Teenage Mothers and the Children’s Aid Society:
What Teen Mothers Should Know about the Child
Protection Process
September...
METRACMETRAC
METRAC, the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against
Women and Children
 works to end violence agai...
Presenters
Tamar Witelson
Legal Director, METRAC
Seema Jain
Lawyer, Jain Family Law and Mediation
24/09/2013 3
Teenage Mothers and the Children’s Aid Society
Topics to Be Covered
1. Purpose and Mandate of the Children’s Aid Society
2...
Th P d M d f hThe Purpose and Mandate of the
Children’s Aid Society
24/09/2013 5
Purpose and Mandate of the Children’s Aid Society
• Children’s Aid Societies provide services under
the Child and Family S...
Purpose and Mandate of the Children’s Aid Society
• Children’s Aid Societies provide child protection
services required un...
Purpose and Mandate of the Children’s
dAid Society
Oth FLEW bi• Other FLEW webinars
Understanding the Children’s Aid Soci...
Defining our term:“Teenage”
• Ontario “Age of Majority” is 18
 “Every person attains the age of majority and ceases to
be...
T M h d Ri kTeenage Mothers and Risk
Factors for CAS Involvement
24/09/2013 10
Teenage Mothers and Risk Factors for CAS
InvolvementInvolvement
• No obligation for every teenage mother to work with CAS
...
Teenage Mothers and Risk Factors for CAS
InvolvementInvolvement
• Abuse in the home
 by mother’s partner or parents by m...
W ki i h h CASWorking with the CAS:
A Teen Mother’s Considerations
24/09/2013 13
Working with the CAS:
A T M th ’ C id tiA Teen Mother’s Considerations
How does the CAS get involved with a teenage
mother...
Working with the CAS:
A Teen Mother’s ConsiderationsA Teen Mother s Considerations
Possible outcomes of a CAS investigatio...
Working with the CAS:
A T M th ’ C id tiA Teen Mother’s Considerations
When a teenage girl is pregnant
N bli i k i h h CAS...
Working with the CAS:
A T M th ’ C id tiA Teen Mother’s Considerations
Teenage Mothersg
• CAS may investigate home and par...
Working with the CAS:
A T M th ’ C id tiA Teen Mother’s Considerations
• Possible CAS resource referrals
 High Risk Pregn...
Working with the CAS:
A T M th ’ C id tiA Teen Mother’s Considerations
• Other Considerations:Other Considerations:
 Moth...
Presenters
Tamar Witelson
Legal Director, METRAC
Seema Jain
Lawyer, Jain Family Law and Mediation
24/09/2013 20
Child P t ti C t A li tiChild Protection Court Application:
A Teen Mother’s Rights
24/09/2013 21
Child Protection Court Application: A
h hTeen Mother’s Rights
• CAS may file child protection application in
Court when it...
Child Protection Court Application: A
h hTeen Mother’s Rights
• Mother has right to be represented by a lawyerg p y y
in c...
Child Protection Court Application: A
h hTeen Mother’s Rights
• Mother has right to be represented by a lawyer
in child pr...
Child Protection Court Application: A
h hTeen Mother’s Rights
• Benefits of getting a lawyer before a Court
application is...
Wh h CAS A h dWhen the CAS Apprehends a
Child
24/09/2013 26
When the CAS Apprehends a Child
• The CAS may apprehend a child at birth, if theyThe CAS may apprehend a child at birth, i...
When the CAS Apprehends a Child
• Mother’s rights:
Mother has right to custody of child if she can provide
safe care, unl...
When the CAS Apprehends a Child
• Going to Court after CAS apprehends childg pp
Court orders Children’s Lawyer to represe...
When the CAS Apprehends a Child
• Other Considerations
grandparents of the apprehended childg p pp
o may offer to support...
C l iConclusion
24/09/2013 31
Conclusion
• Teenage mothers face many challenges as both youth and parents
• They can be vulnerable
• They may have to in...
Presenters
Tamar Witelson
Legal Director, METRAC
Seema Jain
Lawyer, Jain Family Law and Mediation
24/09/2013 33
Addi i l RAdditional Resources
24/09/2013 34
Additional Resources
• Ministry of the Attorney General
child protection, court process, formsp p
www.attorneygeneral.jus...
Additional Resources
• Ministry of Children and Youth Services
Child Protection Standards in Ontario
hild /htd /E li h/t ...
Additional Resources
• Justice for Children and Youth Legal Aid Clinic
www.jfcy.orgj y g
• Legal Aid Community Clinics in ...
Additional Resources
• Law Society of Upper Canada Lawyer Referral Service
Toll-free: 1-800-268-8326
Toronto: 416-947-3330...
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Teenage Mothers and the Children's Aid Society: What Young Mothers Should Know about the Child Protection Process

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Recorded on September 24, 2013 - This webinar in the Family Law Education for Women (FLEW) series is the second of two discussions about the Children's Aid Society geared toward the rights of young women.

In this discussion, lawyer Seema Jain, of Jain Family Law and Mediation, discusses what teenage mothers should know if the CAS has concerns about the safety of their child(ren), in conversation with METRAC’s Legal Director, Tamar Witelson.
Watch the webinar at:
http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/webinar/teenage-mothers-and-childrens-aid-society-what-young-mothers-should-know-about-child-protect

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Teenage Mothers and the Children's Aid Society: What Young Mothers Should Know about the Child Protection Process

  1. 1. Teenage Mothers and the Children’s Aid Society: What Teen Mothers Should Know about the Child Protection Process September 24, 2013 Tamar Witelson, Legal Director, METRAC f il l Seema Jain,  Barrister and Solicitor, Jain Family Law and Mediation Funded by: www.onefamilylaw.ca 24/09/2013 1
  2. 2. METRACMETRAC METRAC, the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children  works to end violence against women youth and children works to end violence against women, youth and children  a not-for-profit, community-based organization www.metrac.org METRAC’s Community Justice Program  provides accessible legal information and education for women and service providers  focuses on law that affects women, from diverse backgrounds,g especially those experiencing violence or abuse FLEW, Family Law Education for Women in Ontario  provides information on women’s rights and options under Ontarioprovides information on women s rights and options under Ontario family law  in 14 languages, accessible formats, online and in print www.onefamilylaw.ca www undroitdefamille cawww.undroitdefamille.ca 28/03/2013 2
  3. 3. Presenters Tamar Witelson Legal Director, METRAC Seema Jain Lawyer, Jain Family Law and Mediation 24/09/2013 3
  4. 4. Teenage Mothers and the Children’s Aid Society Topics to Be Covered 1. Purpose and Mandate of the Children’s Aid Society 2. Teen Mothers: Risk Factors for CAS involvement 3. Working with the CAS: A Teen Mother’s Considerations 4 Child Protection Court Application: A Teen Mother’s4. Child Protection Court Application: A Teen Mother s Rights 5. When the CAS Apprehends a Child 6. Conclusion 7. Additional Resources Information is accurate as of September 24, 2013 23/09/2013 4
  5. 5. Th P d M d f hThe Purpose and Mandate of the Children’s Aid Society 24/09/2013 5
  6. 6. Purpose and Mandate of the Children’s Aid Society • Children’s Aid Societies provide services under the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA)the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) • Purposes of the CFSA:  To promote the best interests, well-being and protection of children, and o recognize that while parents may need help caring for their children, help should support the family unit o help should be based on consent, wherever possible o consider least disruptive action o recognize that services should respect cultural, religious and regional differences (CFSA, s. 1) 23/09/2013 6
  7. 7. Purpose and Mandate of the Children’s Aid Society • Children’s Aid Societies provide child protection services required under the Child and Familyservices required under the Child and Family Services Act Investigate, and protect if child is in need ofInvestigate, and protect if child is in need of protection Provide guidance and counseling to families for the protection of children Supervise children under CAS supervision, including establishing foster careincluding establishing foster care Care for children in CAS care Place children for adoption 23/09/2013 7
  8. 8. Purpose and Mandate of the Children’s dAid Society Oth FLEW bi• Other FLEW webinars Understanding the Children’s Aid Society – From the Inside yourlegalrights.on.ca/webinar/85974 Dealing with the Children’s Aid Society WhatDealing with the Children’s Aid Society – What parents should know yourlegalrights.on.ca/webinar/dealing-childrens-aid-society- h t t h ld kwhat-parents-should-know www.onefamilylaw.cay 23/09/2013 8
  9. 9. Defining our term:“Teenage” • Ontario “Age of Majority” is 18  “Every person attains the age of majority and ceases to be a minor on attaining the age of eighteen years”be a minor on attaining the age of eighteen years (Age of Majority and Accountability Act) • Definition of “child” under the Child and FamilyDefinition of child under the Child and Family Services Act  Under 18 years • CAS can intervene to protect children:  Under 16 years  16 and 17 years 16 and 17 years o CAS can continue to be involved, only if court application has already been filed o CAS cannot intervene for the first timeo CAS cannot intervene for the first time 23/09/2013 9
  10. 10. T M h d Ri kTeenage Mothers and Risk Factors for CAS Involvement 24/09/2013 10
  11. 11. Teenage Mothers and Risk Factors for CAS InvolvementInvolvement • No obligation for every teenage mother to work with CAS • Poverty  not a reason by itself for CAS involvement  mother must be financially responsible to care for child o obtain financial assistance, if appropriate o use food bank, if appropriate • Isolation from community• Isolation from community  teenage mother may be rejected or ostracized by family and community  look for culturally sensitive community supports as appropriate look for culturally sensitive community supports, as appropriate • Inadequate housing  pregnant girl living on street likely to be reported to CAS pregnant girl living on street likely to be reported to CAS 24/09/2013 11
  12. 12. Teenage Mothers and Risk Factors for CAS InvolvementInvolvement • Abuse in the home  by mother’s partner or parents by mother s partner or parents  between other family members  child must be safe Illegal drug use in the home• Illegal drug use in the home  if a caregiver of the child is using illegal drugs, CAS may investigate safety of child • CAS involvement in mother’s life  mother already known to CAS • Public scrutiny• Public scrutiny  social expectations that teen mothers need supervision  may lead to complaints to CAS 24/09/2013 12
  13. 13. W ki i h h CASWorking with the CAS: A Teen Mother’s Considerations 24/09/2013 13
  14. 14. Working with the CAS: A T M th ’ C id tiA Teen Mother’s Considerations How does the CAS get involved with a teenage mother?mother?  CAS is already working with a teen woman who becomes pregnant or has a childpregnant or has a child  under a CAS Supervision Order  in temporary CAS custody living in foster or group home, or with extended family (Society Ward)extended family (Society Ward)  in CAS custody (Crown Ward)  After a public complaint After a public complaint  teachers, day care, medical staff, social services, neighbours  teen may be pregnant or have a child 24/09/2013 14
  15. 15. Working with the CAS: A Teen Mother’s ConsiderationsA Teen Mother s Considerations Possible outcomes of a CAS investigation: • File closed • Development of a plan and signing of Voluntary Service Agreement • Court application if: parent and CAS cannot agree on a plan as part of a Voluntary Service Agreement Voluntary Service Agreement is not followedVoluntary Service Agreement is not followed CAS apprehends child because of immediate safety concerns 24/09/2013 15
  16. 16. Working with the CAS: A T M th ’ C id tiA Teen Mother’s Considerations When a teenage girl is pregnant N bli i k i h h CAS• No obligation to work with the CAS • CAS may offer services • Agreeing to a Voluntary Service Agreement with the CAS can benefit mother and child • Agreeing to a Voluntary Service Agreement may avoid• Agreeing to a Voluntary Service Agreement may avoid apprehension of child at birth • Rejecting or not following a plan of care under a Voluntary Service Agreement can lead to apprehension of child at birth • Lack of cooperation with CAS may be used against the mother to place child in CAS custodyplace child in CAS custody 24/09/2013 16
  17. 17. Working with the CAS: A T M th ’ C id tiA Teen Mother’s Considerations Teenage Mothersg • CAS may investigate home and parenting skills, if there is concern that child is in need of protection • Agreeing to a Voluntary Service Agreement with the CAS can benefit mother and child • Rejecting or not following a plan of care under a Voluntary ServiceRejecting or not following a plan of care under a Voluntary Service Agreement can lead to apprehension of child • CAS may apprehend child believed to be in need of protection • Lack of cooperation with CAS may be used against the mother to place child in CAS custody 24/09/2013 17
  18. 18. Working with the CAS: A T M th ’ C id tiA Teen Mother’s Considerations • Possible CAS resource referrals  High Risk Pregnancy Care Worker o voluntary  R id ti l P Residential Programs o voluntary o counseling and parenting support  High Risk Infant Nurse  Monitored settings  Parenting classes  Early daycare  Drug testing for mother and child Drug testing for mother and child 24/09/2013 18
  19. 19. Working with the CAS: A T M th ’ C id tiA Teen Mother’s Considerations • Other Considerations:Other Considerations:  Mothers should be appropriate, polite, strategic  Defensive, uncooperative behaviour can be used to support child apprehension and placement in CAS custodysupport child apprehension and placement in CAS custody  If mother fears CAS will apprehend child, it is wise to talk to a lawyer early  L l A i t Legal Assistance o Justice for Children and Youth Legal Aid Clinic www.jfcy.org M b li ibl f L l Aido May be eligible for Legal Aid www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/default.asp o Children’s Lawyer not available until child protection hearing, and appointed by Court Orderpp y 24/09/2013 19
  20. 20. Presenters Tamar Witelson Legal Director, METRAC Seema Jain Lawyer, Jain Family Law and Mediation 24/09/2013 20
  21. 21. Child P t ti C t A li tiChild Protection Court Application: A Teen Mother’s Rights 24/09/2013 21
  22. 22. Child Protection Court Application: A h hTeen Mother’s Rights • CAS may file child protection application in Court when it believes child is in need of t ti bprotection because: Voluntary Service Agreement offered and refused Voluntary Service Agreement not followed Child is at risk of imminent harmChild is at risk of imminent harm Child is apprehended 24/09/2013 22
  23. 23. Child Protection Court Application: A h hTeen Mother’s Rights • Mother has right to be represented by a lawyerg p y y in child protection hearing 1. Children’s Lawyer if th i d 18if mother is under 18 years cannot be requested until the first Court appearance must be appointed by Judge’s Order  Off f C ’lawyer works under Office of the Children’s lawyer mother may have a Children’s Lawyer already representing her in another CAS case (as a child in need of protection)of protection)  Children’s Lawyer represents her as the child in the other case  mother can ask the Children’s Lawyer to represent her asy p the parent 24/09/2013 23
  24. 24. Child Protection Court Application: A h hTeen Mother’s Rights • Mother has right to be represented by a lawyer in child protection hearing (continued) 2. Legal Aid certificate May apply at any time Must be financially eligible Certificate pays private lawyer who accepts it 3. Hire a private lawyer 24/09/2013 24
  25. 25. Child Protection Court Application: A h hTeen Mother’s Rights • Benefits of getting a lawyer before a Court application is filed: Children’s Lawyer will not be appointed until the h ihearing If mother is already working with a Children’s Lawyer for another reason that lawyer cannotLawyer for another reason, that lawyer cannot work on a different case until appointed by Court Legal Aid or private lawyer is a good ideag p y g Preparing early avoids delays, may prevent removal of child from mother for long period 24/09/2013 25
  26. 26. Wh h CAS A h dWhen the CAS Apprehends a Child 24/09/2013 26
  27. 27. When the CAS Apprehends a Child • The CAS may apprehend a child at birth, if theyThe CAS may apprehend a child at birth, if they believe the child is at risk • In such cases:• In such cases: CAS issues a birth alert CAS i d i d h hild i bCAS is advised when child is born CAS takes custody of newborn 24/09/2013 27
  28. 28. When the CAS Apprehends a Child • Mother’s rights: Mother has right to custody of child if she can provide safe care, unless Court orders otherwise CAS must commence a child protection application in Court within 5 days of apprehension Mother has the right to be represented by a lawyer 24/09/2013 28
