Who we are



Our law firm, Pearce, Ducharme and Associates, a Windsor based law firm, has assisted parents in Children’’s Aid cases for over 30 years. We have acted in courts throughout Essex, Lambton and Kent Counties.

The following municipalities are included in those three counties.

Essex County:
Amherstburg, Belle River, Cottam, Kingsville, La Salle, Leamington, Wheatly, Windsor.

Kent County:
Blenheim, Bothwell, Chatham, Dresden, Ridgetown, Thamesville, Tilbury, Wallaceburg.

Lambton County:
Arkona, Forest, Petrolia, Sarnia.

We have acted for First Nation families both on and off reservation situations as far
away as Walpole Island and Brantford.

We have also acted, and continue to act, in matters under appeal.

Let us represent you.


Phone us at   519-256-9500  
No Money For Lawyer

If you do not have the funds for a lawyer,
and can meet their financial requirements,
the Legal Aid Plan of Ontario will pay for your lawyer.

For the sake of your kids get Legal Aid
and get the advice.

Every Lawyer at Pearce, Ducharme and
Associates accepts legal aid certificates.

Let us represent you.


Phone us 519-256-9500


BACK TO TOP.
6 Things We Can Do For You

The most important thing for our clients is to have their children returned.

#1. Our lawyers will work hard on your behalf.
#2. We will tell you when your best interests involve negotiation not confrontation.
#3. we will advise you of problems in your approach and offer concrete suggestions.
#4. we will advise you of  problems in your case and offer  remedies.
#5. When the Society is wrong, and negotiations fail, we will put your side before the Judge as soon as possible.
#6. We will  bring a motion to have a lawyer appointed for your children (Ontario Child’s Counsel or O.C.L.) so the judge can hear what your children want. What do they think should happen in their lives.

Important Note:

Before you sign that document to get your
kids back, talk to a lawyer with experience
in this area of the law.


 
  Phone us at
519 256 9500

BACK TO TOP.
Results and Overview

For years, the Children’s Aid Society has taken thousands of children into their care.
They have saved many lives.
But the Society has also produced more than a few psychotics among the kids in their care.
But it is, when all is said and done, a damn crappy job, on a regular basis.
And it produces a mind set that they are always right and you are always wrong..
Some workers get to thinking that they are perfect.
Not so.
Too many mistakes are made with too many children’s lives.
Many of the judges do not have the background or the time to deal with these issues.
On appeal, some courts do not understand the dynamics of Children’s Aid cases,
if only because they see so few of them.

Bottom Line

You need a lawyer on your side. Someone who knows what a court is looking for.
You need someone in your corner.

Let us represent you.




Phone us at   519-256-9500  


Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

BACK TO TOP.

The Apprehension

CAS cases often start with an “apprehension”.
This term is used when the CAS takes children into their “care”.
Parents tend to think of this conduct in terms of a kidnaping or abduction.
A word of caution here. Do not use the terms kidnaping or abduction
or similar ones in court. It serves no useful purpose and can alienate
a judge. The presiding Justice will understand the issues without hyperbole.

Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few
(and only a few) of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases.
It is not intended as legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the
services of an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.




Phone us at   519-256-9500



BACK TO TOP.

The Initial Paperwork


Before your first court appearance, you will probably be served with
the Society’s paperwork.
It is usually extensive.
Sometimes you receive the paperwork the day before the first court date.
Perhaps you received it a few minutes before court.
BE ADVISED
The judge knows that you haven’t had time to hire a lawyer
or prepare your responding material at this point.
The judge will not make any long term decisions at this point
until you have had an opportunity to prepare and present your case.

Where to stick CAS material when you get it:

#1. Copy it.
Save a clean, unmarked copy for your lawyer.
Start to make notes on your copy about your version of things.
These notes will allow your lawyer to prepare material faster.
#2. Go to Legal Aid as soon as possible.
Take your copy to legal aid. They may want to refer to it.
Their address and phone number is in the phone book;

Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few
(and only a few) of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases.
It is not intended as legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the
services of an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.





Phone us at  519-256-9500



BACK TO TOP.

The First Court Appearance

Always attend court on the first appearance,
It tells the whole world that you care for these children
and judges always make a note of who is in court.

First Court Warning

Think about this:
at the first court appearance the court has the CAS
material in front of him or her, and nothing else.
The Society’s material will be filled  with all kinds of
real or suspected things, usually terrible allegations.

