Where does Court Intervention come in?
Should a family:
- refuse to participate in an investigation,
- refuse to participate in ongoing service planning,
- fail to cooperate in the provision of services,
- fail to be benefiting from the services, or
- the Children's Aid Society social worker concludes that a child should be removed from the home,
the Children's Aid Society may apply to the Ontario Court (Family Division) for a finding that a child is in need of protection. Social workers do not make this decision alone, but in consultation with a manager or following a case conference. Unlike criminal proceedings there are no charges or fines or imprisonment in child welfare proceedings which are held in Family Court. The Court hears the Society's concerns, the parent's point of view, and in some cases obtains the child's views separately from the parents. If the Court makes a finding that a child is in need of protection, the family may by subject to a plan of formal monitoring or supervision by the Society with specific terms designed to reduce the risk of harm to the child. The child may be ordered into the care of the Society, or guardianship transferred from the parent to the Society, so that the child may be placed in substitute care such as a foster home.
Where a child is apprehended from their parent or caregiver by the Children's Aid Society, the Society must bring the matter before the Ontario Court (Family Division) within five days to be dealt with as a child allegedly in need of protection. During 2000-01, a total of 114 children from about 71 families were admitted to the care of Family and Children's Services. In other words, of the over 780 families that Family and Children's Services came into contact with in 2000-01, less than 10% of the cases involved an admission to care. Further, of the 114 children admitted to care, many were voluntary admissions on the part of the parent or child.