The following may help answer questions you have about our Agency and when a child and family may require our services.

Yes. You can call us and consult with a child protection worker about a situation without identifying yourself or who the family is that you are concerned about. You will only be asked for identifying information about the family if the circumstances are reportable. Also, there are situations when information about a referral source must be shared as part of court proceedings that result from an assessment.

Yes, our Agency serves families living in the Greater Toronto Area. You can contact us by calling 416-924-4646 or toll free at 1-866-527-0833. Your call will be answered 24 hours a day/7 days a week, every day of the year. When you call you will be able to speak with someone regarding the challenges or concerns you, your child/youth or family is having.

Call 9-1-1 when a child or youth is in immediate danger and emergency services are required. If you have knowledge of a criminal act committed against a child or youth, contact the police immediately.

A child or youth in need of protection is under the age of 18 who has experienced, or is at risk of experiencing, abuse or neglect.

Section 125 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017, specifies the ways in which a child or youth who is under the age of 18 may be in need of protection due to the actions or inactions of the person having charge of that child or youth.

A child or youth may have been harmed, or may be at risk of harm, due to this person’s actions or inactions. Types of harm include:

  • Neglect
  • Physical Harm
  • Emotional Harm
  • Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence
  • Sexual Abuse including Sex Trafficking

For more information, please see Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: It’s Your Duty

Each person has a responsibility to report concerns about the safety and well-being of a child or youth.

In Ontario, it is the law to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Section 125 of the CYFSA states that members of the public, including professionals who work with children, must promptly report any suspicions that a child under the age of 16 is, or may be, in need of protection to a children’s aid society. An individual concerned that a 16- or 17-year-old is, or may be in need of protection may, but is not required to, make a report to a Children’s Aid Society. For more information, please see Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: It’s Your Duty.

When you call the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CAST) about a child or youth safety concern, you will be able to speak to a Child Protection Worker who will listen to your concerns to assess and determine if a response is required and what type.

The worker will ask for some information, including the child or youth’s name, age, culture, heritage, identity, and whereabouts, and why you are concerned about their safety or well-being. The worker will also ask you about the family’s strengths and any known supports.

If there is a concern for a child or youth’s well-being, a worker will conduct an assessment to determine next steps and make a decision on timelines to investigate. CAST has a responsibility and legal mandate to investigate allegations and work with families and the community to promote the safety and well-being of children and youth.

If we have information that a criminal offence, related to the safety and wellbeing of a child, has occurred we will contact the police. In the same way, if police receive information about a crime against a child or youth, they will contact us. Sometimes our Agency and police conduct joint assessments, during which we focus on the safety and well-being of children and youth, and police respond to criminal allegations against children and youth.

Once an assessment is complete, if it reveals a child, youth or family requires child protection services, the Children’s Aid Society will make efforts to work with the family to address any issues that pose risk or cause harm to the child or youth, as well as help the family to develop or strengthen their support network.

We recognize the vast cultural diversity in the GTA and provide interpreters to assist families and our staff to be able to work together. We also work collaboratively with diverse, community-based agencies who provide supports and services that are respectful of families’ cultural and religious backgrounds.

If you have sought or received services from the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto you can share your feedback or make a complaint as set out in section 119 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017.

For more information about the complaints process please the complaints, compliments and feedback page.

The Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017, does not identify a specific age at which a child or youth can be left alone, or an age at which a child or youth can supervise or babysit other children.

The Act says that a person who has charge of a child who is less than 18 years of age cannot leave the children without making provision for their care or supervision that is reasonable under the circumstances.

Please visit our Community Resources section for more resources and information.

Please visit our What We Do section to learn more about our work and service mandate to protect children and youth from birth to 17 years of age. For specific services we provide, please see our Brochures and Publications sections of the website.

The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto has been operating since 1875 and is the largest board governed child welfare agency in North America. For more information about our history please visit the About Us section of the website.

Our mission is leading with excellence and working in partnership to:

  • Prevent situations that lead to child abuse and neglect by embracing, strengthening and supporting families, and communities;
  • Protect children and youth from abuse, and neglect;
  • Provide safe and nurturing care for children and youth;
  • Advocate to meet the needs of children, youth, families, and communities.

Please see our Annual Reports and Strategic Plan in the Publications section of the website for more details about our core values, strategic directions and priorities.

The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CAST) is a non-for-profit child welfare agency, funded by the Government of Ontario via the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

The Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is a registered charity that provides funds to support programs dedicated to childhood enrichment, educational support, and recreational and cultural activities which help children and youth maintain identity and connection to their communities.

Our latest Annual Report provides an overview of our services and statistics for the past fiscal year. Please visit the Publications section of our website to access recent Annual Reports.

For specific services our Agency provides, please see the Brochures section of the website.