In short, the court at this point will only have one side of the story.
The court knows nothing about you or your children or any problems
you may have.
Do not think that you or your lawyer can “tell” the court anything that
will get your children returned to you at this first appearance.
It rarely happens.
Judges are firm on this. The judge will want a  comprehensive
response from you before even considering a return.
A date will be set for filing papers and for argument.

The end result of the First court date
The only thing you get, in most cases at the first court date
is a future court date to argue about the temporary care of your children.
The children will be placed in the care of the Society until the argument date.
Unfair? Perhaps but this is the way it will be.

Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.






Phone us at  519-256-9500


BACK TO TOP.


The Temporary Care Motion

This is the court hearing that will decide what happens to your
children until the matter goes to trial, if it is not resolved.
The judge will have read the CAS affidavit material
The judge will have read your affidavit material
In fact, the judge will have read all the material filed or will do so before
a decision is given, unless the parties agree and consent to an order.
But the chances of you prevailing at this point are still slim.

Why CAS has an edge.
Usually, at this stage, your material will differ greatly from the Society’s
material.
The judge will assume that the Society has no axe to grind and will
be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. Usually.
And, because this is argument based on affidavits i.e. pieces of paper,
you will probably not be allowed to speak.
So, the judge will not have had a full opportunity to hear you and
assess how sincere and truthful you are. You do usually not get that
opportunity until trial.

What the Edge Means
It means you need a lawyer who knows whether you should be negotiating or
patching up your case, or taking parenting courses or several other options.
You will recall that the goal is to have your children returned and sometimes
this involves eating crow and even modifying behaviour.
This issue should be addressed before the positions harden.



Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.



Phone us at 519 256-9500



BACK TO TOP.



Access During Adjournments

As indicated the children will remain in care while  waiting for the motion
to argue temporary care. But what about access.
Many parents are so angry about the children remaining in care that the
shoot themselves in the foot at this point.
You will possibly be offered supervised access at the Children’s Aid
building, in the discretion of the Society.
You may be angry at this.
Think about it.
This is an opportunity to help your children and your case.
You must control your anger and obtain the best possible access from
the court. The case is no longer only about your rights.
Your children will be hurting as well.
Please note:

1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.



Phone us at   519-256-9500

BACK TO TOP.




Other Points About Access

You or your lawyer should push for specified access, for example
Tuesday and Thursday from 5-7pm, or whatever.
Push for access that you can manage, perhaps around your work
schedule but push to have it put in a court order and ask for
as much as possible. If you agree to let the kids stay in care at
this point, your lawyer can probably negotiate better access
with the Society. This may result in the children being returned to your
care sooner than with any other strategy.

Access /Access /Better Access
You can build access into more access and more access into
better access and perhaps build it into the return of your child.
This sort of thing is what your lawyer will be negotiating for you.
But you must take the anger out of the situation for the good of your child.
On occasion, a judge will order specified access, to be expanded in the discretion
of the Society.
This might be a good order for you, if you have a worker you can get along with.
It means the access can be increased without a return to court to vary the order.

Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.



Phone us at   519-256-9500


BACK TO TOP.


General Rules for Access.
A parent is usually better served if the access is set out in a court order.
    A parent is usually better served if the access is as frequent as possible
even if supervised at the Society.
A parent is usually better served by missing no access visits during any
adjournment. This is damn important.
If a parent misses an access visit, the court may be advised of this fact.
If a parent misbehaves during an access visit, the court may be advised
of this fact.

Absolute Rules of Access
Do not talk about the court case or the workers during access visits.
Do not complain about the Society or a worker during access visits.
Note:
If there are no problems during access, a judge in the future will consider
changing the court order and expanding the access.

Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.



Phone us at   519-256-9500


BACK TO TOP.


The Hidden Agenda of Judges

Judges are trained to be objective and strive to remain so.
But the longer a judge sits as a judge, hearing messy CAS cases,
the greater the chances of that judge making an error.
At some point, the judge will return a child to parents who have
presented themselves well, but who have
problems. A  tragedy will ensure. Perhaps a child
will die or be seriously maimed at the hands of this parent.

That Judge will have to live with the fact that he or she
returned a child and the child suffered grievous harm.
That decision may shape his or her decisions in the
years to come, whether intentionally or not.
If a judge makes a mistake in a CAS case,
the downside to a child is horrendous.
And of course, even the most incompetent of Societies
usually manages to keep the children alive.
This is a fact of life that parents should consider when engaging in
warfare with the Society.

Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.


Phone us at   519-256-9500



BACK TO TOP.

Minding the Mouth

How much do you want your children returned?
You should be using your mouth to give the worker a comfort level with you.
If you criticize the worker or alienate her, your children will suffer.
If you call the Society and complain about her, it will go in the file and
she will find out.
If you complain to her supervisor or ask to have a new worker,
it will get back to her AND
It will make it that much hard for your lawyer to negotiate your child back.
The worker has an unbelievable amount of say in what happens to your child.
How badly do you want your children returned?
The best lawyer in the world could not get your children back without
you being on board on this issue.
Build bridges not walls and help your lawyer as they try to help you.
One last time:
How badly do you want your children returned?

Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.


Phone us at   519-256-9500




BACK TO TOP.


How the Society Builds Their Case

CAS workers write down everything.
You and your spouse may not capable of writing a letter to Santa. 
Long before the Society is seeking wardship, the society worker
enters your home and offers  friendly advice and occasionally
funds to solve short term problems.:
HELLO?
When the money is accepted, the worker may note:
“cannot budget properly”.
When you let them into your home on short notice and the house
is a mess, the worker may note:
“poor housekeeping skills”.
When you yell at your child for dumping cereal on her
sister’s head, the worker may note:
“parenting skills suspect”.
If  you ignore one of your children during the meeting,
the notation may be:
“does not interact with child x ..suspect a poor bond.“

This is the way it goes.
This is how society cases are built.
They are built by CAS workers making notes.
The notes may not be made at the time of the incident but they are
usually made while the incidents are fresh in the worker’s mind.
Workers may not accumulate this file information with any
nefarious plan in mind.
They simply know that this information may assist
them in the future and that it is part of their job.

The case against you is in the works, being built by the worker,
sentence by sentence, block by block.

Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.


Phone us at   519-256-9500



BACK TO TOP.


The Strategy of Access

Access visits are a key part of the strategy of a CAS case.
They are, damn important.
The Society makes notes on every access visit.
If you are irregular in access visits, it will be noted.
The workers also note how the access visits proceed. 
Are there parenting problems..do you hug the kids.
Is there appropriate interaction. 
“Hugging” is allowed and expected.
Screaming....is not.
Criticism of the Prime Minister is tolerated.
Criticism of the Society at access visits will be noted and will hurt you.
This demonstrates that you cannot work with the Society and it is
something a judge will surely take note of.
Please... do not think that you will help you case by surreptitiously taping or
filming access visits. Some would suggest that you use this energy and skill
more productively.

Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.


Phone us at   519-256-9500



BACK TO TOP.

14 Questions for You

When you have had no previous Society involvement and the
Society wants to be involved with you, what should you do.
Should you co-operate with them or “bar” the door?
What are the pros and cons of this important decision.
A few basic questions you should ask yourself (and tell your lawyer about).
1.  What sort of behaviour are we talking about.
2.  Have the teachers indicated any problems with the children.
3.  Have the children been acting out at home.
4.  Have the police called them about any problems.
5.  Any allegations about sexual or physical abuse?
6.  How much do you and your spouse drink (you may substitute
       smoke dope or do drugs for this word and re-ask the question).
7.  Is your home clean and tidy.
8.  Has the Society taken or tried to take pictures of your home.
9.   How well are your  kids dressed.
10. Do the kids teachers think they dress improperly
11. Do the kids teachers think your kids smell.
12. Do the teachers think the kids are clean and well cared for.
13. Are there any behavior problems at  day care?
14. If the children have behavioral problems, are there professionals
     involved with the family.

This canvasses the sort of questions you should ask yourself before answering.
If you present well and the answers to the above questions are “no concerns”,
you may wish to write the Society and “decline” their assistance at present.
But fix whatever problems the society had concerns about and do not talk
to the Society without your lawyer.
If your ‘bill of health’ is not so clean, you should co-operate with
the workers and you should prepare for trial (this is not a joke or a misprint).
Do not take CAS involvement lightly. Start to clean up your act immediately.

Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.


Phone us at   519-256-9500



BACK TO TOP.

