Once a child has been apprehended by an order of the Director of Children’s Services, the Director has 2 days to either return the child to their home or proceed to the next step, which in this case would be the filing of an Initial Custody Application. This application, if granted, allows the child to remain in the Director’s custody pending a resolution of the investigation, or the request of a more substantial guardianship order by the Director.
If you have been notified that the Director has filed an Initial Custody Application regarding your child, you are entitled to oppose the application, in which case there will be a hearing to determine whether Initial Custody of your child should be granted to the Director. It is important that you are aware of all applicable timing restrictions with respect to the hearing, and that you have skilled legal representation to guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf. At Mincher Koeman, our lawyers have the experience necessary to represent a parent or guardian at the Initial Custody Hearing and put forth the most compelling case to have the child returned at this early stage in the child protection process.
If the Director does not return an apprehended child to their guardians within 2 days of apprehension, they must decide how involved they need to be with the child. The Director must apply to the court for a Supervision Order, a Temporary Guardianship Order or a Permanent Guardianship Order. The Director must also apply for an Order to keep the child in their custody until that application is heard, otherwise known as an Initial Custody Application.
This application is made pursuant to Section 21.1 of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act. The hearing for Initial Custody must be held within 42 days of the first court date. Parents or guardians can choose to oppose this application, and our experienced lawyers will provide them with the necessary preparation, guidance and advocacy to put their best foot forward in the hearing.
At the Initial Custody Hearing, the court has two options:
If the court orders that the child will remain in the care of the Director, the court can also make an order for access between the child and their guardians or other significant people in the child’s life, such as siblings or grandparents. As well, the court can order that an assessment of the child and the child’s guardians be done.
If you are seeking to oppose a Director’s application for Initial Custody of your child, you should seek immediate legal advice to guide you through this complex process. Mincher Koeman’s family lawyers have the experience necessary to represent any parent or guardian in opposing an Initial Custody Application and will work to protect your rights and the rights of your child. Please contact our office to discuss your options by calling us at 403-910-3000 or by contacting us online.
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