Developmental Disruptions: Adolescent Involvement in the Child Welfare System in Ontario
Principal Investigator: Bryn King
Expected Project Timeline: 2018-2023
Funder: Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award
Although studies have documented the pronounced and negative impact of adolescent maltreatment on short and long-term development, there is limited research about the risk factors and experiences of adolescents who are reported to the child welfare system. This is especially true for Ontario, where the adolescent population coming into contact with the child welfare system will increase over the next five years since the age of protection has just been expanded to under age 18 (from 16). This study focuses on answering fundamental and necessary questions about the nature of child welfare involvement for adolescents and their families, the systemic response to their presenting concerns, and the impact of expanding services to older adolescents.
The project will use cross-sectional incidence study data (collected in 2013 and 2018) and will partner with Ontario child welfare agencies to use longitudinal administrative data housed at the University of Toronto. This work has included the continued development of a longitudinal administrative dataset to track investigated adolescents over time (as part of a larger cohort of children, youth, and families served by 15 Ontario Children’s Aid Societies). The analysis for a first manuscript is under review at Child and Youth Services Review and has been presented at Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) and at the Child Welfare Administrative Data Knowledge Exchange Meeting. Additional analyses and manuscripts are well under way, including an analysis of older adolescents investigated in Ontario in 2018, which will represent the first examination of this population since the age of protection was increased (to age 17 from age 15) that year.