Of all the issues that negatively impact the adaptation and integration processes of Visible Minority Immigrants (VMI) in Canada, the tense and troubling relations between VMI parents and Child Welfare Systems (CWS) workers seems to be one of the most pervasive. The over-representation of VMI children in CWS in Canada has been, and continues to be a major concern (Adjei et al 2017; Clarke 2012).
In 2015, my research team, which included Dr. Quaicoe (External Principal Applicant from Sharing Our Cultures) received $74,928 in funding from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grant (SSHRC IDG), to examine the parenting practices of Blacks in St John's, Toronto, and Winnipeg and how their practices agree (or not) with that of CWS. Among our findings, we identified an overzealous use and application of power by CWS workers over MVI families. Significantly, we also noted that many VMI parents are unaware/unfamiliar with the Children and Youth Care and Protection Act in Canada, and only become aware of it when there is concern that the parent is not following the principles of the this Act. There is also a growing mistrust and distrust of CWS workers among MVI immigrants, which further hinders adequate flow of information from MVI parents under investigation to CWS workers. This affects the effectiveness of CWS workers' investigation as workers have to rely on the little information to make important decisions about MVI families.
This public engagement project offered “information session” training to VMI parents about the Child Protection rules regarding parenting in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), as well as how they should conduct themselves when they are under investigation by CWS, in the hopes that this would enable more VMI children to remain home safely. Secondly, an information session was offered to BSW social work students about culturally appropriate training regarding parenting practices of VMI, thereby enabling more nuanced approaches in future when investigating VMI families
The overall goal of this project was to share our findings in a completed SSHRC IDG funded study with Visible Minority Immigrant parents and BSW social work students in Newfoundland and Labrador and discussed potential solutions with them.