RIGHTS OF CHILDREN
Fundamental RightsAs a child or youth in foster care, I have the right in:
- To good care and treatment that meets my needs in the least restrictive setting available. This means I have the right to live in a safe, healthy, and comfortable place. And I am protected from harm, treated with respect, and have some privacy for personal needs.
- To know
- Why am I in foster care?
- What will happen to me?
- What is happening to my family (including brothers and sisters) and how CAS is planning for my future?
- To speak and be spoken to in my own language when possible. This includes Braille if I am blind or sign language if I am deaf. If my foster parents do not know my language, CAS will give me a plan to meet my needs to communicate.
- To be free from abuse, neglect and exploitation.
- To fair treatment, whatever my gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, medical problems, or sexual orientation.
- To not receive any harsh, cruel, unusual, unnecessary, demeaning, or humiliating punishment. This includes not being shaken, hit, spanked, or threatened, forced to do unproductive work, be denied food, sleep, access to a bathroom, mail, or family visits as punishment. I will not receive remarks that make fun of me or my family or any threats of losing my placement or shelter.
- To be disciplined in a manner that is appropriate to how mature I am, my developmental level, and my medical condition. I must be told why I was disciplined. Discipline does not include the use of restraint, seclusion, corporal punishment or threat of corporal punishment.
- To attend my choice of community, school, and religious services and activities to the extent that it is right for me, as planned for and discussed by my caregiver and caseworker, and based on my caregiver’s ability.
- To go to school and receive an education that fits my age and individual needs.
- To be trained in personal care, hygiene, and grooming.
- To comfortable clothing similar to clothing worn by other children in my community.
- To clothing that does a good job of protecting me against natural elements such as rain, snow, wind, cold, sun, and insects.
- To have personal possessions at my home and to get additional things within reasonable limits, as planned for and discussed by my caregiver and caseworker, and based on caregiver’s ability.
- To personal space in my bedroom to store my clothes and belongings.
- To healthy foods in healthy portions proper for my age and activity level.
- To good quality medical, dental, and vision care, developmental and mental health services that are at least adequate enough for my needs.
- To be free from unnecessary or too much medication.
- TO KNOW WHY I AM ON MEDICATION AND TO BE FULLY INFORMED OF THE RISKS AND BENIFITS OF THE MEDICATION.
- TO ASK FOR A SECOND NON-BIASED OPINION.
- TO BE GIVEN THE OPTION OF NATURAL TREATMENT VS BIOCHEMICAL TREATMENT.
- TO BE GIVEN THE CHOICE TO NOT TAKE MEDICATION FOR ANY NON-LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESS OR DISORDERS. EXAMPLE: A.D.H.D. O.C.D. BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS.
- To visit and have regular contact with my family, including my brothers and sisters (unless a court order or case plan doesn’t allow it) and to have my worker explain any restrictions to me and write them in my record.
- To contact my caseworker, Lawyer, probation officer, Child Advocacy, Member of Parliament. I can communicate with my caseworker, child advocacy, or my lawyer without limits.
- To see my caseworker at least monthly and in private if necessary.
- To actively participate in creating my plan of care and permanent living arrangement, and in meetings where my medical services are reviewed, as appropriate. To be given a copy or summary of my plan of care to review. I have the right to ask someone to act on my behalf or to support me in my participation.
- To go to my court hearing and speak to the judge.
- To speak to the judge at a court hearing that affects where I have been placed including status hearings, permanency hearings, or placement review hearings.
- To expect that my records and personal information will be kept private and will be discussed only when it is about my care.
- To have visitors, to keep a personal journal, to send and receive unopened mail, and to make and receive private phone calls unless appropriate professionals or a court says that restrictions are necessary for my best interests.
- To get paid for any work done, except for routine chores or work assigned as fair and/or reasonable discipline.
- To give my permission in writing before taking part in any publicity or fund raising activity for where I am placed or the agency, including the use of my photograph.
- To not be forced to make public statements showing my gratitude to the foster home or agency.
- To receive, refuse, or request treatment for physical, emotional, mental health, or chemical dependency needs separately from adults (other than young adults) who are receiving services.
