Looking after children in Canada

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The “Looking After Children in Canada” project was conducted in collaboration with Child Welfare agencies in Canada’s six most eastern provinces. It is broader in scope than the traditional research endeavour. Its overall goal is to enhance the quality of care for children who are brought to the attention of child welfare services and, in this project, the first step in reaching that goal was to test in Canada the promising new approach to assessment and outcomes that “Looking After Children” offers. Subsumed under that particular objective were a number of tasks that included not only the developing, pretesting and implementation of a Canadian adaptation of the materials, but also the need to promote collaboration and cooperation amongst participants, and eventually to build consensus with respect to standards of care for children in Canada who are subject to Child Welfare intervention. Thus it was a blend of components. These were primarily the development of strategic plans to meet the goal and objectives, the design of the research aspects, attention to organizational change concepts, the actual implementation, and not least the need to be sensitive to the autonomy of the various jurisdictions involved. In short it was a blend of research, practice demonstration, and understanding of structural concerns. It required leadership from the research team in sharing a vision and providing support and guidance in the attainment of that vision of enhancing the quality of care for children needing child welfare intervention.