Every province and territory in Canada has laws to protect children from neglect and abuse.  These are called Child Protection LawsChild welfare agencies, often called “child and family services” or “children’s aid societies”, are given responsibility to protect children.

Child welfare agencies, often called “child and family services” or “children’s aid societies”, are given responsibility to protect children. This responsibility is set out in child protection laws.

In some provinces and territories there are Aboriginal child welfare agencies to better ensure that child protection is culturally appropriate and that the child protection system is administered by and for Aboriginal peoples.

What do Child Protection Agencies do?

Child protection agencies investigate reports of abuse. If the agency determines that a child is “in need of protection”, the agency may do a number of things, from counseling and support to the family to removing the child from the home. Removal of the child from the home is referred to as “apprehension”.

In every case where the agency determines that a child is in need of protection, it must consider the “best interests of the child” in deciding what to do.As defined in child protection legislation, the term “child in need of protection”, is used to refer to harm or risks of harm that, if there is reason to believe they are present, give the child protection agency legal authority to step into a family to protect a child.