Crisis in Care: Structural Poverty, Colonization and Child Apprehensions in Canada

Lorna Stefanick, Myra Tait

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Canadian child welfare system has been characterized as being in crisis for over a decade; the number of children in care (and dying in care) has increased dramatically, straining an overburdened system. Physical or sexual abuse is not the reason most children are removed from their homes; rather, the state deems them lacking the necessities of life, usually because their family is impoverished. Because the majority of children in care are Indigenous, the child welfare system is described as the new version of residential schools. Using the lens of historical institutionalism, this study argues that the current child welfare system reflects colonial and neoliberal assumptions that some parents are incapable of sound decision making by virtue of their race or socio-economic situation. Canada’s child welfare system is both a product and contributor to the institutions and policies that reinforce intergenerational poverty, a key determinant of removing children from their families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-194
Number of pages21
JournalCanadian Journal of Political Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar. 2024


  • historical institutionalism
  • Indian residential school
  • Indigenous child welfare policy
  • settler-colonialism
  • structural poverty


Dive into the research topics of 'Crisis in Care: Structural Poverty, Colonization and Child Apprehensions in Canada'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this