For more information, visit the information sheet on Ontario's child welfare system.


Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario have the exclusive mandate under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) 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 (CFYSA, 2017). A total of 38 Children’s Aid Societies and 13 Indigenous Child and Family Wellbeing Agencies (ICFWBA) are specifically designated by the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services to investigate child abuse and neglect and take the necessary steps to care for children and youth in need of protection. Three Children’s Aid Societies specifically 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 CYFSA, the Ontario Child Welfare Eligibility Spectrum and Child Protection Standards guide child protection workers at each phase of service delivery. 


Child Maltreatment Investigations in Ontario, 2008*, 2013** and 2018***

Child population (0-15)2,382,0352,349,6002,361,870
Number of child maltreatment investigations128,748125,281148,536
Incidence of child maltreatment investigations per 1,000 children54.0553.3262.89

Type of Child Maltreatment Investigation in Ontario, 2018***

 NumberRate per 1,000 childrenPercent
Maltreatment Investigation94,47640.0064%
Risk Investigation54,06022.8936%

Categories of Substantiated Child Maltreatment Investigations in Ontario, 2018***

Category of MaltreatmentNumberRate per 1,000 childrenPercent
Physical Abuse7,0813.0019%
Sexual Abuse1,0190.433%
Emotional Maltreatment4,6891.9912%
Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence17,0517.2245%

Placement in Child Maltreatment Investigations in Ontario, 2008*, 2013** and 2018***

 2008 #2008 Rate2013 #2013 Rate2018 #2018 Rate
No Placement121,43650.98121,02051.51144,35161.12
Informal Kinship Care3,6161.521,8740.802,4881.05
Formal Placement3,6961.552,3871.021,6970.71

Children and youth in out-of-home care in 2019****

Children in care Child (0-17) populationRate per 1000
7, 489 2, 750, 0142.72

* Fallon, B., Trocmé, N., MacLaurin, B., Sinha, V., Black, T., Felstiner, … Johnston, A. (2010). Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect-2008 (OIS‑2008). Toronto, ON: Child Welfare Research Portal.

** Fallon, B., Van Wert, M., Trocmé, N., MacLaurin, B., Sinha, V., Lefebvre, R., … Goel, S. (2015). Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect-2013 (OIS‑2013). Toronto, ON: Child Welfare Research Portal.

***Fallon, B., Filippelli, J. Lefebvre, R., Joh-Carnella, N., Trocmé, N., Black, T., .... Stoddart, J.(2020). Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect-2018 (OIS‑2018). Toronto, ON: Child Welfare Research Portal

^Data obtained through personal communication with Barbara Fallon. Information from the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

**** 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. https://doi.org/10.24095/hpcdp.44.4.02

§ 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.