Table 1

Variable definitions

Hospital reportRefers to investigations where the source of the report works in a hospital-based setting, such as physicians, nurses and social workers.
Community healthcare reportRefers to investigations where the source of the report is a community-based healthcare professional, including physicians and nurses.
Household incomeRefers to the caregiver’s primary source of income, including full-time, part-time or seasonal employment, as well as insurance and other benefits.
Number of movesRefers to the number of times the household has moved in the past year.
Home overcrowdingRefers to whether the house is overcrowded, based on the opinion of the investigating worker.
Unsafe housing conditionsRefers to instances where a worker deemed housing conditions unsafe during the investigation, due to mould, inadequate heating, drug paraphernalia, etc.
Child ageRefers to the age of the child(ren) living in the home at the time of the investigation.
Ran out of money in the past 6 monthsRefers to investigations where the household ran out of money for basic necessities in the past 6 months (ie, food, housing, utilities, telephone/cell phone, transportation).
Primary caregiver risk factorsRefers to investigations where workers have indicated that the primary caregiver has a risk factor(s) (ie, alcohol abuse, drug/solvent abuse, cognitive impairment, mental health issues, physical health issues, few social supports, victim of IPV, perpetrator of IPV, history of foster care/group homes, at least one functioning issue).
At least one child functioning concernRefers to investigations where workers have identified at least one child functioning concern (ie, positive toxicology at birth, FASD, failure to meet developmental milestones, intellectual/developmental disabilities, attachment issues, ADHD, aggression/conduct issues, physical disability, academic/learning difficulties, depression/anxiety/withdrawal, self-harming behaviour, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, inappropriate sexual behaviour, running (multiple incidents), alcohol abuse, drug/solvent abuse, Youth Criminal Justice Act or other.)
Primary concern of investigationRefers to the primary risk or maltreatment concern identified by the worker, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, exposure to IPV, neglect or risk of future maltreatment
SubstantiationRefers to investigations where the investigating worker concluded, based on available evidence, that the child was a victim of maltreatment.
Physical harmRefers to investigations where there was evidence that a child was physically harmed (ie, bruises, cuts, scrapes, broken bones, burns, head trauma, fatal or health condition).
Significant risk of future maltreatmentRefers to investigations where workers believed there to be a significant risk that a child would suffer future maltreatment.
Service referral madeThe family received a service referral following the initial investigation, either internal or external to the child welfare agency (ie, parent education or support services, family or parent counselling, drug/alcohol counselling or treatment, psychiatric/mental health services, intimate partner violence services, welfare or social assistance, food bank, shelter services, housing, legal, child victim support services, special education placement, recreational services, medical or dental services, speech/language, child or day care, cultural services, immigration services or other).
Transfer to ongoing servicesRefers to instances where, following the initial investigation, a worker opted to keep the case open and transfer it to ongoing services.
Placement during investigationRefers to instances where a child was placed in out of home care during the investigation.
Case closed with no additional services providedFollowing the initial investigation, no family members received a referral to services external to child welfare and the case was not transferred to ongoing services.
  • ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; FASD, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder; IPV, intimate partner violence.