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Appendix E: Glossary of Terms

Definitions of terms used in the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect – 2008 (CIS-2008) report are listed below.

Aboriginal Peoples:
The descendants of the original inhabitants of North America. The Canadian Constitution of 1982 recognizes three groups of Aboriginal people – Indians, Métis and Inuit. These are three separate peoples with unique heritages, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada [ INAC], 2009).
Age Group:
The age range of children included in the CIS-2008 sample. Unless otherwise specified, all data presented are for children between newborn and 15 years of age inclusively.
Annual Incidence Rate:
The number of child maltreatment investigations or child-maltreatment–related investigations per 1,000 children in a given year.
Annualization Weight:
The number of cases opened during 2008 divided by the number of cases sampled during the three-month case selection period in each primary sampling unit.
Case Duplication:
Children who are the subject of an investigation more than once in a calendar year are counted in most child welfare statistics as separate “cases” or “investigations.” As a count of children, these statistics are therefore duplicated.
Case Openings:
Cases that appear on site records as openings. Cases may be opened on a family basis or a child basis. Openings do not include referrals that have been screened-out.
The CIS-2008 defined child as age newborn to 15 years inclusive.
Categories of Maltreatment:
The five key classification categories under which the 32 forms of maltreatment were subsumed: physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, emotional maltreatment, and exposure to intimate partner violence.
Child Maltreatment Investigations:
Case openings that meet the CIS-2008 criteria for investigated maltreatment.
Child Welfare Organizations:
The primary sampling unit for the CIS is the local child welfare organization responsible for conducting child-maltreatment-related investigations. In some jurisdictions, these organizations are autonomous agencies; in others, they are local offices for the provincial or territorial child protection authority. A total of 412 child welfare organizations were identified across Canada as the sampling frame for the CIS-2008.
Child Welfare Sites:
Refers to child welfare organizations that were included in the final CIS-2008 sample. A total of 112 child welfare sites were included in the final sample.
Differential or Alternative Response Models:
A newer model of service delivery in child welfare in which a range of potential response options are customized to meet the diverse needs of families involved with child welfare. Typically, models involve multiple “streams” or “tracks” of service delivery. Less urgent cases are shifted to a “community” track where the focus of intervention is on coordinating services and resources to meet the short- and long-term needs of families.
First Nations:
A term that came into common usage in the 1970s to replace the word “Indian”. Although the term First Nation is widely used, no legal definition of it exists. Among its uses, the term “First Nations peoples” refers to the Indian peoples in Canada, both Status and non-Status. Some have also adopted the term “First Nation” to replace the word “band” in the name of their community ( INAC, 2009).
First Nations Status:
A person who is registered as a First Nations person under the Indian Act. The act sets out the requirements for determining who is a First Nations person for the purposes of the Indian Act ( INAC, 2009).
Form of Child Maltreatment:
Any of the 32 forms of maltreatment (e.g., hit with an object, sexual exploitation, or direct witness to physical violence) captured in the CIS-2008. These were categorized as physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, emotional maltreatment and exposure to intimate partner violence.
Aboriginal People of Arctic Canada who live primarily in Nunavut, Northwest Territories and northern parts of Labrador and Québec ( INAC, 2009).
Level of Identification and Substantiation:
There are four key steps in the case identification process: detection, reporting, investigation, and substantiation. Detection is the first stage. Little is known about the relationship between detected and undetected cases. Reporting suspected child maltreatment required by law in all provinces and territories in Canada. Reporting mandates apply at a minimum to professionals working with children, and in many jurisdictions apply to the general public as well. The CIS-2008 does not document unreported cases. Investigated cases are subject to various screening practices, which vary across sites. The CIS-2008 did not track screened-out cases, nor did it track new incidents of maltreatment on already opened cases. Substantiation distinguishes cases where maltreatment is confirmed following an investigation and cases where maltreatment is not confirmed (unfounded). The CIS-2008 uses a three tiered classification system, in which a suspected level provides an important clinical distinction for cases where maltreatment is suspected to have occurred by the worker, but cannot be substantiated.
Maltreatment Investigation:
Investigations of situations where there are concerns that a child may have already been abused or neglected.
People of mixed First Nations and European ancestry who identify themselves as Métis, as distinct from First Nations people, Inuit or non- Aboriginal people. The Métis have a unique culture that draws on their diverse ancestral origins, such as Scottish, French, Ojibway and Cree ( INAC, 2009).
Multi-Stage Sampling Design:
A research design in which several systematic steps are taken in drawing the final sample to be studied. The CIS-2008 sample was drawn in three stages.
Non-Maltreatment Cases:
Cases open for child welfare services for reasons other than suspected maltreatment (e.g., prevention services, parent-child conflict, services for young pregnant women).
This procedure ensures that the final sample includes a sufficient number of cases from a sub-group of interest (for example, a single province). Certain provinces elected to provide additional funding for a representative number of sites to be sampled for the province. This way, it is possible to conduct separate analyses on the data collected from the province. For example, in the CIS-2008, investigations from Ontario were oversampled to ensure that enough data were collected to provide provincial estimates.
Primary Sampling Unit:
See definition of Child Welfare Organizations and Sites. In a multi-stage sampling design, the initial stage of sampling is based on an element of the population, and that element is the primary sampling unit. In the CIS-2008, the initial stage of sampling was a random selection of child welfare sites.
Regionalization Weight:
Regionalization weights were determined by dividing the child population (age 0–15) in the strata by the child population (age 0–15) of the primary sampling units selected from the strata. See definitions of primary sampling unit and stratum. Weights based on Census 2006 population data.
Reporting Year:
The year in which the child maltreatment case was opened (with a few exceptions). This procedure ensures that the final sample includes a sufficient number of cases from a sub-group of interest (for example, a single province). The reporting year for this cycle was 2008.
Risk of Future Maltreatment:
A situation where a child is considered to be at risk for maltreatment in the future due to the child’s or the family’s circumstances. For example, a child living with a caregiver who abuses substances may be deemed at risk of future maltreatment even if no form of maltreatment has been alleged. In this report, risk of future maltreatment is used to distinguish maltreatment investigations where there are concerns that a child may have already been abused or neglected from cases where there is no specific concern about past maltreatment but where the risk of future maltreatment is being assessed.
Risk of Harm:
Placing a child at risk of harm means that a specific action (or inaction) occurred that seriously endangered the safety of that child.
Referrals that are not opened for an investigation. The procedures for screening out cases vary considerably across Canada.
Child welfare organizations were stratified by province and territory, and, in larger provinces, they were further stratified by size and by region. In addition, separate strata were developed for First Nations organizations.
Unit of Analysis:
The denominator used in calculating maltreatment rates. In the CIS-2008 the unit of analysis is the child-maltreatment-related investigation.
Unit of Service:
Some child welfare jurisdictions consider the entire family as the unit of service, while others consider the individual child who was referred for services as the unit of service. For those jurisdictions that provide service on the basis of the child, a new investigation is opened for each child in the family where maltreatment is alleged. For those jurisdictions that provide service on the basis of the family, a new investigation is opened for the entire family regardless of how many children have been allegedly maltreated.

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