Children in Care
Number of children in care under Winnipeg Child and Family Services, by placement type.
Placement types include:
Foster Home: Placements licensed by an agency that provide a family setting. Homes may be licensed for up to four children. Includes regular rate and special rate foster homes
Residential Care: Includes private group homes, own-agency group homes, and residential treatment centres
Other Placement Resources: Includes Places of Safety, Out-of-Province as well as Independent Living placements. An Independent Living placement is an approved arrangement under which minors 16 to 17 years of age may live in an independent setting under the direct supervision of an agency
Other Non-Pay Care Living Arrangements: Includes St. Amant, the Manitoba Youth Centre, and those who were in health/mental health facilities
Why This Matters
Being taken into care is a predictor of many negative outcomes. “The child welfare system has been described by other researchers as a ‘pipeline’ to the youth criminal justice system” (Brownell, et al., 2020). Additionally, when compared to level of educational attainment and Indigenous identity in the Canadian context, involvement in the child welfare system was identified as being the strongest predictor of visible homelessness later in life (Alberton, Brent Angell, Gorey, & Grenier, 2020). Children in care in Manitoba who had been in care at some point had worse educational outcomes than children who had received some services from Child and Family Services, and significantly worse educational outcomes than children who had never been in care (Brownell, et al., 2015).
According to the Manitoba Center for Health Policy: “The prevalence of children in care is high in Canada relative to other countries (Thoburn, 2007), and Manitoba’s rate of out-of-home placements is one of the highest in Canada” (Mulcahy & Trocm, 2010). Indeed, Manitoba’s prevalence of out-of-home placements for children up to 11 years is 10 times higher than Western Australia’s (Mulcahy & Trocm, 2010). Given that these children have poorer health and educational outcomes (Brownell et al., 2008; Brownell et al., 2010; Katz et al., 2011), it is important to have accurate data on children in care for planning purposes. Incomplete data poses difficulties for building consistent evidence to inform policy” (MCHP 2012, 140). Nationally, the province of Manitoba has the highest rate of children in foster care according to recent data from Statistics Canada (Robertson, 2022). In addition to being five times the national average, Manitoba’s foster care representation is disproportionately Indigenous due to “poverty and trauma stemming from colonial policies” (Robertson, 2022; Caldwell & Sinha, 2020). To reduce child welfare rates Manitoba, “not only must the social determinants of involvement [. . .] (e.g., poverty, inadequate housing, food and water insecurity) be addressed, but the structural determinants, the policies and legislation that systematically discriminate against and disenfranchise Indigenous peoples,” (Brownell, et al., 2020) too. The prevalence of children in care, especially Indigenous children in care, indicates a deeper systemic problem. As the first call to action contained within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, Indigenous peoples “call upon the federal, provincial, territorial, and Aboriginal governments to commit to reducing the number of Aboriginal children in care” (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015). The reduction of Indigenous children in care can be interpreted as an indication of concrete progress on truth and reconciliation.
Measurement and Limitations
Children in care are children who have been deemed in need of protection, requiring intervention, as determined by The Child and Family Services Act or are voluntarily placed in care by agreement between parent or guardian and agency. For the purposes of this report, a child is considered in care when placed by a child and family services agency in substitute care; whose legal status is defined as a permanent ward, temporary ward, under a voluntary surrender of guardianship, under a voluntary placement agreement or under apprehension; who is under the age of 18, and whose care needs are financially supported by government.
The Winnipeg Child and Family Services Branch provides a comprehensive continuum of child protection, early intervention and family support services in accordance with The Child and Family Services Act and The Adoption Act. The branch provides protection services to children at risk of abuse or neglect, and works with community partners to support children remaining safely with their families. Services to children in care include reunification services, kinship care, foster care, and specialized placement services. The branch partners with community groups to provide supports that ease the transition of children coming into care and youth planning to live independently. The branch provides adoption, post-adoption services to children and guardianship responsibilities to children, youth and families when reunification is no longer an option.
Government of Manitoba. Families Annual Reports. Retrieved from: https://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/about/annual_reports.html
Data is updated on Peg as it becomes available from the data providers.
Alberton, A. M., Brent Angell, G., Gorey, K. M., & Grenier, S. (2020, April). Homelessness among Indigenous peoples in Canada: The impacts of child welfare involvement and educational achievement. Children and Youth Services Review, 111. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0190740919312654#!
Caldwell, J., & Sinha, V. (2020). (Re) Conceptualizing Neglect: Considering the Overrepresentation of Indigenous Children in Child Welfare Systems in Canada. Child Indicators Research, 13, 481-512. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12187-019-09676-w
Government of Manitoba. Manitoba Families: 2020-2021 Annual Report. Retrieved from: https://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/about/pubs/fsar_2020-2021.pdf
MCHP. (2012). How Are Manitoba’s Children Doing? Available at: http://mchp-appserv.cpe.umanitoba.ca/reference/mb_kids_report_WEB.pdf
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Calls to Action. Winnipeg: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Retrieved from https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2091412-trc-calls-to-action.html
Children in Care in the Sustainable Development Goals
Click on the SDG to reveal more information
1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, one in five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.90 a day, and there are millions more who make little more than this daily amount, plus many people risk slipping back into poverty.
Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.
Related Children in Care Targets
Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable
16. Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies
Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.
Related Children in Care Targets
End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children