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This is a forum where parents can ask specific questions and experts will provide answers. Do you have a new question for our experts? We would be happy to hear from you. Please submit your question, and we will do our best to reply to you within ten business days.

Scroll down to see the newest questions and the answers from our experts.

Top Questions

Every parent has questions and our experts have answers. Read on:

There are 26 questions and answers.


1. How can I help my child gain weight?

Thank you for your question.

Poor weight gain can be very concerning. Many strategies are available to help your child maintain their weight. For more information:

http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Childrens-Nutrition/Healthy-Eating-and-Healthy-Weights/How-can-I-help-my-child-gain-weight.aspx

For answers to your healthy eating questions contact Dial-a-Dietitian to speak to a Registered Dietitian in Manitoba:

Dial - a - Dietitian  1-877-830-2892, 204-788-8248 in Winnipeg

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2. Should I offer my child alternative milks instead of cow's milk?

Thank you for your question.

Many different non-dairy beverages are available for sale in Canada. These products are often used when a person follows a diet that does not include cow's milk. However not all non-dairy beverages are created equal. For more information:

http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Food-allergies/intolerances/Understanding-non-dairy-beverages.aspx

For answers to your healthy eating questions contact Dial-a-Dietitian to speak to a Registered Dietitian in Manitoba:

Dial - a - Dietitian  1-877-830-2892, 204-788-8248 in Winnipeg

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3. Can a 12yo (he'll be 13 this April) babysit his 3yo brother even without attending the training or having the 1st aid certificate? If no, is there any time frame they can be left alone?

Thank you for your question.

The Child and Family Services Act, Section 17(2) outlines illustrations of children in need of protection. Subsection (g) states, “being under the age of 12 years, is left unattended and without reasonable provision being made for the supervision and safety of the child”.Therefore, child and family service agencies use the guideline of the age of 12 years as a requirement before children can be left unattended.

The Act is not specific about an age at which a child can baby-sit, however again, 12 is used as a general guideline.As children mature at different rates, it is expected that parents would use their discretion as to the capability of the child/children in question and the responsibilities required for a child to be either left alone or babysit other children.

In some situations, a 12 year old might only be able to safely care for one child. In other situations, a particular young child might have medical or behavioural needs that mean they need a caregiver who is older and has more maturity to handle situations that would likely arise. Similarly, most 12 year olds would not be able to safely supervise and care for a large group of children without additional help. It is important to note that not every 12 year old is ready to safely care for other children. For a more detailed discussion on this topic see Learning Responsibility

While it is not a legal requirement for babysitters to have taken the babysitting or first aid course, it is advisable as the courses provide information on staying home alone, how to handle emergencies, etc. You can check with your local library, community centre, YMCA, St. John’s Ambulance, Red Cross or other organizations to find a course near you. You may also wish to search for courses offered in your community using the CONTACT community information guide. Their website can be found at CONTACT Manitoba

If you have further questions about a specific situation, please contact your local child and family services (CFS) agency. You can use the map at this link to determine the agency that provides intake and referral information for your community: http://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childfam/dia_intake.html.

Once again we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of Manitoba Family Services’ Child Protection Branch in responding to your question.

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4. My son and his girlfriend had a baby girl at Christmas. They do not live together but were quite close this last while before child was born and at the birth. She lives with her parents, and since that day has not allowed our son and us to see the child. He has a lawyer, and sent a letter to her, but to no avail. They are going thru legal aid and still do not have a lawyer. His name is on the birth certificate. What rights does he have and us as grandparents without going bankrupt through court hearings?

Thank you for your question. We are sorry to hear that your family is going through a challenging time.

It is possible for individuals who are not the parents of a child (for example, grandparents) to make an application to the court for access to a child. These types of cases each turn on their own facts and depend on the specific circumstances of each family. The court will grant or deny access to the child based on what the court believes is in the child’s best interests.

Issues around child custody and visitation can be complicated; therefore we encourage you to seek legal advice about your specific situation from your lawyer.

If you do not think you can afford to consult with a lawyer, you may wish to contact Legal Aid Manitoba to see if you qualify for their services. Information on Legal Aid eligibility can be found by visiting their website at www.legalaid.mb.ca or by calling (204) 985-8500 in Winnipeg or toll free at 1-800-261-2960.

Another option for you may be the Community Legal Education Association, which provides a Law Phone-in and Law Referral Program. They can be reached at (204) 943-2305 for legal questions and (204) 943-3602 for lawyer referral or toll free at 1-800-262-8800. Their website can be found at http://www.communitylegal.mb.ca/.

In addition, the Legal Help Centre, a not-for-profit legal information clinic located at the Portage Place mall (second floor), is another resource for information and advice about legal issues. Their website can be found at www.legalhelpcentre.ca.

Family Conciliation Services offers a range of conflict resolution services, including mediation services for families around custody related issues at no cost. This service is an alternative to traditional court action for parents who are willing to meet and work together with an impartial, trained mediator to make decisions about the ongoing needs of their children after separation. You can read more information about Family Conciliation Services, as well as find the contact information for their offices, at this link: http://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childfam/family_conciliation.html.

You may also wish to contact your local child and family services (CFS) agency to see if they are able to assist you in any way. You can use the map at this link to determine the agency that provides intake and referral information for your community: http://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childfam/dia_intake.html.

Once again, we thank you for submitting your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of the Family Law Branch of Manitoba Justice in responding to your question.

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5. My ex and I have joint custody of our 4 year old son. I have primary care and control and final decision making. My ex is supposed to get my son for one overnight every second weekend but does not live in a safe child friendly environment and has no accommodations for my son there. For the safety and well being of my son; am I within my rights to not allow overnight visits until his father can provide a safe environment and accommodations for my son or do I have to wait until we can go back to court to do so even though that can take months and even a year?

Thank you for your question.

While parents always have an obligation to ensure the safety and well being of their children and the parent with final decision making has authority to make decisions in that regard, it is important to distinguish between what is truly unsafe and what is just not ideal.

If the proposed accommodation is truly unsafe and not simply less than ideal it would be best to go back to court to resolve the issue.Keep in mind that should you decide to simply withhold access, this could have a negative effect on any future court proceeding, especially if the accommodation is not truly unsafe.

If at all possible, it would be best to come to some agreement with your ex on the issue of suitable accommodations. Issues around parental rights/responsibilities are both complicated and very important and it is best for you to consult with a lawyer who practices family law, to get some specific legal advice. Information on Legal Aid eligibility can be found by visiting their website at www.legalaid.mb.ca or by calling (204) 985-8500 in Winnipeg or toll-free at 1-800-261-2960.

Another option for you may be the Community Legal Education Association, which provides a Law Phone-in and Law Referral Program. They can be reached at (204) 943-2305 for legal questions and (204) 943-3602 for lawyer referral or toll free at 1-800-262-8800. Their website can be found at http://www.communitylegal.mb.ca/.

In addition, the Legal Help Centre, a not-for-profit legal information clinic located at the Portage Place mall (second floor), is another resource for information and advice about legal issues. Their website can be found at www.legalhelpcentre.ca.

Family Conciliation Services offers a range of conflict resolution services, including mediation services for families around custody related issues at no cost. This service is an alternative to traditional court action for parents who are willing to meet and work together with an impartial, trained mediator to make decisions about the ongoing needs of their children after separation. You can read more information about Family Conciliation Services, as well as find the contact information for their offices, at this link: http://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childfam/family_conciliation.html.

Once again, we thank you for submitting your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of the Family Law Branch of Manitoba Justice in responding to your question.

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6. If there are some issues around who the father is can the mother indicate father unknown and what are the consequences for doing this?

Thank you for your question.

When the birth of a baby is registered with Vital Statistics, if the mother is unmarried she can simply leave the name of father blank with the result that there is no father named on the birth certificate. If she is married, she is to indicate the name of her husband unless she chooses to complete a special declaration form which would then permit her to not indicate the name of the father.

As to the issue of consequences, that is a very broad topic and far beyond the scope of this service. They range from child support, potential treaty status, inheritance, etc.

As we are only able to provide you with general legal information through this “Ask An Expert” feature, it is best for you to consult directly with a family law lawyer if you require specific advice on the issues you’ve raised.

If you don’t think you can afford to consult with a lawyer, you may wish to contact Legal Aid Manitoba to see if you qualify for their services. Information on Legal Aid eligibility can be found by visiting their website at www.legalaid.mb.ca or by calling (204) 985-8500 in Winnipeg or toll free at 1-800-261-2960.

