What can CAS do if they think my child is being abused or neglected?
Question & AnswerWhat can CAS do if they think my child is being abused or neglected?
CAS looks into the report
Anyone who believes that a child under the age of 16 may be at risk of harm has a legal duty to let a (CAS) know. The easiest way for them to do this is to call their local CAS.
There is a legal duty to tell CAS if the child at risk of harm is younger than 16 years. There is no legal duty to report risk of harm to children 16 or 17 years old, but a person can still let CAS know.
CAS looks into your child's situation only if a CAS worker, also called a “child protection worker”, decides the report is serious enough that CAS has to do more. This is called an “initial assessment” or “initial screening”. This screening must be done within 24 hours of getting a report about your child.
When doing this initial screening, the CAS worker looks at:
- the kind of harm or risk of harm reported
- whether your child or family has been involved with CAS before, and if they were, what it was for
- whether your child needs special attention, for example, because of their age, a medical condition, or a developmental disability
- whether there is any or if you or any of your child's caregivers are being abused by their partner
- the strengths within your family, for example, if you have other family members who can care for your child and support you
After doing their initial screening, CAS has 3 options. They can:
- close their file
- get more information about your child's situation
- offer support services to help your family