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My teen is in custody

Knowing what rights youth have can help both you and your teen understand their experience in custody. Youth also have responsibilities while in custody. These will be explained by staff at the facility.

Youth in custody must be told by staff about their right to a lawyer. They must also be informed how to file concerns or complaints in the facility and/or with the Ontario Child Advocate.

Youth have rights in a custody facility, including but not limited to, the right to:

  • participate in making a plan for their return to the community
  • have a say in decisions about their medical treatment, education, religion, discharge or a transfer
  • religious practice
  • freedom from physical punishment
  • medical and dental care when it is needed
  • education, training or work programs based on their interests and abilities
  • proper, quality clothing that fits and is appropriate for different activities and the weather; and
  • well-balanced meals

Youth also have rights to privacy when communicating with you, other family members, a lawyer or anyone representing them including, but not limited to, the right to:

  • send and receive written correspondence, that is not read, examined or censored by another person, with some limited exceptions
  • receive visits from, or speak by telephone with you, other family members, a lawyer or anyone representing them, such as the Ontario Child Advocate

Legislative references to these rights and more details can be found:

Visiting your teen

Each centre has rules about visiting, but generally you will have to:

  • show identification
  • sign in a visitor’s log
  • leave your personal things in lockers or with staff during your visit
  • not give or receive anything from the youth without the approval of staff

Visits are in a room supervised for safety and security. Conversations cannot be overheard.

Staff at the facility will be able to provide you with information about visiting your teen while they are in custody.