- To call the Ombudsman's office if I believe my personal rights has been violated without fear of punishment, interference, coercion, or retaliation.
- To be told in writing of the name, address, phone number and purpose of the child advocacy system.
- To not get pressured to get an abortion, give up my child for adoption, or to parent my child, if applicable.
- To hire independent mental health professionals, medical professionals, and lawyer at my own expense.
- To understand and have a copy of the rights of children and youth in foster care.
- To complain 401 Bay Street, Suite 2200 Toronto, Ontario M5H 2Y4 Phone: (416) 325-5669 Toll-free: 1-800-263-2841 Fax: (416) 325-5681 TTY: (416) 325-2648 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org if I feel any of my rights have been violated or ignored. To be free from threats of punishment for making complaints and have the right to make an anonymous complaint if I choose.
The following survey is designed to help make the voices of youth in/from care heard. The questions address important issues facing youth in/from care in Canada and your responses will be used to help shape YICC's upcoming report on children's rights in Canada.
THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD in child friendly language
Youth in Care Canada: Survey on Child Rights Youth in Care Canada: Survey on Child Rights THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD in child friendly language THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD in child friendly language
(Youth 16 and older)
When I am age 16 and older in foster care, I also have the right:
- To attend Preparation for Adult Living classes and activities as appropriate to my case plan.
- To a comprehensive transition plan that includes planning for my career and help to enroll in an educational or vocational job training program.
- To be told about educational opportunities when I leave care.
- To get help in obtaining an independent residence when aging out.
- To one or more Circle of Support Conferences or Transition Planning Meetings.
- To take part in youth leadership development opportunities.
- To consent to all or some of my medical care as authorized by the court and based on my maturity level. For example, if the court authorizes, I may give consent:
- to diagnose and treat an infectious, contagious, or communicable disease
- to examine and treat drug addiction
- for counseling related to preventing suicide, drug addiction, or sexual, physical, or emotional abuse
- for hospital, medical, or surgical treatment (other than abortion) related to the pregnancy if I am unmarried and pregnant If I consent to any medical care on my own, without the court or CAS involved , then I am legally responsible for paying for my own medical care.
- To request a hearing from a court to determine if I have the capacity to consent to medical care.
- To help with getting my driver’s license, social security number, birth certificate.
- To seek proper employment, keep my own money, and have my own bank account in my own name, depending on my case plan and age or level of maturity.
- To get necessary personal information when leaving care, including my birth certificate, immunization records, and information contained in my education portfolio and health passport.
Learn about the Convention on the Rights of the Child - the world’s most ratified human rights treaty
For more in-depth information regarding rights of youth in care, download the brochure Know Your Rights (pdf).
►Disability groups from across Canada write open letter to government calling for improvements to Bill C-81-Accessible Canada Act
►About Your Legal Rights
A project of CLEO, Your Legal Rights is a website of free legal information for people in Ontario. This site has free, practical, and easy-to-find legal information produced by hundreds of organizations across Ontario.
Remember your rights.
Also remember that the foster parent’s or group home’s job is to supervise you and keep you safe and healthy.
If you feel you are being discriminated against because of your sex, race, color, religion, or for any other reason, please contact the child advocate.
If you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning youth, your rights and protections include not being subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of your actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Call the Ombudsman Office if you need help with this.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO SOME THINGS ON YOUR OWN. YOU CAN:
- have your own bank account (unless your case plan says you cannot)
- learn job skills right for your age
- work, unless the law says you are too young manage the money you earn (if right for your age, developmental level and it’s in your case plan)
- go to Independent Living Program classes and activities if you are old enough
YOU HAVE FAMILY RIGHTS TOO. YOU CAN:
- visit and contact your brothers and sisters (unless a judge says you cannot)
- contact parents and other family members, too (unless a judge says you cannot)
YOU HAVE OTHER RIGHTS TOO. YOU CAN:
- tell the judge how you feel about your family, lawyer, and social worker
- tell the judge what you want to happen in your case
- have your own lawyer
- live with a family member if that would be a safe place
- call the Ombudsman Office and Ministry Licensing at any time
- get help with school if you need it
YOU CAN PARTICIPATE IN SOCIAL ACTIVITIES: