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Canadian Research in Brief: 27th Edition (June 2011)

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Published: 28 Jun 2011

The articles listed below can be accessed through the corresponding journal website or accessed at a local library or university.

Canadian Research in Brief: 27th Edition (June 2011)

McKay, K., & Ross, L.E. (2011). Current Practices and Barriers to the Provision of Post-Placement Support: A Pilot Study from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. British Journal of Social Work, 41(1), 57 – 73.

This exploratory pilot study investigates the current practices and barriers to the provision of post-placement support services for adoptive parents in Toronto, Ontario, from the perspective of adoption workers. Focus groups were conducted with adoption practitioners at two child welfare agencies in Toronto. Adoption workers were recruited through electronic flyers, resulting in a sample of 18 workers who participated in one of two semi-structured focus groups. The groups were recorded and transcribed, and data were analyzed according to a descriptive phenomenological approach. Workers felt that many adoptive parents were poorly prepared for the stress that accompanied parental demands, perhaps due in part to the suddenness and unpredictable nature of the transition to adoptive parenthood. One of the key challenges preventing adoption workers from providing support to address this parenting stress was the parents’ unwillingness to disclose the challenges they were facing during the post-placement period. Even when parents acknowledged their need for support around parenting stress, workers felt that there were additional barriers to the provision of this support, such as the unavailability of appropriate social service resources. Workers also identified many challenges that pertained to systemic processes within the child welfare system, including their inability to support parents post-placement due to other job-related demands, and the surveillance of parents in the early post-placement months. Overall, workers clearly articulated their desire to have a role in families’ well-being over the long term, as well as an awareness of the challenges that families face beyond six months post-placement, particularly when their formal involvement with families end. The lack of financial support from child welfare agencies after six months post-placement is problematic, especially given the lack of publicly funded support and adjustment services targeted to adoptive parents in Toronto.


Milot, T., St-Laurent, D., Ethier, L.S., & Provost, M.A. (2010). Trauma-related symptoms in neglected preschoolers and affective quality of mother-child communication. Child Maltreatment, 15(4), 293 – 304.

This study examined the relationship between neglect in childhood and the manifestation of trauma-related symptoms during the preschool period. The final sample included 105 children, including 72 non-neglected children and 33 children who had experienced neglect, all of whom were from a Caucasian Francophone population living in Quebec. The neglected children were recruited from child protection agencies and were all receiving services for neglect at the time of the study. The comparison group of non-neglected children were mostly recruited from socioeconomically disadvantaged families in the community. The two groups did not differ on main demographic indicators, such as gender, child age, proportion of mothers on welfare, or annual family income. Mother-child dyads were observed once at home and once in a filmed laboratory visit. Measures of trauma symptoms were completed by mothers and teachers. The results indicate that according to teachers’ reports, children who had experienced neglect showed more symptoms of post-traumatic stress and dissociation than non-neglected children; interestingly, these two groups did not differ according to mothers’ reports of trauma symptoms. Mother-child dyads in the neglected group displayed poorer quality affective communication compared to dyads in the non-neglected group. Hierarchical regressions revealed that after controlling for the contribution of child neglect, lower quality dyadic communication between mother and child was associated with more teacher-reported post-traumatic stress symptoms in the child. The authors conclude that it may be helpful to examine child neglect from a trauma perspective.


Mironova, P., Rhodes, A.E., Bethell, J.M., Tonmyr, L., Boyle, M.H., Wekerle, C., et al. (2011). Child physical abuse and suicide-related behavior: A systematic review. Vulnerable Children & Youth Studies, 6(1), 1 – 7.

This systematic review examined studies that were school- or population-based, reporting individual-level empirical results on the association between child physical abuse and suicide related behaviours in children and youth. Studies were only included if the perpetrator of physical abuse was identified as a family member, parental figure, or an adult in the home. Children and youth were defined as those aged 18 years or younger, or in grade 12 or less in school-based samples. A systematic literature search was performed using multiple databases. Three cross sectional studies were included as a result of this search. Two longitudinal studies were also included, however the participants in these studies were young adults rather than children and youth. Relevant data were extracted from the five studies. Formal quality assessment rules were not applied, and results were not pooled meta-analytically. Studies were conducted in five countries, with sample sizes ranging from 489 to 7,340. The results of this systematic review suggest that child physical abuse is associated with suicide related behaviours. 

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