How DCAS Responds
If you call to report suspected child abuse or neglect, or to request assistance, you will initially speak with an intake worker or an Emergency Duty Worker. Based on the information gathered by the worker the matter may be investigated further, referred to another area of the agency or to another community service provider.
If the matter is a case of sexual abuse or serious physical abuse, the local police will be contacted prior to the investigation. In such cases, the worker and a police officer will jointly investigate the situation. The police will investigate the situation to determine if a criminal act has occurred. Throughout any investigation, our agency’s primary focus and responsibility is the safety and well being of the child.
In most instances we are able to work with the family and other community service providers to keep the child safe in the family home. We can provide a variety of supports to help the family overcome challenges they may be facing.
Durham CAS Intake and Investigation Flow Chart
Note: There is a similar but distinct response process where community caregivers are involved. A community caregiver is any individual who has responsibility for a child or children, other than the parent or guardian. Examples may include teachers, coaches, substitute caregivers such as kinship care, babysitters and daycare providers.
Community Caregiver/Institutional Investigation Flow Chart
Other reasons for Children’s Aid becoming involved
There are a number of other reasons that a Children’s Aid Society may become involved with a family.
Some examples of these situations include:
- domestic violence
- substance abuse by the caregiver
- mental health problems of the caregiver
- abandonment of a child
- caregiver lacks the necessary skills to parent a child
- child suffers from severe depression or developmental delays and the caregiver is unable to meet the child’s needs
- a pregnant woman facing challenges and needing assistance to ensure proper prenatal care
In some cases, caregivers themselves contact the Children’s Aid Society for help if they are having difficulty properly caring for their child.