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Child Welfare. 2008;87(2):59-76.

Visible minority, Aboriginal, and Caucasian children investigated by Canadian protective services.

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Institute for Social Development of Youth, University of Montreal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


The aim of this descriptive study was to compare the report profiles of Caucasian, Aboriginal, and other visible minority children whose cases were assessed by child protective services in Canada. The results show that children of Aboriginal ancestry and from visible minority groups are selected for investigation by child protective services 1.77 times more frequently than are children in the general population. Physical abuse is reported and substantiated more often for Asian children, whereas neglect is chiefly an issue with Aboriginal and black children. Child vulnerability factors and parental and housing risk factors alone cannot explain the higher substantiation percentages, except for Aboriginal children, for whom the risks are higher than for the other groups. The individual and family profiles of Asian and black children appear to be significantly less of a burden than those of Aboriginals and Caucasians. These results may reflect a certain degree of racial bias in the identification and reporting of maltreatment cases to child protective services and in decisions about the substantiation of maltreatment.

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