In Ontario, child protection law is governed by the Child, Youth and Family Service Act, 2017 (CFSA). Child protection proceedings are commenced by child protection agencies whenever there are real or perceived concerns that a child is at risk or harm, or is being harmed emotionally, physically, or sexually. The safety and well-being of the child are the primary factors guiding the actions and beliefs of Society.
They may have reason to apprehend any child in the below situations:
- ∎ Emotional or physical abuse
- ∎ Alcohol or drug abuse
- ∎ Mental issues and/or
- ∎ Neglect issues or domestic violence situation
Child Protection agencies are usually called Children’s Aid Society or CAS. There are many such agencies throughout Ontario. For a list of these agencies, please visit
If a child is apprehended by the Society, it must as soon as practicable, but in any event no more than five days after:
- ∎ Return the child to the person who has custody of the child, or who last had care of the child; or
- ∎ Have the child remain in the care of the Society under a temporary care agreement; or
- ∎ Bring the matter to court to obtain an interim order for the Society to maintain care of the child.
Getting proper legal representation is crucial as these cases have specific vital statutory timelines. If the child has been in the Society’s Care for long, it is more likely that they may apply to the court requesting for ‘Crown Ward ship’ for the child. The Crown Ward ship is granted if a permanent placement for the child remains with the Society.
The Society has many ways of intervention without necessarily taking the child into their custody including:
- ∎ Support services and agreements;
- ∎ Family conferences;
- ∎ Take-charge provisions;
- ∎ Mediation;
- ∎ Protective intervention orders
CFSA sets out the definition of a parent, which is specifically given a broad definition and is meant to be inclusive. If a person who was not initially named a party to an action would like to submit a plan of care for the child, that person can be added as a party to the proceeding. If you are not initially included as a party to the proceeding, Law Wise family lawyers can help you with your court materials as well as work with you to submit a detailed and well thought out plan of care.
The Society apprehends the children only if they think that their concerns are not in a position to be resolved. The respondent caregivers or parents need to respond to the Society’s concerns and submit a plan of care for the child after he/ she is apprehended. There are many possible plans of care that can be submitted. Another family member or respondent can be considered for placement in the plan of care if returning to the parent is not possible.
A Plan of Care is a very important document as it provides your outline to the court of the steps you will take as well as your plan to care for the children’s needs and helps the court to determine whether a child should be placed with you.
A court can make various different orders including but not limited to:
- ∎ Placing a child or children in the care of the Society
- ∎ Making the child a ward of the Crown
- ∎ Placing a child or children in the care of another person under the supervision of the Society
- ∎ Placing a child or children in the care of the Society for a specific time with a specific period for returning the child to the parent or another person
- ∎ Allowing parents to have access supervised by the Society
- ∎ Allowing parents to have no access whatsoever to the children
- ∎ Giving custody of the child to a third party with the consent of that party
For most parents and parties involved in a Children’s Aid matter, it is a very stressful and difficult time of their lives. Law Wise Family Lawyers have a wealth of experience dealing with these agencies throughout Ontario. We can help you navigate this very difficult and complex area of law whether you are a parent or a family member who is involved in a CAS matter. Child protection cases are usually very complicated with a myriad of involved parties. It is very important that you seek competent legal advice as soon as possible if a Children’s Aid Society has commenced protection proceedings involving your children.