FAQ’s – Parents/Grandparents

Click on the questions below to view the answers.

Q: The CFS agency has apprehended my children and we have to go to court. Can you represent my children at court?

A: Officers at the Children’s Advocate are NOT legal advocates and they do not represent children in court. If any or all of your children are twelve years of age or older, the judge decides whether a lawyer should be appointed to represent the child or children in court.

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Q: What is the Authority Determination Protocol (ADP)?

A: The Authority Determination Protocol (ADP) decides what agency will work with a family or person. The decision is based on the cultural fit for family or person. The adult members of the family or person may choose the culturally appropriate authority or any other authority. Families have the opportunity to make a choice during the intake process. While adults make the decision, children over twelve, have a right to have a say and children under twelve, can have their views considered.

A youth can choose his/her own Authority of Service if:

  • He/she is living in an independent living arrangement under a child and family service agency.
  • He/she is a parent or an expectant parent and is receiving or about to receive expectant parent services from a child and family services agency.

While the family chooses the Authority of Service, it is the Authority that decides what agency under its mandate will deliver services to the family or person.

You can find more information about the ADP here.

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Q: I no longer want to work with the CFS Authority involved with our family, and want to change to a different one. How do I do this?

A: The person or adult members of the family can send a written request to the current Authority requesting a change. The letter needs to state the name of the authority they want to be transferred to; the views and preferences of children over the age of 12, (the views of children under 12 years of age may also be considered) and the signatures of the person or all the adult members of the family.

The Authority of Service must forward the request to the Authority the family or person wishes to be transferred to. The Authorities involved must make a decision and advise the family or person in writing within thirty days. Both Authorities must agree or the request will be denied.

An Authority must not approve a request to change an Authority of Service in the following situations:

  • An agency is completing a child abuse investigation
  • An agency is asking that the court make a decision about guardianship of a child under Part III of the CFS Act
  • An agency has a proceeding under the Adoption Act underway

An Authority may not approve a request to change an Authority of Service if they can establish that it is not in the best interests of the children or person making the request.

If a request to change Authority of Service is not approved by the Authorities, the adult family members or person may appeal to the Director of Child and Family Service, Child Protection Branch, within ten days of receiving the written decision.

Note: Requesting a change in agency follows the same process as the Authority must agree to that change.

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Q: I don’t agree with the case plan/services being provided by a child and family services agency. I tried talking to my social worker but she/he won’t listen to me. Can you advocate for me as a parent?

A: The Office of the Children’s Advocate does not advocate for parents. If you cannot resolve your concerns with the worker, you can take your concerns to the worker’s supervisor, then to the program manager, and finally to the executive director of the agency. An Authority of Service governs all CFS agencies as well and you can take your concerns here if you cannot find resolution at the agency level. You can call the OCA and we will provide the contact information for the agency and Authority if you cannot find it.

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Q: My grandchildren are in CFS care and the agency social worker will not let me see them. Do I have a right to see my grandchildren?

A: Under the Child and Family Services Act, Grandparents do have the right to have access to their grandchildren and can make an application to the courts if they believe access is being unreasonably denied.

A guide offering tips and information to help grandparents and other family members understand the court process related to applying for access to minor children is available here.

In many cases, visits with grandchildren in agency care can be arranged without going through a court process. Begin by talking with the agency worker to make your request known. The agency will consider your request by looking at whether there would be any protection concerns if the children were to have access and whether the visits would be in the children’s best interest. If grandparents are safe and appropriate, have always had a relationship with the grandchildren and the grandchildren want to see them, agencies are likely to support this access.

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