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

Title Authors Year
Denouncing the Continued Overrepresentation of First Nations Children in Canadian Child Welfare: Findings from the First Nations/Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect-2019

Fallon, Barbara
Lefebvre, Rachael
Trocmé, Nico
Richard, Kenn
Hélie, Sonia
Montgomery, Monty
Bennett, Marlyn
Joh-Carnella, Nicolette
Saint-Girons, Marie
Filippelli, Joanne
MacLaurin, Bruce
Black, Tara
Esposito, Tonino
King, Bryn
Collin-Vézina, Delphine*
Dallaire, Rachelle
Gray, Richard
Levi, Judy
Orr, Martin
Petti, Tara
Thomas Prokop, Shelley
Soop, Shannon

*Subsequent authors are listed alphabetically

Equity Concerns in the Context of COVID-19: A Focus on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Communities in Canada

Saint-Girons, Marie
Joh-Carnella, Nicolette
Lefebvre, Rachael
Blackstock, Cindy
Fallon, Barbara

Child Welfare and Pandemics Literature Scan

Sistovaris, Marina
Fallon, Barbara
Miller, Steven
Birken, Catherine
Denburg, Avram
Jenkins, Jennifer
Mishna, Faye
Sokolowski, Marla
Stewart, Suzanne

Honouring Jordan's Principle: Obstacles to accessing equitable health and social services for First Nations children with special healthcare needs living in Pinaymootang, Manitoba

Vives, Luna
Sinha, Vandna
Burnet, Eric
Lach, Lucyna

Child Death Review in Canada: A National Scan

Saskatchewan Prevention Institute

Fairness for Children: A League Table of Inequality in Child Well-being in Rich Countries

UNICEF Office of Research

Living Arrangements of Aboriginal Children Aged 14 and Under

Turner, Annie

Nistawatsimin: Exploring First Nations Parenting: A Literature Review and Expert Consultation with Blackfoot Elders

Lindstrom, Gabrielle
Choate, Peter
Bastien, Leonard
Weasal Traveller, Audrey
Breaker, Stewart
Breaker, Kathy
Good Striker, Wilton
Good Striker, Evelyn

Research Brief: Identifying and Responding to Intimate Partner Violence Against Women

Wathen, C. Nadine
MacMillan, Harriet L.
MacGregor, Jennifer

Shameful Neglect: Indigenous Child Poverty in Canada

Macdonald, David
Wilson, Daniel

Jordan’s Principle – Background Information

Jordan's Principle Working Group

Jordan’s Principle Advocacy Needed Soon

Jordan's Principle Working Group

Without Denial, Delay, or Disruption: Ensuring First Nations Children’s Access to Equitable Services Through Jordan’s Principle

The Jordan's Principle Working Group

Efficacité des interventions en matière de négligence auprès des enfants, des familles et des communautés autochtones

McGinn, Carrie Anna 
Damasse, Jean 

Research Brief: Interventions to Prevent Child Maltreatment

MacMillan, Harriet L.  
Wathen, C. Nadine


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: