PHo To © ANAToLy NIKITIN / GLo W ImAGeS
PHo To © LucIAN comAN / GLo W ImAGeS
What can we do to be culturally transformative and
care for tens of thousands of parentless Canadian
children? The policy issues are pressing, as is
the daunting task of transforming how Canadian
society views our country’s children.
By Bruce and Tracy Clemenger
anada could fill a stadium with the number
of children who, through no fault of their
own, are in government care waiting to come
home through the process of adoption. There
are an estimated 30,000 adoptable children
across Canada who are waiting and aging in a system
that is fragmented, exhausted and lacking national co-ordination. They also face a mainstream mentality that
holds a pejorative understanding of who they are and
who they can become.
The inability of Canada’s child welfare systems to
bridge that gap for those children between waiting and
coming home is disturbing. Domestic adoption is a provincial not federal government jurisdiction, and the piece-
meal system that exists in Canada today lacks national
standards – it differs province by province and even county by county. Further, as it struggles with limited resources
and faces growing needs, it has become fatigued.
This is not to say that the people working in the system aren’t doing their jobs. To the contrary, Canada’s
child welfare workers are increasingly burning the midnight oil. They are on the front lines, seeing the trends
and changing profiles of families and children’s needs.
They attend as best they can to those children who come
into care and seek to satisfy their ultimate need for permanent, stable and loving homes. They too don’t want to see