It can be embarrassing and frustrating if your family is connected with the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). Nobody wants someone to question their abilities to create a nurturing and secure environment for their children or to analyze their parenting skills.
It may appear to be a terrible scenario, yet there are measures you can take to ensure your family’s safety. Let’s see what to do in this situation and how to get CAS out of your life ( if any).
What is CAS?
Children’s aid society is a non-profit organization governed by the Ontario government’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services. They work to provide child protection services and ensure proper support required if a child is harassed or tortured.
What to Do When CAS Contacts You?
When CAS gets a complaint about a child who might be in danger, a child protection professional is assigned to investigate the claims. Also, by interviewing the parents, the worker may speak with the children, teachers, extended family members, and anyone who can contribute significantly to the inquiry.
For example, a worker from CAS will contact you for an interpretation if they get a complaint from your son’s teacher due to his inconsistent attendance record. There may be logical reasons for the absence, but parents or guardians must satisfy the agency’s worries when the wheels are in motion.
If they cannot do so, CAS will continue its inquiry to discover the underlying cause. Depending on the gravity of the accusations, CAS may request that the children be removed from their homes. Another source of anxiety for parents is false allegations.
So if you ever fall into such a situation, do the following things as early as possible:
Consult a lawyer
If you have time before the worker arrives, seek a lawyer specializing in child protection law/aid children’s society matters. This law field differs greatly from family or criminal law. You will get in trouble if you mistreat a child protection worker like you treat a police officer. Because every child protection case is unique, you should get legal counsel on your circumstances.
Having a lawyer involved early on can make a significant difference. Having a lawyer to dispute the CAS taking your children away immediately gives you the strongest chance of getting them back as soon as possible.
Don’t ignore a child welfare worker
You appear to have a secret to hide if you decline to meet the child protection worker. The employee will be quite suspicious. Unless you face criminal charges, you are not entitled to remain mute.
The children’s assistance agency will work closely with the authorities if you are accused of assaulting or sexually molesting your children. Police will investigate everything you say, and the police and prosecuting Crown Lawyer may use those remarks against you in criminal court.
In that case, you should not address the charges until you have met with a lawyer because it is a very tough scenario that necessitates careful planning to keep your children with you and you out of jail.
Be courteous to the child welfare professional
Go beyond your way to be pleasant to the worker and appreciate them for caring about your children. It is different from encountering the police, where you are under no obligation to assist them.
Children’s aid societies, judges, and other specialists who might become involved expect you to collaborate with the children’s aid society since everyone assumes that everyone’s purpose should be to work collaboratively to achieve what is best for the kids.
If you refuse to “work together,” child protection officials may believe that your children’s best interests are unimportant and that you don’t care enough about them to hurt them.
Furthermore, if the child protection professional dislikes you, they can proceed with the most severe type of intervention with your family. So, it is essential to be courteous.
If you need to be mean to the children’s aid society or push the agency to follow the rules, employ a lawyer to do it for you so that you may stay on the good side of the child protection worker. It will simplify your case.
Allow the child welfare worker to speak to your children alone
If they are investigating abuse by you, children’s aid society personnel get the right to talk to your children without your presence as part of their investigation. Your child may have a lawyer available, but the request must originate from your child, not from you or via your child.
Similarly, if you do not permit the kids to speak with the worker, it will be assumed that you are attempting to “cover-up” something. And the professional will go to your children’s daycare, school or activities and talk to them there.
It is best not to teach your child what to state to the workers and only tell them to “calm and be genuine,” as this can cause significant complications.
Consult a lawyer before signing anything
You should consult a lawyer before meeting with the workers to discuss everything you should and should not sign. Though you decline to sign certain documents, it can appear as if you’ve something to hide.
In most cases, although you should consult with a lawyer, signing authorizations to allow the children’s aid community to talk to doctors, activity leaders, teachers, and other professionals is acceptable since they can talk to all those individuals.
However, as part of the child’s protection investigation, the permissions make it easier for them. So, unless there’s a compelling reason to keep the children’s aid agency from seeing that details for a short period, signing is generally no danger.
However, you should NOT sign any “agreement” with the children’s aid agency because such an agreement may revoke many of your rights. You should never sign any agreement or contract without consulting a lawyer to ensure you understand what you are signing.
Speak with a child protection lawyer if you are unsure what you are signing, what it means, and what it authorizes the CAS to do.
Request file discloser
If the inquiry is still ongoing, you have the right to access the dossier on you kept by the children’s assistance agency. It is significant for several reasons.
First, it informs you of what they are especially investigating, so you understand what they’ll be looking for.
Second, it allows you to see what is causing their issues so you may address them. Third, it may reveal the flaws in the inquiry conducted by the Children’s Aid Society.
Eventually, if the CAS takes you to court or places your children in care, you may obtain a wealth of information, allowing you to fight the CAS’s case in court. Many children’s aid organizations are taking their time in delivering their files.
However, if the inquiry is ongoing, you have the right to see it. It often helps to engage a lawyer who can defend your right in this area, as lawyers can be more difficult to push around for a children’s assistance agency.
Nothing is more important than your children. Any danger to your relationship with them causes great stress and anxiety. In this regard, qualified child protection lawyers can assist you in navigating your involvement with the CAS to secure the best possible result for you and your children.