Children of War: Quebec’s Social Policy Response to Children and Their Families

Sarah Fraser, Myriam Denov, Jaswant Guzder, Sharon Bond, Neil Bilotta


Canada has signed the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict that obligates signatories to ensure assistance and support to war-affected children’s physical and psychological recovery as well as their social reintegration. In light of this obligation, the paper reviews the most recent policies related to immigrants and refugees of four Quebec (Canada) ministries, with particular attention to the frameworks underpinning these policies and practices in order to explore how the needs of refugee children are conceptualised and how these same conceptualisations orient the action plans. Miller and Rasmussen’s (2010) psychosocial/trauma integrative model is used as a benchmark to assess whether and how policies integrate considerations from both psychosocial and trauma focused conceptual models. The analysis suggests that all four ministries adopt a psychosocial focus but that none directly mention the impact of war, potential trauma or pre-migratory experiences on children’s reintegration or resettlement. There seems to be a divide and a lack of coherence in the goals and underlying philosophies of the action plans of the different ministries, most likely in part related to their differences in mandate. Indeed, the Ministry of Health and Social Services emphasizes individual and family wellbeing, while the Ministry of Education prioritizes citizenship and the development of Quebec. Potential implications of these policy orientations for children having been exposed to war living in the Quebec context are discussed.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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