Tips about making agreements for your child's care
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If you're thinking of making an agreement with the Ministry of Children and Family Development or delegated Aboriginal agency about your child's care, or if you're in the process of making an agreement (see our Making agreements for your child's care), keep these tips in mind.
- If possible, get help from a lawyer and/or an advocate if you want to reach an agreement with the ministry.
- A lawyer or advocate can come to meetings with you, give you information about your rights, or help you work out an agreement with the ministry.
- See if the lawyer or advocate can help you write the agreement. Ask a lawyer to check the written agreement — before you sign it.
- It's important to have a say in what's included in the agreement. Make the plan fit the needs of you and your children. For example, if you have a drug or alcohol problem, the ministry might ask you to go to drug counselling. Make sure that the agreement lets you choose a counselling program that you can work with.
- If you agree to place your children in the ministry's care, make sure your children see you and other important people while they're in care. Make the agreement for the shortest possible time.
Important: Ask the director to be clear about what services or programs will be provided to you and your family.
- Make sure you understand what you agree to do.
- Agree only to what you know is helpful to you and your children. Always put your children's best interests first.
- Be clear about when the ministry will think you have completed the terms of the agreement. (For example, the ministry may want you to take parenting classes. Do you need to go to every class and have proof that you did, or is it enough if the class instructor says that you finished the class?)
- If you don't do what you agree to or can't follow through with parts of the agreement, there could be serious consequences. Ask the ministry what will happen if you don't complete everything required, and include this in the written agreement.
- Be sure the agreement gives you enough time to make the changes you have to make.
- Check that programs and the people you'll be working with (for example, counsellors) can meet the timelines in your agreement.
- Think about how your family situation might change and ask for flexible time limits.
- Keep notes of your meetings with the child protection worker, your advocate, and/or your lawyer. Write down what people say they will do and what you agree to do.
- Keep track of all important dates — such as meetings, court dates, and deadlines.
- Use one notebook for your notes and papers so that everything is in one place.
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