Safety

To be safe is to be free from harm or danger. Harm or maltreatment of a child can involve physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse as well as neglect.

Keeping children safe goes to the very heart of the child protection services that Children’s Aid Societies provide. Ontario’s CASs are designed and exist to protect children from further maltreatment. We provide a safety net for infants, children and youth who are experiencing or at risk of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse, neglect or abandonment. A great emphasis is placed on addressing risk so that children can stay with their families and be safe and thrive.

CASs are most often alerted to a child who is experiencing or is at risk of abuse when a member of the public or a community partner institution places a call. In specific instances after receiving a referral the CAS will open an investigation into the safety of a child.

Children’s Aid Societies are currently reporting data on two performance indicators that measure performance around the safety of children. Below the name of the performance indicator is an explanation of what it means.

man tying child's shoes
Performance Indicator

Recurrence of child protection concerns in a family after an investigation

This PI measures the number of cases that were closed after an initial investigation but where the child or children subsequently needed to return to the child welfare system.

teenager sitting on sidewalk

One way to measure safety concerns at a Children’s Aid Society is to track if and when cases are returning to the system after they were closed following an investigation.

Read more about the recurrence of child protection concerns in a family after an investigation here.

Download current report

Read about a family whose case was reopened because of further safety concerns:

A primary school teacher, Jane, noticed that one of her students was coming to school without proper winter clothing or a lunch. Amanda, who was seven years old, also looked tired and her attendance was becoming erratic. Jane decided to call the local Children’s Aid Society.

The case was assigned to a worker who met with the teacher and family and discovered that Amanda’s father had recently lost his job. The worker also called the family doctor who told her that she saw Amanda frequently and had no concerns about her health or care. The family was provided with a community donation of winter clothing and the school’s guidance counsellor started to work with Amanda. The worker closed the case.

A month later Jane called the CAS again and revealed that Amanda was still missing school regularly and had revealed that her parents were leaving her on her own to work at their weekend jobs. The CAS worker reopened the investigation into the safety of Amanda to determine if the new allegations were true and if further services would be required.

Performance Indicator

Recurrence of child protection concerns in a family after ongoing protection services were provided

This PI measures the number of cases that were closed after protection issues were confirmed and services were provided and then subsequently the child or children needed to return to the system.

child playing with a toy car

One way to measure safety concerns at a Children’s Aid Society is to measure if and when cases are returning to the system after they were closed following an investigation and the provision of services.

Read more about the recurrence of child protection concerns in a family after ongoing protection services were provided.

Download current report

Read about a family whose case was closed after receiving CAS services and then had to be reopened because of further safety concerns:

Joe and Eileen have two young children whom they frequently discipline using physical force. One day their caregiver witnessed Joe strike one of his children and she decided to call the local Children’s Aid Society. The CAS opened an investigation to review the safety of the children and decided the family needed support in the form of education on effective parenting strategies.

Both parents participated in a program that teaches alternatives to corporal punishment and Joe received counselling on anger management. After ten months the CAS worker decided that the parents were in a better position to manage challenging child behaviours and closed the case.

A month later the child care provider called the CAS again and disclosed that one of the children had been physically disciplined and had marks on his body. The CAS worker verified that the child had marks and reopened the investigation into the safety of the children.