Duty to Report

As a community, we are all responsible for keeping children and youth safe.  The Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex has the mandate and the responsibility, as defined under the Child, Youth & Family Services Act (2017), to investigate allegations of abuse, neglect and maltreatment of children ages 0-18-years, as well as serious acting out behaviors of children under 12 years. 

If you are a caregiver and need assistance or if you are worried about a child, please call us to talk about it.  We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Duty to Report

Everyone, including members of the public and professionals who work closely with children and youth, are required by law to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect for children age 0-16 years, and may report concerns pertaining to 16 and 17-year-old youth.  If you have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is, or may be in need of protection, promptly report the information/concerns to the Children’s Aid Society providing as much detail as possible.

If you have made a previous report about a child or youth and have reasonable grounds to suspect that they might be in need of protection again, you must make a further report to the Children’s Aid Society.  A report should be made every time you have a concern, even if you have made reports before about the same child. 

A report must be made directly to the Children’s Aid Society by the person with firsthand knowledge of the concern. They must not rely on anyone else to report on his or her behalf. 

See more information on the Ministry of Child and Youth Services, Duty to Report

Professional Duty to Report

Professionals have the same duty as the public to report to the Children’s Aid Society. The Child, Youth and Family Services Act recognizes that persons working closely with children and youth have a special awareness of the signs of child abuse and neglect, and a particular responsibility to report their suspicions and makes it an offense to fail to report.

Effective January 1, 2018 the Society has expanded jurisdiction to protect youth ages 16 and 17 years-old.  By increasing the age of protection to include all children under the age of 18 years, 16 and 17-year-old youth who are in need of protection will be eligible for the full range of child protection services. 

Any professional or official who fails to report a suspicion that a child is, or might be in need of protection, where the information on which that suspicion is based was obtained in the course of his or her professional or official duties, is liable on conviction to a fine of up to $1,000.

We can speak with your group, organization or school about the work we do in the community as well as Duty to Report. Please email: [email protected] with the subject line "presentation request". 

What Should You Do If A Child Tells You About Abuse?

  • Stay calm, listen and reassure the child
    • Contact CAS as quickly as possible, CAS has an After-Hours child protection worker on call at all times (if our office is closed).This worker can take your information and provide guidance regarding next steps and assessing safety for the child
  • Try not to interview or prompt the child with more questions than required
  • Do not promise to keep it a secret
  • Do not say “everything will be fine now”, it may take a long time before it is

See also: Yes You Can:  Dispelling the Myths About Sharing Information with Children's Aid Societies

What Happens When I Call?

Your call will be answered by a child protection worker who will listen carefully and ask questions about what you have seen and heard.  What you say will help the child protection worker assess if there are child protection concerns and, if so, the best way to help and how quickly we should respond.  If new concerns arise since your first call, it is important that you call us again to let us know.

When you call to report a concern, it does not mean that a child or children will be taken away from the family necessarily.  In fact, over 90% of the families we work with require assistance in making changes. In these cases, the child remains at home and in the care of their parents.  We work in a respectful way to provide support and guidance for families so that they can safely care for their children.  We are here to help.

Other Reasons for Investigations

Exposure to Domestic Violence

Exposure to domestic violence is when a child is exposed directly or indirectly to physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological harm between current or former intimate partners or spouses.  Exposure can include seeing and hearing violent acts, seeing related injuries and being told about the violence.


Abandonment/separation occurs when a child has been abandoned, a child's parent has died, or a child's parent is unavailable to exercise his or her custodial rights over a child and has not made adequate provision for a child's care and custody.  It also occurs when a child is in out-of-home placement and the parent refuses or is unable to resume the child's care and custody.

Caregiver Capacity

Caregiver capacity can be questioned when a caregiver demonstrates, or has demonstrated in the past, characteristics that indicate the child would be at risk of harm without intervention.  These characteristics can include a history of abusing/neglecting a child, being unable to protect a child from harm, problems such as drug or alcohol use, mental-health issues, or limited care giving skills.

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