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
Aboriginal Peoples Survey 2001 - non-reserve Aboriginal Population initial findings: Well-being of the non-reserve Aboriginal Population

O'Donnell, Vivian
Tait, Heather

2003 Report
Children in Care in Canada: A summary of current issues and trends with recommendations for future research

Farris-Manning, Cheryl
Zandstra, Marietta

2003 Report
The Economic Costs and Consequences of Child Abuse in Canada

Bowlus, Audra
McKenna, Katherine
Day, Tanis
Wright, David

2003 Report
Pilot Study: The Child Welfare System and Homelessness among Canadian Youth

Serge, Luba
Eberle, Margaret
Goldberg, Michael
Sullivan, Susan
Dudding, Peter

2002 Report
Recruitment and Retention in Child Welfare Services: A Survey of Child Welfare League of Canada Member Agencies

Anderson, Madeleine
Gobeil, Shalan

2002 Report
Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 1998 (CIS-1998): Final Report

Trocmé, Nico
MacLaurin, Bruce
Fallon, Barbara
Daciuk, Joanne
Billingsley, Diane
Tourigny, Marc
Mayer, Micheline
Wright, John
Barter, Ken
Burford, Gale
Hornick, Joe
Sullivan, Richard
McKenzie, Brad

2001 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: