What is Child Abuse/Neglect?
When a Child…
Has suffered physical or sexual harm as a result of an act of a caregiver

  • Has been harmed as a result of a caregiver’s failure to provide adequate care for, supervise or protect the child
  • Is at risk of, or is likely, to suffer the above
  • Has been emotionally harmed as a result of:
    • Specific behaviours of a caregiver
    • A pattern of neglect of a caregiver towards the child
    • The caregiver failing to adequately address the child’s emotional condition
  • Is at risk of, or is likely, to suffer the above
  • Has been abandoned as a result of intentional or unintentional actions of a caregiver
  • Is at risk of, or is likely, to suffer the above
  • Has a history of abusing or neglecting children
  • Is unable to protect a child
  • Has a problem which interferes with his/her ability to adequately parent – eg. Substance abuse, mental illness
  • Lacks adequate parenting skills

If a child under the age of 12 years:

  • Harms another person or an animal
  • Does serious damage to property

What to do if a child discloses?

  • Stay calm and don’t overreact;
  • Let child disclose at her/his own rate;
  • Don’t prod or ask leading questions;
  • Emphasize that what the adult did was wrong;
  • Reassure the child that she/he did nothing wrong;
  • Call the Intake Screener at Kenora-Rainy River Districts Child and Family Services

What happens when you call a CAS?

  • In order to answer this question, we need to look at:
    –  the tools CAS uses to determine whether the referral should be investigated and to assess risk the Ministry’s standards for the investigation of allegations that children who are under the age of 16 may be in need of protection
  • Use eligibility spectrum tool to classify information and determine response time if appropriate
  • If eligible for service, assess child’s immediate safety (Safety Assessment)
  • Collaborate with Chief and Counsel and Prevention Workers in Aboriginal Communities
  • Talk to caregivers, children, collaterals and other witnesses, police if appropriate
  • Link family to community service providers Analyze all information to assess whether child is in need of protection
  • You may choose to remain anonymous

If I have concerns about a child, whom should I speak to?
Calls can be made to CAS anytime. During the daytime hours, your call will be directed to our Intake Department. The telephone screener will take information from you and determine how best to respond to your concerns. After office hours, our After Hours Staff will respond in a similar fashion after receiving the message from the answering service.

How old does a child have to be left unattended by an adult?
There is no specific age at which a child can be left unattended. The Child and Family Services Act states that parents of children under the age of 16 years, must make "reasonable provisions" for their care. This requires parents to ensure that if they leave their children at home alone, that they have made appropriate efforts to ensure their children’s safety such as ensuring they have emergency phone numbers.

At what age can a child baby-sit other children?
It is important to know that there is no age specified by law for baby-sitting and it is a matter of the parent determining if a teenager is responsible enough to provide a safe environment for your child. Not all children are responsible enough by age 12 years. Consideration should be given as to whether the baby-sitter has taken a certified baby-sitting course, has previous baby-sitting experience with positive references and appears to have a good rapport with your children.

My son/daughter is 16 years of age and tells me that he/she is leaving home. What can I do?
Legally, a child is entitled to reside where they choose when they turn 16 years of age, without interference from their parents. For children under the age of 16 years, parents are responsible for providing for their children with respect to their basic needs and to file a Missing Persons Report if the child goes missing from the home.

Can I make a referral to the CAS anonymously?
Yes, all calls to the agency are taken seriously regardless of whether you provide your name or not. Providing your name, however, allows for the social worker investigating the matter to be able to clarify information with you and helps to verify the concerns.

Can I call the CAS myself to make a referral on my own family?
Yes. We know there are times when the pressure of parenting can be overwhelming.  Call the CAS and consult with an Intake Screener with regards to difficulties that you are having in parenting your children. The CAS does not get involved in every situation that we receive information regarding and often suggests other services that would be more appropriate to assist you.