Examining How the Mental Health Needs of Children Who Have Experienced Maltreatment are Addressed within Ontario Children’s Aid Societies


  • Jennifer Czincz
  • Elisa Romano




American data suggest that there is often a lack of mental health service provision to children in the child welfare system that have experienced maltreatment and are exhibiting psychological difficulties. These data are concerning given that the existing literature unanimously concludes that children who have experienced maltreatment present with significantly higher rates of mental health difficulties than general samples of children in the community. Given that little Canadian research has been conducted in this area, this study examined the need identification and referral process made to mental health services by Ontario Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) for children who have experienced maltreatment. Findings indicate a high prevalence of mental health difficulties in this population and a limited standardized approach to the identification and assessment of these issues. It was found that the majority of children who do receive referrals to mental health services are referred to community-based psychologists. Findings regarding the tracking of community referrals and interagency collaboration were encouraging as compared to American data.

Author Biographies

Jennifer Czincz

Jennifer Czincz is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa. Her work involves an examination of the availability and quality of mental health services in Ontario for children who have been sexually abused. She has co-authored two treatment manuals for children who have been sexually abused and their non-offending caregivers and facilitated a research capacity building workshop with psychologists in South East Asia.

Elisa Romano

Elisa Romano is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Ottawa. Her research interests include child maltreatment, child development and psychopathology, and treatment evaluation. Her publications have appeared in journals such as the Journal of Family Violence and Pediatrics.