We are a Children’s Aid Society

Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies (CAS’s) are not-for-profit agencies that protect children from physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect. For more than 100 years in Ontario, these Societies have been keeping children safe, helping parents build healthy families and providing safe and nurturingLink to Strategic Plan videoenvironments for young people.

Each CAS is locally based in order to understand and respond to the specific needs of children and families in each community. Many CAS’s, like ours, are known as Family and Children’s Services.

The Government of Ontario funds each CAS for child protection services we’re required to provide by law. Some CAS’s, like ours, have fundraising programs to raise and distribute money for services that the province doesn’t fund. These may include parent education programs, enrichment programs to promote healthy development and educational opportunities for children in care.

Child protection is our mandate. We investigate any situation where a child under 16 has been, or is threatened with, physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or neglect by a caregiver or a person in a position of authority. Our goal is to keep families together. Removing a child from their home is the last option and only used when there is a clear and immediate danger to the child.

On April 1, 2012, the Children's Aid Society of the City of Kingston and County of Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Family and Children's Services finalized their amalgamation, creating our new agency. The two legacy organizations are both more than 100 years old. They were created in the 1890s through a partnership of concerned citizens, church organizations and local governments.

We are run by a board of directors made up of local community leaders. Our staff, volunteers and foster parents come from all walks of life. We all share the same goal of protecting children in our community.
When parents are unable to safely care for their children, we find places for their children in the homes of friends or relatives, in foster homes or in other kinds of residences. Some of these residences are managed directly by our agency, and some by other community agencies.

Placements are usually temporary and most children are returned to their homes when their family situation improves. In the meantime, we work with families to create a safer environment for the children’s return home.

In some cases, however, children need to be placed permanently away from home. This may include adoption, if it is in the best interest of the child. If adoption is not feasible, we strive to keep the child in touch with his or her family if it is in the child’s best interests. Our goal is to provide children with permanency so they can have a predictable future.

When young people are ready to leave our care, we help them learn important life skills so they can manage on their own. When adopted children grow up, legislation now exists to allow them to obtain information about their birth families.
We believe that the best way to deal with child abuse and neglect is to prevent it. That is why we encourage people to contact us before their situation affects their children's safety. We can support them with information, services and referrals to other agencies. We work together with other organizations to help address individual family needs and to address community problems.

Raising children is not easy. Even in the best of circumstances it's a job that takes a lot of time, energy and patience. It's even harder when you also have to cope with serious problems like poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, inadequate housing, ill health, relationship breakdown or the challenge of caring for children with physical, emotional or developmental difficulties. We do our best to understand where parents come from and the unique challenges they face.

What Accountability Means to Us

We have a lot of responsibility, but who are we responsible to? Here is how we are accountable:

  • Our Board of Directors review our budget and services.
  • We publish an annual report, including financial and service numbers.
  • Our Agency has a client complaint system.
  • Provincial legislation (The Child and Family Services Act) guides us and tells us what we have to do.
  • The Ministry of Child & Youth Services reviews our budget and operations.
  • The Ministry publishes a set of Performance Indicators about our CAS and the entire CAS system every year
  • We follow the Government of Ontario`s Expense and Procurement rules.
  • The Child & Family Services Review Board is an impartial body that reviews complaints about our actions.
  • If we have to go to Family Court (which happens in a minority of cases) Family Court Judges decide what's in the best interests of the child.
  • The Office of the Children's Lawyer also represents some children in Family Court
  • As of March 1, 2016, the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth will have the legislative authority to conduct investigations into matters concerning a child or a group of children receiving services from a children’s aid society (CAS) or a residential licensee where a CAS is the placing agency. This includes child deaths and critical injuries. Following the completion of each investigation, the Advocate’s Office will release a public report outlining its findings and recommendations for the Minister, the CAS or the residential licensee to promote the best interest, protection and well-being of children. The Provincial Advocate cannot commence an individual investigation until the complaint is addressed through an existing complaint process, such as through the Child and Family Services Review Board, the local CAS’s internal complaint or other process.

Other organizations also provide accountability or oversight of the work Children’s Aid Societies do

  • The Auditor General examines and reports on the child welfare system
  • The Coroner examines child deaths in the CAS system

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