What is a Children’s Aid Society (CAS)?
Children’s Aid Society (CAS) is an organization responsible for “Child Protection.” This means that Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario exist to make sure that children are kept safe.
What does it mean if CAS contacts me?
It is possible that a worker from CAS might contact you if someone has told them that they are worried about your child’s safety or how they are being taken care of. They might contact you or might come to your house to check on the safety of the child and see if they need to get involved. See this flowchart to learn what CAS does someone contacts them who is worried about your child.
What are my rights if CAS wants to take my children or get involved with my family?
• You have the right to have a friend or support person with you when meeting with CAS.
• You have the right to be kept informed of what is going on. You can ask questions!
• You have the right to participate in the court hearing and tell the judge your side of the story.
• You have the right to get a lawyer to represent you. If you are low income, you can get a lawyer that is paid for by Legal Aid Ontario.
• You have the right to speak with your lawyer before signing any documents or agreements with CAS.
• You have the right to speak with or visit with your child if they are taken from your home, as long as there isn’t an order that says you cannot. You need to arrange communication and visits through CAS.
Do I have the right to stop CAS from entering my home?
• No — CAS can enter your home if they are concerned about the safety of a child. They can also bring the police with them.
Does CAS have to inform me every time they come to my house?
• No. A CAS worker might call you ahead of time, but they might also show up without telling you. It is recommended that you try to cooperate with CAS.
Can CAS interview or talk to my child without my permission?
• Yes. CAS can interview your child without your permission. They might talk to you child with you present or they might talk to your child alone.
My child has been taken away. How soon could I get them back?
• It depends. It could be as soon as in a few weeks, or it could be a number of months or even over a year. The CAS needs to investigate what happened first. They may place your child back with you with some conditions. Or your child may have to stay at a foster home until your case is resolved in court.
Where is my child staying?
• They are most likely staying at a foster home.
What is a foster home?
• The CAS pays families to take care of children that are taken away from their parents. These are called foster homes. The CAS tries to place your child with a family that may speak your language, or is of your same religion or cultural background.
How often can I see my child?
• It depends. This is something that needs to be worked out with the CAS and the Court, and it depends on the nature of your case. Your visits might be at the CAS supervised, at your home supervised or unsupervised. You might be allowed to have your child stay with you overnight. You might also be allowed to talk to your child on the phone or by video call.
Can my child stay with a friend or family instead of a foster home?
• This might be possible. This would need to be approved by the CAS and the court first.
There is lots more information that can help you if CAS gets in involved with your family. Read this website for more detailed information.
Check out these resources in many different languages for parents about child safety and parenting tips.