Having your child taken from you by the authorities can be a traumatic experience for both you and your child. If you want to be reunited with your child as soon as possible, it is important that you do not react inappropriately, even if you are experiencing extreme stress.
Your first step should be to contact a child welfare lawyer in Calgary. Our lawyers can help you understand what is happening, what led to your child being taken, and what steps you need to take to resume contact or bring your child home.
What can cause a child to be removed from a home?
Anyone who suspects that a child may be endangered by their living conditions is obligated to report those conditions. You will not be informed of who made the report, but the authorities will act when they suspect that the child is:
• Experiencing neglect or has been abandoned.
• Experiencing physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
• Being denied access to medical treatment.
• Exposed to the abuse of drugs.
• Exposed to illegal enterprises such as prostitution.
When conditions like these are suspected, the authorities will often act very quickly. You will not necessarily be warned that you are at risk of losing custody of your child. You will not necessarily be informed of where they have been placed or for how long.
What happens to children who are taken?
When a child is taken from a home, he or she may be placed in one of several different care situations.
When possible, the authorities will place the child in kinship care. This means that the child will be placed with another member of his or her family, such as a grandparent. If there are no eligible family members, or if the authorities have reason to believe the child will not be safe with a family member, the child may be placed in foster care with strangers.
In cases where the child has become addicted or is experiencing severe anxiety or distress, he or she may be placed under professional supervision in a treatment facility.
What legal options are available when a child is taken?
There may be several options available to you when your child has been taken.
In some cases, you may be able to regain custody as soon as you agree to a Family Enhancement Agreement. These agreements may obligate you to consent to assessments, seek treatment or make lifestyle changes to create a more nurturing environment for your child.
In more serious cases, one of the following Court Orders may be imposed:
Your child will stay with you, but you must consent to regular visits from child protective services and consent to conditions that ensure the child has a secure, stable, and nurturing environment.
Temporary Guardianship Order
Your child will be removed from your care immediately but will be returned after a period of time set by the court on the basis that you follow the recommendations of Child Protective Services. It is anticipated that you or other members of your family may be allowed to visit the child.
Permanent Guardianship Order
Your child will be removed from your care immediately and the child can not be returned to your care within a reasonable time. The child will be placed in a foster home, though other members of your family may be eligible to apply for Private Guardianship for the child.
A lawyer may be able to help you overturn these orders, or negotiate an agreement to resolve them.
Please contact one of our Calgary child welfare lawyers immediately if Child Protective Services is involved with your child.