Expanding Role and Reach: A Community-Centered Child Welfare Response to COVID-19

13 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2020

Date Written: May 31, 2020


This article is the result of a series of rapid research reviews conducted between April 18th and May 20th, 2020 to explore the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for child welfare and family-serving agencies in Canada. It considers what COVID-19 research tells us to date about the hidden increase in child abuse and neglect, and how child welfare agencies might respond to this and the accompanying challenges related to mental health, domestic violence, financial and food security. It identifies a common thread to the recommended strategies: a need to broaden our view of the child welfare role and our allies in it. Reaching children at risk and responding effectively to families during this pandemic asks child welfare workers to assume new responsibilities related to outreach, technology and public education, and to venture into territory typically held by other professionals. COVID-19 is pushing child welfare agencies towards a more community-centered approach; cross-sectoral collaboration and unlikely new partnerships will be needed if we are to take effective action to support child safety in the months to come.

Keywords: child welfare; child protection; safeguarding; COVID-19; coronavirus; pandemic

JEL Classification: I00; I3

Suggested Citation

Oliver, Carolyn, Expanding Role and Reach: A Community-Centered Child Welfare Response to COVID-19 (May 31, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3618161 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3618161

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