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
What are the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s main arguments before the Tribunal?

Currie, Vanessa
Sinha, Vandna

2015 Information sheet
What remedies have been suggested to the Tribunal and what are the arguments against them?

Currie, Vanessa
Sinha, Vandna

2015 Information sheet
A Profile of Investigations with a Noted Child Functioning Concern of FAS/FAE in Canada in 2008

Goodman, Deborah
Lefebvre, Rachael
Fallon, Barbara
Trocmé, Nico

2015 Information sheet
Jordan’s Principle Advocacy Needed Soon

Jordan's Principle Working Group

2015 Report
Jordan’s Principle – Background Information

Jordan's Principle Working Group

2015 Report
Efficacy of neglect interventions for Indigenous children, families and communities

McGinn, Carrie Anna 
Damasse, Jean 

2014 Report
Urgent protection versus chronic need: Clarifying the dual mandate of child welfare services across Canada

Trocmé, Nico
Kyte, Alicia
Sinha, Vandna
Fallon, Barbara

2014 Information sheet
Maltreatment-related investigations involving children with academic difficulty in Canada in 2008: Age, gender and primary category of investigated maltreatment

Wegner-Lohin, Jaime
Fallon, Barbara

2014 Information sheet
Type of investigation, substantiation and primary category of substantiated maltreatment for First Nations children across Canada

Quinn, Ashley
Nutton, Jennifer
Blumenthal, Anne
Trocmé, Nico

2014 Information sheet
A profile of reported emotional maltreatment in Canada in 2008

Kozlowski, Anna
Lwin, Kristin
Fallon, Barbara

2014 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: