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
Child Death Review in Canada: A National Scan

Saskatchewan Prevention Institute

2016 Report
Long-term Trends in Out of Home Care for On-reserve First Nations Children

Jones, Allison 
Sinha, Vandna 

2015 Information sheet
Foster Care Disparity for Aboriginal Children in 2011

Wray, Michael
Sinha, Vandna

2015 Information sheet
Children and Youth in Out-of-Home Care in the Canadian Provinces

Jones, Allison
Sinha, Vandna
Trocmé, Nico

2015 Information sheet
Foster Care Disparity for First Nations Children in 2011

Sinha, Vandna
Wray, Michael

2015 Information sheet
What does the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report summary say about the Indian Residential School (IRS) system and child welfare?

Churchill, Molly 
Sinha, Vandna

2015 Information sheet
A Profile of Child Welfare Workers in Canada in 2008

Lwin, Kristen
Lefebvre, Rachael
Fallon, Barbara
Trocmé, Nico

2015 Information sheet
Child neglect I: Scope, consequences, and risk and protective factors

Blumenthal, Anne

2015 Information sheet
Child neglect II: Prevention and intervention

Blumenthal, Anne

2015 Information sheet
Without denial, delay or disruption: Ensuring First Nations children’s access to equivalent services through Jordan’s Principle

Sinha, Vandna

2015 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: