage some individuals challenged by homelessness to engage in political action aimed at reducing the extent of homelessness and related social problems.
Former à l'Intervention auprès des garçons et des hommes ou opérer un changement de paradigme qui comporte des enjeux importants
Gilles Tremblay, Pierre L'Heureux
Men who hold more traditional gender role beliefs are more reluctant to ask for help, and when they do seek help, sometimes they have waited so long it becomes a crisis situation. Working with boys and men can often give rise to feelings of discomfort. According to Dulac (2001), men report not only a lack of specific resources, but also the fact that support services are often poorly adapted to their needs. In response to this deficiency, the Comité de travail en matière de prévention et d’aide aux hommes [working group on prevention and support services for men] (Rondeau, et al., 2004) recommends better training for practitioners who provide support services. In the past 10 years, hundreds of practitioners in various social service organizations and within the school community have received training in interventions targeted toward male clients. This article deals with the challenges that arise from this training, which proposes a new paradigm shift. The results of one focus group indicate that, more than methods and techniques, this training offers a whole new perspective that is fundamentally changing approaches to intervention and that, to some extent, participants are even called upon to re-examine their own personal lives with regard to their relationships with men.
One Paycheque from Poverty: How Canadian Social Workers Think and Talk About Money - A Qualitative Investigation
Zéna Seldon, Jane Birkbeck
This paper explores the relationship between family financial difficulties and the way in which Canadian social workers think and talk about money. After reviewing the literature, we used in-depth interviews with twelve practicing social workers to enhance our understanding of this relationship. In particular we questioned whether their level of basic financial literacy is sufficient to provide informed assistance to clients who present with financial problems, which is increasingly likely in today’s economy. We concluded there is a prima facie case for additional research to verify if their views are indeed representative of Canadian social work practitioners and, if so, for a reconsideration of current social work educational patterns and practices.
Desperately Seeking a New Model of Economic Security For Canada: The Basic Income (BI) Approach
James P. Mulvale
The level of economic security in Canada has remained tenuous over the last several years due to cuts to social programs, the loss of stable, adequately paid jobs, and growing inequality in incomes. Many have called for the implementation of a Guaranteed Adequate Income (GAI) policy framework and/or a Basic Income (BI) framework that would provide an adequate level of income to all without conditions. Discussion of such a scheme has cycled through Canadian social policy debates for decades, and has surfaced recently in media stories, political party discussions, and policy and research work.
The desirability and feasibility of GAI/BI was explored in depth with focus groups in Saskatchewan composed of persons living in poverty and anti-poverty activists and advocates. The focus group participants found this new model to be an attractive alternative in principle. They also raised questions about how GAI/BI would be designed and implemented. They emphasized the need to strengthen universal “in-kind” programs such as health care, to coordinate any guaranteed income initiative with other income security programs, and to ensure adequate support to those with specialized needs (such as disabilities).
Some thoughts are offered on how to advance a GAI/BI agenda. The social work profession would have a role to play in such an effort to achieve guaranteed
Preparation for Transition to Adulthood: A Focus on Self-Determination of Youth with Disabilities
Sarah K. Warren, Beverley J. Antle, Gert Montgomery, Kathy Gravel
Youth with disabilities experience unique challenges in achieving successful transition outcomes. Self-determination is emerging in the literature as an important factor in the transition to adulthood. Research on psychosocial transition outcomes and self-determination is limited. The objective of this article is to explore the experiences of youth with disabilities, focusing on selfdetermination and the psychosocial aspects of transition to adulthood. This article uses a mixed methods research approach, with fourteen youth that have an acquired brain injury or spina bifida. Youth report that self-determination is shaped by individual factors such as self-concept, disability type and gender, as well as social-relational factors such as treatment from others, support and friendships. The ultimate expression of self-determination is creating and achieving meaningful and doable goals. To achieve those goals, obstacles must be overcome, including negative treatment from others, reflecting the social model of disability. This article demonstrates the ecological nature of self-determination and transition to adulthood and acts as a foundation for future research in this area from a psychosocial perspective.
