Social Work 1A06: Introduction to Social Work February 25 2013
Lecture 19: Child Welfare & Film about Crown Wards
- If you have a problem with dropbox or miss a deadline – email to the prof and your t.a. asap
- Good idea to do Child Welfare work
o Where lots of different social work comes together
Experience in a vast array of issues
Helps you figure out how you want to work with bureaucracy and rules, and
what kind of social work you want to do
- There are issues with the system
o But there doesn’t seem to be a good alternative right now
Why do we need Child Welfare?
- We have identified children as vulnerable and the responsibility of our society.
- We have a minimum standard of care for children.
o Children whose parents do not provide the minimum standards of care become the
responsibility of society
- Children are generally seen as the property and responsibility of their parents.
- But who creates the standards and enforces them?
o Who gets to decide what is a reasonable home for a kid? Who gets to enforce those
More next week on how oppression is threaded thru our child welfare system
Child Welfare History in Ontario
- Before industrialization it was a community responsibility or children were served in
orphanages, usually run by churches or other charities, or the criminal justice system (juvenile
- First Children’s Aid was established in Ontario in 1891 by J.J. Kelso in Toronto.
- 1984 – Child and Family Services Act
Present Day Policy
- Children’s Aid Societies are legally granted the responsibility for the protection of children in
o CAS is a private organization run by a board of directors, but they are funded mainly by
the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and have to follow legislation
o In some other provinces it is a governmental responsibility
- They are responsible protecting, caring for and placing children.
o Children – kids 16 and under
Over 16? CAS legally can’t help you – UNLESS you have a history with CAS and
are still under 18
Duty to Report
- Responsibility to report a child in need of protection [CFSA s.72(1)]
o If a person has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or may be in need of
protection, the person must promptly report the suspicion and the information upon
which it is based to a Children’s Aid Society.
Legal responsibility of citizens
Situations which Require a Report – very detailed slides
o If child is in danger of physical, emotional or sexual harm – child is in danger and you are
required to report it
- 1. The child has suffered physical harm, inflicted by the person having charge of the child or
caused by or resulting from that person's, (i) failure to adequately care for, provide for,
supervise or protect the child, or (ii) pattern of neglect in caring for, providing for, supervising or
protecting the child.
o Actual Physical harm or neglect
- 2. There is a risk that the child is likely to suffer physical harm inflicted by the person having
charge of the child or caused by or resulting from that person's, (i) failure to adequately care for,
provide for, supervise or protect the child, or (ii) pattern of neglect in caring for, providing for,
supervising or protecting the child.
o A risk of physical harm or neglect
- 3. The child has been sexually molested or sexually exploited by the person having charge of the
child or by another person where the person having charge of the child knows, or should know,
of the possibility of sexual molestation or sexual exploitation and fails to protect the child.
o Actual sexual abuse or exploitation
- 4. There is a risk that the child is likely to be sexually molested or sexually exploited as described
in paragraph 3.
o Risk of sexual abuse or exploitation
- 5. The child requires medical treatment to cure, prevent or alleviate physical harm or suffering
and the child's parent or the person having charge of the child does not provide, or refuses or is
unavailable or unable to consent to, the treatment.
o Not receiving medical treatment 3
Issues here because various beliefs go against certain medical things, judges can
force child to have a procedure against the wishes of the parents/his beliefs
- 6. The child has suffered emotional harm, demonstrated by serious, (i)anxiety, (ii)depression,
(iii)withdrawal, (iv)self-destructive or aggressive behaviour, or (v)delayed development, and
there are reasonable grounds to believe that the emotional harm suffered by the child results
from the actions, failure to act or pattern of neglect on the part of the child's parent or the
person having charge of the child.
o Actual emotional harm
- 7. The child has suffered emotional harm of the kind described in subparagraph (i), (ii), (iii), (iv)
or (v) of paragraph 6 and the child's parent or the person having charge of the child does not
provide, or refuses or is unavailable or unable to consent to, services or treatment to remedy or
alleviate the harm.
- 8. There is a risk that the child is likely to suffer emotional harm of the kind described in
subparagraph (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) or (v) of paragraph 6 resulting from the actions, failure to act or
pattern of neglect on the part of the child's parent or the person having charge of the child.
- 9. There is a risk that the child is likely to suffer emotional harm of the kind described in
subparagraph (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) or (v) of paragraph 6 and that the child's parent orthe person
having charge of the child does not provide, or refuses or is unavailable or unable to consent to,
services or treatment to prevent the harm.
- 10. The child suffers from a mental, emotional or developmental condition that, if not remedied,
could seriously impair the child's development and the child's parent or the person having
charge of the child does not provide, or refuses or is unavailable or unable to consent to,
treatment to remedy or alleviate the condition.
- 11. The child has been abandoned, the child's parent has died or is unavailable to exercise his or
her custodial rights over the child and has not made adequate provision for the child's care and
custody, or the child is in a residential placement and the parent refuses or is unable or
unwilling to resume the child's care and custody.
o There is no legal age wehre a child is allowed to be left alone in the legislation – they
just have to be mature enough
E.g. might have a 10 year old who is mature enough to be left alone, and a 14
year old who is not mature enough to be left alone
- 12. The child is less than 12 years old and has killed or seriously injured another person or
caused serious damage to another person's property, services or treatment are necessary to
prevent a recurrence and the child's parent or the person having charge of the child does not
provide, or refuses or is unavailable or unable to consent to, those services or treatment.
o Cannot put them in jail, put them in care instead
- 13. The child is less than 12 years old and has on more than one occasion injured another
person or caused loss or damage to another person's property, with the encouragement of the
person having charge of the child or because of that person's failure or inability to supervise the
Moving thru CAS Involvement (See slide for flow chart) 4
o Through referrals
People phone the CAS to report a situation they think is a problem
E.g. child not being adequately supervised etc.
People sometimes phone on themselves – can’t handle parenting anymore
o Worker decides whether the complaint requires investigation
Based on legislation standards and defs
Depending on the severity of the allegation, a worker will go out and see a
family, or call a family
o A child is considered in need of protection if he or she is being abused and/or neglected.
Abuse – emotional, physical,sexual.
Neglect – not meeting the physical, emotional, health, educational, etc. needs
of the child.
o Decision at this level – whether or not to open a file
- Once a File is Open
o Short term assistance can include referrals to parenting courses, counselling, shelters,
drug treatment, housing, etc.
E.g. if child supervision is an issue – refer to daycares in the community
o Children’s Aids have a variety of resources depending on the community they serve and
their own resources.
Some innovative programs have parent aides, workers in schools, after school
programs, dental and medical services
o At this level – figure out: Is the child safe? Can the child stay safe?
If child is in immediate danger apprehension
Try not to apprehend if they don’t have to – don’t want to take kids
from their fams unless abs neccessary
o The stereotypical – “baby-snatching” part of CAS
o If a child’s immediate safety is in jeopardy social workers for the Children’s Aid have the
power to remove children from the care of their parents immediately.
Can enter your home without your permission to take your kid
More power than police in this area
They must then justify their actions to a judge who will ultimately decide if a
child will stay under the care of the Society.
Within 5 days, Judge decides whether child will stay in care or go home
o Only a judge can take away parental rights
o Children are then placed in alternative homes, ie. foster care or now more frequently,
Kinship care: someone that the child already knows – a friend or family member
Placing children is not an easy task 5
E.g. if you apprehend 5 kids from one family and want to keep them
together in care – difficult!
- Voluntary Care Agreements
o Sometimes children need to come into care because their parent(s) have no other
E.g. you are a single mother with no support and you have to have an extended
stay in hospital
You call CAS and set up a voluntary care agreement for a designated
amount of time
o Difficulties in parenting
You can’t handle the kid anymore
o Unable to meet special needs of the child
Unable to handle/afford the needs
o Parent(s) requires care/hospitalization themselves
o Lack of resources (general or specific)
o Usually short term, unless social worker assesses that there are hidden issues and
apprehends the kid instead
- Kinship and Foster Care
o One of the ways CAS tries to keep kids in their support groups – with people they know
and probably trust
o Children are placed in kinship homes