What happens at the first court date in my child protection case?
Question & AnswerWhat happens at the first court date in my child protection case?
3. Prepare for court
If you don’t agree with what (CAS) is asking for, you need to file Form 33B.1 Answer and Plan of Care. This document tells the court what you want to happen. You have to explain how you will make sure that your child stays safe and what orders you want the court to make.
You usually have 30 days to prepare your Answer and Plan of Care. This means you may have your first court date before you finish your response.
If you can speak to a lawyer, talk to them about preparing an affidavit to tell the court what you have to say about the concerns CAS has. An affidavit is a written statement that you swear or affirm to be true.
The judge may ask you questions, but they usually decide where your child will live for now based on written documents from CAS and you.
Think about who could care for your child
Before your first court date, think of someone who can care for your child until the next hearing, in case your child isn’t returned to you. This could be a grandparent, family member, friend, or anyone that you trust.
This person has to agree to take care of your child. If they agree, discuss this option with your lawyer or and CAS as soon as possible.
CAS tries to assess them before they agree to place your child with them. This means CAS speaks to them and checks if:
- they have a criminal record or a record with a CAS in Ontario
- their home is suitable for your child
- your child will be safe with this person
If CAS agrees it would be safe for your child to live with them, you can both ask the court to place your child with the person you chose. The judge decides where your child lives.
If CAS hasn’t finished assessing the person, you can bring the person to court with you and tell the court about them. The judge can order the child to live with the person even if CAS hasn’t done their assessment.
If the person needs some financial support, they should ask your CAS worker what help is possible.