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Fathers' experiences with child welfare services

Authors

  • Nick Coady,

    Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Child and Family Welfare, Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
      Nick Coady, Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, 75 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5. E-mail: ncoady@wlu.ca
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  • Sandra L. Hoy,

    PhD Candidate
    1. Child and Family Welfare, Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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  • Gary Cameron

    Professor and Lyle S. Hallman Chair
    1. Child and Family Welfare, Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Nick Coady, Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, 75 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5. E-mail: ncoady@wlu.ca

ABSTRACT

The lack of engagement of fathers by child welfare services is well-documented in the literature as a serious problem. Towards addressing this problem, this paper reports the findings of interviews with 18 fathers about their involvement with child welfare services in Ontario, Canada. Qualitative analysis of the interviews yielded themes about what men saw as the positive and negative aspects of their involvement with child welfare. Positive aspects of service involvement for fathers included understanding and supportive workers, useful assistance from workers, being connected to useful resources and being given a ‘wake-up call’. Negative aspects of service involvement included uncaring, unhelpful and unprofessional workers; prejudice against fathers; and experiencing the child welfare system as unresponsive, uncaring and rigid. Implications for practice are discussed with a view to improving the engagement of men in, and their experiences with, child welfare services.

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