‘Here’s my story’: Fathers of ‘Looked After’ children recount their experiences in the Canadian child welfare system

download file
British Journal of Social Work, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp. 351-367

Fathers of children living in out-of-home care occupy problematic terrain in the child welfare system.  Child welfare literature suggests practitioners construct fathers’ around the ‘good dad’ – ‘bad dad’ binary.  The authors of the current study previously investigated how fathers of children in out-of-home care described their experiences with the child welfare system.  The primary themes emphasized the strategies that fathers used to convince practitioners they were ‘good enough’ fathers who could be trusted to care for their children.  The current study scrutinizes the previous studies’ categories fathers used when discussing their parenting capacity and relationship with their child welfare workers.  The original storylines that emerged from the study were reconfigured into typologies of the father involved with the child welfare system.  The identities that were developed are the ‘misrepresented dad’, ‘survivor dad’, ‘mothering dad’, ‘denied identity dad’, and ‘citizen dad’.  Authors suggest that each father’s story has the capacity to encompass every identity and is contradictory in some ways.  Nonetheless, the fathers’ claims indicate that being a father is a life-changing event and that caring for children should be a more equally shared responsibility between men and women. 

Additional information available for these authors
Canadian CW research
Journal article