Throwing Dad under the bed

Date

2011-10-17

Authors

Roy, David

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Abstract

This research examines and analyses the experiences of four fathers as they negotiated British Columbia‘s child welfare system in an effort to maintain a relationship with their children and step children. While the particulars of their experiences with social workers and allied professions vary, their experiences with the child welfare system and child protection social workers reveal common themes. These fathers told stories of being ignored, mistrusted, misled and placed under surveillance by child protection social workers employed by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. These fathers‘ experiences suggests that the British Columbia child welfare agency is ignoring research from Lamb (1997, 2001, 2004), Strega (2005), Brown (2009) and Scourfield (2001, 2002, 2003) that stresses the importance of involving fathers in the lives of their children for reasons of both safety and well-being. This is particularly the case for children engaged in the child welfare system according to O‘Hagan (1997), Peled (2000) and Brown (2009). Social work and institutional practices that fail to include fathers in their children‘s lives without justification are not only oppressive with respect to the adults involved but fail to consider the best interests, needs and rights of children. The thesis concludes that when social workers in child welfare metaphorically ―throw fathers under the bed‖ they are both creating paternal ghosts and failing children by violating their fundamental human rights and undermining beneficial family relationships as stipulated under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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Keywords

father and child, stepfathers, families

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