How to get help if someone reports you to the ministry
How the ministry assesses risks and strengths
When someone makes a report to the Ministry of Children and Family Development about your child's safety, a child protection worker from the ministry must respond.
- The child protection worker first does an assessment of your case.
- The goal is to decide if your child is in immediate danger and whether the ministry needs to keep looking into the report about your child (a full investigation).
- The child protection worker follows a standard procedure to identify any risks to your child, while taking into account your family’s needs and strengths.
- The child protection worker's first step is to collect information about the complaint and your circumstances.
- Next, the child protection worker makes sure that the report comes from a believable source. He or she then decides if the report fits the legal conditions for investigating abuse or neglect. Details of these conditions can be found in the Child, Family and Community Services Act. The fact that someone made a report about your parenting isn't enough for the ministry to start an investigation. Additional proof must show that a report is valid.
- While assessing the risk to your child, the child protection worker may talk to you and your child. See our Tips on responding to a child protection worker's questions.
- The child protection worker can also talk to anyone who may have information about the report. For example, the child protection worker may ask teachers, neighbours, or others who have contact with your child for their observations.
- The child protection worker may also look at medical or other records that might prove or disprove neglect or harm. He or she might talk to your doctor, psychologist, or therapist.
- The child protection worker also has the right to contact other government departments to share information that might help to protect your child.
When the initial assessment is complete, the child protection worker has a number of options:
- Take no action. Your child is safe and doesn't need protection.
- Refer a child and/or a family to services. Your child is safe, but the family could use some help.
- Conduct a family development response. There are concerns about your child’s safety, but the child protection worker decides that the concerns can be addressed without a full investigation. You must be willing to cooperate by considering your family’s needs and strengths and making plans to use available family and community services. The family development response builds on your family’s strengths. The goal is to keep your family together and support you to care safely for your child at home.
- Conduct a full investigation: The ministry needs to look further into the report about your child’s safety.