CHILD PROTECTION LAW
In Ontario, child protection matters are governed by the Child and Family Services Act. This Act sets out the manner in which child protective services are provided in Ontario. Each jurisdiction has its own Children’s Aid Society. In Wellington County, services are provided through Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County.
Child protection matters engage a two-step process. The first question that needs to be asked is whether a child is in need of protection. This is a flexible analysis, and the answer can be “yes” or “no” for different reasons. If a child is deemed in need of protection, the court focuses on what needs to be done to ensure that the child receives the protection he or she requires. In some cases, children can remain with their parents as normal, with Children’s Aid assistance. In the most extreme cases, however, a child may be taken away from his or her parents and made available for adoption by another family.
The involvement of a Children’s Aid Society with your family can be one of the most emotionally stressful and difficult experiences you will ever go through. Even when they are simply there to investigate an alleged concern, you may feel that your home and your privacy has been invaded. You may feel unfairly judged and criticized as a parent. If the Society’s concerns are seen to be serious enough to warrant the removal of your child from your home, you may feel anger, grief and an overwhelming sense of unfairness. These emotions may seriously impact your ability to work together with your worker and the Children’s Aid team assigned to your case. However, there is no time to waste. Child protection cases move quickly through the system. Even brief delays can be devastating to your success.
Having an experienced legal professional on your side is essential in navigating through a child protection court case. Our team has more than two decades of collective experience in litigating child protection matters across Ontario. The most important ally you can have is an experienced lawyer who knows the court in which you will be appearing and can assist you both in and out of court. Most cases are won outside of court, by taking the right steps to ensure that your child can remain in your care with as little involvement from Children’s Aid as is possible.