Canadian Researchers Studying Gender and Sexually Diverse Populations, and Health and Well-Being: Befelopment of a National Strategic Research Cluster
The growth in Canadian research regarding gender and sexually diverse populations1—by academics and community-based researchers alike, utilizing affirmative approaches that redresses past oppressive research—has created a need for a more cohesive strategy in further developing this area of scholarship. Reported in this paper are the proceedings of a two-day meeting of researchers2 with an interest in gender and sexually diverse populations in general and their health and well-being in particular. Twenty-four participants from across Canada and one visiting international participant from
Belgium, representing academic and community organizations gathered in Toronto for the meeting. The central planned activity of this initiative was a serious focused discussion with key researchers and community partners about how best to establish a national cohesive research cluster committed to knowledge mobilization and social justice regarding the gender and sexually diverse communities. Thus, the intent of the organizers was to address the disparateness of researchers across Canada doing work in the areas of gender and sexual diversity by creating a cohesive nucleus that will facilitate a strengthening of community capacity, develop a focused research agenda, commit itself to the production of new knowledge and mobilize that knowledge in ways that influence public and social policy toward the equitable recognition of gender and sexually diverse Canadians.
1 “Gender and sexually diverse populations” refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, transgender, two-spirit people, intersex, queer and/or questioning.
2 The researchers may be academic or community based, and may identify as members of the gender and sexually diverse communities. They are actively
engaged in research regarding these populations or allied to them through their research interests.
Le recrutement et la rétention des familles d'acceuil : un défi pour les organismes de services à l'enfance
Daniel Turcotte, Émilie Dionne, Richard Cloutier
This article presents a review of the literature on recruitment and retention of foster families in the field of children’s services. The need for substitute family environments is increasing and it is difficult, given the current pool of foster homes, to meet the demand. Unfortunately, it is the children in need of a foster care placement who are suffering the consequences. This text presents a review of the literature on the key issues surrounding recruitment and retention of foster families. A brief overview of the problem is given first, followed by a discussion of the motivating factors underlying the decision to become a foster family and maintain this commitment. Based on the literature consulted, recommendations for strategies likely to promote
recruitment and retention of foster families are put forward in conclusion.
The Impact of Training on Elementary School Personnel's Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
Carrie Smith, Carol Stalker
This study examines the impact of training on elementary school personnel’s knowledge, attitudes and intended behaviours with respect to reporting child abuse and neglect. This pre-test and post-test study involved asking school personnel to complete a questionnaire before and after a training seminar. Most participants reported that prior to the study the training they had received about child abuse and neglect, and duty to report was inadequate. Significant differences were found in terms of participants’ knowledge of and attitudes toward their responsibility to report following training. Open-ended responses revealed that participants held diverging views regarding the effectiveness of the child welfare system. Despite these differences,
the common theme was a desire to act in the best interest of the child. This research points to the need for greater communication and collaboration between professionals in the fields of child welfare and education.
Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) as Social Work "Technology"
Ronald E. Hall
Contemporary scholars who are critical of social work insist that its status is one of a semi-profession. Their assumption is contingent primarily upon an assumed lack of rigour and technological expertise. Social work will be regarded as a legitimate profession if it adopts Evidence Based Practice (EBP). It entails the application of a series of scientific research procedures that are dictated by scientific evidence. By adopting EBP, critics will be less able to challenge social work’s professional status.
Research from various jurisdictions regularly reports that children with disabilities are over-represented among foster children, and especially permanent ward populations (Cowan, 2004; Coyne and Russel, 1990). Many researchers have argued that there is a need to identify children’s special needs and address these while promoting adoption as a viable route for those identified as legally free for adoption (Feuz, 1991; Franklin and Massarik, 1969).
A cross-sectional survey of files of the approximately 2,000 Ontario children who were permanent wards in 2003 was employed to describe a profile of the wards on a variety of demographic and service variables. Files were reviewed of 429 children supervised by 16 participating Ontario agencies. Approximately 58% had a disabling condition with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) being the most frequent (20.5%). Although approximately 79% had been suspected or verified of having experienced maltreatment, significantly more children with disabling conditions experienced certain forms of abuse before entering and during care. Most children (64%) entered care by age 3. Chi-square analysis revealed that children with disabling conditions were over four times more likely to be in Children’s Aid Society (CAS) direct care and almost 12 times more likely to reside in outside paid resources (OPR) than were children without disabilities. Discussion of the findings and their implications on practice and further
research were noted.
Differences in the Factors Associated with Out-of-Home Placement for Children and Youth
Della Knoke, Deborah Goodman, Bruce Leslie, Noco Trocmé
Placement in out-of-home care is the most intensive and costly form of child welfare intervention. Across North America, the rate of placement and the number of children in substitute care have increased dramatically. The decision to place a child in out-of-home care requires weighing multiple interacting factors, such as parenting capacity, maltreatment severity, level of caregiver co-operation and child characteristics. Previous studies suggest that structured risk assessment instruments are helpful in identifying children at higher risk for subsequent placement. One limitation of these studies is the implicit assumption that the relationship between risk factors and placement is the same across developmental stages. The present study examines this issue. In a sample of 3,676 children from two large child welfare agencies in Ontario, this study examines the risk factors associated with out-of-home placement for children under the age of 12 and for youth aged 12 to 16. Maltreatment history and a variety of family, caregiver and child factors were related to the decision to place children. In contrast, admission among youth was associated with youth behavioural and mental health concerns and indices of poor parent-adolescent relationships. Better understanding of developmental differences in the factors associated with entry into care will assist with identifying the resources required to enhance placement prevention efforts.
Fighting an Invisible War Black Male Youth and Experiences of Racial Profiling in Law Enforcement: Implications for Social Work Practice
Semone N. Kassim
During the 1990s public awareness about racial profiling in law enforcement increased, particularly in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, however, research indicates that Black male youth are particularly vulnerable to police profiling. Using individual interviews, this qualitative study explores the perceptions and experiences of four African Canadian male youth in regards to police profiling. Findings indicate that police profiling is a complex phenomenon that cannot be easily predicted, however, factors such as race, class, gender and neighbourhood context are perceived as having significant influence on police decision making. Furthermore, police profiling has a direct negative impact on Black youth, resulting in a wide range of consequences. This study demonstrates that racial profiling in law enforcement is a difficult reality for Black youth and must be acknowledged and addressed by social workers and society alike.
Finding Hope in a Hostile Context: Strories of Creative Resistance in Progressive Social Work Agencies
Purmina George, Lisa Barnoff, Brienne Coleman
In the current context of practice progressive social work agencies are being pressured to operate in ways that pose challenges to the social justice oriented values that have historically guided their practices. This article reports findings from an exploratory, qualitative study that sought to uncover the challenges faced by progressive social work agencies in Toronto, Ontario and the strategies they use to resist these challenges and maintain a progressive approach to practice. The findings indicate that while there are significant challenges to maintaining a progressive approach to practice in the current context, agencies are utilizing several creative strategies of resistance. By focusing on how agencies resist, we offer a hopeful account of their ability to sustain an activist agenda in the face of strong opposition.
The Predictive Value of Admission Criteria in a New Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program
The criteria used to determine admission to Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree programs vary from university to university. The predictive value of the admission criteria is not always clear. Some universities rely heavily on personal interviews while others may only use grade point average (GPA). In this research, the admission criteria of a new BSW degree program were studied to see if they predicted academic success as defined by the GPA of graduating students. In addition, selected demographic variables of the student cohorts were examined to see if they might be predictive of academic outcomes. Entry level GPA was the only criterion that demonstrated predictive ability. The final GPAs of college entry students and university entry students were similar.
Influences on the Subjective Well-Being (SWB) of Practicing Social Workers
John R. Graham, Jennifer L. Trew, Joseph A. Schmidt, Theresa J. B. Kline
Social work is a profession dedicated to enhancing the well-being of its clients, but little attention has been given to the SWB of its practitioners. Enhancing the well-being of social workers could have positive effects on practitioner retention and productivity, but in order to enhance well-being, one must understand the factors that influence it. This exploratory study utilized two-hour open-ended interviews of 28 senior Canadian social workers in the province of Alberta, and identified the following five factors that influence their SWB related to the profession, their employing organization, their work and their personal efforts:
1. Support from the profession;
2. Support from employing organizations;
3. Support from job characteristics;
4. Negative aspects of job characteristics; and
5. Support provided to oneself.
The article concludes with how changes could be made to the workplace environment to
improve social worker SWB.
Professional Knowledge of Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS): Moving Us Forward or Holding Us Back?
Research and literature on the effects of trauma work have greatly influenced professional knowledge in social work by validating the experiences of workers and advancing understanding of the impact client’s traumatic narratives can have on clinicians. These works, however, are limited by their primary focus on negative impacts, thus offering a narrow, singular, and deficit-based interpretation of the “reality” of this phenomenon. Using a social constructionist lens, this paper seeks to enrich current understanding of this phenomenon by examining the professional language and conceptual frameworks that have developed thus far, and challenge social workers to examine assumptions that are taken for granted and have become part of professional language and knowledge in this area. Much of the existing knowledge has been shaped by positivist epistemologies and has tended to be individualistic, medically oriented, and even pathologizing in nature. Minimal attention has been paid to the benefits of trauma work or individual worker strengths that help to shape how workers interpret and understand their experiences. Such an examination, along with the reframing of current ssumptions, can widen the possibilities available to social workers for understanding their experiences thereby helping to shape alternate meanings that could empower and enhance the individual worker.
The social work profession has always benefited from the creativity of its members; however, the forms creativity take and how creativity is understood by practitioners have not been well documented. This article shares findings from a doctoral research study that included 30 interviews with social workers who were retiring from many years of service. The metaphor of “fire-making” emerged from the data analysis, conducted using a grounded theory approach, and is used to present the findings in a creative manner. The practitioners’ views reveal a belief in the value and presence of creativity in the social work profession.
Intergenerational Continuity and Child Maltreatment: Implications for Social Work Practice in Child Welfare
Dermot J. Hurley, Debbie Chiodo, Alan Leschied, Paul C. Whitehead
This study addresses a number of questions related to the intergenerational transmission of child maltreatment and the placement of children in child welfare care. A number of psychosocial factors were examined related to child maltreatment and the characteristics of intergenerational child welfare families referred to a large urban child welfare agency in 1995 and 2001. Results suggest that a significant proportion of children in the care of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) have a primary parent who had contact with the CAS as a child, and that this number increased significantly between 1995 and 2001. In addition, these families, compared to those not having similar intergenerational histories, differed in their rates of exposure to violence, forms of maltreatment, parental psychopathology and scores on a risk-assessment measure. Implications for these findings, as they relate to policy and practice in child welfare, are discussed.
Les déterminants de la satisfaction au travail chez des intervenants sociaux en protection de l'enfance
Daniel Turcotte, Eve Pouliot
Child protection practice involves specific issues because of the legal framework and social context in which it takes place. Practitioners working in these agencies deal with a number of stress factors. This situation is reflected in the high rates of job changes and burnout experienced by staff. In view of its effect on job stability, work satisfaction is a subject of interest in this field of activity. While an increasing number of researchers are taking an interest in this issue, few studies deal specifically with work satisfaction in child protection agencies. This article examines the determinants of work satisfaction among practitioners in this field. The results are based on a study conducted with 450 practitioners at a youth centre in Québec. The data highlight the impact of task-related and organizational factors on job satisfaction. A few courses of action for improving work satisfaction among child protection workers are explored on the basis of the results.
Quand les aînées s'expriment sur la violence psychologique du conjoint
This exploratory study was done to gain knowledge and an understanding of the problem of psychological violence among elderly spouses from the perspective of its victims. Using qualitative methodology, 15 semistructured interviews were conducted with women aged 60 to 82. Exploring the world of representations helped place into perspective the dynamic process that characterizes psychological violence. This showed that psychological violence revolves around control exercised by the husband. With aging, this control and any means used to exercise it are intensified. Several factors directly associated with age-related events (retirement, children leaving home, husband’s gradual loss of independence) contribute to the escalation of psychological violence among elderly couples. In addition to these risk factors, education, as well as social beliefs and values specific to
elderly men and women, also contribute to covering up and perpetuating psychological violence around which there persists a veil of secrecy and the underuse of resources likely to assist these elderly women in situations of psychological violence.
Responding to Adolescent-to-Parent Abuse: A Qualitative Analysis of Change Factors
Peter Monk, Barbara Cottrell
In the field of family violence, the problem of adolescent-to-parent abuse has received inadequate research attention; this is especially evident in the social work literature. Current knowledge about this topic is found mainly in quantitative studies that explore the potential causal factors involved in youth violence against parents. For this article, data were drawn from two independently conducted Canadian research projects—each of which used semistructured interviews and focus groups with select participants (youth, parents, service providers) who had either personal or professional experience with this problem. The aim of these studies was to explore what factors and interventions help families overcome the cycle of adolescent-to-parent abuse. Findings revealed a broad range of potential change factors and interventions that can assist families who are struggling with this form of violence.
"J'entends des voix": Le courant de la pensée, les hallucinations et l'intervention
Atwelve year old girl states that she hears voices and is diagnosed with schizophrenia. This diagnosis ends up confusing professionals, the young girl and her family, and provides few useful service approaches. Referring to, among others, William James’ stream of consciousness, role theory and social cognitive theory, the author reviews the soundness of the concept of auditory hallucinations. This review suggests that it is probably impossible to distinguish an auditory hallucination from one’s common experience of the stream of consciousness. The author concludes with a treatment plan coherent with the above analysis.
Equipping Social Workers to Advocate for Children's Mental Health Care Reform: An Example of Proposed Legislative Change for Ontario
Heather J. Hair
Mental health services for Canadian children and adolescents have been characterized by inadequate funding, inaccessibility, system fragmentation, and the lack of national vision, objectives and standards. The purpose of this paper is to help strengthen the knowledge base of social workers who want to advocate for policy changes that can improve treatment delivery for children and adolescents troubled by mental health disorders. Specifically, I argue for mandatory provincial and territorial legislation of children’s mental health services. I focus on the development of children’s mental health services in Ontario as an example of what nonmandatory policy formation and implementation can and cannot provide. In conclusion, I propose particular target areas for social workers for mandatory legislative reform that can be applied across Canada.
Youth Development and Community-Based Arts Programs: An Exploratory Study
This paper describes the methodology and findings of an exploratory study conducted between 1999 and 2000 to determine whether an outcome evaluation on community-based arts programs as a strategy for engaging children and youth in low-income communities would be both worthwhile and feasible. Specific objectives were to (a) identify exemplary community-based arts organizations; (b) explore the extent to which these organizations adhered to best practices; and (c) assess the receptivity of these organizations to participating in a rigorous evaluation. To accomplish these objectives, a multistage, multi-method approach was used that included a review of the research literature, key informant interviews and eight site visits. Results from the study suggest that community-based arts organizations have the potential to improve the well-being of children and youth, and that an outcome evaluation of the effects of arts programs is feasible and warranted in order to corroborate these claims.
The need for services that help to restore and maintain contact between children and parents after separation and divorce is significant and being voiced by various sources that include the courts, social agencies and family members. In response, a number of programs offering a safe milieu where family visits can be monitored have emerged throughout the United States and Canada. This article provides an overview of what is currently offered regarding "supervised visitation" and outlines a unique approach whereby the whole family becomes the focus of intervention. The primary aim is to harness all of the internal and external resources available to ensure that family relations resume in a normal fashion. The Parent-Child Assisted Access Program currently offered at the Consensus Mediation Centre in Montréal is described in detail as are the results of a quantitative and qualitative analysis of its first three years of operation.
Emerging Case Profiles Associated with Child Abuse Requiring Admission to an Intensive Care Unit
David Nicholas, Lesley Magill-Steven, Ted McNeill, Alissa Ulster, Elaine MacLachlan, David Birtwistle
This exploratory study examines characteristics of child abuse resulting in critical injury or death. Forty-four cases of substantiated physical abuse, resulting in hospital admission to a pediatric critical care unit over a four-year period, were systematically reviewed. Emergent case findings include risk factors of single parenthood, young age of parent(s), history of family violence, substance abuse, criminal history, lack of informal support, financial problems, previous child protection service involvement and history of mental illness. The presence of these characteristics did not pervade in all families; however, findings highlight some features of cases in which a child is a victim of severe physical abuse. Considering the extreme risk of long-term harm to this particular subgroup of children, increased understanding of common case characteristics is beneficial to social workers.
Les facteurs influençant l'engagement paternel des jeunes pères d'enfants dont la mère est âgée de moins de 20 ans
Jean-Martin Deslauriers, Gilles Rondeau
Many variables influence young fathers in their commitment to fathering. Indeed, the role a father plays in his child's life is established through a combination of his own personal traits, his relationship with his partner/family/in-laws, his socio-economic status and social norms. This comprehensive understanding of parenting by young fathers is useful when considering which intervention methods are likely to support them in their father role across these various dimensions.
Implementing the Youth Criminal Justice Act: Can a Métis Youth Justice Committee Serve the People?
On April 1, 2003 the new Youth Criminal Justice Act was passed. The Act applies to all youth in Canada between the ages of 12 to 18, inclusive. The Act applies only to federal offences, such as those found in the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drug and Substances Act. Canada's new youth criminal justice system has as it cornerstones prevention, rehabilitation, reintegration and meaningful consequences for offences in order to promote the long-term protection of the public.
The new Act recognizes the cultural needs and realities of Aboriginal young persons in the dispositions. Within this framework, opportunities appear to exist that work with Aboriginal youth in Calgary through the implementation of Aboriginal Youth Justice Committees. Lowrisk and non-violent Aboriginal youth in conflict with the law do not need to be incarcerated to make communities safer. Instead of punishment and retribution, Aboriginal youth should instead be provided with the opportunity to repair the harm they have caused and to lead productive lives that reflect Aboriginal concepts of justice. This article talks specifically about
the Act in relation to Métis youth and how the Métis community may choose to use the Act to bring back traditional concepts of Métis justice and healing for the Métis community.
Child Welfare and Civil Liability in the 21st Century: Issues and Next Steps
Joanne Filippelli and Deborah Goodman
Child welfare, like other social service sectors in Canada, is experiencing a significant rise in civil liability cases. The implications for the child welfare field are numerous and include, but are not limited to, issues on practice, funding these cases, public image, training and staff retention. Despite the negative ramifications of civil liability on the child welfare field in Canada, the state of knowledge is seriously deficient. A review of the Canadian case law and the literature in the area of civil liability underscores that teaching child protection workers about civil liability is the best way to mitigate risk and vulnerability.
