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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1  
Old 12-23-2019, 12:50 PM
seeker101 seeker101 is offline
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Default reporting potential emotional abuse to CAS

Before taking action, I thought I'd get the opinion of the forum. This past weekend when my 3y old daughter (about to be 4) was with me, all of a sudden and totally out of the blue, she tells me the following (paraphrasing):

Dad, when mom was in the house, you beat up her a lot.
I said, when did I do that? She said, when I was in the tummy.
I said, who told you that? She said, mom told me that.

I said, no honey, dad did not beat up mom. Dad is nice and mom is nice too.

After that, we quickly went back to our usual routine and it was completely fine afterwards.

There was also an incident about 2 months ago, when I picked up my daughter, she said mom slapped me because I was crying for you. I didn't observe any marks but wrote to my ex's lawyer later advising that was unacceptable and warned her not to repeat this or else I would take appropriate action to protect my daughter from any physical or emotional harm.

As I see it, the situation now is that there's this damaging info that child is being exposed to, and due to her age, doesn't really understand the implications and forgets easily. Hence, I haven't actually seen any damage to our relationship and we're still very attached. I worry that the actual damages are in the future and currently a preventive intervention is needed.

Upon reviewing CAS website, it states each report will be evaluated to ensure family and child receive the support necessary to keep the child safe.

Question is if proven, what will CAS actually do? simply advise the mother to stop?

Below is an excerpt of the CAS website:
Quote:
If you see no physical signs of abuse, how do you assess whether children are being exposed to violence?
We look at whether there are issues of emotional harm, like pervasive threatening, belittling, humiliating ó those kinds of behaviours. They all have an emotional impact on a child. And we have to use the legislation (the Child, Youth and Family Services Act). The behaviour has to meet a threshold of harm. Itís not like we just say there is harm with every comment a parent makes or every time they raise their voice.

Itís when we see that it has an impact on kids. We look beyond the event, to the relationships and the behaviours the kids have with their parents. Are they afraid, I mean visibly afraid? We look at all their responses and reactions. How are they coping?
The thing that scares me is if there's an actual investigation and child doesn't repeat this and CAS says there's no actual harm. Then it looks like I'm just making up false things to bolster my custody claims. Worse is if mother is infuriated and punishes the child in some way for disclosing these things or coaches her to throw counter allegations at me.

To summarize, what is the best course of action for me that ensures safety for my child? Should I involve CAS? If so, what can I expect the CAS to do in this situation?

I believe the best thing I can do and continue to do, regardless of CAS, is to be involved in my child's life and show her first hand how much I love her and care about her.
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  #2  
Old 12-23-2019, 03:35 PM
iona6656 iona6656 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker101 View Post
To summarize, what is the best course of action for me that ensures safety for my child? Should I involve CAS? If so, what can I expect the CAS to do in this situation?

I believe the best thing I can do and continue to do, regardless of CAS, is to be involved in my child's life and show her first hand how much I love her and care about her.
The best thing for you to do is calm the fuck down and not run off to CAS.

My daughter is three- and lies like a cheap rug. She told me my mother hit her in the face the other day when they were playing in the living room. She did not. She tells people that I "holler" at her if she doesn't do what I say. I do not. She tells me her dad was mean to her when I pick her up. I'm 99% sure that he was not....toddlers lie at this age.

They can feel tension and they can start to say things they THINK you want hear.

Running off and writing letters to her lawyer is just going to make you appear high-conflict. Are you?

Do you have a lawyer? they should be advising you against this.
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  #3  
Old 12-23-2019, 03:41 PM
standing on the sidelines standing on the sidelines is offline
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I would not call them yet. I would keep making notes though. Right now you really do not have enough.
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  #4  
Old 12-23-2019, 05:50 PM
seeker101 seeker101 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iona6656 View Post


They can feel tension and they can start to say things they THINK you want hear.
I never bring up such things with my daughter so this comment is not applicable here but generally true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iona6656 View Post

Running off and writing letters to her lawyer is just going to make you appear high-conflict. Are you?
My intention here was to bring it on record. She didn't deny it but just ignored it. But I agree, it's a delicate balance as you don't want to be seen a high conflict person simply throwing mud and instead should offer solutions to rectify the issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iona6656 View Post

Do you have a lawyer? they should be advising you against this.
I have a lawyer off the record whom I consult sparingly to be cost effective. I haven't discussed this with my lawyer yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by standing on the sidelines View Post
I would not call them yet. I would keep making notes though. Right now you really do not have enough.
Fair enough. At the moment, I try to document as much as I can.

