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
Single mothers of children with developmental delay: Maltreatment and life stressors

Schormans, Ann Fudge
Brown Ivan

2004 Information sheet
An overview of differential response models

Trocmé, Nico
Knott, Theresa
Knoke, Della

2003 Information sheet
Evaluations in Canadian child welfare programs: A critical review

Flynn, Robert J.
Bouchard, Danielle
Lajoie, Jules

2006 Information sheet
False Allegations of Abuse and Neglect

Knott, Theresa
Trocmé, Nico
Bala, Nicholas

2004 Information sheet
Injuries caused by child abuse and neglect

Montgomery, Victor
Trocmé, Nico

2004 Information sheet
Jurisdiction and Funding Models for Aboriginal Child and Family Service Agencies

Gough, Pamela
Blackstock, Cindy
Bala, Nicholas

2005 Information sheet
Physical abuse of children in the context of punishment

Trocmé, Nico
Durrant, Joan
Ensom, Ron
Marwah, Inder

2004 Information sheet
Physical punishment of children

Durrant, Joan
Ensom, Ron

2004 Information sheet
Punitive violence against children in Canada

Durrant, Joan
Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
Milne, Cheryl
Black, Tara
Knoke, Della

2006 Information sheet
The Canadian child welfare system response to exposure to domestic violence investigations

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

2006 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: