Even in the best of circumstances it’s a job that takes a lot of time, energy and patience.
It’s even harder when you also have to cope with serious problems like poverty, unemployment, inadequate housing, ill health, relationship breakdowns, or the challenge of caring for children with physical, emotional or developmental difficulties.
Families in these circumstances come under a lot of stress. This can harm family relationships, and distressed parents may abuse or neglect their children. Sadly, the cycle of abuse often perpetuates itself, with abused children becoming abusive adults.
Child protection is our ultimate responsibility. Therefore we must intervene in any situation where a child under 16 has been, or is threatened with, physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or neglect.
Because children are almost always better off growing up in their own homes, we try to keep families together whenever we can. Most of the families we work with receive help through counseling and various support services to create safe homes for their children. If that fails, we may seek a court order to supervise children in their own homes, or place them in an alternate home.
Children’s Aid Societies across Ontario are now able to provide a full range of child protection services to 16- and 17-year-olds. This means that, if you are 16 or 17 years old and feel in need of support and protection, you may approach a Children’s Aid Society and voluntarily create a service agreement giving you all that is entitled to a youth in care. This also means that, if you suspect that a 16- or 17-year-old is being abused or neglected, you may choose to report this to a Children’s Aid Society and your concerns will be addressed.
We have been actively lobbying government to raise the age of protection for some time, and are very pleased to see this change take place, as it will increase the welfare of children in our community.
Stay tuned for additional information about this important change.
Child welfare and violence against women agencies in Hamilton have developed a protocol for collaborating in ending violence against women and children. The Agencies involved have agreed it is necessary to achieve:
This Collaboration Agreement represents the ongoing evolution of efforts between representatives of the Hamilton child welfare and violence against women sector agencies to enhance their work together.
Prevention is Key
We believe that the best way to deal with child abuse and neglect is to prevent it. That’s why we encourage people to contact us before their family problems get out of control. We can help them through the rough times, and support and strengthen their family so they are able to parent their children safely.