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.
If the ministry contacts you
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 have agreements with the ministry to provide certain child protection services to Aboriginal communities.
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
When you're involved in a child protection matter, it's important to understand your child's rights and your responsibilities as a parent.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Various community organizations offer support services for parents. The ministry also has programs to support parents in certain situations.
Find out how to look after yourself while you cope with your situation.
Find out about some government benefits (money) you might qualify for if you're caring for a child who needs protection.
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.