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New study is a step in the right direction to help reshape child welfare in Ontario

Press Release

[Toronto, ON]: A new study seeks to understand the differences between child welfare investigations involving First Nations children and non-Indigenous children.

The Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal (CWRP) and the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario (ANCFSAO) release the first report of the First Nations Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect-2018 (FNOIS‑2018), a study of child welfare investigations involving First Nations children. The FNOIS is embedded within the larger provincial study: the Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (OIS), which released its sixth provincial study last year.

The sample includes 7,115 child maltreatment-related investigations reported by 18 child welfare agencies (15 Children’s Aid Societies and 3 Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Agencies) across Ontario in 2018.

From the rates of investigations to the categories of maltreatment to ongoing services and child placements, the report seeks to explore the full spectrum of the child investigation lifecycle. “Understanding the reasons why our children come into the child welfare system is critical in reshaping a system that struggles to collectively meet the needs of our people.” Amber Crowe, ANCFSAO Board President.

Researchers, led by Professor Barbara Fallon from the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social, University of Toronto funded through a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Chair in Child Welfare, note that the differences between First Nations and non-Indigenous children “must be understood within the context of colonialism and the legacy of trauma,” two considerations that perpetuate the overrepresentation of First Nations children in the child welfare system.

“The research speaks to the stories of First Nations children and families connected to the child welfare system. Their stories continue to enrich us with the knowledge that we can do better.” Jeffrey Schiffer, Executive Director of Native Child and Family Services Toronto.

The FNOIS-2018 was gifted the name Mashkiwenmi-daa Noojimowin: Let’s Have Strong Minds for the Healing from Elder Danette Restoule, the Elder-in-Residence at the ANCFSAO. The name speaks to the hard work that must be done to address the intergenerational effects the child welfare system has had and continues to have on First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families.

This report excludes data involving Métis and Inuit children, analyses concerning their intersection with the child welfare system will be guided by Métis and Inuit communities.

Copies of the First Nations Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect-2018 can be viewed and downloaded from the Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal at www.cwrp.ca and the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario at www.ancfsao.ca.

About the Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal
The Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal (CWRP) provides access to up-to-date research on Canadian child welfare programs and policies. The Portal is a partnership supported by McGill University’s Centre for Research on Children and Families (CRCF), the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary, PART (Practice and Research Together), and PolicyWise for Children and Families.

About the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario
The Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario (ANCFSAO) was established in 1994 and is mandated to “build a better life for all Indigenous children through promoting the delivery of culturally-based services to Indigenous children, families, and communities.” Combined, these agencies serve 90% of on-reserve communities in Ontario. Through ANCFSAO’s leadership, they support 11 designated and one pre-mandated ICFWBA who provide decolonized child welfare services to their communities.

Media Contacts
Amber Crowe [email protected]
Jeffrey Schiffer [email protected]
Barbara Fallon [email protected]

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