Parenting Capacity Assessment as a Colonial Strategy in Child Protection

Alberta-based scholars Dr. Peter Choate and Gabrielle Lindstrom describe how parenting capacity assessments in Canada have been and continue to be used to extend the colonial position of child protection in relation to First Nations populations. They explain that the methods to decide if a parent is “good enough” to raise their own children is inherently built upon euro-centric and colonial definitions of family. The scholars suggest that appropriate solutions are already present in Aboriginal communities, but racist assumptions must be eradicated, such as that the government needs to look after the well-being of Aboriginal children.


In Katie Hyslop’s most recent article in her Out of Darkness: Indigenous Solutions for Child Welfare series, she suggests a few places to start addressing the child welfare system in BC. Suggestions include learning about Indigenous culture through art, bridging the gulf between communities, keeping children connected, understanding and honouring our treaty responsibilities, creating community hubs for services, and a return to traditional models of family care.