Request a review of a refusal to allow you to adopt a particular child

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Before you file an application

Did a children’s aid society refuse your request to adopt a particular child? If the answer is “yes”, you may apply to the Child and Family Services Review Board for a review of that decision.

You can be represented by a lawyer or paralegal or you can represent yourself. For more information, see the SJTO Practice Direction on Representation.


The children’s aid society has to give you written notice of its decision to refuse your application to adopt a particular child.

After you receive the notice, you have 10 days to apply to the CFSRB for a review. During this time, the children’s aid society cannot place the child for adoption with someone else.

If it has been more than 10 days since you received the notice, and you would like to apply for a review, contact us. If the notice is incomplete, you may still be able to apply.

If children’s aid society refuses your request to adopt without sending a written notice, contact the CFSRB immediately. You may be eligible to apply for a review.

Filing an application with the CFSRB

To apply, download the Application for a Review of a Refusal of an Adoption or call us and we will mail you a copy.

If you need help filling out the form, call the CFSRB and a case processing officer will help you. Note that a case processing officer cannot give you legal advice or tell you what words to use in your application.

For information about how to send your application, visit Forms & Filing.

After you file

The CFSRB will notify the children’s aid society that you have filed an application. If the child is First Nations, Métis or Inuit, the CFSRB will notify the child’s community.

The CFSRB will hold a pre-hearing conference within 6 days of receiving your application. The CFSRB member who holds the pre-hearing conference will decide whether your application is eligible. If your application is not eligible, the CFSRB will send you a letter explaining why.

The pre-hearing conference

At the pre-hearing teleconference the CFSRB member will:

  • explain the hearing process
  • define the issues
  • identify the witnesses who will appear at the hearing
  • decide which party will go first
  • decide whether a child’s community and/or the Office of the Children’s Lawyer will participate in the hearing
  • review the documents and other potential evidence the parties will need to share with each other and the CFSRB
  • set dates for the hearing

The pre-hearing conference will be held on the phone.

After the pre-hearing conference, the CFSRB will mail 2 documents to everyone involved.

  1. A summary of what was discussed at the pre-hearing.
  2. A notice of hearing, which gives the time and location of your hearing.

The hearing

A panel of 1-3 adjudicators will hold a hearing. All participants will have an opportunity to present oral and written evidence, ask witnesses questions, and make submissions. CFSRB members may also ask the witnesses questions. The children’s aid society will present its evidence first.

Your hearing will be scheduled to take place no more than 20 days after you got the decision telling you your application was eligible for review.

Hearings can last 3 days or more. All hearings take place in private. The CFSRB will try to hold the hearing at a location that is convenient for everyone.


The Board will decide which action is in the best interests of the child and can:

  • confirm the children’s aid society’s decision to refuse your adoption application
  • order the children’s aid society to proceed with the next step in the adoption process, e.g.
    • order the completion of an adoption home study
    • order the child be placed with you for adoption

The CFSRB will issue its decision, with written reasons, no more than 10 days after the hearing.

Service standards

Service excellence is a priority for the Child and Family Services Review Board. Our service standards keep us focused on providing our clients with fair, effective, and timely dispute resolution. These are the service standards that apply to applications to review a refusal to adopt. We aim to meet these standards 80%of the time.

  • Hearings will be scheduled 20 days after the application is deemed eligible
  • Decisions or orders will be issued within 10 calendar days after the hearing has been completed

Rules of Procedure

The sections of the Rules of Procedure that apply to an application to review a decision related to an adoption made by a children’s aid society’s or licensed adoption agency are Part I and Part IV.