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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A survey of wards not in foster-homes : study of the group who severed contact with the agency (Children's Aid Society, Vancouver). Homer, Donald Garth

Abstract

This thesis is part of a larger study off all wards of the Children's Aid Society, Vancouver, who are not living in foster homes. Specifically, it is a study of the 16 wards whose whereabouts were unknown to the Society at the time the initial survey was undertaken in October, 1954. As a background to the study the historical development of child protection legislation in Great Britain and the United States is briefly described, particularly as it relates to the principle and status of public guardianship incorporated in Canadian legislation. In the Province of British Columbia, the Children's Aid Society, Vancouver, is responsible for carrying out the duties of guardianship and of supervision for children made wards of the Society, either until they attain the age of 21 years or until a court order is made returning the child to his parents. Legislation, moreover, specifies foster-home placement as the most desirable form of care for children made public wards. Accordingly, this study attempts to assess the effectiveness of public guardianship for a small group of wards who eventually became lost, with special reference to their problems of adjustment and foster-home placement. A simple schedule was devised appropriate for summarizing the quantitative and qualitative data contained in the files of the children and their families. Summary methods of classification were developed in order to analyse and compare the material. Examination of this material shows that the emotional deprivation and inconsistency in the parent-child relationships experienced by these-children during their early years often prevented them from adjusting to the foster home type of care. Moreover, it was evident that alternative forms of care and the casework services which the problems of these children demanded has not been available, with the result that they eventually became lost to the effective supervision of the Agency. Case illustrations for four of the children were used to present a more detailed and comprehensive picture of the needs of these children during their period in care and of the services provided by the Agency to assist in their better adjustment. The illustrations discuss the psycho-social history available from the case records, and point up the damaging effects on these children of certain experiences during their early childhood, exacerbated by their subsequent experience of foster-home placements. The study led to the formulation of certain recommendations, the most important of these being the need for complete diagnostic assessment of the child both when he is first admitted to care and at continuing intervals throughout his period in care. From this diagnosis a plan for the care of the child should be made which will satisfy his needs. Three types of residential units are suggested which would provide the appropriate placement and treatment facilities required by those children for whom foster-home placement has proved unsuitable.

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