Ottawa Child Protection Lawyer

If the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) of Ottawa receives a credible report of possible child neglect and abuse, they will investigate the child’s caregivers. These investigations have significant implications and, in some cases, could result in the termination of a parent’s rights.

Defending against allegations of neglect or abuse is challenging, as the child protection system works aggressively to ensure a child does not remain in a potentially dangerous situation. The investigation can be intrusive, and a parent might feel defensive.

If you are in this position, turn to an Ottawa child protection lawyer with significant experience representing parents and caregivers in these emotionally charged situations. A committed legal professional like Paul Riley could take a proactive stance to ensure your family has every chance to stay together and thrive.

How a CAS Investigation Begins

Teachers, neighbours, healthcare providers, law enforcement personnel, and others might initiate a CAS investigation. Parents and other relatives sometimes make reports about other parents during child custody proceedings or in the aftermath of a bitter breakup. Almost anything could trigger an initial report, from a child’s casual remark to an unexplained bruise to an arrest on charges unrelated to parenting.

When CAS responds to a report, a social worker might arrive at your home unannounced. They could request to tour the home and speak with each of the children outside your presence. Sometimes they go to the child’s school to speak with them there. CAS will talk to everyone who lives in the home and might interview neighbors, school personnel, and anyone else who interacts with the child regularly. Parents enduring a CAS investigation should contact an experienced child protection lawyer in Ottawa immediately. A well-practiced legal professional like Paul Riley could explain what to expect and how to respond to the investigator’s queries.

A CAS investigation could be a disconcerting and humiliating ordeal. If the initial investigation does not alleviate the reported concerns, the agency might open a case. It could go to court to file a protection application which could lead to in-home supervision, removal of the child to live with relatives, or temporary placement in a foster home or care facility.

CAS’s Mandate to Protect Children

If a CAS investigation produces evidence that a child might be in need of protection, the Ontario Child, Youth, and Family Services Act s. 1(2) allows the agency to remain involved with your family. According to the Act, a child needs protection if a caregiver:

  • Does not meet the child’s basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, education, and healthcare
  • Neglects the child by leaving them alone, failing to see to their hygiene, or not providing appropriate supervision and guidance
  • Exposes the child to domestic violence, substance abuse, or criminal activity
  • Abuses the child physically, sexually, or emotionally

CAS’s role is to keep families together when possible. If the agency determines it is unsafe to allow the child to remain in the home, it must place the child with a relative or community member, unless there is no one with a connection to the child who could provide a safe environment.

CAS might request that you enter a voluntary services agreement consenting to regular visits from CAS and accepting specified services. Even if you are not the person engaging in allegedly neglectful, dangerous, or abusive behaviour, you could endanger your parental rights for not doing enough to protect children from a partner or other person of concern.

CAS Court Proceedings

You should engage legal representation as early in the process as possible. If CAS removes a child from home, it must initiate a court proceeding within five days.

A proactive child protection lawyer in Ottawa could request a hearing for you to explain your perspective and present relevant evidence. After a hearing, a court could find CAS has insufficient evidence and dismiss the case. If the court finds an order is justified, it could issue a supervision order allowing the child to remain at home but requiring you to cooperate with CAS supervision. It also could order the child into care temporarily, allowing you time to resolve the concerning issues.

A diligent legal professional like Paul Riley could vigorously advocate for you to retain custody of your child, whether through dismissal or under supervision. If the CAS retains temporary custody, the lawyer could ensure you receive the resources necessary to regain physical custody of your child and preserve your family intact.

An Ottawa Child Protection Lawyer Could Help Keep Your Family Intact

When a CAS investigation threatens your role as a parent and the integrity of your family unit, you need aggressive but thoughtful legal representation. Seasoned Ottawa child protection lawyer Paul Riley understands the high stakes and will use all credible arguments to advance your opportunities to provide a safe and stable home for your child.

The law requires child protection matters to move quickly. Do not risk your rights by trying to manage a CAS case alone. Call now to speak with your capable legal advocate.

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