Fostering Nation?: Canada Confronts Its History of Childhood Disadvantage

Fostering Nation?: Canada Confronts Its History of Childhood Disadvantage

by Veronica Strong-Boag


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Fostering Nation? Canada Confronts Its History of Childhood Disadvantage explores the missteps and the promise of a century and more of child protection efforts by Canadians and their governments. It is the first volume to offer a comprehensive history of what life has meant for North America’s most disadvantaged Aboriginal and newcomer girls and boys.

Gender, class, race, and (dis)ability are always important factors that bear on youngsters’ access to resources. State fostering initiatives occur as part of a broad continuum of arrangements, from social assistance for original families to kin care and institutions. Birth and foster parents of disadvantaged youngsters are rarely in full control. Children most distant from the mainstream ideals of their day suffer, and that suffering is likely to continue into their own experience of parenthood. That trajectory is never inevitable, however. Both resilience and resistance have shaped Canadians’ engagement with foster children in a society dominated by capitalist, colonial, and patriarchal power.

Fostering Nation? breaks much new ground for those interested in social welfare, history, and the family. It offers the first comprehensive perspective on Canada’s provision for marginalized youngsters from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century. Its examination of kin care, institutions, state policies, birth parents, foster parents, and foster youngsters provides ample reminder that children’s welfare cannot be divorced from that of their parents and communities, and reinforces what it means when women bear disproportionate responsibility for caregiving.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781554583379
Publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Publication date: 08/01/2011
Series: Studies in Childhood and Family in Canada
Pages: 318
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Veronica Strong-Boag is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a former president of the Canadian Historical Association. She teaches at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Her publications include The New Day Recalled: Lives of Girls and Women in English Canada, 1919-39 (1988) and Paddling Her Own Canoe: The Times and Texts of E. Pauline Johnson (2000), with Carole Gerson.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents for
Fostering Nation? Canada Confronts Its History of Childhood Disadvantage by Veronica Strong-Boag



1. Claiming Kinship

2. “It was an evil place. It was a beautiful place”: Institutions for Children

3. Beginning the Search for Best Interest: Child Protection Considers Fostering from the Late Nineteenth Century to the 1960s

4. Still Searching for Best Interest: Child Protection and Fostering from the 1960s to the Present

5. First Families and the Dilemma of Care

6. Negotiating Surrogacy: The Construction of Foster Parents

7. “Dear Mom and Dad”: Canada’s Children



Selected Bibliography


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