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Please call us at: (905) 433-1551

FAQ

Adoption Process

No. There are no fees involved in adopting a child through a CAS.

Yes, we accept single applicants as long as you have some form of a support system around you.

There could be several reasons why an applicant would not proceed to the home study phase. We expect that our applicants not have a criminal record of a serious, recent and relevant nature. Also, we are looking for applicants who are healthy, emotionally and financially stable and are able to provide a good loving home.

No. We are only looking for financially stable applicants who are comfortably able to provide for a child.

The timing of a placement is highly dependent upon the children being referred to adoption and your own family’s strengths and experiences. There is no standard timeframe.

Yes. Through your home study process, you will explore what type of child you and your family would feel most comfortable with and as such, what type of child would be the “best match” for your family.

You can only adopt more than one child at a time if the children are siblings. In all other cases, if you would like to adopt more than one child, you must wait until your first adoption has been completed before initiating the adoption process for the second time. If you pursue adoption for a second time, you do not need to attend the Orientation Training but must update your home study, medical reports, reference letters and police checks.

Birth parents are entitled to non-identifying information about the adoptive family. Sometimes adoptions are much more open and an agreement may be made that pictures and letters would be exchanged over the years. Some families may agree to ongoing visits. No names or addresses are exchanged without everyone’s permission.

You can see, feed, hold and name the baby before you place the baby for adoption. You may also leave a letter or gift for the baby with the adoptive parents or the adoption worker who places your child for adoption.

No. It is a criminal offence to accept payment or a reward for an adoption placement.

Yes, this is your right. Tell your adoption worker that you would like to be informed when the adoption has been completed.

We cannot force the involvement of the birth father. We do make all efforts, however to involve both birth parents in planning for their child and in signing consent to the child’s adoption. It is important to remember that both birth parents can provide vital information about the child that no one else would know. They are the key to providing accurate health and social history information for the child and it is in the child’s best interest to have this information from both parents.

Foster Care

Foster parents and their families provide a stable and supportive home environment for children who are in need of a safe, temporary place to live. Some families cannot provide long term care for their children. Some parents cannot adequately care for their children and some homes are not safe for children to return to. Many children come into the care of a Children’s Aid Society on temporary basis and are able to return home to their family once the stress at home has been alleviated. But some children must remain in care for longer, some permanently. These children and youth need permanent foster care or an adoption placement.

Children are admitted to care through two approaches-through a voluntary agreement or by court order. Voluntary admissions are classified as “‘temporary care agreements,” the parents are temporarily unable to care for a child. Court ordered agreements include: Temporary care and custody orders – when a child is ordered into our care and custody during an adjournment of a child protection hearing. Society wardship – when Family Court has determined that it is in the best interest of a child to be placed in our care. Crown wardship, – when Family Court has determined that it is in a child’s best interest to be made a permanent ward of the Crown. Under this order, the Crown (CAS on behalf of society) exercises the rights and responsibilities of a parent. Crown wardship continues to age 18.

Children and youth may need foster care for a variety of reasons. They have been harmed, or may have been at risk of harm; or their natural parents or guardians may not be able to care for them. Each child is unique. Foster children range in age from infancy to age 18, and come from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds. The children and youth are going through troubled times with their natural family, and need care, protection and support. The kind of harm a child may have experienced may include sexual, physical or emotional abuse, abandonment or chronic neglect. Many have had few role models and little encouragement to succeed. In most cases, these young people have been betrayed by adults. They are sometimes unwilling or unable to trust adults, for fear of more rejection. Some children and youth in care have taken on parenting responsibilities for their brothers and sisters. Many have experienced an unhappy childhood. Some have had no childhood at all.

Foster parents are individuals or couples with a genuine interest in children and a sense of community responsibility. They come from all walks of life, have a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds and a variety of experiences with child care. Some have experience raising their own children, or have professional experience related to child rearing. Some do not have any formal qualifications. A basic understanding of the needs of children and/or youth, and a willingness to learn, is required. Love of young people, optimism, tolerance, patience and consistency are essential to the successful foster family.

We support our foster parents in a variety of ways. Foster parents are paid a daily per diem per foster child or youth in the home. We ensure that other expenses are also covered such as clothing, medical and dental needs, and school and recreation related costs. We also support our foster families in other ways, such as:

  • Initial training and ongoing educational opportunities.
  • Regular professional support from our staff.
  • Access to therapeutic services that the child may need.
  • Access to our in-house health clinic.
  • An annual dinner and celebration of our foster families.
  • Enhanced support through Enterphase

Foster parents also have access to mutual support and networking through the Foster Parent Association.

Most importantly, you must be committed to providing a safe and stable home for a child. You must enjoy caring for children, and be prepared for both the challenges and the rewards that fostering offers. You must:

  • Reside in Durham region.
  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Be of good general health.
  • Be financially self-sufficient.
  • Have no criminal record or charges pending.
  • Have stable family relationships, including being with or without a partner for at least two years.
  • Have consent of all immediate family members.
  • Have healthy individual and family histories.

There are other secondary qualifications, if you are interested in applying, please read the rest of the section on foster care.

Please contact us and speak to a foster care worker who will arrange an initial home visit and family interview to determine your eligibility. Eligible applicants attend mandatory training classes and we continue to conduct family interviews. The entire process may take approximately nine months. The decision to become a foster parent is very significant. The time spent in the approval process gives you time to learn more about the process and think about your decision carefully.

