Trocmé, N., Fallon, B., Sinha, V., Van Wert, M., Kozlowski, A., et Maclaurin, B. (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 : Journal international de psychologie, 48, 128-140.
Rates of reported child maltreatment nearly doubled in Canada over the period 1998-2003, an increase that reflects growing awareness of the harmful effects of an expanding array of parental behaviors, including corporal punishment, lack of supervision, and exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV). Some of these situations may benefit from voluntary family support programs outside of the child welfare system. Analyzing a sample of 11,807 investigations, this paper compares cases where the sole concern is exposure to IPV, or hitting a child, or neglect, or other forms of investigated maltreatment. Situations where exposure to IPV or potentially abusive hitting were the sole reason for investigation presented with fewer risk factors and were less likely to lead to ongoing child welfare interventions compared to other maltreatment investigations. While situations involving alleged neglect presented a higher risk profile and elicited a more intensive child welfare response than did exposure to IPV or hitting, opportunities for alternative services were nevertheless identified. The study also found that visible minority families were overrepresented in cases involving hitting and that Aboriginal families were overrepresented in cases involving neglect. Overall the findings support the development of alternative response programs in Canada.