Sunday, February 19, 2012


The Canadian Bar Association B.C. Branch website has a page entitled ‘Child Protection and Removal.’ Valuable advice is offered there to parents of removed children as well as to ordinary citizens with responsibility to report suspected abuse or neglect of children. These look like diametrically opposed interests but not from the perspective of the law.

You can of course read it in detail by going immediately to the site but I will highlight some of the offerings there to whet your appetite.


This is not a marketing tool for lawyers but sound counsel to parents whose child has been removed by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. ASAP is the applicable acronym. Subscribe a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer is of value at any point within the child protection investigation and court hearing. Hesitance to contract a lawyer is often determined by financial resources and yet you are advise here that if you can’t afford a lawyer, the possibility of free legal aid is mentioned. LSS or Legal Services Society makes such provision. ). To find a legal aid location near you, go to the Legal Services Society website at and under “Legal aid,” click “Legal aid offices” ( Or contact the LSS Call Centre at 604.408.2172 (Greater Vancouver) or 1.866.577.2525 (call no charge, elsewhere in BC).

Of course, the parent is in this circumstance, that is, of having a child removed because a report has been generated about a child and it has come to the attention of the Ministry.

The fact is every citizen is under legal obligation to report to the Ministry a suspected abuse, neglect, or need of protection situation. To encourage such reports, callers are promised anonymity upon request. The Ministry is required to investigate every report in order to determine whether risk exists and to what response is appropriate. All of this is mandated by the provincial Child, Family and Community Services Act.  The act also advocates that social workers shall help families to care safely for their child and offer services and resources.

When concern for the child’s safety exists then the Ministry acts. Hopefully when the risk is low, social workers will provide a ‘family development response’ and this can involve assessment of the family’s strengths and problem areas, time-limited and supportive services and assistance to a family and monitoring the child and family to ensure the child is safe.

“The social worker must make sure the parents know the details of the report. The parents may also be told that the children will be interviewed, however the parents might not be told about this interview beforehand if the social worker and supervisor believe this would put the child at risk. The parents have the right to explain their interpretation of the facts and to ask questions. They also have the right to have a lawyer or someone else with them at meetings with the social worker. And the family must be given as much information as possible about the progress of the investigation and available support services.”

The page contains other vital information under such headings as
What happens after a child protection investigation? When the children don’t need protection. When the children need protection. Removing the children from the home may also be considered. Where will removed children stay? If the children are removed, there will be a “presentation hearing.” What if a protection hearing is arranged? The protection hearing must begin within 45 days after the presentation hearing. Where can you get help or find more information?

1 comment:

  1. Ron; your blog topic is very timely and I was thinking of writing about this topic myself. You and I know very well, that it does not matter much what the theory is because the practice is very different. Sure, sure you can have all those rights, services and legal protections in theory, but you have to grind and sweat to make them work for you. Nothing will drop into your lap.
    We have seen time again where the time lines of the law have been ignored. We have seen where the best interests of the children are interpreted in bizarre and self-serving ways by ministry employees,lawyers and the courts. This happens because of laxity on the part of regional directors and their subordinates. Laxity on the part of lawyers and indifference on the parto of judges. So even if you have a lawyer, there is no guarantee that they will pursue your case with skill and diligence. You may not only have to tell your lawyer to do his/her job, but you may actually have to tell them how to do their job. You think I exaggerate? I could tell you some tales.
    Anyway, I am at present preparing some material for Derek Hoare on how to get the best out of his lawyer. I can just as easily use the base material for an article, which may help some readers. One thing that I can guarantee you---I can tell you things about the legal brotherhood that no lawyer will dare to tell you. Until Monday or Tuesday Adieu!


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