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Allegations of CAS as an Educational Assistant and Your Duty to Report

Everything you need to know about your duty as an EA and reporting child abuse

An allegation can surround verbal, physical, emotional and sexual abuse and/or neglect. It also addresses a pattern  of abuse and risks of harm.

Physical abuse is any deliberate physical force or action, by a parent or caregiver, which results, or could  result, in injury to a child. It can include bruising, cuts, punching, slapping, beating, shaking, burning, biting  or throwing a child. Using belts, sticks or other objects to punish a child can cause serious harm and is  also considered abuse.

Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide basic needs such as adequate food, sleep, safety,  education, clothing or medical treatment. It also includes leaving a child alone or failing to provide  adequate supervision. If the caregiver is unable to provide the child with basic needs due to financial inability, it is not considered neglect, unless relief has been offered and refused.

Emotional abuse is a pattern of behaviour that attacks a child’s emotional development and sense of self worth. It includes excessive, aggressive or unreasonable demands that place expectations on a child  beyond his or her capacity. Emotional abuse includes constantly criticizing, teasing, belittling, insulting,  rejecting, ignoring or isolating the child. It may also include exposure to domestic violence.

Sexual abuse occurs when a child is used for the sexual gratification of an adult or an older child. The  child may co-operate because he or she wants to please the adult or out of fear. It includes sexual  intercourse, exposing a child’s private areas, indecent phone calls, fondling for sexual purposes, watching  a child undress for sexual pleasure, and allowing/forcing a child to look at or perform in pornographic  pictures or videos, or engage in prostitution.

After you know of an Allegation to yourself

• Make no statement to anyone regarding the allegation or charges. DO NOT discuss the complaint with  anyone else, even your principal or vice-principal before you have been advised by your Union. • Respond with, “I am willing to co-operate but I am unable to comment until I contact my Union.”  • You are not to contact with the students or teachers on staff and you should not discuss the allegations  with anyone other than your Union while the investigation is underway.

Your Duty to Report:

Information about calling Children’s Aid:

• It is not your responsibility to determine whether abuse or neglect has occurred. Children’s Aid is responsible  for investigating and assessing the need for protection or involvement.

• Filing a report to Children’s Aid does not prove abuse or neglect, but allows authorities to take the  appropriate actions to determine the risk of each situation.

• Each report will be investigated and the situation will be evaluated to ensure the child and family receives the  support necessary to keep the child safe.

If you are contacted by anyone as a potential witness to the alleged conduct, you should contact the Union Office  for assistance as listed below

Under section 72 of the Child and Family Services Act, every person who has reasonable grounds to suspect that a  child is or may be in need of protection must promptly report the suspicion and the information upon which it is  based to a Children’s Aid Society. This includes persons who perform professional or official duties with respect to  children, such as health care workers, teachers, operators or employees of child care programs or centres, police  and lawyers. It is not necessary to be certain that a child is or may be in need of protection to make a report to a  children’s aid society. “Reasonable grounds” refers to the information that an average person, using normal and  honest judgment, would need in order to decide to report. The anonymity of the referral source when made by a  professional cannot be guaranteed.  

The investigation process  

A complaint can be made by anyone: a student, parent or school administrator. CAS investigates all complaints, no  matter how frivolous or vexatious they seem.  

What happens?

Once informed by the school board, your Supervisor/Principal will escort you off of school property, direct you to  contact your Union, and advise you that you are home with pay until the investigation has been completed.  

You are not to be admitted to any Halton District School Board facility without express written permission of the  Human Resources Department and you should not contact staff or students. There is no such thing as "off-the record." Every comment can or will be used in the investigation.

An investigation by a CAS caseworker may take anywhere from one day to six months. Most investigations take  one or two weeks.  

This is a confidential process, no one needs to know your business. If your co-workers are reaching out to you – simply state “Thank you for your concern, I am fine”. Do not talk to or communicate with colleagues or anyone  else about the investigation. They may be placed in a position of being witnesses.

At the conclusion of an investigation, you will be notified, in writing, of the outcome from CAS.  One of the following conclusions will be referenced in the CAS report:  

Inconclusive: Critical information necessary for establishing the probability that abuse occurred or did not occur,  cannot be obtained. (This conclusion is not used as a “default” for cases where the decision to verify or not to  verify is difficult to make.)  

Not Verified: A decision that, on the balance of probabilities, it is not “more probable than not” that the harm or  risk of harm has occurred.  

Verified: A decision that, on the balance of probabilities, it is more probable than not that the harm or risk of harm  has occurred, currently exists, or is likely to occur.  

CAS is required to place information regarding the investigation on a child protection provincial database. They are  also required to provide the outcome of the investigation to the school board, and may be required to provide this  information to other parties, to ensure the protection of children.

At the conclusion of the investigation from CAS, the school board has the right to conduct their own internal  investigation. If the Board, having conducted its own investigation, concludes that the staff member is guilty of  inappropriate behaviour, the Board may proceed to take disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.

A re-entry plan for acquitted staff will be developed in consultation with the staff member, the Union, and the  Executive Officer of Human Resources.

Your Union is here to help and support you.

(905) 639-3680 and/or

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