1. Cooperate with CAS
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of the Attorney General
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO)
Social Action and Advocacy Committee
What if CAS wants to talk to me or my child?
1. Cooperate with CAS
Be careful about how you deal with a Children's Aid Society (CAS) worker and what you say. The CAS worker can report anything you say or how you act around them to a court.
You don't have to agree with their concerns or what they do. But, you should cooperate with them. They have to do certain things, such as interview you and your child.
- listen carefully
- answer questions honestly
- have a friend or family member you trust with you, if possible, to support you
- take some notes during the meeting and make detailed notes after
- not sign any documents until you review them with a lawyer
- give names of close friends and family who know your child and who your child could live with for a short time, if needed
If you or your child is or identifies as First Nations, Inuk, or Métis, you should have someone from your band with you, especially if your band and CAS have decided on a way to work together.
The CAS worker can ask about anything that they think could be a risk to your child. They must keep notes about anything they see and hear, and about their contact with you. For example, they note if you:
- refuse to answer questions
- avoid questions
- respond angrily or violently
This information can be used in court later. You can also ask for a copy of their notes.
Prepare your home
A CAS worker usually plans a visit to your home when talking to you over the phone or in person. But they can also show up without warning if they're concerned about the immediate safety of your child. They can bring the police with them.
If CAS tells you that they're coming to your home, you should make sure that:
- there is food in the fridge
- the floors are clean
- your home is safe for your child, for example, cleaning supplies, knives and medicines are kept in a place your child can't reach
- your home has smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that work
- the children's rooms have suitable furniture, such as a crib for a baby
If your home is a mess, it might look like caring for your child is difficult for you. The CAS worker must keep notes about what they see in your home.
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Reviewed: August 31, 2018