We all share a responsibility to protect children from harm, this includes situations where children have been, or are at risk of being, abused or neglected in their own home or when they are victims of sex trafficking.
When you call about a child safety concern, you will be able to speak to a child protection worker who will listen to your concerns. The worker will ask for some information, including the child’s name, age, culture, heritage, identity, and whereabouts, and why you are concerned about the child’s safety or wellbeing. The worker will also ask you about family strengths and any known supports to the family.
It is ok if you do not have all of this information and it should not prevent you from calling.
If there is a concern for a child or youth’s wellbeing, a worker will assess the information to determine next steps. Children’s Aid Society has the responsibility and legal mandate to investigate allegations and to work with families and the community to promote the safety and well-being of children and youth. All Children’s Aid Societies provide emergency service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If the report received by Children’s Aid Society suggests that a child or youth has been harmed or is in immediate danger, a protection worker may respond within 12 hours of receiving the report. In all other situations, a Children’s Aid Society child protection worker will complete the initial child safety assessment of child safety concerns within seven days.
If you are observing a situation where a child or youth is in immediate danger, please call 911.
Services provided by a Children’s Aid Society will be carried out using the least disruptive course of action required to ensure child/youth safety. Services will focus on building on existing family and community strengths in a manner that respects the family’s identity and principles of inclusion. A child protection worker will work with the family and any community service partners to support the family to help build safety and assist in resolving challenges that the family is experiencing. Children’s Aid Society recognizes the impact of bias and systemic racism and will work with families to advocate against such barriers as it relates to child/youth safety and access to services.
When needed, Children’s Aid Societies will provide on-going services, in most cases on a voluntary basis, with the goal of supporting the family to help build safety for children and youth. In serious situations, and as a last resort, services may be provided with a court order to ensure child/youth safety is achieved.
Consistent with the best interests, protection, and well-being of children, our services will take the following into consideration:
- Respect for a child/youth’s need for continuous care, stable relationships with a family and cultural connections.
- The physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and developmental needs and differences among children and youth
- A child/youth’s race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression
- A child/youth’s cultural and linguistic needs
- The goal of achieving permanent plans for children/youth in accordance with their best interests, and
- The participation of the child/youth, their parents and relatives, and members of their extended family and community, where appropriate.
Each family and child is entitled to their privacy. We cannot provide information about the status of a referral or investigation without the written consent of the family involved.
Reference: Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: It’s Your Duty (brochure)