This analysis shall make use of the story titled Toronto still ‘child poverty capital’ of Canada, Warnes report. The news article was authored by Solomon Israel and published in the CBC News on 14 November 2016 (Israel, 2016). The story captured a report that was released earlier that week by not for profit local organizations that highlighted how the city was divided and the levels of the divide in terms of youth poverty. To put this into perspective, the report says that in some communities, child poverty is as low as 4% while there are more than three neighborhoods in the city where the poverty rates get as high as 50% and higher. Indeed, Regent Park has child poverty rate of 58.1% (Israel, 2016). This article does stipulate the effects this deprivation has on the children. The paper suggests that scarcity affects the capacity of the kids in Toronto to access significant programs like early learning, sports, arts, and childcare. It further argues that children from these poor homes are disadvantaged in class as a result of physical and emotional challenges.
Another area that the write-up seeks to speak to is the connection between poverty and housing and food insecurity. The report claims that poor housing is a cause of stress in families and plays a role in the development of children and their well-being (Israel, 2016). In this essay, the sociological concepts relating to child poverty and development as well as homelessness will be discussed. To help formulate the paper, a symbolic interactionism approach will be applied.
From the onset, the article brings out various social issues that face young children and families in the city of Toronto. The issues that affect child development, the socializations and the interactions between low incomes and the divisions in society come out clearly (Macionis, Jansson & Benoit, 2012). Renowned philosophers George Simmel, George Herbert Mead and Charles Cooley and Jean Piaget were instrumental in developing the theory of symbolic interactionism. This perspective proposes that the definitions and meanings created through interactions are critical in influencing human behavior (Macionis, Jansson & Benoit, 2012). This perspective further suggests that our identity is hugely shaped by the social interactions (Rock, 2016). The sense of self-concept is developed through observing the interactions of others with us or how they label us. This was captured by Cooley’s idea of ‘looking-glass self’.
There is a common view that society makes people human. However, the social interactions, language, and human interactions are crucial in defining a human being. Piaget’s opinion about self-development was based on the developmental stages the children go through to have the ability to think categorically. He called this the sensorimotor stage which occurs from inception to the second year of growth. The second stage, the preoperational phase begins from the second year to around the seventh year and the third stage being the concrete operational level which starts from age 7 to age 12 (Pearson, 2013). These socializations are necessary to understand how the children develop during the various stages, besides giving a hint to how the environment can influence the socializations and hence the self- the concept of the kids born in these conditions (Pearson, 2013).
George Mead adds some critical aspects to the theory of self-concept by including play, sports, and arts that are essential to the improvement of self. Playing allows the children to appreciate each other and enhance their perception of each other (Macionis, Jansson & Benoit, 2012). Mead came up with the fact that children are primarily able to capture the function of the significant others, during which period the self is nurtured (Denzin, 1975). The kids come up with the considerations and the anticipations of the other children or human beings and by extrapolation the qualities of the entire group. Mead talked about the beliefs and the anticipation by people. Besides, Mead submitted that the growth of the self is considered to be categorical in the distinction of ‘I’ and ‘Me’ factions (Spencer, 2013). These are complex factors in the development of the self; however, they are different. The ‘I’ was considered to be the part that is a subjective, active and impulsive action of the person. The last component, the ‘me’ on the other hand, is deemed to be the attitudes that are analyzed from the associations with the other human beings (Pearson, 2013). Another opinion is that it is not just the self; the mind is also a faction of the social result. It is not plausible of thinking without t he signs, and this is the nature of the community that accords the symbols by instigating the language (Pearson, 2013). So it is worth noting that the issues of poverty in the city will have a negative impact on the development of the concept of self because the ‘normal development’ will have been interrupted.
Another critical social issue that comes to the front in this article is the issue of homelessness. It is not befitting that people have accepted that some level of homelessness is inevitable and be tolerated (Macionis, Jansson & Benoit, 2012). It is crucial to note that homelessness and poverty are directly related to the incidence of mental health and issues of drug abuse and addictions. Homelessness is a societal issue that results from the society failing to put adequate systems; funding and the right support are in place to ensure that all people have access to quality housing (Gaetz, Gulliver, & Richter, 2014). From the article story, it is evident that most of the people struggling with housing are families that are in the low-income families, whose big share of their salary is taken by housing rent (de Boer, Rothwell, & Lee, 2013).
