Child protection

If your child's safety is at risk, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (the ministry) or a delegated Aboriginal agency must investigate. They can take action in various ways to keep your child safe. If they think there's a serious problem, they might remove (take) your child from your home. The process is called child protection.

If a social worker calls

Allie hears that she needs to take action in our short illustrated story, If a social worker calls

Illustration to introduce story

If the ministry contacts you

Get legal help

As soon as the ministry or a delegated Aboriginal agency contacts you or visits your home, you have the right to get legal advice.

Delegated Aboriginal agencies

Delegated Aboriginal agencies have agreements with the ministry to provide certain child protection services to Aboriginal communities.

Your privacy

Your right to confidentiality (privacy) is limited in a child protection matter. But social workers and lawyers must still follow certain confidentiality rules.

Your children's safety

Parents' responsibilities

When you're involved in a child protection matter, it's important to understand your child's rights and your responsibilities as a parent.

Child protection process

The ministry must investigate if someone makes a report of child abuse or neglect. They decide whether your child needs protection. You might be able to stay out of court if you make an agreement about your child's care. Or you might have to go to court where the judge makes an order for your child's care.

Alternatives to court

Staying out of court

You can be involved in deciding about your child's care when there's a child protection issue. If you and the ministry agree about how to care for your child, you might not have to go to court.

Making agreements for your child's care

You can make different agreements for your child's care at any time with the ministry, even if you're not involved in a child protection matter yet.

Child protection mediation

Mediation is a way to try to solve problems without going to court. A mediator is a trained, neutral person you can ask for right away to help you work through the social worker's concerns about your child's safety.

Going to court

Court process

If the ministry decides your child can stay at home under a supervision order, or they remove your child from your home, the next step is to go to court. The court process usually has two hearings.

Child protection court orders

A judge can make different orders at the child protection hearings to say how your child will be looked after. It's important for you go to the court hearings so you can speak to the judge about your child's care.

More help

Parenting help

Various community organizations offer support services for parents. The ministry also has programs to support parents in certain situations.

Coping with the process

Find out how to look after yourself while you cope with your situation.

Benefits for caregivers raising children

Find out about some government benefits (money) you might qualify for if you're caring for a child who needs protection.

Making a complaint against the ministry

If you think the ministry treated you unfairly, you have the right to make a complaint. Find out what to do if you have a complaint, and who can help you make it.