Dufferin Child and Family Services is the local Children’s Aid Society as designated under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act. All of our policies and procedures in this service area of our organization reflect the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, the Ontario Child Protection Standards and Ministry Directives.
If you suspect child abuse or neglect report the information to Dufferin Child and Family at 519-941-1530, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If someone has a concern for the well-being of a child, they can call our agency and speak with a Central Intake Worker. The response we take to a concern expressed in decided upon using the Ontario Eligibility Spectrum and a review of any previous concerns expressed. Our decision making is undertaken from a strengths-based perspective with equity-based considerations. This decision-making process is completed by an experienced worker and manager.
If it is decided that the concern expressed does not require a formal response, there may be no action taken at all or there might be a community link provided to the family that could help support their needs.
If it is decided that more information is needed to determine whether or not the child is at risk, the situation is passed on to and Investigation Worker. That worker will develop a plan to gather more information. Most of the time this plan can be developed with the family. There are times that apparent risk is high enough that a child will be met with without prior consent of parents. We try not to do this as we would rather involve parents from the beginning, however it is necessary at times and permitted within the legislation.
When information has been gathered, there is a decision made about whether or not the concern expressed is verified. In child welfare, this decision is based on the balance of probabilities – this is different than a criminal court case that requires a test of beyond a reasonable doubt.
The next decision is whether or not the child and family could benefit from the support of on-going services to help continue building their strengths. The on-going work is accomplished through the worker and family developing a service plan together which identifies goals and timelines. Our experience at DCAFS is that typically 97% of families are able to work through issues of risk and harm together without the need for any type of alternate care for a child. There are rare occasions when alternate care is needed due to immediate and serious safety risks. When faced with this situation, we try to work with the child and family to identify people well known to the child, often referred to as kin, to provide alternate care while we work together to reduce risks. If there are no kin available, a child may be placed in a foster home. Our foster parents go through a rigorous process before they are approved and receive extensive training. If you are interested in fostering, visit our Foster & Adopt Page
There are many other types of supports and services through our child welfare program area, however the information above provides a general overview of what to expect when concerns are expressed. Pleased feel welcome to call us if you have questions about our child welfare service.
Services we offer:
- Investigation and Assessment Regarding the Safety and Well-Being of Children/Youth
- Ongoing Services
- Family Support
- Fostering, Kinship and Adoption
- Child/Youth in Care Services