Another option for you may be the Community Legal Education Association, which provides a Law Phone-in and Law Referral Program. They can be reached at (204) 943-2305 for legal questions and (204) 943-3602 for lawyer referral or toll free at 1-800-262-8800. Their website can be found at http://www.communitylegal.mb.ca/.

In addition, the Legal Help Centre, a not-for-profit legal information clinic located at the Portage Place mall (second floor), is another resource for information and advice about legal issues. Their website can be found at www.legalhelpcentre.ca.

Once again, we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of the Family Law Branch of Manitoba Justice in responding to your question.

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7. What foods should you avoid when breast feeding? I have a client who's baby is 6 weeks old and has "colicky like episodes" and would like some suggestions of foods to avoid.

Thank you for your question.

It is such a helpless feeling seeing a child in pain. Babies usually cry because they are hungry, uncomfortable, sick, hurt or they want to be held. There are quite a few reasons for extended periods of crying, and some we don’t know. Most often a mother’s diet is not the cause. I am assuming that the baby is gaining well and this mother has contacted her doctor to rule out any physical causes. If not, it may be time for a meeting with a physician.

Before we explore food choices, we would need more information about the mother and baby.

What was the baby’s birth weight, when was the last time the baby was weighed and what was the weight?

Oversupply can cause colic, green stools and a gassy, fussy baby and of course a hungry baby will cry.

How does the baby act before, during breastfeeding, and after that? When you ask the mother how often the baby nurses, does she give set times or does she have a hard time remembering?

A baby who is nursed at the first signs of hunger is often a happier baby. Each time the mother meets the baby’s need for hunger or closeness, the baby’s trust in his or her mother is built.

Are there allergies in the mother, her partner or other family members?

A baby has a 30% risk of developing allergies if one parent has some and 60% if both parents have them. Often when there is a food sensitivity, there are other symptoms like diaper rashes, eczema on the head, face, chest, inside elbows, behind the knees or other creases, vomiting, reflux, blood in the baby’s poop, constant runny nose, cough or wheezing. These babies are often crying or fussy all day, not just in the evenings.

What other symptoms does the mother see in the baby? How often and how long does the baby cry?

Many babies want to breastfeed frequently in the evening and will cry when not nursing or when not being held. Sometimes using a sling, carrier or wrap while walking, gently swaying or rocking will soothe a baby. Bathing, infant massage, and white noise are other methods that have been used to reduce crying.

What has the mother tried in her attempts to help the baby and herself?

This mother sounds determined to get to the bottom of her baby’s crying, and you’re to be commended for going the extra mile to help her. Once you and I have more information, we will be able to offer her some further information to encourage her to find the answers she needs.

ManitobaParentZone acknowledges the assistance of La Leche League Canada in responding to your question.

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8. I am looking for counselling, yoga or other programs for my 4 year old son who is hyperactive and aggressive. I have registered for the triple p parenting sessions already. I have blue cross & green shield coverage & live in south end of Winnipeg. Thank you

Thank you for your question.

The Communities 4 Families website has an online tool that helps you search for resources based on category and neighbourhood. You can access this online tool by clicking here: http://communities4families.ca/resources-4-families/web-category/family-counselling/

You may also wish to search for programs offered in your community using the CONTACT community information guide. The website can be found at CONTACT Manitoba

For general therapy/counselling services across the city, the following agencies and organizations may prove helpful:

  • The Manitoba Psychological Society provides a listing of psychologists in private practice. Some services may be covered through Employee Assistance or Blue Cross. Access services through their website at: www.mps.ca.
  • Aurora Family Therapy Centre (University of Winnipeg) offers family therapy, charging on a sliding scale. Their number is 204-786-9251.
  • New Directions for Children, Youth, Adults, and Families is an agency that provides family counselling and parenting programs. These services are free and they can be reached at 204-786-7051.
  • KLINIC offers no-charge drop in counselling services (call 204-784-4067).
  • Women's Health Clinic – no-charge services (call 204-947-2422, extension 204).
  • Family Dynamics (formerly The Family Centre of Winnipeg) offers a range of counselling services, charged on a sliding scale. Family Dynamics can be reached at 204-947-1401.
  • The Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre offers a range of program services including parenting programs and youth programs (no charge). The Centre can be reached at 204-925-0300.
  • The Manitoba Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT) provides a listing of marriage and family therapists. Costs vary depending on the therapist and should be checked with individual therapist. Visit the MAMFT website at: www.mamft.ca.
  • Psychological Services Centre at the University of Manitoba offers counselling services to the Winnipeg community (no charge). More information can be obtained by calling 204-474-9222.

