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Understanding Children’s Aid (CAS) in Ontario: The Child Welfare System

What is Children’s Aid Society, also called CAS?

CAS is an organization that makes sure children are safe.

CAS has offices in different areas of Ontario. In some areas of Ontario, CAS is called by a different name, like Family and Children Services.

If you move from one place in Ontario to another place, your case might be transferred to a different CAS office.

Learn more about CAS in Ontario on this website.

How can CAS help me if I am in Canada alone?

Being Safe

If you are here alone , CAS can make sure that you are safe in your daily life. If you do not have a safe place to live, CAS might put you to live for some time with a foster family or another safe place to live in the community.

Foster care

A foster family is a family that CAS pays to take care of children that are taken away from their parents or here alone. CAS will try to put you with a family that speaks your same language, or is from your same culture or religion.

If you are a minor, have no money and need income support, CAS might be able to help you.

What if am in Canada with my parent or guardian?

If you are not in a safe situation with your parent or guardian, CAS might get involved to check on your situation and make sure you are safe.

This might mean that CAS will take you out of your home and put in a safe place, such as a foster home.

What age group does CAS help?

If you are under 16 years old

and you are in an unsafe situation, CAS has to take you to a place of safety.

If you are 16 or 17

and you want the help of CAS, you can ask them to help you and say that you agree to their help. This is called a VYSA, or a Voluntary Youth Service Agreement.


A VYSA is an agreement between you and CAS.

You have the right to enter into a VYSA. You also have the right to end it if you want.

You have the right to get advice from a lawyer before you sign a VYSA.

If you are on a VYSA, you and CAS will make a Voluntary Youth Services Plan. This plan will help decide what support you receive from CAS and will help you plan for the future.

Visit this website to learn about the Child Welfare Immigration Centre for Excellence (CWICE), a special CAS office for immigrant and refugee children in Ontario.

What happens when I turn 18?

Your VYSA will expire when you turn 18

You could continue getting help from CAS after 18 if you want it. This help might be financial help or it might be other kinds of support.

Read more about going into the care of CAS on this website. Learn more about a VYSA on this website.