Is a Children’s Aid Society involved with your family?

When a family becomes involved with Children’s Aid Societies, it’s easy to assume that the parents were somehow remiss in their duties and that’s what caused the CAS to investigate the family.

Certainly in the majority of scenarios, that may indeed be the case, and the role of CAS is “to promote the best interests, safety and well-being of children.” To accomplish this, CAS workers have to evaluate and assess reports the agency receives about instances of alleged neglect or abuse of Ontario children. As part of this process, CAS workers retrieve and access information they need, depending upon the circumstances of the individual cases.

What can unfortunately happen sometimes is that overzealous CAS workers can misinterpret innocent situations and see abuse or neglect where there actually was none, or perhaps an outsider with a vendetta against a parent made a false report and the children are now in danger of being removed from the home needlessly.

It is incumbent upon both the courts and CAS to make all decisions regarding child custodial arrangements, including removing children from their parents’ home, with the children’s best interests being foremost.

The course of action that is the least disruptive to the child should be the goal. Factors that may be considered include:

— Risk of future harm

— Important relationships to the child

— Cultural background of the child

— Proposed plan of care

— Child’s preferences, if they are able to express any

Dealing with bureaucracies like CAS can be draining, demoralizing and downright frightening to parents who are unfamiliar with the twists and turns of “the system.” If you find yourself in an untenable position with CAS over the custody of your children, it’s a good idea to seek answers from a legal professional familiar with the processes.

Source: news.ontario.ca, “Children's Aid Societies and Child Protection,” accessed Sep. 09, 2016

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