Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 2008


This report is the result of collaboration among federal, provincial and territorial government departments, university-based researchers, the First Nations representatives and, most important of all, child welfare service workers across the country who graciously participated in the data collection.

The Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS) is one of the national surveillance programs of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), dedicated to the health of children in Canada in conjunction with other national surveillance programs on unintentional injury, perinatal health, and chronic and infectious diseases. Surveillance, which is a core function of public health, is a systematic process of data collection, expert analysis and interpretation, and communication of information for action on key health issues.

The CIS examines the incidence of reported child maltreatment and the characteristics of the children and families investigated by Canadian child welfare sites from all 13 provinces and territories. The data presented in this report are crucial to better understand child abuse and neglect and to respond to this very important issue of child health and well-being.

PHAC is honoured to oversee the CIS program and to work with extremely dedicated partners. I would particularly like to thank Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the National CIS-2008 Steering Committee members, the provincial and territorial Directors of Child Welfare and the child welfare service workers who took part in the study. The production of this surveillance report would not have been possible without their efforts and commitment.

Together with all of our provincial, territorial, and federal colleagues, we are working to improve the health of Canadian children.


Dr. David Butler-Jones
Chief Public Health Officer
Public Health Agency of Canada

The 2008 Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS-2008) reflects a truly national effort by a group of over 2000 child welfare service providers, researchers and policy makers committed to improving services for abused and neglected children through surveillance and research.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) provided core funding for the study, with additional funds provided by the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, Saskatchewan, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the PHAC Centres of Excellence for Children’s Well-Being. The Injury and Child Maltreatment Section of the Health Surveillance and Epidemiology Division of the PHAC (Appendix B) provided organizational support for the study and, with its National Steering Committee to the CIS-2008 (Appendix C), provided key input into the design and implementation of the study. I would particularly like to acknowledge the contributions of Peter Dudding and Anne-Marie Ugnat, who have championed this project for many years.

The CIS-2008 was conducted by a large team of researchers who demonstrated an exceptional ability to remain focused on the objectives of this collective effort while bringing to bear their own expertise. In addition to the report authors, special acknowledgement should go to the site-based researchers who played a critical role in presenting the study and generating support while maintaining high standards for case selection.

All provinces and territories supported the research and, through their child welfare systems, contributed to data collection. The child welfare workers and managers involved in the study deserve special recognition for finding the time and interest to participate while juggling their ever-increasing child welfare responsibilities. Although for reasons of confidentiality we cannot list their names, on behalf of the CIS-2008 Research Team, I thank the child welfare professionals who participated in the CIS-2008.


Nico Trocmé
CIS-2008 Principal Investigator
Philip Fisher Chair in Social Work,
Centre for Research on Children and Families
McGill University


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