What I have provided here is just a snippet in time and sought advice based on that. It may seen inadequate to some for CAS intervention, which is still valuable to me as it helps me to assess what a neutral party would say. It might mean I need to provide more information and context when I'm in court or my concerns are misplaced and exaggerated.

Lastly, let's put our prejudices and assumptions and my specific example aside and help me answer the following questions:

-How should a concerned parent intervene early when it seems the child is being exposed to damaging and/or adult related issues? (I wish it was as simple as telling the other parent to stop). What tools are out there?

-Is the role of CAS to offer early intervention so problems do not escalate or must there be actual harm before they can do anything.

-If not CAS, what are other external tools that a parent can utilize to protect the children early on and discourage the other parent from engaging in such behaviour.

-One poster above pointed out I don't have enough right now and should keep making notes. I respect that opinion but does one have enough when there is actual evidence of child-parent relationship deterioration? Must we wait for that to happen?

I don't mean to be disrespectful to anyone but as a young, inexperienced and separated parent, simply want to know how to navigate this.

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  #5  
Old 12-23-2019, 08:53 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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Default reporting potential emotional abuse to CAS

Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker101 View Post
-How should a concerned parent intervene early when it seems the child is being exposed to damaging and/or adult related issues? (I wish it was as simple as telling the other parent to stop). What tools are out there?
Talk to a therapist who specializes in parenting with a difficult ex. Take your kid to one. Take a parenting after divorce class. Redirect. Ignore. Assert that it not their business. For gods sake stop making a big deal out of it. Otherwise they will learn to manipulate you.

Quote:
Is the role of CAS to offer early intervention so problems do not escalate or must there be actual harm before they can do anything.
Hell no. This is an underfunded and overworked organization that works to protect children. What you want is a service that can help you parent after divorce. Unless your child is in serious PHYSICAL danger donít even think of calling CAS.

Quote:
If not CAS, what are other external tools that a parent can utilize to protect the children early on and discourage the other parent from engaging in such behaviour.
Welcome to the ďyou canít fix stupidĒ club. You cannot stop the other parent from being an asshole. You can ignore their behaviour and parent your kid. Get a therapist to help you develop tools and one for your kid.

Quote:
One poster above pointed out I don't have enough right now and should keep making notes. I respect that opinion but does one have enough when there is actual evidence of child-parent relationship deterioration? Must we wait for that to happen?
Are you seeing your child? Does your child love you? Then there is no deterioration. Calm yourself chicken little and get some therapy.

Quote:
I don't mean to be disrespectful to anyone but as a young, inexperienced and separated parent, simply want to know how to navigate this.

Parenting after divorce class. Therapy. Calming the eff down.
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  #6  
Old 12-24-2019, 02:13 PM
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CoolGuy41 CoolGuy41 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker101 View Post
My intention here was to bring it on record. She didn't deny it but just ignored it.
Your ex was smart to not have said anything in response. You need to be twice as careful if you're sending her emails that have not been reviewed by a lawyer. You have it on record now; that in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but don't write any more.

Quote:
-Is the role of CAS to offer early intervention so problems do not escalate or must there be actual harm before they can do anything.
CAS actually has the following roles:
(1) Grab as many tax dollars as possible for itself.
(2) Cover its own ass as to the maximum possible extent by, for example, not providing anything to you in writing that could be used to hold it accountable for its own incompetence.
(3) Present itself as an underfunded and overworked organization to da-masses. This is really working toward objective (1).

Most child abuse, including in your case, takes place behind closed doors where nobody can do anything about it. Notably CAS cannot do anything about it.

Quote:
-One poster above pointed out I don't have enough right now and should keep making notes. I respect that opinion but does one have enough when there is actual evidence of child-parent relationship deterioration? Must we wait for that to happen?
You are making the classic newbie error of overestimating the strength of your evidence. Hearsay evidence is weak evidence and if too much of your overall case rests on hearsay evidence it will hurt you.

I agree with the other posters that you need to remain cool and not involve CAS. I am assuming you and your ex are litigating over parenting time. The real deterioration will take place if you fuck up in court and she winds up with primary parenting time.

It is worth noting that the courts, and not CAS, are the authority that can dictate your parenting time & guardianship rights. Even if CAS did get involved, the court will make an independent evaluation of the evidence. So even in your dream scenario of CAS giving you a report that said, for example, that your daughter was interviewed and CAS thinks she had been coached by her mother to deny the allegations, it still does not prove the abuse or the coaching occurred. The only way I see that you could leverage the abuse for the benefit of your case is if your ex somehow admitted to any of it on record.

Take notes. The immediate benefit of taking notes is it may help you clear your mind; i.e., "I wrote it down, so no need to ruminate about it any more". If your matter gets as far as an examination for discovery, that is when you should ask her questions based on the notes -> check. If she admits any of it -> check mate.

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Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
Parenting after divorce class. Therapy...
Take the parenting after separation class. Save the certificate of completion and use it as an exhibit in your case.
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  #7  
Old 12-24-2019, 09:02 PM
SpiritWithAhatchet SpiritWithAhatchet is offline
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I went through the same. Once I called caws who did nothing. On the end it backfired on her.
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Old 12-25-2019, 04:29 PM
Stillbreathing Stillbreathing is offline
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CAS do not become involved if the children are still residing with one or the other parent no matter how high the risk to the children! My ex is catastrophically brain damaged and assaulted the children while we were married and living together. Under those circumstances CAS will become involved. Once we separated CAS wrote a letter to the court that my ex needed continued supervised access. As the court case dragged in ( eight years now), CAS withdrew. They were under the impression that the custody assessor does a risk assessment and not them any longer. The custody assessor thought CAS were doing a risk assessment. Short answer: nobody was or would do a risk assessment. CAS then told me they were not there for parents like me who did everything right. They acknowledged that my kids are were at serious risk of harm or worse if my ex ever got unsupervised access but said they could not intervene until he hurt them again as it was before the courts. My ex did irreparable emotional damage to the kids who now all struggle with PTSD.

CAS are useless. Their mandate is to take children away from BOTH parents. Otherwise they havenít the foggiest idea how to intervene and therefor donít.

Welcome to family court litigation where all parents are seen and treated as imbeciles, liars and treated with the utmost disrespect by the court. Even if you are correct and your ex is mistreating the children, unless they are hospitalized with a broken neck which your ex admitted to causing ( and even then good luck), CAS will do nothing.
By reporting your ex to CAS ( even if you are right), you will be seen as a high conflict and unco-operative ex and a poor parent by all the court jesters including the judges, lawyers, OCL, custody assessors , etc.

Last edited by Stillbreathing; 12-25-2019 at 04:37 PM.
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  #9  
Old 12-28-2019, 05:27 PM
fairlight fairlight is offline
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Where did she slap your daughter? Corporal punishment is legal, just saying.
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  #10  
Old 02-20-2020, 03:52 PM
Abba435 Abba435 is offline
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Read the Child and Family Services Act in particular Section 95.
Then google the Ontario Childe Welfare Eligibility Spectrum.
You can call any CAS in Ontario anonymously to make an enquiry. They will often tell you that the incident is reportable but then they will assess if an investigation is warranted.
If you are acting reasonably you do not need to worry.
But there are side impacts as many people mistakenly believe the CAS are automatic child snatchers and freak out.
Maybe address this with the other parent first, tell them you do not want to be alarmist but you have a concern.
Ask to see a family counsellor expert in these issues together.
And tell them you are only concerned about the well being of your child.
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