Court-Ordered Protection

Where less intrusive measures are not possible or are inadequate, or the child has been apprehended, the social worker applies for a protection hearing in Family Court. If the judge finds that the child is in need of protective services, a court order may be issued.  The three most common child protection orders are:

  1. Supervision Order - an order for supervision of the child in the home by the child and family services authority;
  2. Temporary Guardianship Order- An order for the child to be brought into the temporary care of the child and family services authority;
  3. Permanent Guardianship Order- An order for the child to be brought in the permanent care of the child and family services authority.

If a child is subject to a supervision order or a temporary guardianship order, it can be appealed to the Court of Queen’s Bench within 30 days of the order being renewed. During the period of the order either the parent(s) or the child, if he/she is 12 years of age or older, can apply to the Court to have the order reviewed.  You can only have the order reviewed once.  The director, can apply to the court for a review at any time during the order, it will take several matters into consideration, such as the following:

  • whether the circumstances causing the implementation of the order have changed;
  • whether the intervention ordered has been provided to the child or to the child’s family;
  • whether the director’s plan for the care of the child has been followed;
  • whether a guardian, other than the director, has complied with the order.

A parent can potentially have access to their child; however, the issue of access is under the discretion of the director and the court. To gain access, a meeting with the director must take place to negotiate an agreement.  However, if an agreement cannot be reached, an application to the court can be made. In their consideration of the application, the Court will consult with the child, if over 12, to see if the child consents to the access.

1)  Supervision Order

In particular circumstances, the court may determine that a child should be returned to the custody of his/her guardian, but that further supervision and protective services are required for the survival, security and development of the child.  This consists of planned visits by the director in the home of the child and his/her guardian for a period of not more than six months. A Supervision Order allows Child Welfare Services to supervise the family in the home while providing specified services. An Order may not exceed six months, but may be extended indefinitely by the court. The terms of a Supervision Order include the frequency of visits to the home by a social worker or the assessment and treatment of the child or other person residing with the child.

2) Temporary Guardianship Order (TGO)

The child is placed out of the home to ensure the child’s needs are met.  The parents may or may not agree with the TGO, but are expected to work with the caseworker and the foster family.  The goal is to return the chid home at the earliest possible time.  The director of Child and Family Services is the joint guardian and shares in the responsibilities for the child with the parents and foster parents.  A TGO remains in effect until one of four things happen:

  1. the order expires or is terminated by the Court;
  2. a private guardianship order is made in respect of the child;
  3. the child turns 18-years-old; or
  4. a child gets married.

The total period of time a child can remain in custody under a TGO is 6 months, if the child is under 6-years-old; and 9 months if the child is over 6-years-old.  A TGO can be extended for one more period not longer than 6 months. In some exceptional circumstances the TGO can be extended for one further period of not more than three months. The court may order terms for access, consultation or financial contributions, and may order any person who would assume custody of the child when returned to submit to an assessment. The Director must file a plan of care to the court within 30 days after obtaining the Order that describes the services to be provided to the child and family. The initial duration of this Order may not exceed one year, but it may be extended for an additional year up to a maximum of two years cumulative time in care under any status. In special cases, it is possible to obtain a court-ordered extension of up to one additional year.

3) Permanent Guardianship Order (PGO)

A Permanent Guardianship Order is issued when there is little likelihood that the child's guardian will, within a reasonable time, be willing or able to ensure the child's security, survival or development, and the child cannot live independently.  In this case, the child is placed in the permanent care of the director of Child and Family Services, who becomes the sole guardian of the Child. The Child and Family Services Authority or the delegated First Nations Agency will seek a PGO if efforts to reunite a child with the natural family fail.  If a child is PGO, the parents still can possibility that the parent could become the child’s guardian again.  An application must be made to the court if the Director thinks this is possible.   A PGO remains in effect until on of five circumstances occurs: 1) the order is terminated by the Court; 2) a private guardianship order is made in regards to the child; 3) an adoption order is made in regards to the child; 4) the child turns 18; 5) the child gets married.  If custody is awarded to the director, he/she must meet with you and your family to develop a plan outlining the services an alternative permanent placement for you child.  This plan must be developed within 42 days of the application for the TGO or PGO being made.

Other Orders/Agreements

Private Guardianship Order – Any adult who is committed to a long-term relationship with the child may seek a private guardianship order.  The child may be under PGO or PGA status for a Private Guardianship Order to be granted.  Usually the child has lived with the adult for at least six months.  If a child has been in long-term care and the guardian wants to formalize the commitment to that child, yet adopting the child would seem inappropriate, this order may be applied for.

Permanent Guardianship Agreement (PGA) - A parent voluntarily relinquishes a child to a Director for the purposes of adoption. All parental rights are terminated. Custody and guardianship are permanently transferred to a Director.

Appeals

A Supervision Order or Temporary Guardianship Order can be appealed within 30 days. After the appeal period has expired, the Director, the guardian, or the child (if over 12 years of age) may apply for a review of the Order to vary, renew or terminate it.

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