  29. 29. When the CAS Apprehends a Child • Going to Court after CAS apprehends childg pp Court orders Children’s Lawyer to represent a mother under 18 years M th h hild ’ l l d tio Mother may have a children’s lawyer already representing her in another CAS case (as a child in need of protection) o Mother can ask the Children’s Lawyer to represent her as the tparent Mother may be represented by lawyer with Legal Aid certificatecertificate Mother may be represented by private lawyer 24/09/2013 29
  30. 30. When the CAS Apprehends a Child • Other Considerations grandparents of the apprehended childg p pp o may offer to support mother with parenting o may apply for temporary custody of the child o may apply to adopt childo may apply to adopt child mother with a safety plan in place, under a Voluntary Ser ice Agreement has right to c stod of the childService Agreement, has right to custody of the child o unless Court orders otherwise possibility of CAS apprehension continues o if CAS believes child is in need of protection • Voluntary Service Agreement breaks down • someone reports to the CAS 24/09/2013 30
  31. 31. C l iConclusion 24/09/2013 31
  32. 32. Conclusion • Teenage mothers face many challenges as both youth and parents • They can be vulnerable • They may have to interact with the CAS• They may have to interact with the CAS  As a child in need of protection  As a mother to a child in need of protection Th ft d hi h ti b i t th CAS d th• They are often under higher scrutiny by society, the CAS and the Court S i d t id th t• Service and support providers can encourage young mothers to:  Be open to learning and asking for help  Co-operate with the CAS when offered voluntary services  Make best efforts to comply with a Voluntary Service Agreement  Talk to a lawyer early, if they fear the CAS may apprehend their child  Talk openly and honestly with the lawyer, to get the best help 24/09/2013 32
  33. 33. Presenters Tamar Witelson Legal Director, METRAC Seema Jain Lawyer, Jain Family Law and Mediation 24/09/2013 33
  34. 34. Addi i l RAdditional Resources 24/09/2013 34
  35. 35. Additional Resources • Ministry of the Attorney General child protection, court process, formsp p www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/divorce/child_pro tection Mi i t f Child d Y th S i• Ministry of Children and Youth Services role of Children’s Aid Societies www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/childrensaid/childreng g p saidsocieties/index.aspx • Ministry of Children and Youth Services duty to report child abuse/neglect www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/documents/topics/childrens aid/Reportingchildabuseandneglect.pdf 24/09/2013 35
  36. 36. Additional Resources • Ministry of Children and Youth Services Child Protection Standards in Ontario hild /htd /E li h/t i / hild id/ hild twww.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/childrensaid/childprot ectionstandards.aspx • Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies• Ontario Association of Children s Aid Societies Website www.oacas.org/childwelfare/index.htm • Family Law Education for Women (FLEW) www.onefamilylaw.ca • Ontario Women’s Justice Network www.owjn.org 24/09/2013 36
  37. 37. Additional Resources • Justice for Children and Youth Legal Aid Clinic www.jfcy.orgj y g • Legal Aid Community Clinics in Ontario www legalaid on ca/en/contact/contact asp?type clwww.legalaid.on.ca/en/contact/contact.asp?type=cl • Legal Aid Ontario Toll free: 1 800 668 8258 TTY: 1 866 641 8867Toll-free: 1-800-668-8258 TTY: 1-866-641-8867 Toronto: 416-979-1446 (accepts collect calls) www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/default.asp • Office of the Children’s Lawyer www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/ocl 24/09/2013 37
  38. 38. Additional Resources • Law Society of Upper Canada Lawyer Referral Service Toll-free: 1-800-268-8326 Toronto: 416-947-3330 TTY: 416 644 4886TTY: 416-644-4886 www.lsuc.on.ca/with.aspx?id=697 • Toolkit for a good Client-Lawyer Relationshipg y p (Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic) schliferclinic.com/vars/legal/pblo/toolkit.htm • Helpful Tips for Lawyers Representing Clients in• Helpful Tips for Lawyers Representing Clients in Proceedings Under the Child and Family Services Act, Legal Aid Ontario www.legalaid.on.ca/en/info/downloads/cfsa_tips_08mar.pdfg _ p _ p • What You Should Know About Child Protection Court (Cases, Ministry of the Attorney General Website) / / / /www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/pubs/child_protection.asp 24/09/2013 38

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