What is a Psychological Assessment for Youth?
Section 34(1) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act enumerates the proceedings where a psychological assessment or a medical assessment can be ordered. Normally, these assessments are ordered on consent of the young person and the prosecutor. However, if an application is made, the Court may accept the application on numerous grounds. Once the application is granted, the young person must undergo an assessment.
The Court may accept the application if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the young person may be suffering from a physical or mental illness or disorder, a psychological disorder, an emotional disturbance, a learning disability, or a mental disability. If the young person has a history of repeated offences, an assessment may be ordered. And finally, if the young person is accused of a serious violent offence, an assessment may be ordered.
What is a Referral to a Child Welfare Agency?
Section 35 the Youth Criminal Justice Act enumerates that the youth court may make a referral to a child welfare agency at any point in a youth proceeding. The purpose of the assessment is to determine whether the young person needs child welfare services. A referral to a child welfare agency is a referral to the Children’s Aid Society in Canada.
When a CAS worker receives a referral, this means that a child may be in need of protection. The child protection worker will engage in conversation with the reporter to obtain information. This information may include identities of any and all adults involved, the detailed report of the incident or condition that causes concern, information about the functioning of the family, information about support networks, concerns about the workers’ safety, the current location of the child, etc. The safety of the child is paramount in these cases, and prompt responses are usually warranted. If a child is known to be neglected or abused, it is important to report it to the police.