Positive experiences of First Nations children in non-Aboriginal foster or adoptive care : de-constructing the "Sixties Scoop"
Swidrovich, Cheryl Marlene
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The character of Indian child welfare discourse in Canada is highly polemic and politically charged. The relationship between First Nations and the child welfare system has been described through an explanatory framework known as the'Sixties Scoop'. As an extension of the colonial mode the Sixties Scoop refers to the period during the 1960s and 1970s when child protective services were first extended to First Nations people on reserve and there were high numbers of First Nations children entering substitute care.The predominance of this model has resulted in an overwhelming focus on negative consequences and experiences with the child welfare system. Those First Nations people who had positive experiences in substitute care have not been addressed. Through an examination of these perspectives, this thesis seeks to expand the parameters within which Indian child welfare issues are discussed. Due to the extreme contrast between the central tenets of the Sixties Scoop model and the perspectives of those who shared their positive experiences in substitute care, it was also necessary to provide some form of reconciliation to the existing discourse. This reconciliation process was undertaken through an examination of the context within which the Sixties Scoop model developed and attained such widespread acceptance. Through a sociological perspective known as 'Claims-Making' the development, legitimization and impact of the Sixties Scoop model was examined. Upon demonstrating the influence of the larger political relationship upon the existing discourse, it was then possible to de-construct the Sixties Scoop model which helped to reduce some of its conceptual hegemony and make room in the discourse for the perspectives of those individuals who participated in this study. By integrating these perspectives into the discourse in this manner, this thesis validates the voices of those First Nations people whose perspectives have been obscured by the dominant model while also demonstrating their significance to the discourse. Within this process, some of the inadequacies and weaknesses of the Sixties Scoop (as an explanatory framework for the relationship between First Nations and the child welfare system) are also identified.