Hamilton Child and Family Supports – HCFS (formerly The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton) was established in 1894 as a not-for-profit charitable organization focusing on the well-being and protection of children. The organization is mandated under Ontario’s Child, Youth and Family Services Act and, as such, is required by law to protect children from physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and harm. It is funded by the Ontario government, through the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and is one of 47 children’s aid societies and Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Agencies across Ontario.

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Child Welfare in Ontario – A Shared Responsibility

Understanding Child Welfare in Ontario

Mission, Vision and Values

Protecting children from potential harm is our priority. We attempt to do this by working together with parents, extended family, community professionals, and other members of the community to reduce harmful circumstances and address areas of concern. In a large number of situations, HCFS provides services and supports to children and families in their own homes. Child Protection Workers will consult and plan with other professionals who know the child, such as teachers, doctors, public health nurses, and other community partners to address immediate issues and establish a plan for future service, as well as help families build a network of support to aid in their ability to provide appropriate care.

Depending on the risk, it may be determined that it is not in the child’s best interest to remain in his/her home for a short or extended period of time. In this situation, HCFS works with the family to determine if a suitable kin home can be offered to the child through extended family, family friends, neighbours, or community members. If an alternative kin caregiver cannot be found, the organization will provide a nurturing and safe home environment, most often in the form of a foster home. In situations where children are placed with kin, or brought into care, Child Protection Workers will continue to work with parents to address issues of concern and plan for the child’s return or develop an alternative plan of care.

In some cases, children need to be placed permanently away from home, and whenever possible, CAS will arrange adoptions for these children.