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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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Crown Wards

Regarding the video on peer monitoring from Kim Snow ...

I had never heard of a group of "Crown Wards". Can you tell me more about them, please.

David Macarov

This definition of Crown Ward, from Wikipedia works fine ... The term arises, historically, from the idea that the Crown was the Head of Canada.

A ward of the state, also known as a Crown Ward, is a term used in Canada to describe a foster child who has been made the legal responsibility of the government. The Children's Aid Society (Canada) or a court can make a child a Crown Ward if the child cannot be reunited with his or her natural family.

Thom Garfat


Which country are you from? In Canada once a child has been removed from his parents (by a children's aid society, through suspicion of abuse) there is a lengthy court process towards Crown Wardship. A Crown Ward is a child who has been through the process and the court has found that the parents are no longer able to care for the child and will likely never be and appoints them 'Crown Wardship Status'. In other countries they are referred to as Orphans, or Wards of the State. The child is now the legal responsibility of the government. The term Crown Ward is used in reference to the English monarchy which Canada once was ruled under.

Not all children in Canada foster care are Crown Wards, some children are in foster care while parents await trial for custody. Those children are called Society Wards, where the local children's aid has custody of the child but if the parents are proven fit the child will be returned.

We also have foster children who are under a 'Temporary Care Agreement' (TCA). Those children are in foster care due to the parents sudden unexpected need for help to care for their child (sudden loss of home, unexpected death, mental health). Those children have been surrendered to the local CAS by the parent for their safety and security while the parent seeks help for their situation.

There is also Customary Care Agreement, which pertains ONLY to children with First Nation Status (Aboriginal). When a First Nation parent loses custody, the CAS needs to locate the child's affiliated Band (reserve) and request that the band get involved with their care. If the Band decides to get involved then the child can be switched to a Customary Care Agreement with the First Nation Band and the Band becomes the child's guardian, making decisions in the best interest of the child's needs and cultural heritage.
If the band chooses not to get involved, then they CAS reverts back to the process outlined for children without First Nation Status.

Timelines for care agreements are as follows

TCA: 3-6 months at a time, could end sooner if the parent is deemed ready by the CAS, but if an extension is required the Maximum time is about a year

Society Wardship: 1 year for children 6 and under, could end sooner if the parent is deemed ready by the court system. If a child is under 6, parents need more time the process for crown wardship.
2 years for children over 6, same rules apply

Crown Wardship: Lifelong, from the time of appointment, but could end due to family reunification or adoption. If a child is able to be adopted, then the Crown Wardship status would end, however if a child is not adopted the biological parent can ask for review every year to see if they may be willing to now care for their child.

Hope that helps

Hi David,

In Canada this is a common term used in our child welfare/protection system.

Here we refer to children who cannot be reunited with their natural family as "Crown Wards". Essentially it means that these children/youth are wards of the state and they often end up living in foster care or residential group care facilities.

In 2005, Canadian filmaker Andrée Cazabon released a documentary titled Wards of the Crown. If you can find it, it will give you some good insight into the issues faced by these individuals.

I hope this helps!

Catlin Thorn

Many thanks for your replies. Very helpful. Anyone have any idea how many Crown Wards there are?


Try the National Youth In Care Network or the Child Welfare League or work by Nico Trocme.

Rick Kelly


I think the estimate is around 35,000-40,000. That was from 2010


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