The knowledge that one’s family is the subject of an investigation by Alberta Children’s Services (CS) can be devastating, however, it does not compare to the loss felt if the Director of CS makes the determination that a child needs to be removed from the home in order to protect their safety and well-being. The loss happens quickly, without notice, and can have long-term repercussions for both parent and child, even if the child is eventually returned to parental care. Any parent who finds themselves in this position and wishes to understand their options in a complex system should immediately seek out a legal representative who can provide knowledgeable guidance and assistance with respect to challenging the decision or identifying and seeking support to address the concerns of the Director to ensure that the child is returned promptly.
Mincher Koeman’s lawyers are uniquely qualified to provide insightful and practical guidance to any parent seeking to challenge the Director’s custody of their child to have the child returned home. Lynsey Mincher, one of our firm’s founding partners, previously worked as Director’s Counsel with CS before her move to private practice. Her experience there affords her unique knowledge of a complex system and enables our firm to advise clients with an insight into the process that few other private family law firms in Calgary can provide.
Within 54 days of a child being removed from their home, the Director will seek an order for either Temporary Guardianship (“TGO”) or Permanent Guardianship (“PGO”), depending on the Director’s assessment of the likelihood of the child being returned to their parents. As part of this application, the Director must also apply for Initial Custody of the child in the interim. A parent wishing to challenge the child’s removal from the home may formally challenge the application for Initial Custody in court. The Director has to show they have reasonable and probable grounds to support the apprehension.
As soon as a child is apprehended, if the child is not returned within 2 days, the Director must apply to the court for an order for custody and for a TGO or PGO. When a parent receives notice that the Director will be making this application, we will begin to prepare a carefully crafted case on behalf of our client to address any concerns that the Director may have. It is crucial to put the best possible case forward. If the Director is successful at the Initial Custody Hearing, they may be granted custody pending a Permanent Guardianship trial and later a PGO, which becomes much more difficult to challenge. Our lawyers will work with the parent(s) to establish a record of everything the parent has done to address the initial concerns of the Director and plans for ensuring their child’s ongoing safety and wellbeing. At the hearing, we will present a case on behalf of our client that demonstrates their willingness and ability to provide for the care and safety their child needs in order to thrive. The court will then make a determination as to whether the child will remain in the Director’s custody or be returned to their home.
In the event a child is removed from a parent’s care under a Permanent Guardianship Order, the parent still has the right to bring an application after a year has passed to terminate the PGO and reinstate the parent as a guardian of the child. An application of this nature is complex and parents seeking success in such an application face a number of hurdles. Our lawyers are familiar with the process of bringing such an application and are able to work with clients to ensure that they take all the necessary steps to place them in the best position for advancing such an application.
Child apprehension is incredibly stressful and devastating for the entire family. For parents and extended family who are committed to reversing that decision and providing the child with a safe home environment while ensuring their needs are met, either in parental care or with extended family, Mincher Koeman can help. Our lawyers will work with you to challenge the Director’s application for Initial Custody and demonstrate that the concerns have been addressed to ensure your child can be returned home. Please contact our office to make an appointment to discuss your matter with one of our lawyers today by calling us at 403-910-3000 or by contacting us online.
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