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Frequently Asked Questions on Divorce

Child and Family Services Act (Children's Aid Society)


What are Children's Aid Societies?

There are various Children's Aid Societies including Catholic, Jewish and Native Canadian Societies. Their functions are:

  1. To investigate allegations or evidence that children under the age of 16 may be in need of protection;
  2. To protect when necessary, children under 16;
  3. To provide guidance and counselling to families for protecting child;
  4. To provide care for children assigned to their care;
  5. To supervise children assigned to its supervision;
  6. To place children for adoption.

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Who and When is a Child in Need of Protection?

A child is in need of protection if:

  1. The child has suffered physical harm inflicted by the person having charge of the child or resulting from a person's failure to adequately care for or supervise or protect the child or has shown a pattern of neglect in caring for the child;
  2. There is a risk that the child is likely to suffer physical harm;
  3. The child has been sexually molested or sexually exploited;
  4. There is a risk that the child is likely to be sexually molested or exploited;
  5. The child requires medical treatment and the parent does not provide or refuses to provide treatment;
  6. The child has suffered emotional harm demonstrated by anxiety, depression, withdrawal, self-destructive or aggressive behaviour, or delayed development and that the emotional harm is the result of actions or neglect by the parent;
  7. The child suffers from a mental, emotional or developmental condition that if not remedied could seriously impair the child's development and the parent won't provide treatment;
  8. The child has been abandoned;
  9. The child is less then 12 and has killed or seriously injured another person;
  10. The child's parents are unable to care for the child and the child is brought before the court with the parent's consent to be dealt with.

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What is a Child Protection Hearing?

This is a court application to determine whether a child is in need of protection.

The child, as soon as practicable but in any event, within 5 days after a child is apprehended and brought to a place of safety, shall be brought to the court.

The court can consider past conduct of a person towards any child in any oral or written statement or report the court considers relevant.

A court can make an Order for the return of the child to the parent outright or subject to a society supervision Order and any terms and conditions the court considers appropriate.

The court can place the child with a relative or member of the child's extended family. The court can place the child in care as a ward of the society for 12 months or the court can Order Crown wardship where circumstances are unlikely to change for up to 24 months or society wardship followed by the return to the parents or other period or periods up to 12 months. This can be done on a temporary Order for care.

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What is a Supervision Order?

A court can make an Order for the return of the child to a parent subject to a supervision Order with terms and conditions relating to the child's care and supervision with terms and conditions to the parent, the child or any other person putting forward a plan of care. 

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Can a Court Order Me to Pay Child Support While the Child is in Care By the Society?

Yes. A court can order a parent or a parent's estate to pay to a Society a specified amount at specified intervals for each day a child is in the society's care or supervision up to the child turning 18.

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What is a Status Review Hearing?

This is a procedure to allow a review of an Order for Society wardship or supervision. The Society, the child if over 12 or the parents may apply for the review.

The Society can apply for a review any time before the expiry of the Order. Other applicants cannot apply until 6 months has passed since the making of the Order.

The court may vary or terminate the Order including a term or condition for access or make further Orders.

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When Does a Child Protection Order Terminate?

An Order expires or terminates when the child turns 18 or marries.

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What is a Child Abuse Register?

It is a centralized index of information about a person who abused a child and about the children who were victims of the abuse (the information is verified by the Children's Aid Society). The information is confidential and not accessible under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Notice is given to each registered person. There is a procedure available to request the removal of a name.

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