There are also a number of community agencies serving various Winnipeg neighborhoods that offer support to parents. Many of these offer parenting programs and services are usually free to low-cost. A few of these are:

South Winnipeg Family Information Centre

204-284-9311

Nor'West Community Health Services

204-782-8793

Military Family Resource Centre in St. James

204-883-2500 (ext 4500)

Elmwood Community Resource Centre

204-982-1720

Aulneau Renewal Centre

204-987-7090

Mount Carmel Clinic

204-582-2311

In deciding which services can best help you, please remember to let the agency know as specifically as possible what kind of assistance and support you are looking for and feel comfortable in asking them to describe the services that they offer in as detailed a way as possible.

Triple P tips and strategies are available through a Triple P (telephone) Information line that is staffed by trained Triple P counselors Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. You can access the Triple P information line to receive free, confidential parenting support based on the Triple P Positive Parenting Program by calling 204-945-4777 or toll-free 1-877-945-4777. Triple P Program resources are also available online at: http://www.manitobatriplep.ca/

We hope that the information that we have provided will prove helpful to you.

All the best,

ManitobaParentZone

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9. Does my son's father have any rights is he's not on the birth certificate? I haven't heard anything from him since I was pregnant and my son is 6 months now.

Thank you for your question.

Whether or not a person is named as the father on a child’s birth certificate is not the only factor that determines whether that person is a parent of the child. You have not specified what rights you are asking about, but the following information may be of assistance:

  • If you and your son’s father did not live together after the child was born and your son has only lived with you, you have “sole custody and control” of the child under Manitoba law. If you did live together after the child was born, you and your son’s father would have joint custody and control of the child.
  • Either parent may make an application to the court for custody or access (visitation) concerning the child. If a court application is made, the court will determine what parenting arrangements are in the best interests of the child.
  • Each parent has the obligation to provide reasonably for the child’s support, maintenance and education, whether or not the child is in that parent’s custody. This obligation also applies to a parent who chooses not to be involved with their child.
  • Either you or your son’s father could make an application to the court to declare that he is or is not the father of the child.

As we are only able to provide you with general legal information through this “Ask An Expert” feature, it is best for you to consult directly with a family law lawyer if you require specific advice on the issues you’ve raised.

If you do not think you can afford to consult with a lawyer, you may wish to contact Legal Aid Manitoba to see if you qualify for their services. Information on Legal Aid eligibility can be found by visiting their website at www.legalaid.mb.ca or by calling (204) 985-8500 in Winnipeg or toll free at 1-800-261-2960.

Another option for you may be the Community Legal Education Association, which provides a Law Phone-in and Law Referral Program. They can be reached at (204) 943-2305 for legal questions and (204) 943-3602 for lawyer referral or toll free at 1-800-262-8800. Their website can be found at http://www.communitylegal.mb.ca/.

In addition, the Legal Help Centre, a not-for-profit legal information clinic located at the Portage Place mall (second floor), is another resource for information and advice about legal issues. Their website can be found at www.legalhelpcentre.ca.

Once again we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of the Family Law Branch of Manitoba Justice in responding to your question.

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10. My son is 2 1/2 years old. He will be transitioning soon from a crib to a double bed with a mattress and box spring. What type of mattress (i.e. medium or firm, innerspring or memory foam, etc.) is best for his physical development?

Thank you for your question.

Although there are no medical recommendations to consider while buying a mattress for a toddler, you may wish to consider safety issues. Here are some recommendations from Health Canada (2012):

Toddler Beds

Toddler beds are often used when a child has outgrown a crib, but he or she is not yet big enough to use a standard bed. These beds are meant to be used until a child turns about five years old. Toddler beds usually come with guardrails on each side of the mattress.

  • Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for putting the bed together, and read the warning labels.
  • Follow the age and weight restrictions recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Many crib mattresses fit toddler beds:
    • Know what your crib mattress dimensions are before shopping for a toddler bed and make sure both are compatible.
    • Make sure that your crib mattress is in good condition before using it on a toddler bed.
    • Make sure there is no large gap between the mattress and the guardrails, headboard or footboard.
  • The bed should be low to the ground. The guardrails are meant to remind your child that they are getting close to the edge, but they do not actually prevent your child from falling out of the bed or climbing over the rail.
  • Openings in guardrails or other parts of the bed that are above the mattress support system should be less than 8.4 cm (3.3 in) apart.
  • Check often to make sure the bed frame is sturdy.

Reference: Is your child safe? Sleep Time (Health Canada, 2012).

Once again, we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of Health Links – Info Santé in responding to this question.

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11. Is there a legal limit as to how many children a 12-yr old baby sitter can be responsible for?

Thank you for your inquiry about the number of children for whom a 12 year old can be responsible.

There is no specific legislation that provides a clear number on this issue. The Child and Family Services Act, Section 17 (2) (g) provides the following example of a child in need of protection:

“being under the age of 12 years, is left unattended and without reasonable provision being made for the supervision and safety of the child.”

It is the responsibility of parents to determine if the babysitter they plan to use can provide safe supervision and care. In some situations, a 12 year old might only be able to safely care for one child. In other situations, a particular young child might have medical or behavioural needs that mean they need a caregiver who is older and has more maturity to handle situations that would likely arise. Similarly, most 12 year olds would not be able to safely supervise and care for a large group of children without additional help. It is important to note that not every 12 year old is ready to safely care for other children. For a more detailed discussion on this topic see Learning Responsibility

If you have further questions about a specific situation, please contact your local child and family services (CFS) agency. You can use the map at this link to determine the agency that provides intake and referral information for your community: http://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childfam/dia_intake.html.

If there is a time when you learn that children do not have adequate or safe supervision, please immediately report your concerns to CFS (using the contact information from the link above) or to your local police services.

Once again we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of Manitoba Family Services’ Child Protection Branch in responding to your question.

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12. I have a younger sister from my biological father and another woman. I usually get visits when I like but her mother is constantly getting mad at my father and telling me I cannot see her. I don't want to lose contact with my sister; are there any legal visits I can get as a sibling?

Thank you for your question.

Under Manitoba’s Child and Family Services Act, in exceptional circumstances, a third party could apply to court for an order for access to a child. If you made such an application, the child’s parents would have to receive notice and a judge would decide whether it would be in the child’s best interests for you to have access to her.

As we are only able to provide you with general legal information through this “Ask An Expert” feature, it is best for you to consult directly with a family law lawyer if you require specific advice on the issues you’ve raised.

If you don’t think you can afford to consult with a lawyer, you may wish to contact Legal Aid Manitoba to see if you qualify for their services. Information on Legal Aid eligibility can be found by visiting their website at www.legalaid.mb.ca or by calling (204) 985-8500 in Winnipeg or toll free at 1-800-261-2960.

Another option for you may be the Community Legal Education Association, which provides a Law Phone-in and Law Referral Program. They can be reached at (204) 943-2305 for legal questions and (204) 943-3602 for lawyer referral or toll free at 1-800-262-8800. Their website can be found at http://www.communitylegal.mb.ca/.

In addition, the Legal Help Centre, a not-for-profit legal information clinic located at the Portage Place mall (second floor), is another resource for information and advice about legal issues. Their website can be found at www.legalhelpcentre.ca.

Once again, we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

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13. What are the legal rights of a 16 year old? He lives with his mom and step dad in an unhealthy environment. The birth father is in another province and is not a healthy option either. Can the 16year old (17 in 3 months) move out legally? Find someone to stay with? Can the police force the 16 year old to go back home if they don't feel safe?

Thank you for your question.

As the child is under the age of 18 and you have stated that he may not feel safe at home, you have a legal duty to contact the Child and Family Services Agency in your area and advise the Agency of your concerns. It would then be up to the Agency to decide what action was warranted and what services could be provided.

The parents can agree to have the child stay with a friend or family member in a private arrangement. Also, a friend or family member could apply to court for guardianship of the child, this would last until the child was 18 and the guardian would be responsible for the maintenance, education and well being of the child.

