When can I call in?
If you suspect child abuse or neglect report the information to your local Children's Aid Society immediately. In Simcoe County call 1-800-461-4236 toll free - 24 hours a day.
Do I have to report if I only suspect that a child may be abused or neglected?
If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, you must report your concerns to the Children's Aid Society.
You must make the report yourself and not rely on anyone else to do it for you.
Who can call the Children's Aid Society?
Anyone can. Calls can come from teachers, healthcare professional, another professional, a neighbour, a friend or someone else in the community. We count on our community to work together with us in the protection of children.
Often a family member or the parent themselves may call for assistance.
Who are the staff?
All our child protection staff are trained professionals according to provincial standards, whether you are speaking to an Intake Worker, Family Service Worker, Resource or Placement Worker or a member of our After Hours Team.
Do I need to give my name?
Unless you are a professional working with children such as a doctor, nurse or teacher, we will do our best to honour your request for anonymity . However confidential information must be shared as part of any court proceeding that might transpire as a result of an investigation. Then your name would be shared with the court. If you are a professional then you have a duty to report under the Child and Family Services Act.
What is an investigation?
If an investigation and assessment is needed, a trained and professional Children's Aid worker will work with the family to gather information and determine whether there is a role for Children's Aid Society to help the family. The follow-up time depends on the nature of the call.
If the risk of harm to a child or youth is immediate or if there is a suspicious injury, Children's Aid workers follow-up immediately.
The CAS has 30 days (which can be expanded to 60) to complete an investigation and assessment.
When do police get involved?
Sometimes the concerns that come to the attention of the Children's Aid Society also suggest that a criminal offence has occured. If Children's Aid receives the information first, we must contact the police. In some situations, the police receive information first, in which case they inform the Children's Aid Society. In situations where there is a role for both Children's Aid and police, they work together through many of the steps. The responsibility and primary focus of the Children's Aid Society is to determine if the child or youth requires protection and to make a plan for that. The police are responsible for laying charges under the Criminal Code if a criminal offence has occured.
Will I know what happened as a result of my call?
The confidentiality of the client is safe-guarded under the Child and Family Services Act. The Children's Aid Society cannot divulge any information about a case with which they may be working.
When do you take a child into care?
Keeping the child's safety and best interests in mind we first try to work with families so that children can stay in their own homes. If that is not possible then we make alternative care arrangements for them. There are a variety of care options available and we make every attempt to tailor each care situation to the particular needs to the child or youth. All efforts are made to ensure that the gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, ethnicity and religious needs of all children and youth coming into care are respected and met.
What if I am unhappy and want to complain?
The Simcoe County Children's Aid Society works very hard to provide quality service, and if you are unsatisfied it is important that we hear from you.
The first thing you must do is speak to your assigned worker and their supervisor and try to resolve the issue. If you are not satisfied following your discussion with both, then you can file a formal complaint. You do this by putting your complaint in writing to a Director of Serivce. Be sure you include the following:
• What your complaint is
• What evidence you have to support your complaint
• The resolution or remedies you are seeking.
If you are still not satisfied your next recourse is to ask for a meeting with the agency Executive Director. We have prepared a pamphet, "Working Together" that outlines our complaint procedure in more detail.
If you have question that has not been answered please contact us by e-mail or phone 1-800-461-4236.