Child Welfare Across Canada

Child welfare services fall under the mandate of provincial and territorial governments, including a rapidly expanding system of Aboriginal child welfare authorities. This section contains material related to federal initiatives concerned with child welfare services as well as statistics compiled at the national level.

All Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect reports can be found here

National - Statistics

Child Maltreatment Investigations in Canada, 1998 and 2008*

  1998 2008
Child population 6,301,295 6,022,005
Number of child maltreatment investigations 134,566 235,842
Incidence of child maltreatment investigations per 1,000 children 21.36 39.16


Type of Child Maltreatment Investigation in Canada, 2008*

  Number Rate per 1,000 children Percent
Maltreatment Investigation 174,411 28.97 74%
Risk Investigation 61,431 10.19 26%


Primary Categories of Substantiated Child Maltreatment Investigations in Canada, 2008*

Category of Maltreatment Number Rate per 1,000 children Percent
Physical Abuse 17,212 2.86 20%
Sexual Abuse 2,607 0.43 3%
Neglect 28,939 4.81 34%
Emotional Maltreatment 7,423 1.23 9%
Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence 29,259 4.86 34%


Placement in Child Maltreatment Investigations in 1998 and in Child Maltrement and Risk Investigations in Canada in 2008*

  1998 Number 1998 Rate 2008 Number 2008 Rate
Informal Kinship Care 5,851 0.93 8,713 1.45
Formal Placement 11,003 1.74 10,886 1.81


Public Health Agency of Canada. (2010). Canadian incidence study of reported child abuse and neglect 2008: Major findings (p. 122). Public Health Agency of Canada. Retrieved from http://cwrp.ca/publications/2117

Title Authors Yearsort icon Type
False Allegations of Abuse and Neglect

Simpson, Megan
Fletcher, Kara
De La Sablonniere-Grifin, Mireille
Trocmé, Nico

2018 Information sheet
Group Home and Residential Treatment Placements in Child Welfare: Analyzing the 2008 Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect

Doucet, Mélanie
Marion, Élodie
Trocmé, Nico

2018 Information sheet
Adoption Protections for Indigenous Children in Canada

Hahn, Hayley
Sinha, Vandna

2018 Information sheet
Honouring Jordan's Principle: Obstacles to accessing equitable health and social services for First Nations children with special healthcare needs living in Pinaymootang, Manitoba

Vives, Luna
Sinha, Vandna
Burnet, Eric
Lach, Lucyna

2017 Report
Shameful Neglect: Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada

Macdonald, David
Wilson, Daniel

2016 Report
Ministerial Mandate Letters: Relevance to Indigenous Child Welfare and Well-Being

Churchill, Molly
Sinha, Vandna

2016 Information sheet
Fairness for Children: A League Table of Inequality in Child Well-being in Rich Countries

UNICEF Office of Research

2016 Report
Injuries and Death of Children at the Hands of Their Parents

Wegner-Lohin, Jaime
Trocmé, Nico 

2016 Information sheet
Living Arrangements of Aboriginal Children Aged 14 and Under

Turner, Annie

2016 Report
Nistawatsimin: Exploring First Nations Parenting: A Literature Review and Expert Consultation with Blackfoot Elders

Lindstrom, Gabrielle
Choate, Peter
Bastien, Leonard
Weasal Traveller, Audrey
Breaker, Stewart
Breaker, Kathy
Good Striker, Wilton
Good Striker, Evelyn

2016 Report

National - Legislation

Child welfare services fall under the jurisdiction of provincial and territorial authorities as a result each province and territory has different legislation pertaining to child protection interventions. For more information click here.

The only child welfare regulations and legislation that apply to all provinces and territories are the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development First Nations Child and Family Services National Program Manual and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child: