In The Best Interests of the Child

Publisher:  National Council of Welfare, Ottawa, Canada
Year Published:  1979
Pages:  41pp   Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2017

This report analyzes the child welfare system within the context of poverty in Canada and points out the low income families are more likely to use children's social services than are those who are better off. The report explains that the root cause of the current crisis in child welfare is that the children's social services system is overloaded. There has been a marked increase in the number of families seeking help during the past few years, and a significant change in the kind of children coming into care. Whereas in the past young children were the major clients of services, now the clientele includes an increasing number of adolescents - many of whom are emotionally troubled. There has also been an increasing flow of abused children into the children's services system.

The report concludes that there is only one effective response to the 'overload' dilemma and it does not primarily involve the children's services system at all; it involves the income security programs which replace lost earnings and supplement inadequate income. Welfare rates must be increased to provide an income at least equal to Statistics Canada's poverty line. The most effective way to increase benefits to families with children is to raise the child tax credit. The tax exemption for dependent children (a completely regressive tax exemption) should be abolished and all the money thus saved redirected to the child tax credit.
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