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?
Option: CAS investigates
After an initial screening to check on your child, a (CAS) might decide to get more information about your child's situation. This is called a formal investigation.
Depending on the risk of immediate harm to your child, CAS decides how quickly they need to start their investigation. This can be right away or within 30 days.
As part of the investigation, a CAS worker must meet your child. They must speak to your child in a way that takes into account your child's age and ability to understand and speak. They usually want to speak to your child alone.
They must also speak to you and your child's caregivers.
During the investigation, if you are First Nations, Inuit, or Métis, you can have a person who represents your band with you when you speak to CAS. Your band and CAS might have decided on a way to work together during an investigation. You should talk to your band.
The CAS worker might also speak to:
- your child's siblings or other children in the home
- other adults living in the home, whether or not they're related to your child, for example your child's grandparents, a step-parent, a roommate or a tenant
- anyone who saw what was reported to CAS
- any professionals who work with your child, such as their doctor, counsellor, teacher, or daycare worker
If CAS thinks there is an immediate risk of harm, they may take your child from your home and start a court case while they investigate.
CAS must also tell the police if they think someone committed a crime against your child.
If CAS is looking into a report about your child, you should talk to a lawyer who can give you advice about what happens and help you through the process.
After the investigation ends
After looking at all the information, the CAS worker decides whether there are good reasons to believe that your child is a . This means CAS thinks your child has been or is at risk of being harmed because of something that you or another has done or not done.
If the CAS worker thinks that your child is not in need of protection, they close the file. The worker usually sends you a letter to confirm this.
They might give you information about services in the community if they think it may help you or your child.
If the CAS worker thinks that your child is in need of protection, they must decide what to do to protect your child. They may: