Community development approaches in response to neoliberalism

The example of Eskasoni Mental Health Services, Canada

Authored by: Linda Liebenberg , Daphne Hutt-Macleod

The Routledge Handbook of Global Child Welfare

Print publication date:  February  2017
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138942752
eBook ISBN: 9781315672960
Adobe ISBN: 9781317374749


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Principles of child welfare are fundamentally focused on ensuring the safety and well-being of children through prevention and protection work, often aimed at supporting families. However, within the past four decades we have witnessed a fundamental shift in our understanding of positive developmental outcome needs, service provision models and the role of government responsibility and accountability regarding these services. Our over-reliance on professionalization and use of neoliberal policies that emphasize minimization of risk assessed through high levels of monitoring and narrow benchmarks for outcomes has severely curtailed the scope of professional service provision. Restricting and compartmentalizing services limits holistic approaches to supporting children and families and ignores the resources available in families and communities that could be capitalized upon in efforts to care meaningfully for children. We need only consider the findings of numerous reports issued in response to tragedies involving children, which consistently highlight the detrimental effects of siloed and narrow service provision.

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