Child Protection Services in BC

Last updated on December 17, 2020

Child protection services in BC are intended to safeguard children from harm. Where there is reason to believe a child has been abused or neglected, or is otherwise in need of protection, child protection social workers have the delegated authority to investigate and take appropriate action to ensure that child’s safety.

The Child, Family and Community Service Act is the legislative authority for the ministry's Child Protection Services. Under the Act, the Minister designates the Director of Child Protection, who in turn delegates the provision of child protection services across the province to child protection social workers.

The Act requires that anyone who has reason to believe that a child may be abused, neglected, or is for any other reason in need of protection, must report it to the Director or a delegated social worker. These reports are investigated by social workers, who take the most appropriate action that is least disruptive for the child. These actions may include:

  • Providing or arranging the provision of support services to the family
  • Supervising the child's care in the home, or
  • Protecting the child through removal from the family and placement with relatives, a foster family or specialized residential resources

Social workers also have the delegated authority of the Director to approve foster homes for children who come into the care of the ministry. Resources such as group homes, specialized residential facilities, assessment resources, and respite resources are developed to serve children and youth in care.

Child protection services across the province are provided through 429 ministry offices in 13 service delivery areas and a number of delegated Aboriginal agencies. The child protection staff are supported by the provincial office of the Child Protection Division.

Reporting Child Abuse

If you think a child or youth under 19 years of age is being abused or neglected, you have the legal duty to report your concern to a child welfare worker.

Phone 1 800 663-9122 at any time of the day or night.