Cross-Cultural Mobility and Agency in Assessing the Appropriateness of Child Supervision in the Context of Cultural Diversity and Migration in Quebec

Ruiz-Casares, M., Sullivan, R., Gonzalez, E., Li, P., & Lacharité, C. (2023, septembre)

Social Sciences

Vol. 12/Num. 9 | 15 p.


Confusion over what constitutes appropriate childrearing practices in culturally diverse settings may result in the stigmatization of ethnic minority families and over-reporting to child welfare services. This study explored stakeholders’ views on (in)adequate supervision across cultural and socioeconomic groups and how they assess the risk of harm in cases of lack of supervision. Focus group discussions were held with (a) adult caregivers (n = 39) and adolescents (n = 63) in family-based care from French-speaking Quebecers and migrants from Latin America, the Caribbean, and South Asia; and (b) professionals (n = 67) in the education, health, child welfare, and security sectors in Quebec. The main criteria used to assess the appropriateness of supervision were the maturity, level of ability, age, and sex of the child, as well as contextual factors, such as proximity of other people, location, and type and duration of the activity. Mobility and immobility notions are used to explore the developmental considerations of competence and readiness within the home and in other social environments where adults’ and children’s perceptions of safety and maturity may differ, as well as the need to move away from rigid policy implementation. This paper advocates for careful consideration of the capacity and agency of children affected by migration in the provision of childcare support and their meaningful participation in research and decision making in matters that affect them.