Connect with us

Métis Nation Saskatchewan Business Magazine | Sask Métis News | Métis Nation Entrepreneurs

Métis Nation Saskatchewan Business Magazine | Sask Métis News | Métis Nation Entrepreneurs

How child welfare investigations play a role in overrepresentation of Black kids in children’s aid


How child welfare investigations play a role in overrepresentation of Black kids in children’s aid

A new report looking at child welfare investigations in Ontario found that Black families are more than twice as likely to be investigated compared to white families. They are also more frequently referred to children’s aid by schools and police than other families.

It’s long been noted that Black kids are overrepresented in Children’s Aid Societies — 2015 data for Toronto Children’s Aid found that Black children made up 40 per cent of children in care despite being only 8.5 per cent of the city’s population.

The report, released last week, looks at how the children get through the door to the system when an investigation is launched and the role anti-Black racism plays in how a family’s situation is assessed.

The data shows that taking into account their portions of Ontario’s population, Black children are the subject of maltreatment investigations at more than double the rate white children are.

And over the course of that investigation, Black children are 2.5 times as likely to be placed out of home waiting for the result. It’s also 2.5 times more likely that result will be a decision there was evidence of an issue.

Black children and families are also more likely to be referred to ongoing services after the investigation is complete.

“This report gives us an opportunity to really quantify what we’ve been hearing from Black families and community for decades,” said Keishia Facey, program manager of One Vision One Voice (OVOV). The government-funded organization is focused on improving outcomes for Black children in children’s aid and commissioned the report.

Facey said the organization heard for years that there is “an overrepresentation and over-surveillance of Black families and over involvement in child welfare systems” and this report provides data to display it.

Researchers at the University of Toronto’s School of Social Work analyzed 2018 data of child welfare investigations conducted by the province, which has been collected every five years since 1993.


There's no credit card required! No fees ever.

Create Your Free Account Now!

“The marked overrepresentation of Black children and families in the Ontario child welfare system is something that really demands our attention and concern,” said Barbara Fallon, a professor at U of T and lead researcher on the report.

It found that for Black families, the call that triggers these sorts of investigations, is more likely to come from police and schools than with white families.

Combined they were the source of 70 per cent of investigations into Black families while for white families they only account for half. Without accounting for race, police and schools are the referrals for 55 per cent of investigations overall, according to Fallon.

Facey told the Star this is an example of how interconnected systems are and how anti-Black racism within these systems can affect Black families.

“We recognize that the work has to happen at all levels and simultaneously, so we can’t just be focused on one area and not the other,” Facey said.

Facey said that issues arise when decisions about launching an investigation aren’t vetted through a lens of anti-Black racism.

The in 2017 the Ontario Human Rights Commission looked into concerns of racism in the child welfare system and participants were concerned about bias in standards used to assess risk to children.

As an example, Facey said non-traditional family structures may not meet the mould expected by aid workers. Or having a lower income may raise concerns, but she said it’s not necessarily an indication of whether you can take care of the children you have.

“Maybe it’s an instance of requiring additional support in community,” Facey said, “other community-based organizations that are Black-led” rather than the child welfare system.

Angelyn Francis is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering equity and inequality. Reach her via email:

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Metis Studies

Online Entrepreneurs

Top Stories

To Top