Deemed apprehension by the Children’s Aid Society; What can be done about it:
Often, I hear of cases where there is a problem reported to the children aid society (CAS), the CAS gets involved and commences an investigation. But, the CAS does not start a court case. Instead, affected parents invariably report that the CAS has twisted their arms to “convince” them that the child should be placed with the that affected parent’s consent with someone else (either a friend or a family member). It is reported that the CAS has told them that this is the best way forward as otherwise, these parents may lose the child if CAS starts a court case.
So, what happens? – the parent(s) is / are unwilling and feels forced to hand over the child / children to the friend or family member identified by the CAS. The client also often signs a document under pressure from the CAS agreeing to such an arrangement. The client is devastated.
Does this situation sound familiar? – if so, this happens more often than not. What should be done?: In my opinion, the above scenario represents a case of a “deemed” apprehension, a situation that is not explicitly defined in the Child Youth and Family Services Act.
What is a deemed apprehension?:
The CAS has the power to apprehend in a straightforward manner. But, in cases such as the above description, they choose not to apprehend directly, but operate in the background, giving directions, influencing the custodial situation without getting directly involved. The friend or family member with whom the child / children have been placed are content with the knowledge that CAS is behind them and that they have a signed paper giving authorization for them to have at least temporary custody of the child / children. Yet, it is the CAS that has engineered the above scenario. I call it “deemed” apprehension.
What are the client’s choices in such a situation?:
An affected parent should definitely go to a lawyer, well versed in child protection matters. We would have to move a motion before Court starting a regular custody and access case naming the friend / family member who has temporary custody of the child / children, but also serving the CAS with this motion material.
Serving the CAS with the motion material forces them to respond to the material and forces them into Court, which initially they did not want to do. At least now, the CAS would be forced to respond and answer to a judicial authority, who can hold them accountable for their actions where they have to forced to explain the circumstances that they forced parents to hand over the child / children to others on the basis of some fear, which may not be proven in the Court.
However, time is of the essence. You should not wait too long to do this. If you do, you are invariably partaking in creating a “status quo,” even though you may not have created such a status quo.
At SHANKAR LAW, we are happy to assist you. We have services in Grey, Bruce and Huron counties (Port Elgin, Southampton, Goderich, Owen Sound, Wiarton, Markdale, Meaford, Dundalk, Hanover, Walkerton and other areas).
I regularly appear in the Ontario and Superior Courts of Justice in Owen Sound, Walkerton, and Goderich and other jurisdictions and will be happy to talk to you. Please contact us.