Ontario

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*, 2013** and 2018***

  2008 2013 2018
Child population (0-15) 2,382,035 2,349,600 2,361,870
Number of child maltreatment investigations 128,748 125,281 148,536
Incidence of child maltreatment investigations per 1,000 children 54.05 53.32 62.89

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

  Number Rate per 1,000 children Percent
Maltreatment Investigation 94,476 40.00 64%
Risk Investigation 54,060 22.89 36%

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

Category of Maltreatment Number Rate per 1,000 children Percent
Physical Abuse 7,081 3.00 19%
Sexual Abuse 1,019 0.43 3%
Neglect 8,082 3.42 21%
Emotional Maltreatment 4,689 1.99 12%
Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence 17,051 7.22 45%

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

  2008 # 2008 Rate 2013 # 2013 Rate 2018 # 2018 Rate
No Placement 121,436 50.98 121,020 51.51 144,351 61.12
Informal Kinship Care 3,616 1.52 1,874 0.80 2,488 1.05
Formal Placement 3,696 1.55 2,387 1.02 1,697 0.71

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

Children in care   Child (0-17) population Rate per 1000****
12,385   2,765,376 4.48

* 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.

****The rate per 1000 is calculated using the population of children covered under the age of protection in Ontario (under 18 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.