Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario have the exclusive mandate under the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) to protect children who have been or are at risk of being abused and/or neglected by their caregivers, to provide for their care and supervision where necessary and to place children for adoption (CFSA, 1990). A total of 46 Children’s Aid Societies are specifically designated by the Minister of Children and Youth Services to investigate child abuse and neglect and take the necessary steps to care for children and youth in need of protection.  Seven are designated Aboriginal societies and 3 serve religious communities. Children’s Aid Societies are independent legal entities (corporations run by Boards of Directors) or Indian Bands (that operate under the Indian Act) and are accountable to the communities they serve. In addition to the CFSA, the Ontario Child Welfare Eligibility Spectrum and Child Protection Standards guide child protection workers at each phase of service delivery. For more information, visit the information sheet on Ontario's child welfare system.

Ontario - Statistics

Child Maltreatment Investigations in Ontario, 2008* and 2013**

  2008 2013
Child population (0-15) 2,382,035 2,349,600
Number of child maltreatment investigations 128,748 125,281
Incidence of child maltreatment investigations per 1000 children 54.05 53.32

Type of Child Maltreatment Investigation in Ontario, 2013**

  Number Rate per 1,000 children Percent
Maltreatment Investigation 97,951 41.69 78%
Risk Investigation 27,330 11.63 22%

Categories of Substantiated Child Maltreatment Investigations in Ontario, 2013**

Category of Maltreatment Number Rate per 1,000 children Percent
Physical Abuse 5,770 2.46 13%
Sexual Abuse 848 0.36 2%
Neglect 10,386 4.42 24%
Emotional Maltreatment 5,620 2.39 13%
Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence 20,443 8.70 48%

Placement in Child Maltreatment Investigations in Ontario, 2008* and 2013**

  2008 # 2008 Rate 2013 # 2013 Rate
No Placement 121,436 50.98 121,020 51.51
Informal Kinship Care 3,616 1.52 1,874 0.80
Formal Placement 3,696 1.55 2,387 1.02

* Fallon, B., Trocmé, N., MacLaurin, B., Sinha, V., Black, T., Felstiner, C., Schumaker, K., Van Wert, M., Herbert, A., Petrowski, N., Daciuk, J., Lee, B., DuRoss, C. & Johnston, A. (2010). Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect-2008 (OIS‑2008). Toronto, ON: Child Welfare Research Portal. Retrieved from http://cwrp.ca/publications/2293

** Fallon, B., Van Wert, M., Trocmé, N., MacLaurin, B., Sinha, V., Lefebvre, R., Allan, K., Black, T., Lee, B., Rha, W., Smith, C., & Goel, S. (2015). Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect-2013 (OIS‑2013). Toronto, ON: Child Welfare Research Portal. Retrieved from http://cwrp.ca/publications/OIS-2013

§ Child welfare services fall under the jurisdiction of provincial and territorial authorities, making it difficult to compile statistics at the national level. The most notable variations between provinces include mandate variation by jurisdiction with respect to the age to which children are eligible for services, differences in the length of time a child can receive out-of-home care and the definition of out-of-home care.

Title Authors Year Type
Life Domain Research Report Series

Cameron, Gary
Hazineh, Lirondel
Frensch, Karen M.
Preyde, Michele

2008 Report
Lessons Learned from the "Changing the Script " Program: Supporting Foster Parents to ‘Go the Distance’ with the Children in their Care

Mankiewicz Smith, Jacqueline

2007 Report
Empowering Families, Strengthening and Protecting Children: Introducing Kinship Program and Family Group Conferencing Program at the Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex

Leschied, Alan W.
MacKay, Ryan
Raghunandan, Shivon
Sharpe, Nicole
Sookoor, Marguerite

2007 Report
Kinship care

Gough, Pamela

2006 Information sheet
Evaluating the effectiveness of “Beyond the Basics” Parenting Groups

Goodman, Deborah
Gough, Pamela

2006 Information sheet
Family Group Conferencing: Assessing the long-term effectiveness of an alternative approach in child protection

Cunning, Sandra
Bartlett, Diane

2006 Report
Maltreatment and Adolescent Pathways Feasibility Study Final Report

Wekerle, Christine
Wall, Anne-Marie
MacMillan, Harriet
Trocme, Nico
Boyle, Michael
Leung, Eman
Waechter, Randall

2006 Report
Youth Leaving Care: An OACAS Survey of CAS Youth and Staff

Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Society

2006 Report
Ontario’s Child Welfare System

Gough, Pamela

2005 Information sheet
Evaluating the Effectiveness of "Beyond the Basics" Parenting Groups for Parents/Caregivers of Young Children Involved with Child Welfare

Goodman, Deborah
Richards, Sharron

2005 Report

Ontario - Legislation

Last Name First Namesort icon Organization Province/Territory
Ismaila Afisi McMaster University Ontario
Leschied Alan W. University of Western Ontario Ontario
Macpherson Alison K. York University Ontario
D'Angiulli Amedeo Carleton University Ontario
Taylor Andrew Taylor Newberry Consulting Ontario
Fudge-Schormans Ann McMaster University Ontario
Cummings Anne University of Western Ontario Ontario
Shlonsky Aron University of Toronto / University of Melbourne (AU) Ontario
Fallon Barbara University of Toronto Ontario
Lewis Barry Ontario Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare Ontario
Kimberly Brisebois Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society Ontario
Leslie Bruce Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto Ontario
King Bryn University of Toronto Ontario
Root Carol Chrysalis Centre Ontario
Stalker Carol A. Wilfred Laurier University Ontario
Smith Carrie King's University College at University of Western Ontario Ontario
Neff Charlotte Laurentian University Ontario
Regehr Cheryl University of Toronto Ontario
Wekerle Christine McMaster University Ontario
Blackstock Cindy First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada Ontario