CCWS does not provide legal representation or advice. At most we provide legal information and referral.
CCWS provides individual advocacy support for children and youth, primarily Black, Indigenous, and racialized, as well as their families who are involved with or have been involved with child protection services or child welfare in Ontario.
We undertake individual advocacy when requested by a child, young person, family member, community member, foster carer, kinship carer or service provider. The goal with individual advocacy is that assigned individual advocates work alongside children, youth, and adult carers to facilitate knowledge growth and interdependence.
While the relationship between individual advocates and persons seeking support inherently requires emotional support, it is important to understand that individual advocates aren’t meant to act as therapists. Rather, CCWS works with the person to get the appropriate resources to provide more long-term therapeutic support while still helping individuals with their experiences with services.
CCWS does its utmost best to uphold the rights of children, youth, and family members/adult carers grounded in the Child, Youth, and Family Services Act, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and any other legislation, policy, or convention.
When needed CCWS partners with and/or refers to other community-based organizations to provide holistic and continuing support.
- If you are a parent/family member seeking support from CCWS, you must have an active CAS-related matter (investigation, service provision, complaint, reunification, racial displacement harm reduction) in order to receive support. CCWS does not have the resources to support in other matters without this.
- Unless for accessibility reasons, if you are a parent/family member contacting CCWS in relation to a child welfare survivor who is above the age of 18, we must have a conversation with and consent from that child welfare survivor in order to confirm services.
- When providing services, persons seeking support sign an Intake Agreement that has a limited sought outcome. While this is flexible based on how cases progress, CCWS may have to limit our support to specific matters based on our resources and capacity.
CCWS is now accepting referrals and requests for individual advocacy. Josh Lamers is currently our assigned intake worker To begin an intake process please email email@example.com or call (647) 675 9789, and you shall receive a response within 48 hours.
Child Protection Investigation
Whether the investigation is ongoing or there have been findings related to the investigation, CCWS will support child welfare survivors and families/caregivers in the process. This includes making sure persons seeking support understand what is happening during the investigation, that their voice is heard, and that investigations and findings are grounded in child protection agencies’ legal and policy obligation. This means your individual advocacy will attend any meetings that you request and that they’re available for.
Given the vulnerability of being a child welfare survivor or family/caregiver dealing with child protection, lodging complaints in relation to a worker, placement (foster, group, residential homes, adoption), agency, or other organization/service. CCWS will support in this process to make sure the organization takes the complaint seriously, follows their procedures. Should a person seeking support want to submit a complaint to the Child Family Service Review Board, CCWS can provide limited support but will more likely entail referral to more substantive representation/support.
We understand that in some moments child welfare survivors require immediate support and attention. This could be related to mental and emotional distress, homelessness, or fleeing violence in a placement setting. CCWS will do its best to have a faster intake process for those seeking crisis support.
Racial Displacement Harm Reduction
CCWS uses the term “racial displacement” rather than “transracial” to highlight the impact of the usual practice of placing non-white children into white houses. Whether the setting is adoption, foster, or group home care, CCWS provides support for child welfare survivors, families, and caregivers navigating the dynamic and impact of racial displacement. Our focus is with child welfare survivors aged 12-25, however we will support individuals outside of this age range if we have availability. We also support parents and caregivers on how best to understand and navigate racial displacement at the intersections of other forms of oppression, and how to best support a child welfare survivor going through this placement.
Child Protection Service Provision
Often child welfare survivors and families/caregivers find the service plan overwhelming and difficult to understand. A service plan is a plan the agency puts together that indicates the services and supports child welfare survivors and/or families/caregivers will attend in order to fulfill the overarching goals of the plan. This plan is meant to be created in partnership with child welfare survivors and/or families/caregivers, including genuinely taking into account your asks and concerns. Your individual advocate will support you in making sure this happens, and that you’re referred to relevant services. This includes issues related to placement.
While the hope is that child protection agencies provide an effective plan to bring about reunification, where the family is brought back together and live under better conditions, this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, the child may be quickly placed back with the caregiver/family with very little warning. CCWS supports in making sure child protection agencies are still meeting their obligations to provide resources and support to the family.
Other Systems Support
Child welfare survivors are rarely dealing with just child protection issues. Often there are interlocking issues with education, criminal punishment, housing/shelter, and psychiatric/mental health systems. Individual advocates can support child welfare survivors navigating other systems, including referring to appropriate organizations/resources to best address the issue(s). If parents/family members are also navigating issues within those systems, CCWS may be able to provide support but would likely be referral. At this time, due to the shortage of resources for housing, it is possible CCWS will not be able to support in that matter