Journal Article

A MINISTRY FOR CHILDREN: ABANDONING THE INTERVENTIONIST DEBATE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

MARGARET HALL

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 12, issue 2, pages 121-145
Published in print August 1998 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online August 1998 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/lawfam/12.2.121
A MINISTRY FOR CHILDREN: ABANDONING THE INTERVENTIONIST DEBATE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

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Until very recently, a legislative shift towards minimal state ‘intervention’ (endorsed somewhat in the 1995 SCC decision B (R) v Children's Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto1) seemed to have established a new Canadian norm in child protection. In the province of British Columbia, the apparent ascendancy of that norm, continuing - indeed, self-consciously emulating — the trend in other provinces and countries was interrupted by a very public child death and a subsequent high profile inquiry (the Grove Report). What seems to have followed was the simultaneous embrace by the provincial government of two seemingly contradictory models of ‘reform’ — the newly drafted ‘non-interventionist’ statute and the Grove Report's criticism of family centred practice and call for a ‘child centred’ system. What followed next was a politically damaging child protection crisis; out of that crisis, and with dramatic speed, a new model has emerged which may have abandoned the interventionist debate altogether. The pace, dictated by political crisis, set the dramatic scale of the change agenda. That grand scale — the new Ministry — will, it is hoped, generate a wholly new and child centred culture.

Functional integration is not complete, and modifications continue, but the shape of the new Ministry and, crucially, its relationship to the new office of the Children's Commissioner, are acquiring definition.

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Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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