The Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 (CYFSA) is the law that governs child protection proceedings in Ontario. When we talk about ‘child protection’ we are talking about cases where a Children’s Aid Society (CAS) becomes involved with a family because the CAS has concerns about the physical, emotional or mental safety of a child or children. Sometimes parents and families can work cooperatively with the CAS to resolve the issues prior to the matter going to court. If that is not possible, the CAS will bring a protection application. Where a protection application is initiated, it will be a judge who determines whether a child is in need of protection.
CASs have broad powers to apprehend children whom they suspect are in need of protection. When children are apprehended by the CAS, the children are brought to a ‘place of safety’ which includes a foster home, a hospital, and a family or community member’s home. The CAS has the authority to investigate allegations and protect children up to 18 years old.
If a child is apprehended and/or a protection application is commenced, the process moves very quickly. It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
If you are the parent of a child who is found in need of protection, judges have the jurisdiction to make orders. These orders can range in severity from a supervision order, meaning the child will be placed back with the person/people from whom they were apprehended subject to the CAS supervising them in some manner, to extended society care, where a child is placed in the care of the CAS for an indefinite period and a parent may or may not be granted access to the child.
What to do if you’re Investigated by Children’s Aid Society?
It’s normal to feel nervous when a Children’s Aid Society representative approaches you with protection concerns for a child in your care. CAS workers will assess what, if any risk there is to a child in your care. Visits from CAS workers can lead to significant consequences such as a child being removed from your care. Given the implications of such visits from the CAS it is important that, you need are aware of your rights and know what steps to take during and after that visit.
Get Legal Help from Experienced Child Protection Lawyer
Consult an experienced child protection lawyer who will help navigate both the ‘in court’ and ‘out of court’ process. Your lawyer will help to question the investigations and review all findings of the CAS worker. Early legal support can help you prevent issues like having your children appended.