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The social integration of barrel children in Canadian society

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posted on 23.05.2021, 10:47 by Andrea Denise Lawrence
People migrate globally in search of better lives, and migration often produces political, sociocultural, and economic turbulence. This qualitative study explored the lived experiences of two Caribbean barrel children, whose mothers sought employment in Canada and abandoned or left their children in the care of family members. Data consisted of two daughters’ stories daughters, which illustrate the complexities of the barrel-children phenomena. A narrative approach was used to collect the data, and theoretical frameworks guiding the study included Bowlby’s attachment theory, Black feminism, and the intersectionality of race, class, and gender. Data analysis involved structural and narrative analysis. The study found that, in contrast to the literature, the two participants had positive experiences as barrel children and in reuniting with their parents in Toronto. The study highlights the importance of grandmothers in caring for children left behind and even after reunification with parents in Canada. The Black community, along with Black teachers, also play key roles in helping barrel children integrate into Canadian society and face challenges such as racism. Keywords: Barrel children, Canada, Caribbean immigrants, Children left behind, Parental separation.





Master of Social Work


Social Work

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type