Physical abuse is considered when a child is at risk of or has suffered physical harm inflicted by a person having charge of the child. It also occurs when a person fails to adequately supervise, protect, care for or provide for a child.
Sexual abuse is considered when a child is at risk of or has been sexually molested or sexually exploited by a person having charge of a child or by another person. It also occurs when the person having charge of a child knows, or should know, of the possibility of sexual molestation or exploitation by another person and fails to protect a child.
Emotional abuse is considered when a child is at risk of or has suffered emotional harm demonstrated by serious anxiety, depression, withdrawal, self destructive or aggressive behavior or delayed development and there are reasonable grounds to believe this harm results from the actions, failure to act or pattern of neglect by the person having charge of the child. It also occurs when a child exhibits the above serious behaviours and the person having charge of the child does not provide services or treatment to alleviate the harm. Emotional harm can also result from a child’s exposure to domestic violence.
Neglect is considered when a child is at risk of or has been harmed as a result of the caregiver’s failure to adequately supervise, protect, care for or provide for a child. Neglect also occurs when a child has a medical, mental, emotional or developmental condition that requires services or treatment and the person having charge of the child does not provide these services or treatment.
A child is considered abandoned when a child’s parent has died or is unavailable to exercise their custodial rights over a child and has not made adequate provision for a child’s care and custody. It also occurs when a child is in a residential placement and the parent refuses or is unable or unwilling to resume the child’s care and custody.
The capacity of the caregiver is considered when, although no harm has yet come to a child and no evidence is apparent that a child may be in need of intervention, the caregiver demonstrates, or has demonstrated in the past, characteristics that indicate the child would be at risk of harm without intervention of a child welfare agency. These characteristics can include a history of abusing/neglecting a child or being unable to protect a child from harm due to problems such as drug/alcohol abuse, mental health challenges or limited care-giving skills.
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