‘Homes For Kids’ is an innovative strategy is designed to attract more people to care for children in need of foster care and to ensure a supply of safe, nurturing homes for children and youth locally and throughout Ontario’s central region. The number of children in care has grown significantly in recent years, which had made it necessary for us to reach out to the community for support and to recruit more foster homes.

How Can You Help

Our volunteers provide assistance for children, youth and families in a variety of ways. Some volunteers provide transportation services for children. Some offer their time and companionship as mentors to a parent, child or youth. Volunteer tutors provide assistance to children and youth who are experiencing academic difficulties.The members of our Board of Directors are also volunteers.

Volunteer drivers transport children to school, family visits, therapy and medical appointments. Drivers are reimbursed for their mileage and parking expenses. Some drives are “one time” drives (such as an appointment) and some are “ongoing” (such as to school, or a weekly appointment), so there are varying needs for drivers. If you only limited time available, you may still be able to help us.

To become a volunteer, please call  or email our Volunteer Services Coordinator to receive an application form. Once we receive a complete application, we will contact you to arrange an interview. All volunteers must pass a criminal record check, and sign and Oath of Confidentiality. Once approved, we will strive to find the job that best suits your skills and schedule. Contact Erika Goreski, Volunteer Services Coordinator.

We always need financial support to run programs that are not covered by our government funding. You can help by learning more and supporting the Durham Children’s Aid Foundation. (Also on Facebook)

Financial contributions can be made to the Durham Children’s Aid Foundation, and yes, those donations are tax creditable. Some exceptions may apply. Donations are tax creditable under Charitable Registration Number 85426 0940 RR0001.

Durham CAS does not conduct any fundraising itself. We do partner with and receive money from the Durham Children’s Aid Foundation. The Foundation raises money for those programs that are not covered by our government funding.

Reporting Abuse

Child abuse and neglect includes physically or emotionally hurting a child, sexually molesting a child, failing to provide proper care for a child, and depriving a child of support, medical care and affection. The signs of abuse and neglect vary greatly from one child to another. Often children exhibit a number of behavioural and physical indicators. Signs can include physical indicators such as bruises (that are inconsistent with a child’s explanation), broken bones, and injuries in varying stages of healing. Emotional signs can include depression, fear and withdrawal. Behavioural indicators can include age inappropriate talk or actions, extreme aggression, and extreme attention seeking behaviour. There many possible signs of abuse and neglect. For a more detailed definition, please see the section ‘What is child abuse?’

There are many reasons to call CAS. We can help you if you have any concerns about a child at risk, or if you need assistance as a parent. The following are some examples:

  • If you are being or have been abused or neglected, or you are afraid you will be.
  • If you are aware of a child or youth who may be abused or neglected.
  • If you know or suspect that a child is exposed to domestic violence.
  • If, as a parent, you find the pressures of family life becoming overwhelming and you are afraid you may take it out on your children.
  • If you need help regarding a pregnancy.
  • If, as a teenager, you are experiencing serious conflict in your family.

If you have any concerns about a child, any suspicions that the child is or is at risk of being abused or neglected, please call us. You don’t have to be positive. We will talk with you about your concerns, and answer your questions. We will investigate and determine if the child is at risk. Regardless of whether the child is at risk or not, you’ll know that you did the right thing by calling.

You will speak with an intake worker who will determine if an investigation is warranted. If so, an investigation will begin. The investigation will reveal what, if any, services are appropriate for CAS to offer the child and family.

Information given to a CAS is confidential and can be shared only with the permission of the person to whom it relates, or by a court order or subpoena.

Services For Adult Adoptees

You may prefer to share only some areas of your life with your birth relative. Write what is comfortable for you to share at this time. We can provide a detailed guideline that you may find helpful in deciding what to include in your letter to your birth relative. Some suggested information may include a physical description, health, education, employment, lifestyle and your motivation for contacting your birth relative. If you are prepared to share your identifying information (name, address, or telephone number) in your first letter to your birth relative, your letter must be accompanied by a signed and witnessed Consent Form. The purpose of writing a letter is to help your birth relative begin to get to know you– it obviously will not answer all their questions about you.

Durham CAS strives to provide the highest quality service to families and children. If you have concerns about our services, we want to work together with you to resolve them. Please discuss your concern with your worker or his/her supervisor. If you are still not satisfied following discussion with them, then you can file a formal complaint. Additional information is available from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. There are two pamphlets which may be helpful:

  • Do you want a review of a decision you have received from an Ontario Children’s Aid Society or licensee?
  • Do you have a complaint about services you have sought or received from an Ontario Children’s Aid Society?

You and your birth relative have control over the manner and timing of the reunion. Some people need more time than others before they are ready to have contact. In those cases where one person is ready for a reunion before the other person, a ‘one way consent’ can be arranged. This allows identifying information (name, phone number, address) to be given by the person who is ready to proceed to the person who is requesting more time.  

If your birth relative has not kept their address up-to-date with the Adoption Disclosure Register, some effort will be made to locate him/her. However, it may mean waiting until he/she contacts the Adoption Disclosure Register or the Children’s Aid Society with a new address or phone number before the reunion can proceed.

If you decide not to proceed with the reunion process, your birth relative will be informed of your decision. Should you wish to resume the reunion process at a later date, contact the Children’s Aid Society.

You may arrange counselling with us or another social service agency, a private counsellor or your family doctor. We may be able to refer you to a counsellor in your area.

There are various stages in a reunion. Many of these issues are explored in great detail in the books and articles cited in our resource list. You may contact your counsellor at any stage of your reunion.