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 Children. Canada must do better: Today and tomorrow. Special report submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates

2011 Report
Children and Youth in Out-of‑Home Care in Canada

Mulcahy, Meghan
Trocmé, Nico

2010 Information sheet
Group home and residential treatment placements in child welfare: Analyzing the 2003 Child Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect

DuRoss, Christine
Fallon, Barbara
Black, Tara
Allan, Kate

2010 Information sheet
CIS-2008: Characteristics of maltreatment

Trocmé, Fallon, MacLaurin et al.

2010 Information sheet
CIS-2008: Characteristics of children and families

Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
MacLaurin, Bruce
et al.

2010 Information sheet
Rates and outcomes of maltreatment-related investigations: CIS-1998, CIS-2003 and CIS-2008

Trocmé, Fallon, MacLaurin et al.

2010 Information sheet
CIS-2008: Study methodology

Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
MacLaurin, Bruce
et al.

2010 Information sheet
CIS 2008: Study objectives and scope

Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
MacLaurin, Bruce
et al.

2010 Information sheet
Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 2008 (CIS-2008): Major Findings

Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
MacLaurin, Bruce
Sinha, Vandna
Black, Tara
Fast, Elizabeth
Felstiner, Caroline
Hélie, Sonia
Turcotte, Daniel
Weightman, Pamela
Douglas, Janet
Holroyd, Jill

2010 Report
Summary Review of Aboriginal Over-representation in the Child Welfare System

Galley, Valerie J.

2010 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: