The traditional child welfare or child protection service of the organization completes investigations in circumstances of child abuse and neglect when children and youth are under the age of sixteen. The goal of the service is to ensure the safety of children while also supporting the natural family and whenever possible, keeping children and parents together. To this end, counselling support and alternative placements are available when necessary.
Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) provides for a broad range of services for families and children, including those who are victims or suspected victims of child abuse or neglect. A paramount objective of the Act to is promote the best interests, protection and the well being of children. Furthermore, the Act recognizes that each of us has a responsibility for the welfare of children.
The Act places special reporting responsibilities on professionals whose work involves children. However, it states clearly that members of the public also have the obligation to report promptly to a Children’s Aid Society if they believe that a child is, or may be, in need of protection. The Act defines the term, “child in need of protection” and describes what circumstances must be reported to the Children’s Aid Society. Please report, to our agency, any concerns you may have regarding a child’s safety in our community at 519-941-1530.
The following non-legal definitions describe what might constitute a situation which could require reporting to the agency and warrant child protection intervention:
- non-accidental infliction of physical harm
- emotional harm
- sexual abuse/harm
Physical Harm: is when a child has been injured by a person who has care or custody of him, or if that person has permitted the injury. This includes, but is not necessarily restricted to, physical beating, wounding, burning, poisoning and related assaults causing visible or invisible physical injuries. Physical harm for the purposes of these provisions is also reportable if the child’s health is at serious risk because of an adult’s neglect or refusal to obtain necessary care or treatment for him. Failure to thrive diagnosis are included in this the definition.
Malnutrition: addresses a lack of sufficient or adequate nourishment. Dehydration is included in this definition. Emotional Harm: refers to a situation where a child’s emotional needs have been so seriously neglected as a result of rejection or lack of affection that intervention is essential. In such cases, the mental ill-health is reportable if the action or attitude of the person who has the child’s care is the primary cause of the child’s condition. It is usually accompanied by an unwillingness or inability on the part of the care-taking person to assist the child to obtain appropriate treatment.
Emotional Harm: refers to a situation where a child’s emotional needs have been so seriously neglected as a result of rejection or lack of affection that intervention is essential. In such cases, the mental ill-health is reportable if the action or attitude of the person who has the child’s care is the primary cause of the child’s condition. It is usually accompanied by an unwillingness or inability on the part of the care-taking person to assist the child to obtain appropriate treatment.
Sexual Abuse/Harm: refers to any improper sexual activity between a child and the adult who has his care or custody. The consent of the child is irrelevant, as is the absence of physical injury. Incestuous relationships are included in this definition. Improper or excessive sexual activity between children may constitute sexual abuse/harm if an adult in charge of either child knows about it and does nothing. The definition is not intended to encompass normal sexual experimentation between children.
Most people in our community want, and try, to be good parents. The majority are capable and responsible in caring for and protecting their children. There are times when some parents may mistreat or harm their children due to problems they are having in their family. When a request for help or a report is made to Dufferin Child and Family Services, that a child has been or is suspected of being mistreated or harmed, a Child Protection Worker will become involved by speaking with everyone in the family to determine what is happening and what services may be of help to protect the child from risk of harm.