Protection of Children

Overview

The Child, Family and Community Service Act requires that anyone who has reason to believe that a child may be abused, neglected, or in need of protection for any other reason must report the matter to the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Ministry of Children and Family Development social workers are entitled to request information that is directly related to protection and safety concerns for individuals and families from any public body under Section 96 of the Child, Family and Community Service Act or Section 62 of the Adult Guardianship Act.

Policy

Effective: December 1, 2003

For the purposes of the Child, Family and Community Service Act, a child is a person under 19 years of age.

Effective: December 1, 2003

Under the Child, Family and Community Service Act, a child is in need of protection in circumstances where:
 

  • the child has been, or is likely to be, physically harmed, sexually abused or sexually exploited by the child’s parent, or by another person where the parent is unwilling or unable to protect the child from the harm, abuse, or exploitation
  • the child has been, or is likely to be, harmed because of neglect by the child’s parent
  • the child is deprived of necessary health care
  • the child is emotionally harmed by the parent’s conduct
  • inadequate provision has been made for the child’s care
  • the child’s development is likely to be seriously impaired by a treatable condition and the parent has not provided or consented to treatment
  • the child is or has been absent from home in circumstances that endanger the child’s safety or well-being

Effective: December 1, 2003

When ministry staff members have reason to believe that a child has been, or is likely to be, abused or neglected they have a legal duty to report the matter promptly to a Ministry of Children and Family Development child protection social worker by calling the Ministry of Children and Family Development Centralized Screening [see Contacts]. The report must be:
 

  • made by the staff member who has reason to believe the abuse or neglect has occurred, or is likely to occur
  • noted on the system if the report regards a ministry client or a dependent child of a client 

Effective: December 6, 2010

With the exception of After Hours staff, Ministry of Children and Family Development staff do not have access to income assistance or disability assistance cases, or to any other Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction electronic file types. After Hours Ministry of Children and Family Development staff have access to all file types.

As Ministry of Children and Family Development requests may be of vital importance in an investigation, requests should be treated as high priority.  [For more information on policies for sharing information with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, see Related Links – Information Privacy and Security (FOIPPA).]
 

  • Section 96 of the Child, Family and Community Service Act and FOIPPA mandates that all information is shared when a request is made by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
  • The ministry has an information sharing agreement with the Ministry of Children and Family Development under section 70 of the Adoption Act.  Specific requests for information under section 70 must be referred to Information Access Operations [see Contacts].

Section 96 of the Child, Family and Community Service Act also:
 

  • States that any information requested is provided and includes the client’s address, telephone number, and if they are residing with anyone.
  • Specifies the requirements for disclosure of information between both ministries.
  • Obligates ministry staff to disclose to Ministry of Children and Family Development any information needed to perform the duties or functions authorized by the Child, Family and Community Service Act. Section 14 of the Child, Family and Community Service Act further obligates staff to report child protection concerns to Ministry of Children and Family Development.  All requests for disclosure must specify section 96 and must be in writing.

Effective: December 1, 2003

For information on assistance rates when a child is temporarily in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, see Related Links – Family Composition.

Procedures

Effective: December 31, 2009

All requests from the Ministry of Children and Family Development must be routed to the designated Provincial access point determined by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction (SDPR).

Processing a Ministry of Children and Family Development Request for Information

To process a Ministry of Children and Family Development request for information, follow these steps:

Ministry of Children and Family Development Social Worker

1.

Prepare in writing a request for information on a case or person, specifying the appropriate legislation under which the request is made and a “requested by” date.

 

2.

Deliver the request by email to the SDSI IssuesSupport Community Relations and Service Quality mailbox.

Note: In an emergency, urgent requests are to be made by telephone to the Supervisor of the local service office of SDPR.

The caller is to state the reason for the call and to identify the request as an emergency. The caller follows up with a written request by e-mail, as soon as possible.

Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction contact (or delegate)

3.

Respond to the Ministry of Children and Family Development request in written or verbal form, as appropriate, by the “requested by” date where possible.  Note:  if responding verbally, make the response in writing as soon as possible, and attach it to the Ministry of Children and Family Development request.

4.

Copy the Ministry of Children and Family Development request and the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction response to the SDSI IssuesSupport Community Relations and Service Quality mailbox.

 

5.

Make a note: "Responded to request from Ministry of Children and Family Development.”

 Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Issues Support

6.

Retain copies of Ministry of Children and Family Development requests and Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction’s responses.

Authorities and Responsibilities

Effective: January 9, 2008

The Child, Family and Community Service Act requires that anyone who has reason to believe that a child may be abused, neglected, or in need of protection for any other reason must report the matter to the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The protection of children requires mutual, integrated responsibility where collaboration is not only required between ministries, but within ministries.

Youth are often a vulnerable and impressionable population that frequently require additional assistance when accessing adult supports. Both ministries’ personnel work collaboratively in providing multi-disciplinary best practice support to youth in need of assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Question   What should staff members do if unsure whether what they're seeing is abuse or neglect?

Answer   The legislation requires anyone who has reason to believe that a child has been, or is likely to be, abused or neglected to report the matter promptly to a Ministry of Children and Family Development child protection social worker. A staff member who is unsure about whether to report can discuss his or her concerns with a colleague or supervisor, or call an MCFD child protection worker to discuss.  MCFD will assess the matter to determine if there are protection concerns.