Children's Aid Society

  1. JFCY does not represent on these matters; children receive legal services in child protection (family) court through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer.

    Voluntary Youth Service Agreements

    Starting Jan 1, 2018: A young person who is under the age of 18 can contact a Children’s Aid Society (CAS) if they are at risk of harm or facing harm. Harm can be physical, emotional, sexual harm, or neglect. 16 and 17 year olds who are not already getting help from CAS can now ask for help and enter into a Voluntary Youth Service Agreement (VYSA) with CAS – for more information, read Leaving Home.

  2. What is the Children’s Aid Society?

    A Children’s Aid Society’s (CAS) role is to protect children under the age of 16 from harm – see also VYSA’s described above for 16 & 17 year olds. It also helps families take better care of their children. A CAS worker may contact your family when there is a report about family problems that affect the care given to you or other children in your family. For example, the CAS will look into any reports that you are being physically, sexually, or emotionally abused.

  3. How does CAS get involved with me and my family?

    The CAS can help when there are problems in your family by the following:

    • Your parents and the CAS can agree to have the CAS provide temporary services for you. If you are 16 years of age or older  this temporary agreement cannot happen. If you are 12 years old or older you must agree in writing to any plans under the temporary agreement. If you are 12 years old or older you can request, in writing, to have the plan reviewed or ended. You should ask a lawyer to help you with this.
    • If you, the CAS, or your parents cannot agree about whether your family needs help or about the kind of help needed, you and your family may have to go to court. A judge will decide whether the CAS will become involved with your family.
    • If you are in danger because of you family’s behaviour and you need help immediately, the CAS may take you out of your home before a court hearing takes place.
    • If you wish to have the CAS involved and you are under the age of 16, even though the CAS and your parents do not agree, you can try and force the CAS to get involved through a court order.
    • Remember! As long as the CAS gets involved with you before your 16th birthday they can stay involved past your 16th birthday, until your 18th birthday an in some cases, until your 21st birthday.
    • CAS can voluntarily agree to help out some youth aged 16 and 17. If you and your family need help and you are 16 or 17, you can call CAS and ask for their help with Residential Care or a Voluntary Youth Service Agreement for yourself.
  4. What is residential care?

    Residential care is a group home, foster home, or another special place where you live and get care and treatment you need. In residential care you will be looked after by foster parents or staff.

  5. How am I placed in residential care?

    Your parents can put you into residential care if you are under 16 years of age and the people in charge of the place agree to take care of you. This is called a voluntary placement. Your consent is not needed.

    You can also be put into residential care by CAS; this might happen in two ways:

    • Your parents and the CAS may agree without going to court to put you into the care of the CAS. If you are 12 years or older you must also agree. Then the CAS can put you into residential care.
    • In some situations a judge may put you into the care of the CAS. The CAS may then put you into residential care without your agreement.
  6. What are my rights when I am in residential care?

    A plan of care must be created for you and should include:

    • What you need
    • What you and the staff are trying to do, and
    • How you and the staff are trying to meet your needs. You have the right to take part in making and changes to it.

    In addition, you have the right to:

    • take part in making important decisions about your care. These decisions include medical treatment, education, religion, ending or transferring your placement.
    • speak with and visit members of your family on a regular basis except when there is a court order which says otherwise.
    • speak to and receive visits from your lawyer, an adult person representing you, the Ombudsman, or the Office of the Child and Family Service Advocate.
    • not to be punished physically.
    • proper food and clothing.
    • proper medical and dental care.
    • proper education.
    • participate in sports and recreation programs.
    • within reasonable limits, privacy and to your personal property.
    • receive and send mail; your mail cannot be kept from you and usually should not be read by anyone else. If the person looking after you believes that the mail you are sending or receiving is harmful to you or others, they may open it. Your mail to or from your lawyer may not be read.
    • be told of the complaint procedure and to make complaints. You have the right to make complaints to an independent person who is not looking after you.

    No matter how you end up in residential care you keep these rights. You must be told of these rights by a social worker, child care worker, or other person. If you have any questions about your residential care you should ask your worker, phone a lawyer or the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth at 416-325-5669 in Toronto or 1-800-263-2841.

  7. I am not happy with my placement, what can I do?

    If you have been put into residential care by your parents or by the CAS you may have your placement reviewed. A special group of people will listen to your case and make recommendations as to whether or not your placement is suitable. If you are under the age of 12 you will have to request a review or get someone to request a review for you. If you are 12 years old or older you have the right to have your placement reviewed.

    If you do not want to be in a particular placement, that placement must be reviewed. You have the right to a second review if you are not satisfied with the recommendations of the first group. This second group has the power to transfer you, to end your placement, or to leave you in your present placement. You should speak to a lawyer about getting a review.