CECW Information Sheet #4E. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto, Faculty of Social Work.
Child welfare services across Canada are responding to growing numbers of referrals involving an increasingly broad array of problems. In Ontario alone, the number of reports of abuse and neglect increased 44% between 1993 and 1998 and the number of substantiated investigations doubled. The increase has been driven primarily by cases involving neglect or exposure to domestic violence, with cases involving severe physical harm or sexual abuse representing an ever-smaller proportion of cases. While urgent protective response continues to be a priority in situations involving severe abuse, there is growing interest in developing alternative response models that are tailored to the diverse needs of maltreated children and support more effective collaboration with other community service providers.