Positive Systems of Child and Family Welfare Conference (2002)
Faculty of Social Work
Child welfare and child protection are integral aspects of the welfare regimes of all post-industrial societies. However, although the needs of children and the dangers of child abuse are so widely acknowledged, the ways in which these needs and risks are met varies considerably, even between countries with similar structures. By studying the ways in which other countries deal with similar problems, we can learn about new ways of responding and may find ideas that we can adapt for use in our own context. But we can do much more than this. By looking at differences, and using the power of making comparisons, we can begin to understand more about our own system and why it has developed as it has. We can begin to identify the ‘taken-for-granted’. This may lead us to question some of the assumptions on which our system rests and to become more aware of the aspects of our system that we value most highly. As we become more aware of the reasons why our system has developed as it has, positive changes may become more attainable.
Hetherington, R. (June 2002). Learning from difference: Comparing child welfare systems. Keynote Address at the Positive Systems of Child Welfare Conference, Waterloo, ON.