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Tonino Esposito

Tonino Esposito, Ph.D., joined the McGill Centre for Research on Children and Families (CRCF) in 2007 with eight years of experience as a child welfare and mental health social worker, and was appointed Associate Director of the CRCF from 2012 to 2014. Tonino is currently an Adjunct Professor at McGill University and Assistant Professor at University of Montreal, and nominated for a Tier II Canadian Research Chair in Social Services for Vulnerable Children and Families.

His research focuses on the well-being of maltreated children in out-of-home care and ways of building child welfare agencies capacity to analyze clinical-administrative and population data in order to plan and evaluate their programs and services. His participatory and applied community-based research, conducted in collaboration with all child welfare agencies across the province of Quebec, led to a series of longitudinal province-wide studies of children’s placement trajectories in the Quebec child welfare system. These studies demonstrate that the majority of children served by the Québec child welfare system are not placed in out-of-home care, and the majority of those who are placed experience less than one placement change and return to live with their families within less than six months of initial out-of-home placement. Combined, the three studies suggest that there are two discrete age-specific sub-groups who experience problematic placement outcomes, one described as younger children living in unsafe environments due to family difficulties and a lack of appropriate and adequate parental care and the other described as older children manifesting child-specific high risk behaviours which compromise their safety and/or the safety of others, as well as their development. However, all children, irrespective of age, are less likely to reunify with their families if they were placed as a result of parent’s high risk behaviours and a lack of appropriate and adequate parental care.  These studies also confirm the association between youth criminal behaviours and older children’s increased chances of changing placements and decreased chances of reunifying. Lastly, these studies suggest that neighbourhood area socioeconomic disadvantages increase the risk of experiencing problematic placement outcomes, suggesting that an increase in neighbourhood area socioeconomic disadvantages significantly increases children’s chances of placement, placement changes (only for older children) and decrease their chances of returning to live with their families.

Tonino is currently launching a series of new collaborative studies with the Association des Centre Jeunesse du Québec to further understand (1) the moderating effects of out-of-home placement on youth criminality, and (2) the influence of neighbourhood socioeconomic disadvantages on child welfare service outcomes.

Contact Information

McGill University, School of Social Work
3506 University St.
Montreal, PQ, H3A 2A7
tel #: 514 691-6517
fax #: 514 398-5287
e-mail: tonino [dot] esposito [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca