I’m Just Asking You to Keep an Ear Out’: Parents’ and Children’s Perspectives on Caregiving and Community Support in the Context of Migration to Canada

Christina L. Klassen, Emilia Gonzalez, Richard Sullivan & Mónica Ruiz-Casares (2020)

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

International migration to North America continues to rise, and with it the meeting of different cultural norms surrounding child caregiving and supervision. Previous research shows that high rates of reporting of supervisory neglect involving migrant families may partly result from these different norms and challenges particular to the migrant context. In this study, five focus groups were conducted with migrant caregivers (n = 19) and children aged 12–17 years (n = 25) to explore their experiences surrounding caregiving changes in migration as well as factors that help and hinder child supervision in migrant communities in Montreal, Canada. Results following thematic analysis indicate that family roles change in migration, but that caregivers and children perceive these changes differently. Families perceive and experience discrimination and judgment of their parenting practices from community members and fear that those will be labelled neglectful. Change in families’ social support, especially at the neighbourhood level, has an important influence on caregiving practices. Results also show that parents’ preparation of children to provide care for siblings and others is often not recognised as a strength by service providers in direct contact with families. Directions for future research and implications for practice are discussed.