Children’s Aid Society - How it Works
According to provincial statistics, the various children’s aid societies across Ontario provided their services to 43,000 families last year alone. From those 43,000 families, it was determined that the Society was involved with 89% of those families because the family was unable to meet the physical and emotional needs of the child. Yes, that’s right – the Society does not only intervene for instances of physical abuse.
Any person who suspects that a child might be being abused, neglected or mistreated must report these concerns directly to child welfare agency. In Grey and Bruce counties, these concerns are typically directed to Bruce Grey Child and Family Services.
After receiving a complaint, the Society must first investigate to determine whether or not the children are actually in need of protection. According to Section 37(2) of the Child and Family Services Act, there are fourteen major concerns that would justify deeming a child in need of protection. For example, Section 37(2)(a) states that a child may be deemed in need of protection if the child has suffered physical harm at the hands of the person in charge of said child. With that being said, it is important to reiterate that the Society does not only intervene for instances of physical abuse, section 37(2)(f) through section 37(2)(g.1) authorize the Society to act where the child has suffered emotional harm or is likely to suffer emotional harm. If the Society is unsure if a child is actually in need of protection, they may apply to the Court.
If the Society establishes that the children are in need of protection, they can bring a motion to obtain an Order to apprehend the children, OR, if the matter is urgent and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the child may be harmed in the time it would take to bring an apprehension motion, the child protection worker may apprehend the children on their own accord. The Society must then bring a motion within five days of apprehending the children.
Typically, a Protection Application is issued shortly after the initial apprehension motion. Then, the court process continues as usual with the regular case conferences, settlement conferences and so on. During the court proceeding, the parents are usually required to meet with Society workers to arrange for access and to try to sort out the Society’s concerns.
If you are dealing with the Children’s Aid Society or have questions regarding same, give us a call.
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