Document Type

Long-term Community Adaptation of Children and Youth Receiving Residential Mental Health Services

Publication Date



Faculty of Social Work


When service providers and parents engage with each other to improve family circumstances, do they have similar impressions of what is important and what is helpful? Our purpose in interviewing parents who have been involved in child protection services and their service providers was to understand how parents and service providers view each other, their interactions, and the services they are engaged in. We were also interested in the “official record”—the files that describe parents, children, their needs, and the services provided in response. A comparison of the perspectives of service providers, parents, and files highlights some of the barriers and assumptions at work when service providers and parents engage with each other to improve family functioning. Contrasting these three versions of events highlights how differences are bridged or maintained.

To begin our matched comparison of parent, file, and service provider realities we present a “case study” summarizing a parent’s perspective, the corresponding service provider’s perspective, as well as an excerpt taken from this particular parent’s file with the Children’s Aid Society. In presenting this individual matched comparison, we offer a glimpse of the data that was used to form the basis for this report. It illustrates the nature of the information, the types of comparisons undertaken, as well as more generally to provide a sense of the three perspectives included.