Exploring Aboriginal child welfare practice in remote communities: a qualitative study
This research study considers the experiences of nine Aboriginal child welfare workers who worked in five remote communities. The purpose was to describe some of their child welfare practices. This qualitative study included the oral tradition and story telling techniques of the Indigenous paradigm. The study explored three general areas of interest: residence and employment in ones' community of origin, the availability of resources and supports for child welfare practice, and knowledge and application of traditional Aboriginal cultural methods. These areas were explored in work done within the children in care, child protection and family services programs in child welfare. All the workers used both conventional and non-conventional methods of child welfare practice in their respective communities. Child welfare is a difficult practice under any circumstance, and this study indicates that workers often tackle complex issues with very few resources or supports. Child placement is a growing concern and the lack of culturally appropriate services results in Aboriginal children experiencing a disconnection not only from their family, but also from the community and culture of their birth. Traditional Ojibway culture was known to many of the participants. Although there were exceptions, the application of cultural practices was most often limited to working with the extended family and private arrangement placements. This exploratory study raises some implications regarding the following: Child welfare may be responsible for the transmission of cultural knowledge to children in care. Should Aboriginal agencies provide tutorials on colonization as part of the intervention with families? These are issues that require further research.
Aboriginal, Child Welfare