When does Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions (SMFC) get involved?
SMFC becomes involved with a family when there is a concern about the safety and/or wellbeing of a child or children. Families are often referred to us by a doctor, teacher, other professional or someone living in the community who have concerns about a child. Some parents or youth ask for our help themselves. SMFC provides services to children under the age of 16 and their families.
How are referrals handled?
When a call is received, a protection worker and supervisor will assess the risk to a child based on the information and will decide how urgent our response must be. An investigation into the concerns will help decide how to best protect the child and provide supportive services to the family. If the report suggests the risk of harm is immediate or there is an injury, protection workers will respond within 12 hours. In all other situations, a worker will visit the family within seven days.
What happens if I am investigated?
If you are referred to us, a caseworker will meet with you to discuss your situation and determine how we can best help you and your family. You will be asked for your opinions and ideas. During their visit, the worker will meet with each of the children and the caregivers individually. When needed, we provide on-going services which in most cases are on a voluntary basis. In serious situations, services may be provided with a
Who will be told that I am working with SMFC?
We value your privacy. Our involvement with you and your family as well as all client information is kept strictly confidential. Your caseworker is part of a team that includes a supervisor, other caseworkers and possibly other community service providers who will be directly involved with your family.
Will my children be removed from my care?
We make every effort to help children stay at home while we work with their families. In fact, more than 95 percent of the time that we work with clients, their children remain with them while we provide service.
If we find there is immediate danger to a child, we must ensure that the child is protected from harm and if it is necessary to remove a child from his/her home, we must justify our actions before a Family Court judge within five days.
This court appearance ensures that SMFC is held accountable and that such a serious action was needed for the protection of the child/ren. The judge listens to all the facts and then decides what happens next.
What services do you offer?
SMFC is more than a child protection agency. We offer early intervention and support programs including family counseling, temporary foster care and group home placements, adoption and adoption disclosure services. In our Muskoka offices, we offer child and youth mental health programs and services including a counseling walk-in clinic open to the public.
Are SMFC records confidential?
SMFC must keep accurate records of all contacts with children and their families to document our activity, and collect important information to help your family. All records are confidential and disclosure of their contents is strictly regulated. Please see the Notice of Information Practices which describes our agency’s practices with the Child Protection Information Network.
You have the right to:
♦ review and understand your record
♦ have the record explained to you
♦ seek corrections