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No 16 - 2012

Family education to help parents and children living in at-risk situations
Directed by Marie-Christine Saint-Jacques, Daniel Turcotte, Nathalie Oubrayrie-Roussel

Family Education at the Time of Parenting Skills
Marie-Christine Saint-Jacques, Daniel Turcotte, Nathalie Oubrayrie-Roussel

This article is intended to introduce the present special edition dealing with family education, a form of intervention motivated by the principle that in order to ensure children’s welfare, one needs to assist parents in developing their own skills, or in other words to provide them with active societal supporters. After a brief reminder of the origins of this strategy, its field of action is exemplified, introducing us to the wide range of players, areas and domains involved. An analysis of the articles published in this edition brings out the importance attached to the development of parental skills and the players’ representational role (i.e. the parents’ intervention). Various issues are also raised, such as the efficiency of family education programs and their contributory basics, for example the training of the societal supporters, their introduction within organizational contexts that allow for real work with the parents, and the application of such programs within a context that is not too restrictive. An examination of the efficiency of family education programs indicates that family vulnerability is not linked solely to socio-economic insecurity, but also to developments in family structures themselves and the weakening of social ties.

Keywords: family, education, social representation, parental skills, parental commitment, intervention, vulnerability

Paternal Experience in a Socioeconomic Precariousness Situation: Identification and Consideration of Specificities
Myriam Kettani, Séverine Euillet

In the following study, 187 fathers of young children contributed by completing questionnaires assessing paternal stress, paternal sense of competence, father’s involvement and socioeconomic situation. If disadvantaged fathers feel less competent and more stressed in their paternal role, they are as much involved as wealthier fathers. Furthermore, financial constraint perception seems to play a central role in the explanation of how fathers experience their paternity. Following these results, some suggestions regarding interventions towards these fathers will be offered.

Keywords: parental commitment, parental stress, paternity, feeling of parental competency, preciousness, accompaniment

Collaborating with Parents to Support Schooling? Teacher Representations and Professional Practices
Carole Asdih

The research deals with teaching behaviour and practical experiences that aim at bringing together families who live in precarious contexts, involving them in their children’s schooling and improving communication between partners. The school population is in difficulty and suffers from truancy problems. The qualitative analysis shows that the 16 teachers we have interviewed consider that cooperation with parents is of primordial importance and that they are closely involved. However this cooperation is weakened by a certain number of emotional and affective interventions, by idealized expectations, by offbeat interpretations and by the need for recognition and support. Unusual and experimental activities, such as a life diary, storytelling and booster clubs encourage both oral and written exchanges that get parents involved.

Mots-clés: commitment, teaching practical experiences, preciousness, family, school, cooperation

Professionals' Perceptions of their Practices with Parents of Young Children
Francine De Montigny, Carl Lacharité

This study is intended to describe professionals’ beliefs and perceptions with regard to their help-giving practices towards parents of young children as well as to examine the nature of the relationships between these beliefs and perceptions, and the reality of such help-giving principles and practices. A descriptive, quantitative, correlational study was carried out with 203 professionals. A model of professionals’ involvement in family care and services was unveiled. When professionals adopt empowerment principles, they tend to perceive parents more positively, and succeed in applying collaborative practice towards the parents of young children who experience vulnerable conditions such as poverty.

Mots-clés: beliefs, professional practices, collaboration, support, parent, family

Evaluating for Better Intervention: Evaluating Outcomes and Processes to Improve Intervention Practices in Neglecting Families
Sara Serbati, Gianmaria Gioga, Paola Milani

Some families face great vulnerability due to various factors such as personal and familiar history, poverty, social isolation, etc. In such situations, the ability of parents to take care of their children can be rather limited. In Italy, in order to support vulnerable families and more particularly neglectful ones, child -and-family educational home interventions are widespread. However, to date there has been little far-reaching evaluation of their effectiveness. This article reports the results of a joint research-training-intervention project that involved 12 educators and 18 deemed negligent families over an intervention period of 12 months. The evaluation permitted identification of the key factors fostering the adaptation of these families.

Mots-clés: intervention, evaluation, child, family, research, training, neglectfulness

Interventions and Programs in the Context of Neglect: Evolution and Challenges of Family Intervention
Michèle Brousseau

This paper presents a descriptive analysis of «family-centered» professional practices and programs for neglectful families. This is followed by a presentation of the characteristics of effective or promising programs, and by the illustration of an ecosystemic family therapy model developed in the Province of Quebec. Based on the main statements emerging from the analysis, the discussion raises some issues and challenges for the research workers and practitioners concerning the development of such programs for families, their implementation and the evaluation of their impact.

Mots-clés: neglectfulness, ecosystemic family therapy, effective programs, development, implementation and evaluation

Youth Protection Reform: When Family Education Becomes a Race Against the Clock
Dominique Goubau

Consequent on youth protection reform in 2006, the law has set time limits on foster care. The main idea of the reform is to allow children who have been or are about to be abandoned to enjoy as soon as possible the requisite stable long-term living conditions to which they are entitled. This new approach, largely based on the attachment theory, has been strongly welcomed by the stakeholders involved. It does, however, present a challenge both to them and to the families concerned since these time limits introduce a dimension of urgency to the follow-up, something that the other legal principles involved may not always easily accommodate.

Mots-clés: youth protection, foster care time limits, family education and urgency

A Quebec Social Research Partnership: Families in Motion and Intergenerational Dynamics
Renée B. Dandurand, Françoise-Romaine Ouellette

Familles en mouvance et dynamiques intergénérationnelles is a partnership bringing together academic researchers in social sciences and humanities, departments and organizations from the government of Quebec and provincial associations of the family sector. In a sociohistorical perspective, this article presents the sociopolitical context of the emergence and development of this partnership and the specifics of its aim. Then, the different phases of its course, since 1993, are addressed: the teams’ composition, the research’s issues and axes as well as the modalities of the intersectoral work of knowledge transfer and dissemination.

Keywords: partnership, research, family, social sciences, public action

Cross Consideration of Orphanages in France and Quebec in the 19th and 20th Centuries
Mathieu Peter

Though orphanages in Quebec and France share the same characteristics and ambivalences, the organization of the child welfare system differs from one State to the other. The differences between French and Quebec orphanages result from the place they occupy within their respective public assistance systems. On either side of the Atlantic, the level of Church and State involvement in social matters first affected the role played by the orphanages, and then, later, the way in which they were perceived. Orphanages, which after World War II were taken over by the hegemonic apparatus of the medico-social sector, no longer exist as such, and survive only through the collective imagination.

Mots-clés: orphanage, history, legal system, France, Quebec