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Notice of Apprehension

December 4, 2010 permalink

Chris Carter points out a provision in a private members bill introduced May 31 by Garfield Dunlop, Bill 84, Child and Family Services Amendment Act (Protection of Drug Endangered Children), 2010 In addition to the provisions to take more children, it requires a notice to parents.

Notice of apprehension of child: 45.1

(1) As soon as practicable after a child protection worker brings a child to a place of safety under section 40 or a peace officer apprehends a child under subsection 79 (6), the worker or the peace officer, as the case may be, shall give notice of the apprehension to the person who last had charge of the child and, if known, to the persons last having lawful custody of the child.

Reasons: (2) The notice shall include a statement of the reasons for the apprehension and the telephone number of the office of Legal Aid Ontario that is nearest to the last known residence of the person receiving the notice.

Method of giving notice: (3) The notice may be given orally or in writing.

Saving: (4) The validity of proceedings under this Act is not affected by reason only that a person who is required to give the notice is unable, after reasonable effort, to do so.

There is the germ of good policy here. Old reports deal with Madelene Monast, [1] [2] [3], a woman who lost both hands in a machete attack after a misinformed neighbor suspected her of being a CAS snitch. Immediate disclosure of the facts to mother Marguerite Dias would have allowed Monast to keep her hands. In the Dunlop bill, paragraph four is the important one. If the caseworker fails to disclose the reason, there is no legal consequence. So if she says: "We are taking your kids because you are ugly", one of the few bad reasons, CAS keeps the kids. If this provision is to work, the social worker must be required to provide a written document with the reason and names of supporting witnesses. At the court hearing to ascertain the legality of the apprehension, only that reason could be cited, supported only by the named witnesses.