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Intake & Family Services

If you have concerns about a child, please call your local CAS immediately.

All CASs have emergency service 24 hours a day, so you can call anytime.

The following non legal definitions describe what might constitute a situation which could require reporting to the agency and warrant child protection intervention:

  •     non-accidental infliction of physical harm
  •     sexual abuse/harm
  •     emotional harm
  •     Neglect

What is child abuse or neglect?

When a child is hurt intentionally, or when a parent or caregiver fails to protect a child in their care. It is against the law. It is a misuse of parental power and can lead to life long negative consequences. There are different kinds of child abuse:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Neglect

What is physical abuse?

Physical Harm: is when a child has been injured by a person who has care or custody of him, or if that person has permitted the injury. This includes, but is not necessarily restricted to, physical beating, wounding, burning, poisoning and related assaults causing visible or invisible physical injuries. Physical harm for the purposes of these provisions is also reportable if the child’s health is at serious risk because of an adult’s neglect or refusal to obtain necessary care or treatment for him. Failure to thrive diagnosis are included in this the definition.

The signs and indicators of abuse and neglect may include but are not limited to those that follow. It is important to realize that the presence of any one indicator is not conclusive proof that a child has been abused. In most instances, abused children will exhibit a number of behavioural and physical indicators.

Physical abuse is any harm to a child caused by an action or omission of action by the child’s caregiver.

Injuries may include:

  • bruises;
  • welts;
  • cuts;
  • fractures;
  • burns; or
  • internal injuries.

Physical abuse can be one or two isolated incidents or can occur over a prolonged period of time.

Behavioural indicators:

  • cannot recall how injuries occurred or offers an inconsistent explanation;
  • wary of adults;
  • may cringe or flinch if touched unexpectedly;
  • infants may display a vacant stare;
  • extremely aggressive or extremely withdrawn;
  • indiscriminately seeks affection;
  • extremely compliant and/or eager to please.

Physical indicators:

  • injuries that are not consistent with explanation;
  • presence of several injuries that are in various stages of healing;
  • presence of various injuries over a period of time;
  • facial injuries in infants and preschool children;
  • injuries inconsistent with the child’s age and developmental phase.

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What is Sexual Abuse?

Sexual Abuse/Harm: refers to any improper sexual activity between a child and the adult who has his care or custody. The consent of the child is irrelevant, as is the absence of physical injury. Incestuous relationships are included in this definition. Improper or excessive sexual activity between children may constitute sexual abuse/harm if an adult in charge of either child knows about it and does nothing.

The signs and indicators of abuse and neglect may include but are not limited to those that follow. It is important to realize that the presence of any one indicator is not conclusive proof that a child has been abused. In most instances, abused children will exhibit a number of behavioural and physical indicators.

The Criminal Code of Canada identifies a number of types of sexual abuse, including:

  • sexual interference;
  • an invitation to sexually touch;
  • sexual exploitation of a young person;
  • parent or guardian procuring sexual activity from a child;
  • householder permitting sexual activity;
  • exposing genitals to a child; and incest.

Behavioural indicators:

  • age inappropriate play with toys, self or others displaying explicit sexual acts;
  • age inappropriate sexually explicit drawing and/or descriptions;
  • bizarre, sophisticated or unusual sexual knowledge;
  • prostitution;
  • seductive behaviours.

Physical indicators:

  • unusual or excessive itching in the genital or anal area;
  • torn, stained or bloody underwear (may be observed if the child needs bathroom assistance);
  • pregnancy;
  • injuries to the genital or anal areas, eg bruising, swelling or infection;
  • venereal disease.

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What is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional Harm: refers to a situation where a child’s emotional needs have been so seriously neglected as a result of rejection or lack of affection that intervention is essential. In such cases, the mental ill-health is reportable if the action or attitude of the person who has the child’s care is the primary cause of the child’s condition. It is usually accompanied by an unwillingness or inability on the part of the care-taking person to assist the child to obtain appropriate treatment.

The signs and indicators of abuse and neglect may include but are not limited to those that follow. It is important to realize that the presence of any one indicator is not conclusive proof that a child has been abused. In most instances, abused children will exhibit a number of behavioural and physical indicators.

Behavioural Indicators:

  • severe depression;
  • extreme withdrawal or aggressiveness;
  • overly compliant, too well mannered, too neat or clean;
  • extreme attention seeking;
  • displays extreme inhibition in play.

Physical indicators:

  • bed wetting that is non-medical in origin;
  • frequent psychosomatic complaints;
  • headaches;
  • nausea;
  • abdominal pains;
  • child fails to thrive.

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What is Neglect?

Most caregivers do not intend to neglect their children. It usually results from ignorance about appropriate care for children or an ability to plan ahead.

Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide basic needs such as adequate food, sleep, safety, supervision, clothing or medical treatment.

The signs and indicators of abuse and neglect may include but are not limited to those that follow. It is important to realize that the presence of any one indicator is not conclusive proof that a child has been abused. In most instances, abused children will exhibit a number of behavioural and physical indicators.

Behavioural indicators:

  • pale, listless, unkempt;
  • frequent absence from school;
  • inappropriate clothing for the weather, dirty clothes;
  • engaged in delinquent acts, alcohol/drug abuse;
  • frequently forgets a lunch.

Physical indicators:

  • poor hygiene;
  • unattended physical problems or medical needs, eg. dental work, glasses;
  • consistent lack of supervision

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Reporting Child Abuse

The traditional child welfare or child protection service of the organization completes investigations in circumstances of child abuse and neglect when children and youth are under the age of sixteen. The goal of the service is to ensure the safety of children while also supporting the natural family and whenever possible, keeping children and parents together. To this end, counselling support and alternative placements are available when necessary.

Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) provides for a broad range of services for families and children, including those who are victims or suspected victims of child abuse or neglect. A paramount objective of the Act to is promote the best interests, protection and the well being of children. Furthermore, the Act recognizes that each of us has a responsibility for the welfare of children.

The Act places special reporting responsibilities on professionals whose work involves children. However, it states clearly that members of the public also have the obligation to report promptly to a Children’s Aid Society if they believe that a child is, or may be, in need of protection. The Act defines the term, “child in need of protection” and describes what circumstances must be reported to the Children’s Aid Society. Please report, to our agency, any concerns you may have regarding a child’s safety in our community at 613-735-6866.

Most people in our community want, and try, to be good parents. The majority are capable and responsible in caring for and protecting their children. There are times when some parents may mistreat or harm their children due to problems they are having in their family. When a request for help or a report is made to Family & Children’s Services of Renfrew County, that a child has been or is suspected of being mistreated or harmed, a Child Protection Worker will become involved by speaking with everyone in the family to determine what is happening and what services may be of help to protect the child from risk of harm.

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