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CAS is placing my child for public adoption. Can I have contact with my child?

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CAS is placing my child for public adoption. Can I have contact with my child?
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Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies
Adoption Council of Ontario
Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

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CAS is placing my child for public adoption. Can I have contact with my child?
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Reviewed: 
October 31, 2018
Answer

When the Children's Aid Society (CAS) places a child who is in extended society care for adoption, this is called a public adoption. Public adoptions can be open or closed.

An "open" adoption is when an adopted child or their adoptive parent continues to have contact with a birth parent, relative, or someone else after adoption. They can have contact with more than one person too.

How they stay in contact depends. They may communicate by letters only. Or they may stay in contact in other ways too. For example, through email, phone calls, or by meeting in person.

There are 2 ways to have contact:

  • Through an openness agreement, which is an out-of-court agreement between the adoptive parents and the person they want to have contact with.
  • Through an openness order, which is a court order that says the child can have contact with the person named in the order.

When CAS plans to place your child for public adoption, they must consider the benefits of an openness agreement or an openness order. There can be more than one openness agreement or openness order.

Sometimes CAS must let certain people know if they plan to place your child for adoption.

Who CAS must tell depends on whether:

  • there is an access order related to your child
  • your child is a member of or identifies as First Nations, Inuk, or Métis

Access order

If CAS plans to place your child for adoption, your child and anyone who has an access order to your child must be told this by CAS.

This is why it's important to get an access order to your child. How the access order is worded is important. If you want the right to apply for an openness order, you should ask the court to be the "access holder" to make it clear that you have the right to ask for an openness order in the future.

If there's no access order, CAS can apply for an openness order. A birth parent wouldn't be able to apply. See the Step called Support CAS' application for an openness order if there is no access.

First Nations, Inuk, or Métis children

If you or your child is a member of or identify as First Nations, Inuk, or Métis, CAS must also consider the importance of developing or maintaining your child's connection to their bands or communities. CAS must think about an openness agreement or an openness order to allow contact between your child and a member of each of your child's bands and communities. See the Step called Apply for an openness order for a child who is First Nations, Inuk, or Métis.

Child's views

If your child can say how they feel about contact or communication, their views must be taken into account before an agreement or order is made. This gets more important as your child gets older and more mature.

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