The Director of Child and Family Services has authority pursuant to section 19 of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, to apprehend, i.e. take a child from their home and into the care of the Province of Alberta if they have reasonable and probable grounds to believe the child is in need of intervention. This authority is delegated or passed on to Caseworkers.
The Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act sets out reasons for children being in need of intervention, including:
- Emotional or psychological abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Cruel or unusual punishment
- Inability to protect a child from abuse or neglect
The Director is not required to give notice that they are applying for an Apprehension Order. The Director obtains an Order from the Provincial Court of Alberta to remove the child from their home and place the child into foster care. The Director then serves a copy of the Order on the child’s guardians together with a Notice of the date the guardians must appear in Court to oppose the apprehension. The guardians must be given two days’ notice of the Court date.
At the first court date, a date will be set for the Initial Custody Application.
The Initial Custody Application must be heard within 42 days of the hearing.
You should seek immediate legal advice if your child has been apprehended due to the strict timelines under the Act.