It is difficult to say what the police would do in the situation it would depend on the circumstances at the time however, the police would also be under a duty to contact Child and Family Service if the child expressed that he did not feel safe at home.

Once again we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of the Family Law Branch of Manitoba Justice in responding to your question.

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14. We are grandparents to two children who have been in the care of CFS for over a year. Their mother is deceased and the father has been declared unfit to resume custody of the children. We are considering applying to have guardianship for the children but have so far been unable to find out what legal guardianship actually entails. Can you provide me with the information or refer me to the appropriate Act and section to help me understand what guardian ship means? Thank you.

Thank you for your question.

When someone other than a parents want to assume legal responsibility to care for a child, that person can apply to court for an order of guardianship. Section 77, of The Child and Family Services Act is the authority for this and it reads as follows:

Court may appoint guardian of person

77(1) Upon application to court by an adult, a judge may appoint the applicant a guardian of the person of a child and may remove a guardian so appointed with or without appointing another guardian.

Interim order

77(1.1) The court may make an interim order with respect to an application under subsection(1).

Review of order

77(1.2) An order under this section may require the parties to return after a specified interval to the court making the order for a review of the provisions of the order.Upon review the court may vary or terminate the order.

Notice

77(2) No order shall be made under subsection(1) unless the person applying has given at least 30 days notice of the time, date and place of the hearing to

(a) the parents of the child;
(b) the guardian of the child;
(c) the child, if the child is12years of age or older;
(c.1) the agency that has care of the child;
(c.2) the agency serving the appropriate Indian band if the person making the application has reason to believe that the child is registered or is entitled to be registered as an Indian under the Indian Act (Canada); and
(d) such other person as a judge or master may direct.

Judge may reduce or dispense with notice

77(3) Where notice is required under this section, a judge or master may

(a) abridge the time within which notice shall be given;
(b) authorize substitutional service of the notice; or
(c) dispense with the requirement to give notice.

Effect of order

77(4) Where an order is made under this section, the applicant is for all purposes the guardian of the person of the child and has the care and control of the child and is responsible for the maintenance, education and well-being of the child.

Once an order of guardianship is made, the guardians have care and control of the child (meaning the child lives with the guardians) and are responsible for the maintenance, education and well-being of the child. Basically, the guardians step into the shoes of the parents and are responsible for all things that parents are responsible for.

However, as we are only able to provide you with general legal information through this “Ask An Expert” feature, it is best for you to consult directly with a family law lawyer if you require specific advice on the issues you’ve raised.

If you do not think you can afford to consult with a lawyer, you may wish to contact Legal Aid Manitoba to see if you qualify for their services. Information on Legal Aid eligibility can be found by visiting their website at www.legalaid.mb.ca or by calling (204) 985-8500 in Winnipeg or toll free at 1-800-261-2960.

Another option for you may be the Community Legal Education Association, which provides a Law Phone-in and Law Referral Program. They can be reached at (204) 943-2305 for legal questions and (204) 943-3602 for lawyer referral or toll free at 1-800-262-8800. Their website can be found at http://www.communitylegal.mb.ca/.

In addition, the Legal Help Centre, a not-for-profit legal information clinic located at the Portage Place mall (second floor), is another resource for information and advice about legal issues. Their website can be found at www.legalhelpcentre.ca.

Once again we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of the Family Law Branch of Manitoba Justice in responding to your question.

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15. My children are 10 and 12 yrs old. My ex has not seen them or had any contact with them or paid any support since 2009. I want my husband to adopt my kids but I don't think my ex will consent to that. How long does a parent need to be absent from a child's life before the court will terminate their rights without their consent?

Thank you for your question.

In most cases, the parents of a child must consent to their child’s adoption. There is no specific “time limit” after which the requirement of a parent’s consent is automatically waived or dispensed with.

However, there are certain circumstances in which a judge may dispense with the requirement that a parent consent to an adoption. These exceptions can be found in Section 19 of The Adoption Act, which states as follows:

Waiver of parent's consent

19 A judge may dispense with the consent of a person required to consent under clause 13(a), if satisfied there are valid reasons to do so, including that the person

(a) has abandoned or deserted the child;
(b) cannot be located after reasonable attempts have been made to find the person;
(c) is incapable of caring for the child and has been so for a period of time of sufficient duration to be detrimental to the best interests of the child;
(d) while liable to maintain the child, has persistently neglected or refused to do so; or
(e) has not had an ongoing parental relationship with the child and a delay in securing a home for the child would be detrimental to the best interests of the child.

As we are only able to provide you with general legal information through this “Ask An Expert” feature, it would be best for you to consult directly with a family law lawyer if you require specific advice on the issues you’ve raised.

Another option for you may be the Community Legal Education Association, which provides a Law Phone-in and Law Referral Program. They can be reached at (204) 943-2305 for legal questions and (204) 943-3602 for lawyer referral or toll free at 1-800-262-8800. Their website can be found at http://www.communitylegal.mb.ca/.

In addition, the Legal Help Centre, a not-for-profit legal information clinic located at the Portage Place mall (second floor), is another resource for information and advice about legal issues. Their website can be found at www.legalhelpcentre.ca.

For more general legal information regarding care and control, see chapter 5 of Family Law in Manitoba, 2014 at: http://www.gov.mb.ca/justice/family/law/pdf/familylawbooklet2014.pdf

Once again we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of the Family Law Branch of Manitoba Justice in responding to your question.

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16. I have a child in school with peanut/nut allergies. I have multiple meetings with the school regarding multiple incidents. Superintendent was made aware of the situation a couple years ago. The school has a "nut safe policy". I signed a consent form for a field trip, at the end of the outing they were supplied a snack, handed to my son, then announced it was not safe. The teacher told him not to eat it, an assistant took it and she consumed it, he was not removed and had kids consuming the snack beside him, thus putting him at risk of serious reaction. I would not have consented to this, had I been informed of the risk to his health and safety. The teacher(s) made no attempt to remove him, nor did anyone wash their hands or do anything to avoid the risk posed to him. Is this not child endangerment, did the school not have the responsibility to adhere to their own policies regarding peanuts/nuts?

Thank you for your question.

Amendments to the Public Schools Act and the Education Administration Act on November 1, 2009 formalized the requirement that Manitoba school divisions have policies to protect students with life-threatening allergies. The amendment requires that school divisions have anaphylaxis policies to meet the needs of pupils who have diagnosed life-threatening allergies. The local policy should include information and awareness for the school community, avoidance strategies and emergency response procedures, and be aligned with the Children with Known Risk of Anaphylaxis Policy Framework contained in the Unified Referral Intake System (URIS) Policy and Procedure Manual. School divisions are responsible for communicating their divisional policies to individual schools, parents and students.

In addition, through URIS, a nurse will train the staff designated by the school which may include teachers, educational assistants, and/or bus drivers and will work with schools and parents to develop a health care plan. This plan will direct the care of children attending school or school initiated activities such as field trips, and should include instructing staff on preventative measures.

Concerns about how the policy is followed and this incident should be brought to the principal’s attention.

Most school division’s have a policy that outlines the line of communication. It is best to address concerns with the person most directly involved. Usually the process outlined is as follows:

  1. Speak with your child’s teacher.
  2. If the teacher is unable to address the concern, if the concern is to do with the school’s operations, or if it is a concern about the conduct of a staff person in the school then speak to the principal.
  3. If the principal is unable to address the concern, speak to someone in the school division office. The school division staff will direct parents to the appropriate school division administrator, usually the superintendent or assistant superintendent. Parents may be asked to put their concern in writing and parents should be aware that concerns are usually shared with individuals named.
  4. If none of the above has addressed your concerns, parents have the option to request to bring their concerns to the board of trustees in their school division. This will require a formal request to make a presentation about your concern.

Once again, we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of Manitoba Education and Advanced Learning in responding to your question.

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17. What are the laws about leaving your children unattended?

Thank you for your inquiry about leaving a minor child unattended.

The Child and Family Services Act, Section 17 (2) (g) provides the following example of a child in need of protection:  “being under the age of 12 years, is left unattended and without reasonable provision being made for the supervision and safety of the child.” This means that children under the age of 12 years are considered to require supervision, and should not be left unattended.

