British Columbia

For more information, see the information sheet British Columbia's child welfare system.


In British Columbia, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) provides child welfare services under the mandate of the Child, Family and Community Service Act (1996). The Child, Family, and Community Service Act (1996) was amended in 2018 to improve child welfare service delivery and intervention for Indigenous children and families, with the goal of reducing the over-representation of Indigenous children and youth within the province’s child welfare system.

Child protection services in British Columbia are provided through 429 ministry offices in 13 regions and 24 delegated Aboriginal agencies, which have varying levels of delegated responsibility according to the resources and capacity of each agency (Government of British Columbia, 2021). The Federal government is responsible for funding services to First Nations children and families living on-reserve. The Adoption Act (1996), Infants Act (1996), and the Representative for Children and Youth Act (2006), are other legal acts that relate to the well-being and protection of children in British Columbia. 


External Statistics Links

Ministry of Children and Family Development Reporting Portal

British Columbia: Children and youth in out-of-home care in 2022*

Children in careChild (0-18) populationRate per 1000*
10, 462926,02711.30

*Pollock, N., Ouédraogo, A., Trocmé, N., Hovdestad, W., Miskie, A., Crompton, L., Campeau, A., Tanaka, M., Zhang, C., Laprise, C., Tonmyr, L. (2024) Rates of out-of-home care among children in Canada: an analysis of national administrative child welfare data. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada (44)4.

§ 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.