Rethinking reliance on police
June 28, 2021
28 June 2021
Our Office made inquiries when we learned that a children’s aid society (CAS) asked the police to bring back a youth who had left her foster home without permission to return to her family home.
Issue: Children’s aid society; Police involvement
Our Office made inquiries when we learned that a children’s aid society (CAS) asked the police to bring back a youth who had left her foster home without permission to return to her family home. When we reached out to her and the CAS, we learned that police had initially visited her at her family home and thought she was safe, so they left her there. The CAS asked them to return and remove her from the home, at which point she was handcuffed and forcibly taken away. This information was contained in a notification that we received from the CAS known as a Death and Serious Bodily Harm form, which all agencies are required to file to us.
After we asked CAS officials to review their handling of the incident, they met with the youth to hear about her experience and her suggestions about how the situation could have been handled differently. The CAS told us they had shared her experience with all staff, and initiated a review of how they involve police with children in their care. The CAS also pledged to better evaluate possible placement breakdowns before placing youth in these situations, including planning for how any issues could be resolved without involving police. Our Office continues to monitor and intervene in these types of cases, as section 28.1 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act makes it clear that the criminal justice system should not be used as a substitute for child protection, mental health or other social measures.
Learn more about the Children and Youth Unit which answers questions and takes complaints about child protection services.
Read about how we helped other people in our Selected cases.