Knowledge about the legal context of social work can assist front-line workers. To advance the field's competency and reduce the risk of civil liability, action at two "ends" are proposed: at the front-end, which would see the profession, field and agency educate front line workers about the risks; and at the back-end, which would entail the ongoing dissemination of the lessons learned from liability cases. The paper aims to stimulate a fruitful discussion at the professional, field and agency levels that will foster needed advancements in civil liability education and practice for child welfare workers on the front lines.
An Influence of Spiritual Narrative in Community Work
An inherent partnership exists, slightly out of view, within a faith community. Home, school, church and community agencies are connected through a phenomenon of deeply rooted beliefs within a shared spiritual narrative. This article invites the reader into the conversation and the observance of an alternative framework used to approach community intervention. The processes of spirituality and social work may be demystified through an examination of the importance of faith in the community building process. The author takes a constructivist approach to chronicling the development of practice theory, and the creation of resilient new structures and grassroots interventions across a two-and-a-half year time frame in a Catholic School District.
Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Child Welfare Organizations: The Practitioner's Perspective
Christopher J. Walmsley
Semi-structured interviews with 19 child protection practitioners in British Columbia, Canada, were conducted to explore the influence of organizational culture on thinking about practice. The participants, a mix of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal social workers, were employed at the British Columbia Ministry for Child and Family Development (MCFD) and Aboriginal child welfare organizations in the province. The study found the organizational uncertainty at MCFD creates a culture where dialogue and disagreement are absent, and practitioners work without organizational support and fear becoming objects of the exercise of power. Practice is cautious, low-risk and rule-oriented. By contrast, Aboriginal organizations emphasize respect, creativity and relating child protection power to colonialism and the historic oppression of First Nations people in Canada. Creative flexibility is emphasized in decision-making and dialogue and disagreement are encouraged. Organizational leaders act politically to minimize external exercise control of child protection practice and to ensure practitioners are supported.The
Emerging Role of Professional Practice Leaders in Social Work
Judith Globerman, Jane White, Susan Blacker, Joan MacKenzie Davies
This article explores the Professional Practice Leader (PPL) role and experiences of social workers as PPLs in the context of their changing health care systems. In examining their experiences as leaders and middle managers, the researchers identified challenges, strategies, and opportunities for leadership and change. Overall, the authors found that social work PPLs felt frustrated because they had no authoritative power, but that they were able to influence change by using their legitimate and expert powers.
Voices of Off-Campus Social Work Students: Implications for Social Work Program Delivery Models and Preparation for Practice
Bonnie Jeffery, Ailsa M. Watkinson, Angela Leski
The development of technology-assisted methods of delivering social work programs has greatly expanded over the past decade in Canada. Providing access to social work education for social work students who reside outside of the main campus is one of the accreditation guidelines of the Canadian Association of Schools of Social Work (CASSW) that clearly support the delivery of social work programs via a decentralized or distance delivery model. In this article we argue that a decentralized model of distance education that incorporates face-to-face interaction along with technologically assisted course delivery should not be neglected as a means to provide access to professional social work education. We report on the findings from a recent survey of 220 off-campus social work students at the University of Regina where we explored their views on their experiences of completing the degree off-campus along with the importance they attach to the ability to complete their degree in a decentralized program. We also asked about their experiences and views with different methods of technology mediated distance education and how these views relate more specifically to preparation for social work practice in rural and northern areas. The findings suggest that students may not have completed their BSW if they had not been able to do so in an off-campus location. Many of these students have had experience with different distance delivery methods but almost all would still prefer to take their courses in a face-to-face format. The findings also suggest that greater attention to preparation for rural and northern social work practice needs to be provided, particularly for those students who do not live in rural areas. Based on these findings, we argue that a 'transformative' pedagogy is essential in social work programs and the question remains as to whether this can be accomplished with sole reliance on technology-assisted delivery Bonnie Jeffery, Ailsa M. Watkinson, Angela Leski methods. We believe that continued work is needed in this area and that future research should incorporate student views of their education along with exploration of the best mix of combining technological methods with face-to-face instruction in professional social work education programs.