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I got court papers from CAS for the first time. What do I do?

I got court papers from CAS for the first time. What do I do?
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Legal Aid Ontario (LAO)
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

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I got court papers from CAS for the first time. What do I do?
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October 31, 2018

When you get court papers from a Children's Aid Society (CAS) for the first time, it probably means that CAS has started a court case against you.  

The form that CAS uses to start a case is called an "Application" or a "protection application". It will say Form 8B: Application (Child Protection and Status Review) near the top right corner.

CAS starts a court case if they think that your child is at risk of being harmed. For example, CAS might think that you've physically harmed your child. Or that there's a risk your partner might sexually abuse your child and you can't protect your child from it.

In a child protection case, CAS has to prove to the court that your child is a "child in need of protection".

In their protection application, CAS must tell the court why they think that your child is in need of protection and the orders they're asking for.

If you have a family court case

You and your partner may already have a case in family court to decide on custody or access. If CAS starts a protection application, your family court case is usually put on hold or “stayed”.

Sometimes, the court hears both cases together. For example, if CAS isn't worried about the child's safety if they live with a certain parent, the court may give that parent sole custody of the child. Then CAS doesn't need to ask the court for a protection order.

Keep copies of all court papers and other documents you get from CAS in a safe place. Take copies of all these documents with you when you go to see your lawyer, or when you go to court.

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