In Ontario, children under 12 who commit criminal offences are dealt with under the Child and Family Services Act. If the offence is a minor one the child may be apprehended by a police officer and will be returned to the parent so that the parent can deal with appropriate consequences. If the child has on more than one occasion committed an assault or damaged property and the parent has either encouraged the inappropriate behaviour or has not adequately provided supervision, then Children's Aid Society, the police, or another person can commence proceedings to ask the Court to find the child to be "in need of protection". Similar proceedings can be commenced if a child under 12 has has killed or seriously injured another person or caused serious damage
A child protection worker, including a police officer, can apprehend such a child without a warrant and bring the child to a foster home or hospital. In certain circumstances the child can be placed in detention.
The child's matter must be brought to Court as soon as practicable after apprehension and in any event within 5 days. A show cause hearing, somewhat similar to a bail hearing, will take place and an interim order of custody can be made pending the full hearing to determine if the child is "in need of protection"
If the Court finds the child to be "in need of protection" the Court may order a psychological or other assessment and the child may be ordered back into the custody of a parent subject to the supervision of Children's Aid Society, the child may be made a Society Ward of Children's Aid for a fixed period of time, or the child may be made a permanent Crown Ward.
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