Families Count 2024: new resource on family structure now available

Families Count 2024 is now available

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Family Diversities and Wellbeing Framework

While our definition of family sets a wide and inclusive scope for our work, our focus and analyses are guided by the Family Diversities and Wellbeing Framework.

Why family diversities?

Many of our contemporary conversations about families in Canada are about how they have changed in ways that make them more diverse. There is much to celebrate in these diversities and in the family mosaic that they create. Yet we also see that while some families are thriving, others are marginalized.

To date, we have not had a way of systematically thinking about family diversities or about the inequalities that may be inherent in them. Across the variety of families in Canada, it is important to map what is known, where knowledge gaps exist and where we need to create evidence that can inform policies, programs and services to better support family wellbeing.

A roadmap for understanding family diversity

Developed by the Vanier Institute of the Family1 through consultation with academic and government partners and grounded in family research, the Family Diversities and Wellbeing Framework views family diversity through three intersecting lenses: Family Structure, Family Work, and Family Identity. Each lens focuses on a different way of seeing families. Each illuminates factors that can either enhance or detract from family wellbeing. Each provides a way of highlighting where our understanding is currently limited.

Below, we outline what each lens means, why it matters, and priority areas for consideration based on current issues in Canadian society.

Explore the framework

Click the framework lenses below to learn more

A guide through change

The Vanier Institute is committed to sharing evidence about family diversities to inform decision making that supports family wellbeing. Our stakeholders require up-to-date information to respond to changing social conditions where family life reflects evolving notions of what constitutes a family, the sharing of work among family members, the influence of workplace policies and practices, and the ways in which families construct their identities. As society becomes increasingly diverse, this framework offers enough flexibility to examine, through a family lens, the wide range of experiences that matter to the Vanier Institute community and constituents.

  1. This framework was developed by Kim de Laat, PhD; Norah Keating, PhD; and Margo Hilbrecht, PhD, of the Vanier Institute of the Family in consultation with Vanier Institute partners.
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Suggested citation for the Family Diversities and Wellbeing Framework:
Keating, N., de Laat, K., & Hilbrecht, M. (2022). Family Diversities and Wellbeing Framework. The Vanier Institute of the Family. https://vanierinstitute.ca/family-diversities-and-wellbeing-framework