Re-imagining Canada’s Child Welfare Paradigm: A Collective Ethnographic Case Study of Canadian and Finnish Child Welfare Systems
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This dissertation analyzes state-family relations in Canada, and collectively alongside Finland, as they relate to mothering and child welfare. In response to calls from the Canadian Federal Ministry of Child and Youth Services (2015) to increase access to preventative services and family support, this research project endeavours to contribute to the conversation of child welfare reform. With the application of a sociological lens, and situated within the disciplinary framework of Sociology of the Family, this research employs a collective ethnographic case study that facilitates an integrated analysis of theory, policy, practice, and lived experiences to explore the entanglement of gender, race, situational vulnerability, intensive mothering, and social constructs of risk. The whole of this dissertation adopts a manuscript-style format. Together, the three manuscripts that compile the body of this research, knit together to produce a meaningful analysis that confirms, as well as offers insight, into the necessity of doing child welfare differently in Canada. The goal to re-imagine Canada’s current child welfare paradigm is explored in this space. The research here argues that the vision, which accompanies calls for greater access to proactive resources as a branch of Canada’s child welfare paradigm, requires a shift in state-family relations. This shift must not only strive to understand past relations involved in the delivery of Canadian child welfare, but situate the current paradigm, and look towards practical reform with insight derived from other nations. Part of this reform analysis is based on a collective analysis with Finland’s approach to child welfare. Although Finland is not without its own social problems, Finland’s recognition as one of the best countries in the world to be a mother invites global attention in the quest to re-imagine how child welfare can be done differently.