The children’s Aid Society want to talk to me, what are my rights?

The Children’s Aid Society (CAS) are very powerful, in many cases, more powerful than the police.  There is no other agency or organization in Ontario that can come into another person’s home and take away their children and not have to justify the apprehension to a court of law for up to five days.   The children’s aid society have various agencies throughout the province of Ontario, mainly divided into regions, i.e., Peel Region Children’s Aid Society, Toronto Children’s Aid Society and York Region Children’s Aid Society.  Some children’s aid societies are also categorized by religion, i.e., Catholic Children’s Aid Society and Jewish Child and Family Services.   The CAS’s mandate is the protection, safety and well-being of children.  If a police officer would want to speak to you, you have the right to remain silent at all times – at which point, you may or may not be charged depending on the circumstances.  However, the same is not true with the CAS.  When it comes to a child’s welfare, privacy and individual rights diminishes.  If a CAS worker wants to talk to you concerning your child(ren), then if you do not talk to them or let them into your home, this may make matters worse.   There could be a real concern that your child(ren) are in danger – questions arise – “what are you hiding in your home”, “is your child okay, hurt or in danger”, “why won’t you let us in”?   As a result, it is always a delicate balance when a CAS worker wants to speak with you.  Everything is also documented so whatever you say may be used against you in a child protection proceeding later on.  You may be best off talking, but only providing limited information, depending on the situation.  Failure to cooperate with the CAS may itself become a reason for an apprehension.  If the CAS wish to speak with you for the first time, contact our office immediately for further advice as every case is unique and always potentially treacherous.