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 Year Typesort icon
The well-being of children in wealthy countries: UNICEF Report Card 7

Lajoie, Jules
Léveillé, Sophie

2007 Information sheet
Pathways to the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in care

Gough, Pamela
Trocmé, Nico
Brown, Ivan
Knoke, Della
Blackstock, Cindy

2005 Information sheet
Child abuse and neglect investigations in Canada: Comparing 1998 and 2003 data

Trocmé, Nico
MacLaurin, Bruce
Fallon, Barbara
Black, Tara
Lajoie, Jules

2005 Information sheet
Children’s Exposure to Domestic Violence in Canada

Black, Tara
Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
MacLaurin, Bruce
Roy, Catherine
Lajoie, Jules

2005 Information sheet
Child Emotional Maltreatment in Canada

Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
MacLaurin, Bruce
Black, Tara
Roy, Catherine

2005 Information sheet
Child Neglect in Canada

Roy, Catherine
Black, Tara
Trocmé, Nico
MacLaurin, Bruce
Fallon, Barbara

2005 Information sheet
Physical abuse of children in Canada

MacLaurin, Bruce
Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
Chaze, Ferzana
Black, Tara
Lajoie, Jules

2005 Information sheet
Sexual abuse of children in Canada

Fallon, Barbara
Lajoie, Jules
Trocmé, Nico
Chaze, Ferzana
MacLaurin, Bruce
Black, Tara

2005 Information sheet
Physical harm and family composition: Maltreated children with developmental delay

Brown, Ivan
Schormans, Ann Fudge

2004 Information sheet
Maltreatment rates in children with developmental delay

Brown, Ivan
Schormans, Ann Fudge

2004 Information sheet

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: