Canadian Research in Brief

Canadian Research in Brief, an initiative of the Centre of Excellence for Child Welfare (CECW), tracks the major child welfare journals for articles on Canadian child welfare. These articles are succinctly summarized and sent to members of the CECW list serve. To receive Canadian Research in Brief by email, please contact info [at]

The articles listed below can be accessed through the corresponding journal website or accessed at a local library or university.

Canadian Research in Brief: 29th Edition (February 2012)

Crooks, C., Scott, K., Ellis, W. & Wolfe, D. (2011). Impact of a universal school-based violence prevention program on violent delinquency: Distinctive benefits for youth with maltreatment histories. Child Abuse & Neglect, 35(6), 393-400.

There is some evidence in the child welfare literature that child maltreatment is a risk factor for violent criminal behavior in adolescence, and that cumulative experiences of maltreatment may increase chances of delinquency. This current study was a secondary analysis of data gathered from participants who attended a school-based violence prevention program (n=1520; 655 control; 865 intervention) aimed at reducing violent delinquency. Questionnaires were administered at three different time points: baseline, post-intervention, and two year follow up. The control group received the standard curriculum, whereas the intervention group received curriculum targeting behaviours such as dating violence, unsafe sex, substance use and peer violence. Multi-level analyses revealed significant effects for both individual and school-level variables. The level of perceived safety was associated with a decrease in odds of committing violent delinquency. The study suggests that classroom based intervention may protect against engagement in delinquency for maltreated youth.

Hébert, M. & Tourigny, M. (2011). Effects of a Psychoeducational Group Intervention for Children Victims of Sexual Abuse. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 3(2), 143-160.

Child sexual abuse may be associated with various short and long term negative outcomes. Group intervention is often the preferred treatment modality. The current study evaluates a treatment group for survivors of sexual abuse six to 12 years of age. The group combines various therapeutic activities with a psychoeducational approach. The goal of the intervention was to increase self-esteem, identify coping mechanisms and reduce social isolation. Pre-tests and post-tests were administered to children receiving the intervention, as well as to a comparison group. Depression, anxiety, self-perception, coping strategies and posttraumatic stress symptoms were measured using standardized questionnaires. The results indicate that following group therapy, children in the intervention group displayed fewer behaviour problems than the children in the comparison group and significantly lower levels of anxiety and posttraumatic stress. Measures were gathered from both child reports and parent reports. Authors suggest the study supports the effectiveness of group modalities in the treatment of sexually abused children.


Williams, G., Tonmyr, L., Jack, S., Fallon, B. & MacMillan, H. (2011). Determinants of maltreatment substantiation in a sample of infants involved with the child welfare system. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(8), 1345-1353.

Infants under one year of age are vulnerable to child maltreatment, possibly resulting in negative physical and mental health outcomes. This study used data from the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 2003 (CIS-2003) to examine investigations involving children less than one year of age (N=793, unweighted). Logistic regression analysis indicated that caregiver characteristics such as substance abuse, lack of social supports, the presence of criminal activity, and poor physical health were associated with the substantiation of neglect. Positive toxicology at birth was found to be significantly associated with the substantiation of neglect. Referrals from police and health professionals were also significantly associated with substantiation rates. The authors suggested that the high rates of substantiation and risk-indicators associated with the infant population indicate a need for evidence-based prevention programs.

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