Research-Community Partnerships in Child Welfare

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Léveillé, S., Trocmé, N., Brown, I., & Chamberland, C. (Eds.) (2010). Research-community partnerships in child welfare. Toronto, ON: Centre of Excellence for Child Welfare (

Research funding structures are important drivers for change within our system. The transformative mandate for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research that is ensconced in legislation, has helped to create new models for funding and provides a constant reminder that research is a public good. A joint initiative of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council led to the establishment of the novel Community Alliance for Health Research Program in 1999. This was an important funding source for the work described in these chapters. This research program was set up, in part, to provide the funding structure required for extensive collaborations and sustainable partnerships that would address priority social issues. This funding model was intended to support research partnerships of mutual engagement and shared vision, not partnerships of convenience. It was recognized that establishing and nurturing partnerships involved real costs and that these costs had to be part of the funding equation.

The focus of this book is a composite set of partnerships in six Canadian provinces that tackled child neglect and maltreatment. As the authors point out, these tenacious and complex social concerns demand an ecosystemic approach. This approach is illustrated through numerous examples of innovative service delivery approaches that were a source of inquiry. The inequities that underlie the overrepresentation of some population subgroups (e.g. Aboriginals, disabled) in the child welfare system were of particular concern to the research teams and the prominence of their research studies in these areas is noteworthy. Partnership models are especially important if we are going to successfully address the layered social inequities that are refl ected among vulnerable population subgroups in the child welfare system.

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