CWRP Information Sheet #197E. Toronto, ON: Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal.
The Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 2018 (OIS-2018) is the sixth provincial study to examine the incidence of reported child maltreatment and the characteristics of children and families investigated by child welfare authorities in Ontario. This Information Sheet examines the profile of child maltreatment-related investigations involving infants investigated by the Ontario child welfare system in 2018. Concerns have emerged about the child welfare system’s ability to respond to families’ needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only is there likely an increase in child maltreatment occurring, but the system will also be limited in its ability to provide supportive services to families that might mitigate risks including future child maltreatment. Previous analyses using data from the Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 2013 (OIS-2013) found child welfare-involved infants and their families to be a uniquely vulnerable group with respect to risks and service needs. Over 70 percent of investigations involving infants in the OIS-2013 were for concerns of risk of future maltreatment or exposure to intimate partner violence. In order to understand the nature of child maltreatment-related investigations involving infants that are investigated by child welfare agencies, this Information Sheet describes child maltreatment-related investigations involving infants in Ontario in 2018, including: the referral source, the nature of the concern, risk factors for the primary caregiver, household income source, child age categories, transfers to ongoing services, and referrals made to internal or external services at the conclusion of the investigation.