Document Type

Finding a Fit: Family Realities and Service Responses Series (2003, 2007)

Publication Date



Faculty of Social Work


Ontario child welfare is entering territory where other countries have gone before. A decade earlier, jurisdictions in England, the United States and Australia implemented similar reforms and, not coincidentally, encountered comparable difficulties, creating high levels of dissatisfaction among service users and service providers. Our contention is that such frustrations are inherent consequences of the underpinnings of the “Anglo-American child protection paradigm”. To do better, it is helpful to look for ideas outside of what is familiar and to consider how useful approaches from other jurisdictions might be adapted to a Canadian context. There are two primary focuses for this paper: (1) to extrapolate lessons for reform from the experiences of families and service providers in Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies; and, (2) to identify opportunities for positive innovations in Canadian child welfare systems drawing upon selected international jurisdictions.