FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. If I have concerns about a child,
whom should I speak to?
Calls can be made to Society 24 hours a day. We will listen
to your concerns and quickly determine how best to respond.
2. Can I make a referral to the CAS anonymously?
Yes, all calls to the Society are taken seriously regardless
of whether you provide your name or not. Providing your name,
however, allows for the protection worker investigating the
matter to be able to clarify information with you at a later
time. If you do provide your name and request that your name
be held in confidence, we will always try our best to honour
your request. However, there are occasions when identifying
information and confidential information about a referral
source must be shared as part of court proceedings that result
from the investigation. It is also important to remember that
you can call the Society and consult with a child protection
worker with regards to a situation without identifying who the
family is that you are concerned about, You will only be
requested to provide information to identify the family if the
circumstances that you describe turn out to be reportable.
3. At what age can a child babysit or be left unattended
by an adult?
The Child and Family Services Act (the Legislation which provides
the mandate and framework within which we operate) does not identify
a specific age at which a child can be left alone, or an age at
which a child can supervise or babysit other children. The Act
recognizes that age alone is not the only significant factor to
consider when considering the proper supervision of children. The Act
says that a person who has charge of a child who is less than 16
years of age cannot leave the children without making provision
for his/her care or supervision that is reasonable under the circumstances.
4. Is it illegal to spank your child?
While section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada specifically
provides that schoolteachers, parents and persons standing in
the place of a parent can use "force by way of correction" to
discipline a child provided that the force does not exceed "what
is reasonable in the circumstances", the use of corporal
punishment is strongly discouraged and not condoned by the Society.
It is the position of the Society that other forms of discipline
are more effective in managing children's behaviour and less likely
to cause harm. The Society responds to cases where physical punishment
has been used in an inappropriate or excessive manner that could
lead to a child being injured or where such discipline has resulted
in an injury.
5. When should I call the police rather than the CAS?
If a child is in immediate danger and emergency services are
required please call 9-1-1. If you have knowledge of a criminal act
committed against a child, contacting the police is advisable.
6. Can I call the CAS for assistance with my own family?
Yes. At any time, you can call the Society to consult with a child
protection worker with regard to difficulties that you are experiencing
with your children. The Society's intake and assessment screening
team will assess your family's needs and determine the appropriate
response which would be most supportive to your family.
7. Who is a "child in need of protection"?
A child in need of protection is a child under the age of 16 who
has been determined, by a child protection investigation, to have
experienced abuse and/or neglect or to be at risk of experiencing
same. A comprehensive definition of what constitutes a child in
need of protection can be found in the Child and Family Services
Act, s. 37(2).
8. Who is responsible for reporting suspected cases of child abuse?
"If a person, including a person who performs professional or official
duties with respect to children, has reasonable grounds to suspect any
of the conditions noted in section 72(1) of the Child and Family Services
Act (please see attached to this document) the person shall forthwith
report the suspicion and the information on which it is based to a Society.
This duty is ongoing and cannot be delegated. Persons with questions or
concerns about whether such reasonable grounds exist in a given situation
are encouraged to contact the Society for consultation.
9. What happens when I call CAS?
Your call will be responded to by the intake and assessment screening
team which has the expertise to guide you through the referral process.
The worker, once satisfied that the call appears legitimate, will ask
for identifying information about the child and family including information
such as their name, age and whereabouts, language, religion and why you
are concerned for the child's safety. The worker will determine with
your assistance how best to respond to your concerns. In some cases this
would include an investigation and in other circumstances no further
involvement is necessary. The intake and assessment screener can, if
appropriate, link the family to community services which may be better
suited to address the concerns.
10. When are police involved in a child protection investigation?
If the Society, while conducting a child welfare investigation, obtains
information to suggest that a criminal offence has occurred in relation
to the child, the Society is under an obligation to contact the police.
Similarly, if police receive information about a criminal matter in which
children have been involved or impacted in some manner they will contact
the Society. In situations where there is a role for both police and the
Society a joint investigation will be initiated. During this investigation,
the Society's focus is on the safety and well being of the children while
the police focus remains on the allegations as they pertain to the Criminal
Code and whether a criminal offence has occurred.
11. If I am dissatisfied with the service that I received from the CAS what do I do?
Any client who has sought or received services from the Society may access the
client complaint procedure process as set out in section 68 of the Child and
Family Services Act. The procedure includes both an internal and external
review. Each client is provided with a copy of the Society's complaint
procedure upon initial contact.
Client Complaint Procedure (English)
Client Complaint Procedure (French)
12. What happens after an investigation is completed?
In cases where a child is determined to be in need of protection and ongoing
service to the family is required, the Society will remain involved and work in
collaboration with the family to address the protection concerns. In cases
where a child is found not to be in need of protection, the Society can still
provide the family with referrals to appropriate community support resources
that can assist the family following the completion of the investigation.
13. What if a family does not speak English?
The Society recognizes the vast cultural diversity in the Region and, where
appropriate, can use an interpretation service to assist child protection
workers in their work with the family. The Society also works collaboratively
with various ethno-specific community based agencies that can provide supports
that respect a family's cultural and religious background.