How do I get access to see my child after CAS takes them?
Question & AnswerHow do I get access to see my child after CAS takes them?
3. Ask the court for visits with your child
There are 2 ways to ask the court for .
Ask the court in person
If your case goes to court, this must happen within 5 days of CAS taking your child. If you haven't seen your child since they were taken and haven't worked out visits with the CAS worker, ask the court on your first court date to make an order that gives you access to your child. Ask for access even if your court case is postponed for a later date.
You and CAS may be able to agree in court on the days and times of your visits. If you can't agree with CAS, you can ask the court to make an order for a minimum number of visits.
You can ask the lawyer for help getting access.
Ask the court in writing
If you have time to give the court a written response before your first court date, you should ask for visits in your written response. If CAS won't agree with what you've asked for, you can ask the court to make an order.
How the court decides
The court usually gives access to the person caring for the child just before CAS took the child. This is because it's usually in the to continue seeing their parent or while the court decides the child protection case.
But if a judge decides that it isn't in your child's best interests to see you, they won't give you access. This could happen, for example, if the judge thinks that the visit may put your child in danger.
When deciding if access is in the best interests of your child, the court looks at:
- your child's views, if they can say how they feel
- that it's important to keep your child's identity and connection to their community and culture if your child is First Nations, Inuk, or Métis, even if they are not an official member of the community
- anything else that the judge thinks is important
Your child’s views
If your child is 16 or older, they must agree before a court can order access.
If your child is under 16, the court must consider their views, if they can say how they feel. This doesn't mean that the court orders what your child wants to happen. But it does mean that the court must consider their views.
For example, if your child says that they don't want to see you or are afraid of you, the court may not give you access or may only give you .
Speak to a lawyer
If you don't have a lawyer, you can ask for a duty counsel lawyer at the court to help you. You may have to give evidence to show why you should be allowed to see your child.
If the court doesn't give you access, you should speak to your lawyer about your options. You may be able to the decision or you may have to change your lifestyle or home for the court to agree to access.
If you're asking for access after your child protection hearing has ended, the court decides on access differently. See the question “What happens at a child protection hearing or trial?”