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Trends in apprehension policies : a comparative analysis of committals of children by the Children's Aid Society of Vancouver, British Columbia, in the years 1938 and 1952 Dorosh, Andrew Ivan

Abstract

This study is a comparative analysis of apprehensions and committals made by the Children's Aid Society of Vancouver, British Columbia, in the years 1938 and 1952. Only cases both apprehended and committed within the year period were analyzed, and committals of children from unmarried mothers were excluded. The purpose of the study was to determine the causes or reasons for apprehension and committal, with reference to the legislation employed, and such changes as may have occurred in the kinds of neglect or dependency, their frequency of occurrence, and in the parental status of committed children. A distinction was drawn between conditions of neglect and conditions of dependency, in congruence with formulated definitions of the neglected and the dependent child. A classification of ten conditions of neglect and dependency was devised, based on an analysis of the sixty-eight committal cases studied. The kinds of neglect included: (1) Rejection, (2) Physical Neglect, (3) Moral Neglect, (4) Desertion, (5) Desertion and Moral Neglect, and (6) Desertion and Rejection. Dependency included conditions arising from: (1) Death of the Only Legal Parent or of Both Parents, (2) Physical Illness of Parent or Parents, (3) Mental Illness of Parent or Parents, and (4) Inadequacy of Parent or Parents. Of the twenty-three cases (involving fifty-two children) studied from the year 1938, sixteen committals or 69.59% of the total were for reasons of neglect. Seven committals or 30.41% of the total, were for reasons of dependency. In 1952, of the forty-five cases (comprising seventy-seven children) studied, thirty-two cases, or 71.11% of the total committals were for reasons of neglect. Thirteen committals or 28.88% of the total were for reasons of dependency. The study revealed that the proportion of committals for neglect and for dependency in 1938 and 1952 were approximately the same. The frequency of specific kinds of neglect, however, was found to differ proportionally, as did the frequency of specific kinds of dependency. With reference to status of parents of committed children, it was found that committals from married couples and from families with illegitimacy were greater in 1952, while committals from broken homes or incomplete families were fewer. The changes are revealed and are discussed in reference to the disruptive effects of the war period, and in relation to the development of better social services and resources within the community since 1938. These factors are found to have significantly affected the pattern or character of committals.

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