For someone who suspects child abuse or neglect is occurring

We are all responsible for the safety of children in Ontario. That’s because we all have a legal responsibility in Ontario to report known or suspected child abuse or neglect to a children’s aid society.

  • You do not have to be certain that abuse or neglect has occurred in order to report it.
  • You can report anonymously.
  • You are protected from liability resulting from any report made in good faith and on the basis of reasonable grounds.
  • The duty to report applies to all children ages 0-15.
  • You are encouraged to report any known or suspected child abuse or neglect for youth aged 16 and 17.

Contact us during business hours at 905-525-2012 in English, 1-855-550-3571 en français, or after hours at 905-522-8053 to fulfill your duty to report.
 

What happens when I call?

Our trained intake staff will ask you a number of questions, and will launch an investigation into your report. Our staff will fully assess the situation, and will determine if abuse and/or neglect has occurred, or is at risk of occurring. If not, the investigation will be closed. If so, our staff will ensure the child’s ongoing safety, usually by working with the child’s family to build their capacity to maintain a safe household; this is what happens in 98% of cases. If this is not possible, then the child will be removed from their family, to be cared for by kin, foster parents, or adoptive parents, depending on the situation. This is a relatively rare occurrence.

What constitutes child abuse or neglect?

The most important thing for you to know is that it is not your responsibility to prove that abuse or neglect has taken place in order to make a report; as long as you have reasonable grounds for your suspicions, you must make a report.

Learn more about the different kinds of child abuse and the subtle signs of abuse.

 

If you know or suspect a child is in need of protection:

Call The Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton at 905-525-2012

For service in French call 1-855-550-3571

Call the After Hours Emergency Services at 905-522-8053 after 4:30 pm Monday to Friday, on weekends and holidays.

Protecting children from harm is our priority. We attempt to do this by working together with parents and members of our community.

We all share a responsibility to protect children from harm. You can do your part in helping to protect children from potential abuse and neglect by ensuring you know your duty to report and who to call if you have a concern. Learn more.

If you have reasonable grounds to suspect a child is in need of help, you need to make the call. It isn’t up to you to prove or investigate the abuse but it is up to you to reach out and help protect the child.

If you are unsure as to whether or not you should report a concern, you may contact the Society for a confidential consultation. Learn more about your Duty to Report.


A document called “Yes, You Can. Dispelling the Myths about Sharing Information with Children’s Aid Societies” was jointly released by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario and the Ontario Provincial Advocate. The document, targeted at professionals who work with children, is a critical reminder that a call to Children’s Aid is not a privacy violation when it concerns the safety of a child. In fact, professionals who work with children have a special responsibility, as stated in the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, to protect the safety and well-being of children.


What Happens When You Call Us?

When you call, a member of our team will ask questions to understand your concerns. We’ll ask for names, addresses, schools, dates of birth, etc. We will then ask a range of questions about the story, the current location of the child(ren)/youth and anything else you can share with us.

With the information we have our first concern is the safety of children and youth and our work is guided by both professional and government standards. Depending upon the type of risk involved, the case may be assigned to a worker who meets with the family to offer support. However, if severe risk of harm or abuse is imminent, we will act with the police to keep children and youth safe.

When families need support, we help them connect to programs that address their needs. If there are any concerns about risk, we create a safety plan for the child/youth. We always look to take the least intrusive measures first and we look to other family members to assist.

We believe it’s important to keep families together. Our last resort, where there is no safety plan available, is to bring children/youth into care through short- or long-term foster care providing the most stable environment possible.

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