British Columbia

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


External Statistics Links

Ministry of Children and Family Development Reporting Portal

British Columbia: Children and youth in out-of-home care in 2019^

Children in care Child (0-18) population Rate per 1000*
6,263 926,072 6.76


*The rate of children in care was 6.76 per 1000 for all children and youth across the province, but was 43.8 for 1000 for Indigenous children and youth. 


^Ministry of Children and Family Development. (2019). Children and Youth in Care (CYIC). 

*The rate per 1000 is calculated using the population of children covered under the age of protection in British Columbia (under 19 years old).

§ 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.