What is abuse?

Abuse is when a child is hurt intentionally, or when a parent or caregiver fails to protect a child in their care. Child abuse is against the law.

There are different kinds of child abuse:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse

What is Physical Abuse?

  • Physical abuse is any deliberate physical force or action (usually by a parent or caregiver) that results, or could result, in injury to a child.
  • It can include punching, slapping, beating, shaking, burning, biting or throwing a child. It’s stronger than what’s considered reasonable discipline.

What is Sexual Abuse?

  • Sexual abuse occurs when a child is used for the sexual gratification of an adult or an older child. Coercion (physical, psychological or emotional) is intrinsic to sexual abuse. This is what distinguishes it from consensual play with peers.

What is Emotional Abuse?

  • 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.
  • Such acts include constantly criticizing, teasing, belittling, insulting, rejecting, ignoring, or isolating the child. This kind of abuse also includes failure by a parent or caregiver to provide their children with love, emotional support, and guidance.

What is neglect?

  • Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, sleep, medical attention, education, and protection from harm. This can occur when parents don’t know about appropriate care for children, or when they’re not able to plan ahead.
  • A young child should never be left unattended.

In Ontario, the law regarding leaving a child unattended or home alone is purposefully vague. It is the parent’s responsibility to judge the maturity and responsibility level of their child/ children. Parents should consider a number of factors when deciding if it is safe to leave their child alone.

When parents decide that their children are mature and responsible enough to be left unsupervised, that judgment should be accompanied by a safety plan, so that children know how to respond to different scenarios when home alone. Children should know how to dial 911, and what to do in case of a fire. Other rules should be in place in case someone phones, or comes to the door. Children shouldn’t answer the door, and if someone calls, it’s wise to say that their mom or dad is in the shower. These are simple tactics to teach children, but may prove very useful. If someone can’t be in the house with children when parents are not home, neighbours can help by keeping an eye on the house, and parents should always leave a phone number where they can be contacted, in case of an emergency.

What do you do if you are concerned about a child's safety and well-being?


Protecting children from abuse and neglect is everyone’s responsibility.

A Children’s Aid Society in Ontario is mandated by law, under the Child and Family Services Act, to investigate allegations or evidence that children under the age of 16 may be in need of protection.

This means that anyone who knows or suspects that a child might be at risk of abuse must report this information to their local Children’s Aid Society. In Brant County, call 519-753-8681. This is a 24 hour service.

You cannot rely on someone else to do this on your behalf.

If you become aware of a second incident of abuse to the same child, do not assume that The Children’s Aid Society of Brant knows this. You must report the information again.

In order to investigate a report of abuse, a service worker will need some information. If you know any of the following information, please tell the worker:

  • The child’s first and last name
  • The parent(s)’ names
  • The age of the child
  • Home address
  • The child’s school


How do I become a foster parent?


Welcome to Homes For Kids

Homes For Kids is a joint Children’s Aid Society program committed to the recruitment of supportive and compassionate families to provide the highest quality of foster care for children and youth in south-central Ontario.


Make a difference in the life of a child. There are children and teens in our community who need you.

Contact us to learn more about fostering:

Main office: 1-888-753-8681
Native Services Branch: 519-445-2247

Foster Care FAQ (PDF)

Homes for Kids logo

How do I adopt through Brant FACS?


Children may become available for adoption in Ontario through one of three ways:

  1. Under the CFSA, and order of Crown Wardship is made that specifies no access to the birth family;
  2. By consent of the child’s birth mother and any other person who has parent status according to the statutory definition; or
  3. By order or other recognized release for adoption under the laws of another province or country.

Birth Parent Involvement

Brant Family and Children’s Services encourages birth parents who relinquish a child for adoption to be involved in the planning process to the extent that they wish.

Birth parents relinquishing a child for adoption may participate in the process in any of the following ways:

  • Through the expression of hopes and preferences for their child or particular qualities they would seek in an adoptive family.
  • Through attending an adoption placement conference and discussing potential adoptive families.
  • By meeting the prospective adoptive parents to exchange wishes for and feelings about the child.
  • With the agreement of the birth parents and adoptive family, the Society may act as an intermediary for the exchange of information such as letters, or pictures.
  • Through the provision of gifts, letters or keepsakes for the child at the time of adoption placement.
  • Sharing information about themselves to ensure the child has a family history.