Indeed, for most of the homeless people, it is almost impossible to get a job, to have access to mental health care services, and fight against abuse of drugs. These social forces are compounded further by the poor economic conditions, the breakdown of families, and poor mental health services. It is the interactions between these various complex forces that impact the levels of homelessness. In Canada, it is reported it is the failure of systems and societal barriers. The factors thought to be contributing to homelessness reflect an interactive interplay between structural issues, systemic failures individual circumstances.
Food security is a crucial social factor that affects families on different scales in Canada. Food security is defined as the right of all people to access safe and nutritious food as well as the right for it to be adequate (Macionis, Jansson & Benoit, 2012). Every person has right to be free from hunger. Food insecurity is a social determinant of the health of a population (Raphael, 2016). Evidence has shown clear social patterns of the most vulnerable populations in Canada. Survey data has identified people in the low-income class as being at the highest risk. It has also been established that besides Aboriginal Canadians, households that rely on social assistance, families headed by single mothers and those that rent as opposed to owning a home are among the people with the highest risk.
Some significant studies have been performed to investigate the relationship food insecurity and social determinants including neighborhood factors and social capital. It is thought that the value obtained from social networks and connections as well as the proximity to community food programs and food stores play a role in the state of food security for the vulnerable populations (Tarasuk, Mitchell & Dachner, 2014). However, it is yet to be determined the exact impact of these factors on the state of food insecurity among the populations.
What cannot be disputed is the fact that food insecurity is a crucial determinant of the development of a child (Tarasuk, et al., 2014). Indeed, the statistics, as mentioned in the news article, show that children are overrepresented in those that rely on Toronto food banks. Again, the causes of food insecurity are a result of the interplay of intricate factors that have a societal perspective. The increasing food costs, the high levels of unemployment, and the low incomes are just some of the predictors of food insecurity (Israel, 2016). These must be checked so that we do not continue to divide the society.
Social concepts like socializations, rights, and social class can help make a certain topic to be understood in addition to giving it an intelligent perspective. From the write-up, it is evident that beyond what is explained in the news article, there are wide-ranging social issues that need to be tackled by both the social system and the political system. Poverty among children in the Toronto neighborhoods is a result of interplaying and interactive social issues that need sophisticated social interventions. The effects of deprivation have been clearly discussed in the socializations category where we have seen how the development of the self can be affected by the environmental factors of the neighborhood where the children grow.
Without addressing these issues, we can be sure that we, as Canadians, are just sitting on a time bomb. If it is not increasing in anti-social behavior like crime, drug, and substance abuse, it is the breakdown of families and increases in people with mental health issues, which is not only harmful to the neighborhood but also expensive to the government. I believe that these social issues need to be addressed by a responsive government to ensure that they do not get out of hand.
Briggs, A., Lee, C., & Stapleton, J. (2016). The Cost of Poverty in Toronto.
de Boer, K., Rothwell, D. W., & Lee, C. (2013). Child and family poverty in Canada: Implications for child welfare research. Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal Information Sheet, 123.
Denzin, N. K. (1975). The genesis of self in early childhood. The Sociological Quarterly, 291-314.
Gaetz, S., Gulliver, T., & Richter, T. (2014). The state of homelessness in Canada 2014. Canadian Homelessness Research Network.
Israel, S. (2016). Toronto Still ‘Child Poverty Capital’ of Canada, Warns Report. CBCnews.
Macionis, J.J., Jansson, M. & Benoit, C.M. (2012). Eds. Society Basics Fifth Canadian Edition. Portland: Pearson Education Canada.
Pearson. (2013). Chapter Three: Socialization. Pearson Education.
Raphael, D. (2016). Social Determinants of Health: Key Issues And Themes. Social Determinants of Health: Canadian Perspectives, 1.
Rock, P. (2016). Making of symbolic interactionism. Springer.
Spencer, M. B. (2013). Cultural cognition and social cognition as identity correlates of Black children's personal-social development. Beginnings: The Art and Science of Planning Psychotherapy, 215.
Tarasuk, V., Mitchell, A., & Dachner, N. (2014). Household food insecurity in Canada, 2012. Research to Identify Policy Options to Reduce Food Insecurity (PROOF). Toronto.