Status Reviews and Children’s Aid Society (CAS)

November 28, 2017

By: Ashley Iyathurai

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. You should contact the Law Office of Jeff Jiehui Li, or another experienced family lawyer if you are concerned about your family law issues.

One of the functions of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) is to investigate and protect children who may require its protection.

Where a child is in need of protection, the CAS may initiate a child protection application. Once the court has made an order, the CAS, the parent, or the child, can seek a status review. The court will review the facts and circumstances of the case and decide whether or not the child is still in need of continued protection. The court will then make an order based on what is in the child’s best interests. The court will presume that the original order for access was made in the child’s best interests.

The factors for this test are set out in section 37(3) of the Child and Family Services Act (the “Act”) and include:

  • The child’s physical, mental, and emotional needs, and the appropriate care or treatment to meet those needs.
  • The child’s physical, mental, and emotional level of development.
  • The child’s cultural background.
  • The religious faith, if any, in which the child is being raised.
  • The importance for the child’s development of a positive relationship with a parent and a secure place as a member of a family.
  • The child’s relationships and emotional ties to a parent, sibling, relative, other member of the child’s extended family or member of the child’s community.
  • The importance of continuity in the child’s care and the possible effect on the child of disrupting that continuity.
  • The merits of a plan for the child’s care proposed by the Society, compared with the merits of the child remaining with or returning to the parent.
  • The child’s views and wishes, if they can be reasonably ascertained.
  • The effects on the child of delay in the disposition of the case.
  • The risk that the child may suffer harm through being removed from, kept away from, returned to, or allowed to remain in the care of a parent.
  • The degree of risk, if any, that justified the finding that the child is in need of protection.
  • Any other relevant circumstance.

Who can seek a status review? Under the Act, the Society can seek a status review where it has care, custody, or supervision of the child. Other than the Society, others can also seek a status review. A parent of the child, the person with whom the child has been placed under an order for society supervision, a representative of the child’s band or community (if the child is Indian/native), and the child (if the child is at least 12 years old) can also seek a status review.

When conducting a status review under the Act, a court may:

  • Vary or terminate the original order made under subsection 57(1);
  • Order that the original order terminate on a specified future date;
  • Make a further order or orders under section 57; or
  • Make an order under section 57.1.

In Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto v I.K. and M.P., the court set out the process for conducting a status review. First, “the court must consider whether the child continues to be in need of protection. Second, if the child continues to be in need of protection, then the court must consider the proper order to be made in light of the child’s best interests.”

The purpose of the status review is not to decide, again, the issues raised in the original hearing. Generally, evidence on a status review will be limited to events that took place after the order.

The party that is seeking to change an access order must prove: (1) that there has been a material change in circumstances since the date of the order and (2) that the changes are in the child’s best interests.

If you are currently involved with the CAS, you should consult with an experienced family lawyer to consider your options and discuss whether a status review may be appropriate. To schedule a consultation with the Law Office of Jeff Jiehui Li, contact us at (416) 800-7196.


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