Children’s Aid Societies (CAS or the Society) help to protect infants, children and youth who are experiencing abuse or are at risk of experiencing abuse, physically, sexually, emotionally or through neglect or abandonment. They also provide help to families who want some extra support and assistance. Great emphasis is placed on ensuring that children can stay with their families and be safe and thrive. Children’s Aid must sometimes remove children from unsafe conditions and take them into its care – although the vast majority of Children’s Aid work is about protecting children and supporting their families to stay together.
A Few Quick Facts
- 50 Children’s Aid Societies across Ontario.
- Most are referred to as a Children’s Aid Society, such as the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Peel CAS, York Region Children’s Aid Society.
- Some are referred to Child and Family Services such as the Dufferin Child and Family Services.
- Some agencies provide additional services including children’s mental health services and developmental services, as well as parenting and youth programs.
What the Law Says
In Ontario, Children’s Aid Societies have the exclusive legal responsibility to provide child protection services 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. CAS must:
- Investigate allegations or evidence that children who are under the age of 18 years are in need of protection
- Protect children who are under the age of 18 years
- Provide guidance, counselling and other services to families for protecting children or for the prevention of circumstances requiring the protection of children
- Provide care for children assigned to its care
- Supervise children assigned to its supervision
- Place children for adoption
- Provide protection for children who have been harmed or are at risk of harm
To learn more, please read the Child, Youth and Family Services Act.
How MCASS fits in
At the present time, there is no legislated Children’s Aid Society for the diverse Muslim communities. Muslim children and families are under the responsibility of the Children’s Aid Society for the place in which they live (for example the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto).
We support families who are engaged with the Society. Support may include:
- serving as a liaison in discussions with CAS
- attending home visits
- providing additional resources or services to improve familial well-being
- making referrals to other Muslim or community organizations
- advocating for the family
- interacting with the criminal justice system.
If you have been contacted by CAS and would like our support, please call to discuss further with our staff.