Document Type

Child and Family Welfare Review Papers (2001)

Publication Date



Faculty of Social Work


The creation of the ‘problem of child maltreatment’ and how we deal with it are best understood as particular discourses which grow out of specific histories and social configurations. The Anglo-American child protection paradigm can be viewed as a particular configuration rooted in our vision for children, families, community, and society. However, other settings have constructed quite different responses reflecting their own priorities and desired outcomes. This paper is an effort to understand the choices made in Ontario’s child protection system by examining its history and the underlying beliefs and values which have fostered its development. In addition, the paper is an attempt to counteract the sense of inevitability of this child protection approach. By discussing the many different ways in which other countries and settings work with, and think about, families and children, we will uncover a spectrum of positive possibilities which exist outside our current conceptions of child and family welfare systems.