How to get help if someone reports you to the ministry
Tips on responding to a child protection worker's questions
The following tips will help you protect your rights and those of your child if a child protection worker contacts you (investigation).
- Think immediately about what is best for your child (and you) and the help you may need.
- Be honest with the child protection worker, yourself, and your child.
- Get an advocate to attend your first interview. If that isn't possible, have a friend or family member there to take notes.
- Take responsibility for your words and actions. If necessary, find a way to get help with a problem.
Respond to the investigating child protection worker
- Listen to the child protection worker's concerns and advice. Decide what is right for you and your child.
- If you don't understand something, ask the child protection worker to explain it.
- Show the child protection worker that you want to cooperate and do everything necessary to protect your child.
- Remember that you have choices. If the child protection worker simply wants to talk to you about the concerns of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, you can choose to do one of the following:
- Agree to listen and answer questions
- Agree to listen to gather accurate information only
- Ask for an appointment for another time so that you can speak to a lawyer, or get an advocate or interpreter to attend the interview
- Provide child protection workers with only the information they have a right to know to keep your child safe and healthy. Be clear and brief with your information so that the child protection workers can make the best decision in assessing your child's safety.
- Do everything you can to clear the matter up quickly if there is absolutely no case of abuse or neglect.
- Start taking detailed notes as soon as you can. Use one notebook or file for everything. Here is what to include in your notes:
- The child protection worker's name and phone number
- The date and time of the child protection worker's phone call or visit
- What the child protection worker said
- What you and your child said
- The dates your lawyer visits and his or her advice
- The dates you are in contact with your advocate
- Remember that the child protection worker will be taking notes too, and that everything you say and do can be used in court.
- If you believe you know who reported you to the ministry, and the intent was malicious, write out your reasons in a factual way, even though you might be upset. Give your notes to the investigating child protection worker.
- Keep a copy of any papers you give to the child protection worker. And always try to get an advocate or lawyer to review what you have written before you hand it over. Ask the child protection worker to keep your statements on file.
- If the initial assessment determines there was no abuse or neglect, get that in writing from the child protection worker.
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