What do I do if I get court papers from CAS?

2. Talk to a lawyer right away

As soon as you know a (CAS) has started a court case about your child, talk to a lawyer who has worked on child protection cases right away.

Child protection cases are complicated and have strict timelines.

Try and find a lawyer who:

Take copies of the court papers and all documents with you when you go to see your lawyer.

You can apply for a legal aid certificate to get Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) to pay for your lawyer.  Your income must be low enough for you to qualify.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers offer “unbundled services” or “limited scope retainer” services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer at all, you might be able to find legal help in other places. You don't need a lawyer to go to court or reply to CAS, but it's best to get one.

In some situations, a parent has the right to a lawyer to make sure that their court case with CAS is fair. In those situations, a court can order the government to pay for that parent's lawyer through Legal Aid Ontario. This doesn't happen in most cases.

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