If your child or a child or family in our community needs support, we are here to help.
Call us any time at 905.937.7731 | 888.937.7731 | TTY 905.937.8105
When In Doubt, Check It Out
If you have a genuine concern about a child up to the age of 18 who may be at risk for abuse or neglect, it is your duty as an Ontario citizen to report it to a Children’s Aid Society by phone or in person.
Let’s address some of the questions and concerns you may have about your role in child protection.
What kinds of concerns warrant a call?
Don’t spend time wondering if your concern is worthy of a call. If your instincts tell you something seems wrong, report your concern. You do not need to have proof, only a genuine concern. If you suspect that a child or youth needs help right away because of an injury or an immediate danger – please call 911 immediately.
When should I call FACS Niagara?
You can call FACS 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and you can choose to report anonymously or confidentially. The numbers are: 905.937.7731 | 888.937.7731 | TTY 905.937.8105
What happens when I call FACS Niagara to report a concern?
A FACS employee will ask you some questions about your concerns to help us assess the appropriate next steps. If there is a child protection concern, we will start an investigation. If it isn’t a child protection concern, we may make a referral to another community agency for support.
How does FACS work to keep kids safe after I report a concern?
Your call will help ensure that the child you’re concerned about is safe. Our work may result in a short-term intervention or longer-term support. Traditionally, 96 per cent of the children we serve remain in the care of their parents. Only in cases where all options have been exhausted and the child still remains at risk, or if they are at immediate risk, do we bring them into care.
In cases where children must be admitted to care, we prioritize placing them with appropriate kin or extended family members. Of the four per cent of children admitted to care, 75 per cent return to their parents or family members in less than three months.
What should I do if I’m a child under the care of FACS or another Ontario agency and I have concerns about how I’m being treated?
Your rights are outlined in the Child, Youth and Family Services Act. We encourage you to report any concerns you may have.
Those rights include the right to:
- Express your own views freely and safely about matters that affect you
- Be engaged in decisions that affect you, including about your identity, creed and community, and have your views given due weight in light of your age and maturity
- Have a say in the services you receive
- Express your concerns and suggest changes to those services and to be told about the decisions made about those services
- Be informed of your rights
- Be informed about the Ontario Ombudsman and how to contact that Office
- Express your views about your treatment, education, work program, creed, community, identity, and cultural identity and have your views given due weight in decision-making
- Have a say in any decision about your placement in or discharge/transfer from a residential placement
- Be informed about the procedures for making a complaint to the CAS and the Child and Family Services Review Board and of your right to ask for a review of your placement by the Residential Placement Advisory Committee
- Know the rules of the home in which you live and your responsibilities while living there
- Talk in private and receive visits from your lawyer, the Ombudsman, or a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario or the Parliament of Canada
- Speak in private and visit with members of your family, subject to some limits set out in the Child Youth and Family Services Act
- Send and receive communication that is not opened or altered, except as permitted by the Act
- Reasonable privacy and possession of your own things
- Take part in activities of your choice related to your creed, community identity and cultural identity
- A plan of care designed to meet your needs, prepared within 30 days of admission to care, and to participate in its development
- Be asked what aspects of your identity are important to you, have them considered in decisions that are made, and be offered a resource person to support you in meeting your needs related to your identity
- Have access to good quality food and well-balanced meals
- Be given appropriate clothing for your activities and the weather
- Receive regular medical and dental care
- Receive an education that is right for you
- Take part in recreational, athletic, and creative activities that are right for you
- Be provided with French Language services if that is your preferred language
- Be asked what aspects of your identity and regional differences are important to you, and if you are a First Nations, Inuk or Metis child, about your cultures, heritages, traditions and connection to community; to have these matters considered in decisions that are made, and be offered a resource person to support you in meeting your needs related to these matters
- You also cannot be physically punished, locked up or detained (except under the criminal law), and restrained by physical or mechanical means except as expressly authorized by the CYFSA
To learn more about your rights as a child receiving services under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/children-and-young-persons-rights-resource