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My sister is 40 years old. She has two kids, an 8 years old…

Dear Sir, My sister is 40...
Dear Sir,
My sister is 40 years old. She has two kids, an 8 years old boy and 6 years old girl. We are all living in Ottawa ,Canada
She is separated for more than 5 years. She has been taking care of the kids for that period until now. The kids have only seen their father sporadically and most recently have not seen him for a few months now.
Last week, she was in a hotel when employees called the police for her and the Child Aid as well.
I was not informed what happened exactly, they claimed that her behaviour was strange and bizarre, no violence was reported.
At the hospital, she was diagnosed with Mania and she was found delusional.
She was hospitalized in psychiatric department and put on medication.
Kids were placed with a foster family until further notice as the child aid thought that they are not safe with her.
Child aid will have to report to court in one week the reasons behind taking kids to foster family and based on the hospital report will have also have to decide if:
1-Kids will have to stay with the foster family for good and the mother will not be able to see them again.
Or
2-Kids will be staying with the mother provided that I (their aunt) should stay with them after I filled a kinship application forms and provided I get her consent.
Questions to ask:
-What would be the role of the father here? If I contacted him would he automatically be able to take the kids? And if he did would he be able to take the kids to another country and prevent their mother from seeing them?
-The kids are with foster family, how can we see them? The child aid have not allowed us to see them yet.-Is there anything that we should do pre hearing?-Do I need a lawyer? If so, who can help me find one?
-Who will represent my sister and children?
-Will the children speak at the hearing? How can I best support them?
-What kind of hospital report would not result in preventing her from seeing her kids?
-If the judge decides that the children should be removed from the mother even temporary, and in case the judge approved my kinship:
-What are my responsibilities towards my sister and if I failed to convince her to take her medication -what are the consequences?
-What are the requirements for my home and me if I want the children to live with me?-As you may know, for such a medical case, one week of medication is not enough to notice improvement so my main goal is to Keep the kids with their mother provided that she continues taking her medication.
-How can we guarantee that child aid will not prevent her permanently from seeing her kids?
-How can we convince the child aid to keep the kids with the mother with guardian appointment (kinship)?
-Can my brother who is living outside Canada be approved to be the kid’s guardian?
-My sister filed a complaint against the doctor that she does not want the treatment he is giving her. The doctor asked me to testify that she is not able to make decisions about being treated. In this case, what would be the best thing to do?
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Answered in 1 hour by:
11/12/2017
ulysses101
ulysses101, Lawyer
Category: Canada Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,748
Experience: Over 10 years litigation experience in family, criminal, and civil law
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Hello, thank you for the question. I'm an Ontario family law lawyer and I do a lot of this kind of work.

Firstly, I want you to read what I write here very carefully. You have a misunderstanding of what's happening in a few important ways, primarily:

The children were apprehended because mother had a mental health breakdown and was unable to care for the children at that time adequately, in the view of the social workers. Thus, the kids are in foster care on an "apprehension" basis. The matter has to be in court within five days if the children are apprehended. Final decisions are not made on that first court date. So it it is not true that it's a choice between permanent foster care with no access to mom, or kids live with you the aunt. It's the first court date. You don't even know what the CAS is seeking on a final basis because mom won't yet have been served with their Application for court.

The CAS will serve the father with the court papers and then he will decide what his position will be. He's free to seek the placement of the children with himself, but he'll need to convince the court that he can do the job. You don't need to contact the father and you probably shouldn't.

You don't need a lawyer. Mother will need a lawyer so when she goes to court on her court date she should bring identification, last years tax return, proof of current income. When she gets her court papers she can see if she'll qualify for Legal Aid. If she does, she might be able to hire a lawyer on the spot. Duty Counsel is an excellent source of information about this process, and for referrals to good lawyers for dealing with CAS matters.

The children will not speak at the hearing. They won't be there. They are too young for their views and preferences to be taken into account. Your sister is a respondent to the Application she'll be served with, as is the father. Each is entitled to an opportunity to get a lawyer and do responding paperwork before any final decisions are made.

If you want to put in a plan of care for the children, feel free to do so. Look up the Ontario Court Form 33B.1 Answer/Plan of Care. Near the end of that form is a list of basic questions, answer them in writing about your "plan of care" for the children and order a police records check (vulnerable sector screen) for every adult living in your household. It might not be feasible for the children to go with you at the first court date, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.