Attitude Adjustment

Most clients of the Society clients were born with attitude.
They hate the Society and they hate the worker beyond words.
If this describes you or your spouse, kiss the kids good bye
unless you can radically adjust your attitude.
This bad attitude works against you on every level.
If you want to keep your kids without proceeding to trial, you  must follow, at a minimum,
these eight simple rules:

8 Ways to Help Yourself

#1. Co-operate with the society.
#2. Make friends with the worker.
#3. You are not to ask for a new worker.
#4. You are definitely not to complain about the worker to her supervisor.
#5. You want the bad notes going into the file to cease immediately.
#6. Sign up for every course that has been recommended by the society.
#7. Attend every session of all courses and, most important....
#8.You will be damn happy about the courses, the society, the worker, when asked.

If you are thinking: “I don’t want to suck up to them”,
The real issue is: “how much do you love your children and
    how badly do you  want to keep them.”


Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.





Phone us at   519-256-9500



BACK TO TOP.


5 Ways to Hurt Yourself

#1. Keep your residence like a pig sty.
What does the worker see when she visits your home?
Often, the concerns of the worker may start with something as basic as
living arrangements. Occasionally, the homes will be filthy and cluttered,
beyond belief.  Is this your problem?
In most cities there are organizations that will tackle this sort of problem at no
charge. Try the Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army targets their services at the same basic group
of people as the Society does. The Salvation Army has no gag reflex
and no burning agenda contrary to your interest. They will sometimes
get involved.
Get the home cleaned up. Get some basic instructions from the Sally
Anne on keeping it clean. See that you keep Lysol or Pine-sol on hand.
The house should not only be clean but smell clean when the worker
comes calling.

#2. Make the smell of cooking odours knock the worker down.
Are you a first generation immigrant?  You may have cooking or cultural
inputs that affect the odour of the home. Does your home smell ‘non-western’
to a young (read inexperienced) worker? Take care to explain that these
cooking odours or perfumes are common to your culture.
The point is not to educate the worker in your culture; the point is to
help you win the worker over to your side.

#3. Let your children sleep on the floor
Is there adequate bedding for the kids. There are community groups that
will help with this and with books and toys. And there are all sorts of
places that used furniture can be had. You must deal with this issue.
If the Society has placed photos of your residence before the court,
you must put the “after” pictures before the court as well through your lawyer.
It is not fatal to your case and demonstrates that can take instruction.

#4. Make sure your kids smell
Poverty smells, but that is no excuse.
A fair number of society clients smell.
Don’t assume that your house doesn’t. Don’t ignore the smell issue.
It can be damn important.
The first thing you should do when CAS starts poking around is to
improve the smell with pine-sol or some disinfectant.
Every time the worker deals with your client, they smell the same smell
you do. And you have to know that they are subconsciously influenced by it.
And make sure the kids clothes smell fresh.

#5. Keep your children dirty
Get those kids clean up and properly clothed.
Get a church group to help with the clothes.
If you plan to argue with the Society, you must get your own support group.
Know the church groups who are active in this area.
They may have a religious agenda but they are far less intrusive than the Society.
Getting your children to look presentable is often a chore but  presentable kids are important
in swinging the worker over to your side.
Shop the Sally Anne and Thrift stores.

Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.


Phone us at   519-256-9500


BACK TO TOP.



CAS Workers

We have met many workers who deserve medals for the wonders
that they have wrought. When a good worker throws herself (most workers
are women) into a case, she can occasionally turn an entire family around.
And this is no mean feat.
However, not all workers are upstanding or dedicated. To some
it is just a job and you will occasionally meet some workers, but not many,
who will “adjust” their court testimony to advance the society’s case
for a variety of reasons.

Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the first
possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case.
If your children are important to you, please retain the services of an
experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Let us represent you.


Phone us at   519-256-9500




BACK TO TOP.

CAS Lawyers

As for the lawyers who normally represent the Society, We have
found them to be above board, honest and diligent. But not, as a general
rule, sympathetic.
For the most part, they are well paid and focused. If they make promises
to you, they are very likely to keep those promises.
Of course, they work for, and take instructions from, the Society.

Please note:
1. if you are a parent in a court case against Children’s Aid Society, we
strongly recommend that you retain a lawyer to represent you at the
first possible opportunity;
2. this note is designed only to acquaint parents with a few (and only a few)
of the steps and issues in Children’s Aid cases. It is not intended as
legal advice on any specific case. Once again, please retain the services
of a lawyer as soon as possible.


Let us represent you.


Phone us at   519-256-9500



Saying among old lawyers:
“Usually, the easiest way to get along with the society,
is to do what they want.”  (anon.)

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Call us at 519-256-9500