In Ontario, child protection services are provided by children’s aid societies governed by the Child and Family Services Act. The government provides funding and monitors children’s aid societies. It also develops policies to support child welfare programs, and licenses children’s group homes and foster homes.
Children’s aid societies are responsible for investigating reports or evidence of abuse or neglect of children under the age of 16, and when necessary, taking steps to protect children. They also look after children who come under their care or supervision, counsel and support families, and place children for adoption.
All children’s aid societies must comply with the Child Protection Standards in Ontario to provide consistent services to all children, youth and their families.
There are 47 children's aid societies across Ontario. A list of the children's aid societies is available online through the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies. Each society is an independent, non-profit organization run by a board of directors elected from the local community, or a First Nation operating under the Indian Act.
Ontario is implementing the Child Protection Information Network known as CPIN. This will modernize and replace the information systems used by children’s aid societies.
CPIN will help enhance child safety by creating a single information system. It.will allow children’s aid societies to securely share confidential child protection information with one another and to better manage case files and finances. They will also be able to track which protection services children have received anywhere in Ontario and their results.
All personal information in CPIN will only be shared among children’s aid societies, and only for providing child protection services.
The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act provides the Provincial Advocate with the authority to make recommendations that are aimed at improving the child welfare system so that it promotes the best interests, protection and well-being of children and youth. The Provincial Advocate has the authority to receive and respond to complaints, conduct reviews, represent the views and preferences of children and youth, make reports and provide recommendations.
Find out more about the Provincial Advocate’s role in Ontario.
The Provincial Advocate also has the ability to investigate matters relating to services provided by children’s aid societies and residential licensees, where a children’s aid society is the placing agency. This authority strengthens accountability, oversight and transparency of Ontario’s child welfare system.
Learn more about what to do if you have concerns about a children’s aid society.
In response to the Honourable Susan Lang’s final report, the government appointed an independent Commissioner in January 2016 to assist people who may have been affected by Motherisk laboratory’s testing methodology, regardless of the date of the test. Over the next two years, Commissioner Judith C. Beaman will lead a review and resource centre that will provide legal, counselling and other support to affected individuals involved in child protection matters.
The Commission’s office is now open and can be reached at 1-844-303-5476 or www.motheriskcommission.ca.