Unless the mother is an active danger to the children then the CAS will offer supervised access by her to the children. For her to get them back in her care she'll certainly need a report for her own doctor regarding her diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and how she's responding to therapy and medication. It might take some time to get that together. Her lawyer will help her with gathering evidence.

Regarding your sister's willingness to accept diagnosis and treatment, you will need to decide early on whether you are going to support your sister 100% that she's fine and the kids should be with her, or if you are going to take the position that you're there for the kids first and your sister second so if your sister can't do the job you'll take the kids. Those are different positions. It's possible that mother shouldn't be complaining about her doctor and refusing treatment, right? Perhaps this is part of a mental illness. You need to acknowledge that possibility.

The other questions you have are questions which your sister and her lawyer will cover. You don't need to investigate that for her, even though I know you're clearly interested.

Anything else specifically you want to discuss?

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I think you've seen my answer, and I'm sure you have more questions. I'm here for your reply.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Dear Ulysses,
Thank you for reply.
It is very informative but as You wrote I need more calarificatiin on some points.
However , I need some time to come back to you .
Would it be possible to reply on Your mail tomorrow?
Thank you again
Kind Regards
Mona

Yes, of course Mona. You can ask follow up questions any time. If I can recommend, it's that you be supportive of your sister but don't be her #1 spokesperson and cheerleader, it may be that her condition is more serious than you want to believe, and you will have to put the kids first.

For now, may I please have a positive service rating? Ratings are how I get paid by the site for helping its customers. I'd appreciate it. The thread will stay open and you can reply to me any time.

ulysses101
ulysses101, Lawyer
Category: Canada Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3,748
Experience: Over 10 years litigation experience in family, criminal, and civil law
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
DearCustomer
Thank you again.
Due to her mental illness, my sister is not accepting diagnosis and treatment especially after her meeting with the hospital lawyer who explained her rights of rejecting medication.
She requested board review to report the damaging effects of the medicine on her health. She is a pharmacist and talking precise science her.
-Is there a chance that they release her from hospital without medication? Will this affect CAS opinion? What would be my position if my kinship is approved and she is not cured? Especially that I am going to move to their home and live with them.
-Is there a way to convince her to talk medication in order not to lose her kids? Who is the best to talk to her?
-When I had my meeting with CAS,she asked me to put in a plan of care for the children .which I did in a rush and now I am afraid they will not approve it . Can I prepare& submit another one?
-Can my brother or sister, who are living abroad, apply for kinship?
-Until now, I am not allowed to see the kids or talk to them, what is the best way to convince CAS to allow me.
-Finally, Can request a legal aid on her behalf or hire a lawyer? How much does it cost normally?
Kind Regards
Mona

I can't tell you if they are likely to release her with or without medication. That's her doctors' decision, not her lawyers'.

I also can't tell you what will happen if your kinship is approved and she is not cured. It depends on what father does. It may be that your sister won't want you in her home.

You know here better than I and you know those whom she'll listen to if there are any.

You can prepare an amended plan of care if you wish, but if they turn down first it will be for a specific reason that the second can't rectify. A typical reason is that the kin offering placement is too supportive of the parent and doesn't appreciate the depth of their protection issues.

Anyone can apply for a kinship placement, but if they aren't in Ottawa jurisdiction they should be close. You say "abroad", and if you mean "overseas" then the odds of approval are slim.

If CAS is taking your plan of care seriously they will want to see how you are with the children, and how comfortable the children are with you.

Your sister has to make the application for Legal Aid. The financial eligibility is fairly low, so if she's a pharmacist as i think you said that she's unlikely to qualify. You can try Legal Aid's website for more information, or check at court when there this week for the first appearance. Duty counsel will still be available for her.

Anything else?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Dear Sir,-CAS is refusing to let me see or call the kids before taking a decision on my kinship application is there any thing I could do to see the kids?
-will CAS approve giving the kids to the father over my kinship application provided that the father hasn't visited the kids for the last year?In case the father comes forward , can he take the kids immediately?or there is a certain procedure to be followed?-Does the mother looses welfare or child tax benefit if the my
kinship application is approved?-in case she was released, is it possible for CAS to accept a house care giver instead of my kinship?Thank you
Kind Regards

I'm back, sorry for the delay. I was in court for a few days solid and haven't been on the site at all. But I'm back now. So, to answer you:

There is nothing you can do to force the CAS to give you access to the children. They can if they want to, and they should if they want to assess your kinship application. But you're not a parent so you have no automatic right to access. Feel free to ask, but don't get into any fights with them about it.

I can't tell you whether the CAS will prefer the father's plan over yours when I haven't seen either plan, and a lot will depend on the personality of the primary worker and supervisor too.

The father would have to present a plan to the court just like everyone else, and if there's no agreement on a temporary placement then the court will have a hearing on the matter. There is absolutely litigation procedure for this.

Mother might lose welfare or CTB, since the children aren't with her. But maybe she'll live with you anyway. She'll have to worry about these things after consulting with her own lawyer.

I'm not sure what you mean by "accept a house care giver", but if you are asking about whether the kids could stay with her by you living in the home with them, yes that's possible. But again you have to be seen by the CAS as primarily being concerned for the welfare of the children, rather than being an unconditional supporter of the mother or unconditional opponent of the father.

Is that logical?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you very much.
CAS contacted the father and gave him a report about the mother and the kids and informed him. that the hearing is set for the coming Wednesday.
what is his chances to get the kids Back.
Between him & the foster family , I prefer him so how can he prepare himself for the hearing to win his kids back? I understand that he should get a lawyer and prepare a plan for kids. Any thing else to be done ?
Very kind regards

If he hasn't seen the children in a year, his odds are slim. But he's still the dad and has the right to submit a plan of care to the CAS and to court.

He needs to get his paperwork and the get a lawyer. I can't give you an overview of the many different potential outcomes, especially this early in the proceeding.

I think you need to worry less about what each parent is or should be doing. You can't control them. Instead, work on your plan of care, stay in touch with the agency, try to see the kids, attend court to demonstrate that you're interested, get your own lawyer if necessary, and have some faith that things will work out. These things rarely move as fast as anyone wants, keep that in mind.

Anything else?

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Hi again,
Tomorrow is the court hearing for my sister and her husband and I have attached her doctor report as well as the CAS report.
According to her mental health and the medications she is taking, she is not in a position to attend what should we do now Is there any thing we could do at this point like requesting to push the hearing day ? can we show the judge the report or this will harm damage her standing ? or assign a lawyer without her consent.
The father is leaving with his sister. But, we agreed with him to move an live with kids in their place until the mother is recovered do you think this can be approved by the judge? can he put in his plan that we will support him ?
Does the CAS report justifies taking the kids from the mother? Is there any thing in the report may harm my sister situation? or cause loosing her rights?
Thank you again

If the CAS agrees that the children can be placed with dad, then the court will probably go along with it, but even that is on a temporary basis until everyone has had time to go through the paperwork, retain counsel, and file answer. Dad may have agreed, but I doubt that it has been thirty days since mother has been served so the judge won't note her in default to wrap up the case whether she's there or not.

Dad can put whatever he wants in his plan. If you're supportive of him, he can put that in his plan and you can tell the worker that too.

Your sister isn't going to lose any of her rights. I don't even know if she's been served yet, and if she has it certainly hasn't been thirty days, nor has she been in a position to find a lawyer if she's still hospitalized.

That letter won't hurt mother. The judge will hear about where she is anyway, and the letter doesn't have a diagnosis or any information about her.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Many thanks
For how long the kids will stay with foster family?

Until the court orders differently.

You keep asking me questions that I can't answer because I don't have a crystal ball.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thanks
The doctor asked the sister to change her status in hospital from involunteerly to informal means family brought her , i didnt agree so i dont make my relationship with her conlixated in future . Does her status affect her case in anyway ?
She refused to sigh consent for cas to read her medical records
Does that affect in anyway way ?
If she is in hospital involunterly and i agreed on a medicibe that a doctor highly recommended as her family can she sue me ?
Thanks

I think you're posting from a phone or device now. There are a lot of spelling mistakes, to the point where I'm not sure what you're asking me.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Please accept my apologies.
My sister was admitted involuntary to the hospital and she refused to sign a consent for Cas to read her medicals
Does this harm her situation.
Also can she sue me if I give my approval as a family on a medicine that a doctor highly recommend?
she used to be a great mother and adoring sister but now her illness makes her think that we all enemies and she is welling to go after anyone
Thank you

If she is diagnosed as being unable to appreciate what is in her own best interests, then her decisions aren't likely to be held to her, right?

She certainly doesn't have to release her medical file to the CAS.

She could try to sue you but under these circumstances I doubt she'd get very far at all.

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