Southeast Child and Family Services' Child Abuse Unit investigates allegations of abuse involving children or youth residing on the eight Southeast First Nations. The involvement of the Child Abuse Unit will vary where SECFS children in care are placed in an Agency licensed foster home which is located in a rural area.

Responsibilities of the Staff

The Coordinator oversees the Child Abuse Unit to ensure its function to investigate abuse allegations involving children and youth are carried out as per the The Child and Family Services Act and in compliance with the Provincial Child Abuse Committee Regulations.

The Investigators specialize in investigating abuse allegations that may be physical, sexual, or emotional in nature. Investigators are responsible for establishing working relationships with the Direct Service Worker and Supervisor while an allegation is being investigated. Once the Direct Service Worker makes the initial assessment to ensure the safety of the child, the Investigator will interview the child and the alleged offender. The Investigator makes appropriate and/or necessary recommendations that may identify protection concerns for the victim child, or any other child, and may recommend the immediate removal of a child from the caregiver to ensure the child's safety. The Child Abuse Coordinator and Abuse Investigators are ready for consult with Direct Service Workers and Supervisors when there are questions about potential or real abuse, referral processes, investigations, and outcome reports.

The Administrative Assistant creates and maintains the child abuse files; completes the Intake Module; ensures files on the CFSIS are up to date; maintains yearly statistic reports; prepares the Child Abuse Committee (CAC) agenda; takes meeting minutes; and distributes the minutes to the CAC members. The Administrative Assistant also assists workers with obtaining or providing information to the police, the Crown, court, or other agencies (as necessary) and maintains a tracking system for all internal and external referrals.

Staff

  • Director - Kelly Wozney
  • Coordinator - Lauren Turney
  • Investigators
    • Cynthia Eyeshemitan
    • Cara Grapentine
    • Maureen Line
  • Administrative Assistant - Ashton McCorrister

The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA)

The PHIA allows health care practitioners to share personal health information without the consent of the person (patient) in order to report a child in need of protection, or to co-operate with a child protection investigation. Health care practitioners governed under The Mental Health Act (MHA) are also required to report suspected child abuse. A child does not have to be under CFS agency apprehension for these situations to apply.

Abuse Referral Criteria

Physical Abuse - Physical punishment that causes an injury to a child, or an injury caused by an omission of care. The Abuse Unit will also investigate any physical punishment to a child over the age of twelve that meets the definition of Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Sexual Abuse - The Criminal Code of Canada indicates the legal age to consent to sexual activity is 16 years. Sexual activity of a child 12 or 13 years of age is permitted if the sexual activity is consensual and the person engaging in the sexual activity is within 2 years of the child's age. Sexual activity of a child 14 or 15 years of age is permitted if the sexual activity is consensual and the person engaging in the sexual activity is within 5 years of the child's age.

Sexual Exploitation - Allegations concerning the coercing, luring, or engaging a child under the age of 18 into a sexual act. The Abuse Unit will investigate cases of child pornography, interfamilial sexual abuse, historical abuse cases, all nonconsensual sexual activity, and sexual activity that is outside the legal age, even if a child indicates sexual activity was consensual.

Emotional Abuse - Defined under Section 1(1) of the Child and Family Services Act as an act or omission by any person where the act or omission results in "emotional disability of a permanent nature in the child or is likely to result in such a disability". Allegations that meet this definition will be investigated by the Abuse Unit.

Cyber Tip Referrals - Cyber Tip is the national tip line for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children through the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. Cyber Tip forwards reports to law enforcement and to the CFS agency whose jurisdiction is responsible for designated intake.

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