Chapter 4: Child Protection

Additional Recommended Readings

Saini, M., M. Van Wert, and J. Gofman (2012). Parent–child supervised visitation within child welfare and custody dispute contexts: An exploratory comparison of two distinct models of practice. Children and Youth Services Review, 34(1), 163–168. Retrieved from

This paper addresses confusion in the literature concerning supervised visitation services in the context of custody disputes. The authors describe the overarching principles of these visitation services, and consider the relevant legal and social science literature. Finally, they identify the dearth of research on child and family outcomes, and identify key considerations for both fields.

Sinha, V., N. Trocmé, B. Fallon, and B. MacLaurin (2013). Understanding the investigation-stage overrepresentation of First Nations children in the child welfare system: An analysis of the First Nations component of the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 2008. Child Abuse & Neglect, 37(10), 821–831. Retrieved from

This study compares the rates of involvement of First Nations versus non-Aboriginal children. Using data from the First Nations Component of the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (FNCIS-2008), the authors determine the “disproportionality ratio” of child welfare investigations. They find that the rate of investigation was 4.2 times higher for First Nations children. This finding represents a greater disparity than both the 2003 survey and the data from Australia. They conclude that without providing supportive family services to tackle over-representation at the investigation-stage, attempts to correct this disparity at later stages will be ineffective.

Trocmé, N., B. Fallon, V. Sinha, M. Van Wert, A. Kozlowski, and B. MacLaurin (2013). Differentiating between child protection and family support in the Canadian child welfare system’s response to intimate partner violence, corporal punishment, and child neglect. International Journal of Psychology, 48(2), 128–140. Retrieved from;jsessionid=CA0E82B75081082ACCB171A8DA7DEFDA.f01t02.

This study examines cases of reported child maltreatment with exposure to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), neglect, and/or hitting a child in an effort to disentangle some of the distinct features of various types of child maltreatment. The authors find that there are generally fewer risk factors and a decreased likelihood of ongoing child welfare involvement in cases where exposure to IPV or potentially abusive hitting were the sole reasons for investigation. They conclude that there is a need for the development of alternative response programs for child welfare in Canada for such cases.

Relevant Legislation



British Columbia:


New Brunswick:

Newfoundland and Labrador:

Nova Scotia:

  • Children and Family Services Act, S.N.S. 1990, c. 5


Prince Edward Island:



Northwest Territories:


Yukon Territory:

Discussion Questions

  1. How might reporting of suspected child abuse impact the therapeutic alliance between the social worker and the client?
  2. What challenges might be raised for social workers regarding the inclusion of witnessing domestic violence as a form of child abuse?
  3. How might a social worker who is not employed by child welfare services support a parent who is under investigation by child welfare services?
  4. What may be the implications for children and their families of specialized services for Aboriginal children versus integrated child welfare services?