If this is an emergency and you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

If you are experiencing a crisis and need to talk to a counsellor right away, please call the Kids Help Phone (24 Hours): Toll-free: 1-800-668-6868.

Understand your rights

As a child, youth or young person receiving services under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017, (CYFSA) you have rights that must be respected and a voice that must be heard. Furthermore, the Government of Ontario acknowledges that the aim of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 is to be consistent with and build upon the principles expressed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

You do not have to earn these rights, and no one can take them away from you.

The word services appears throughout this page. There are many different types of services under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017. Some examples are:

  • services for children with developmental or physical disabilities or their families
  • mental health services for children or their families
  • services that are related to residential care for children
  • services for children or their families who are or may be in need of protection
  • services that are related to adoption
  • counselling for a child or for a child’s family
  • services that support children and families or help prevent child abuse and neglect
  • services and programs for young persons involved in the youth justice system

The Children and Young Persons’ Rights Resource can help you:

  • understand your rights included in part two (also known as part II) and part ten (also known as part X) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017
  • know where to go or who you can talk to if you have questions about your rights
  • know what to do if you feel that a service provider is not respecting your rights

Your rights might be different depending on the types of services that you receive under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017. Choose the section of rights that is best for you.

What the law says

The Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 (CYFSA) is a set of laws in Ontario. It sets out rules that service providers must follow. The main goal of this act is to promote your best interests, protection and well-being.

The act is divided into several parts. We designed the Children and Young Person’s Rights Resource to help you understand two parts that impact you the most: part two (also known as part II) and part ten (also known as part X).

You have the right to be safe, heard and cared for

Part two of the act outlines many of your rights. It also tells service providers and foster parents that they must help you feel safe, heard and cared for.

While you receive services, service providers and foster parents may make decisions that affect your life. When they do, they must have a conversation with you about:

  • what is happening
  • how you feel about it

You have the right to take part in decisions that service providers make about your life, to talk freely and safely about your feelings, thoughts and opinions, and to have those feelings, thoughts and opinions considered. You also have a right to talk about services that you are worried or unhappy about, to ask for changes to those services and to get an answer back from your service provider.

Read the law.

You have rights about how your personal information is collected, used and shared

Part ten of the act outlines your rights when service providers collect, use and share your personal information.

Personal information is identifying information about you, including:

  • where you live
  • your date of birth
  • any notes your social worker takes about you

It’s important that your personal information is correct and that you know:

  • why it is being collected
  • who it will be shared with
  • how it will be used
  • how it is stored

You have these rights if you are currently receiving services from a service provider under the Act, or if you have received services in the past.

Read the law.

What your service provider must do

Your service provider must:

  • explain your rights to you when you first receive any service under the act, or when you first go to live in a new place
  • explain your rights to you in words that you understand
  • be available to help you understand your rights and answer any questions you might have about your rights
  • continue to check in with you about your rights
  • have an extra conversation with you if they learn that your rights have not been respected

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If you need help

Not sure where to go for help? Contact the Ontario Ombudsman by phone or email.

Toll-free: 1-800-263-2841

Email: cy-ej@ombudsman.on.ca

You should contact the Ontario Ombudsman’s Office if you have a complaint about a service provided by a:

  • children’s aid society
  • group home
  • foster home
  • secure treatment facility
  • youth justice facility

You can also contact the Ombudsman if you have questions about a service provided under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017.

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Talk to a lawyer

It is important to understand that this webpage is not legal advice. If you would like to speak with a lawyer, you should talk to one.

The Office of the Children’s Lawyer (OCL) provides lawyers for children in some situations.If you already have a lawyer through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, you should speak with your lawyer about your questions.

If you don’t have a lawyer, you can also get legal help from:

If you don’t have a lawyer and want to know if and how you can get one through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, you can:

Make a complaint

You can make a complaint against a service provider if you feel they are not respecting your rights. When you receive services from a service provider, they will give you information about how to make a complaint.

Learn more about making a complaint about services received from a children’s aid society

If you live in a foster or group home, youth justice facility or secure treatment facility, and you need help or would like someone to look into what happened, you can contact the Ontario Ombudsman: Toll-free: 1-800-263-2841 or talk to a lawyer.

If you have concerns about access to, or the privacy of your personal information you can make a complaint to the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) at any time. You can ask your service provider to help with the complaints process. You can also visit the IPC website for more information about making a complaint.

Get health and peer support


Kids Help Phone - Talk to a counsellor if you experience a crisis and need to talk to someone right away. Help is available 24/7. Call Toll-free: 1-800-668-6868 .

Mental health services for children and youth - Find mental health support and helplines for people under 18 years of age.

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line - Get immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention. Help is available 24/7. Call 1-855-242-3310 .

ConnexOntario - Find addictions, mental health and problem gambling treatment services. Call Toll-free: 1-800-531-2600 .

Telehealth Ontario - Speak to a registered nurse and get free medical advice. Call:

Peer support

Youthline - Get confidential, non-judgmental and informed LGBTQI2S peer support. Call: