Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Frank Turner

Advisor Role

Dissertation Supervisor


This study aimed to hear and understand parental voice and experience in regard to a statutory child protection system and to use this experience in the development of a model of intervention. The study was undertaken in the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario and participants are, or have been, clients of Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region. The study utilised grounded theory, a form of qualitative research, and data were collected via a number of in-depth interviews with each of the ten participants. The participants, both men and women, included people who had abused their children and non-offending partners. All participants were, for some stage of their involvement with Family and Children’s Services, voluntary or mandated. Each of the participants had experience with a number of different workers and were able to speak at length about the range of services they received. The findings of the research indicate that the quality of the interpersonal process between worker and client is important. Respondents explained their preferences for relationships with workers which are open and trusting and where parents’ needs are accounted for and acknowledged. Approximately half of the participants provided feedback on the findings and indicated that they are an accurate representation and analysis of their views. The Safe Families model is the integration of the findings of this research, practice experience and the literature. While research such as this is not able to be generalised across different geographical regions and practice settings, the findings do resonate with worker practice wisdom in a number of different contexts. It is believed that the model of intervention is applicable to regions outside of Kitchener-Waterloo.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Social Work Commons