Fortunately, most families will never need to become familiar with child protection laws, or how the systems work in this province. Still, it is worth making a few short introductory points.
As the name suggests, “child protection” involves taking formal steps to remove a child from harm at the hands of his or her parents or caregivers. In Ontario, there is a well-established government regime in place to deal with and address situations where this has become necessary.
That regime is established by the Child and Family Services Act, which sets out the legislative framework and authority under which the government-authorized Children’s Aid Society (sometimes referred to as “Child and Family Services”) is entitled to take steps to protect endangered children. In particular, that Act sets out those circumstances in which a child may be found to be “in need of protection” – which term is defined under the Act – and stipulates what particular measures may be taken (and when); this includes apprehending children from their parents or caregivers, and taking other steps to keep them protected from further harm.
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To this end, child protection workers from the Children’s Aid Society are authorized to investigate the level and quality of care that a child is receiving in the home environment. If the child protection worker has concerns about the parents’ ability to care for their child, and establishes the requisite level of need for protection, then the Children’s Aid Society is entitled to start a court application against the child’s parents (or caregivers, as the case may be), which may result in the child being removed from the care of those persons. The legislation sets out the subsequent steps and processes.
Shulman Law Firm is a Toronto-area firm of experienced Family Lawyers who can provide tailored, practical advice and effective representation in connection with all areas of Ontario Family Law, including child protection matters.