If a social worker from the Ministry of Children and Family Development or a delegated agency contacts you or visits your home, this means that they think your child might be at risk and are looking into it. This is part of the child protection process. (This is also called an investigation.) An investigation is very serious. It may result in the social worker taking your child from your home.
You, your family, and your community have rights. The law says ministry should respect your child's family ties and Aboriginal identity.
To find services that can help you, see Who can help.
BC law says that if the ministry gets a report about your child, the ministry (or a delegated agency) must look into it. If the ministry believes your child is at risk, they must:
This process is called child protection.
BC law also says that:
If a social worker from the ministry or a delegated agency contacts you or visits your home to ask you questions about your family, this means that they think your child might be at risk and are looking into it. You have the right to get legal advice. Call Legal Aid immediately to find out if you qualify for a free lawyer:
604-408-2172 (Greater Vancouver)
1-866-577-2525 (no charge outside Greater Vancouver)
A mediator can help you work with the ministry. A mediator is a professional who's specially trained to:
You can ask for a mediator as soon as the social worker has contacted you. You can also ask at any time during the child protection process.
Mediation is free for families who are involved with the ministry. Mediators can travel to remote communities.
If the ministry takes your child from your home, you can:
If the ministry takes your child from your home, it must:
If the ministry takes your child from your home, your Aboriginal representative can:
Ministry of Justice — Child Protection Mediation Program
BC211 — Free confidential referrals to help and information — Call 211
PovNet — Information about poverty issues and links to organizations that can help
BC Association of Friendship Centres — Find a friendship centre in your area
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation — See their A Guide to Aboriginal Organizations and Services in British Columbia for organizations that can help
Aboriginal community legal workers — Give legal information and limited advice services
Legal information outreach workers — Give legal information and provide referrals
Access Pro Bono Law Clinics — Free legal help
Carole James, MLA, Community Office — Free legal clinic, including family matters — Call 250-412-7794
Family duty counsel — Free legal advice on family matters — Kwadacha and Tsay Key Dene — Call 1-877-601-6066 (no charge)
Family duty counsel — Free legal advice on child protection matters — Williams Lake, call 778-395-6200
First Nations and Métis Outreach Program (The Law Centre) — Free legal help, including family matters — Victoria
Bella Coola Legal Advocacy Program — Legal advocacy on a issues, including child protection — Bella Coola
UBC Indigenous Community Legal Clinic — Free legal help on various legal matters — 604-684-7334 (Greater Vancouver) or 1-888-684-7334 (call no charge)
Upper Skeena Counselling & Legal Assistance Society — Help with family matters —Hazelton
Victoria Native Friendship Centre — Free legal clinic, including family matters — Call 250-412-7794