If emergency personnel, such as Fire or Ambulance, attended your home and found children under 12 without supervision, they would not be able to let them remain in the home unsupervised. If a child and family services agency is notified that your under-12-year-old child was left alone, the agency would have to become involved, and various interventions, including requiring the parent returns to the home or the possibility of apprehension could take place.

It is important to remember that some children over the age of 12 years are mature enough to be alone for short periods of time, while other children over the age of 12 years might still require considerable amount of supervision.

Parents should always consider other options that may be available to them for supervising the child while they are away (a babysitter, a trusted adult friend or a family member, for instance) before deciding to leave a young child at home alone.

A parent or guardian would need to look at the maturity level of the child and other factors to make the best decision regarding leaving the child home alone:

  • what is the child's comfort and confidence in being left alone?
  • how does the child react to unexpected situations?
  • is the child independent and does he or she make good decisions?
  • does the child notice when a situation is getting out of control?
  • is the child able to initiate contact with someone else if they needed help?

If you are not certain as to whether or not your child is ready to be left safely alone overnight, you may wish to discuss it further with the Child and Family Services (CFS) agency for your community to ask for their input. You may click on the following link to determine which CFS agency you may contact for your community: http://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childfam/dia_intake.html.

When young people are left alone, they should be able to contact either a parent or guardian, or another trusted person in case of emergency. Parents and guardians should talk with them about how to handle emergencies, as well as who and how to call for help, and an escape plan. They should have all necessary provisions for the length of time they are alone – things like food and clothing, and be in appropriate shelter for the weather. It is the responsibility of parents or guardians to ensure these are all in place.

Many families also have safety plans in place. Even if you never intend to leave your child home alone or unsupervised, a safety plan can be very useful in emergency situations. A safety plan typically includes who your child can go to if there is an emergency when you are unable – for whatever reason – to help him or her. Many families also have fire safety plans and this is similar: where to go, who to call for help, as well as having a secret family safe word.

Staying home alone courses that teach children how to deal with common issues can also be helpful. You can check with your local library, community centre, YMCA, St. John’s Ambulance, Red Cross or other organizations to find a course near you. You may also wish to search for home alone courses offered in your community using the CONTACT community information guide. Their website can be found at CONTACT Manitoba

We thank you for submitting your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of Manitoba Family Services’ Child Protection Branch in responding to your question

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18. I have had sole custody of my son for 4 years he is 10 now – do I need the father to sign a paper to change my son's last name or can I do it without sending the father the info about it.?

Thank you for your question.

A parent can apply to change a child’s name providing the parent meets the eligibility requirements and can obtain consent of the other parent listed on the child’s birth registration.

If there is a court order granting sole custody of the child, the applicant will have to send notification to the other parent.

Please contact Manitoba Vital Statistics Agency at (204) 945-3701 or 1-866-949-9296 and ask for the Confidential Services Unit. They can review the process and answer any questions specific to your situation. Upon request, the information guide and application form(s) can be mailed to you or you can apply in person at the Vital Statistics office located at 254 Portage Avenue in Winnipeg.

Once again, we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of the Vital Statistics Agency in responding to your question

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19. How can I make my child's holiday parties healthier?

Make your child's next party a healthy one. Take the focus off the sugary cakes, cookies and candies. Choose healthy foods and focus on fun.

  • Opt for a menu change. Whole-grain mini bagels or naan bread with tuna or lower-sodium deli meats such as turkey, chicken or ham are a great alternative. Make tacos with cooked lean ground beef or shredded cooked chicken, diced tomatoes, green pepper, shredded cheese, etc and let the kids assemble them.
  • Make old favourites healthier. If serving pizza, choose whole-grain thin crust with mostly vegetable toppings over the thick crust double cheese and pepperoni. Or serve chicken, turkey or veggie hot dogs instead of beef.
  • Serve up the veggies. You will be amazed at how many kids will go for sliced veggies with dip in addition to whatever else they are eating. Serve a platter of cucumber slices, baby carrots, grape tomatoes and pepper rings for kids to snack on during the party instead of candies and chips. You can also make it fun by creating a salad bar that kids can pick and choose from.
  • Treat with fruit. Fresh fruit can be a refreshing snack or dessert at the end of an eventful party. Strawberries and melons taste delicious on their own or when dipped in vanilla yogurt. For a real fruity treat, try homemade chocolate covered frozen bananas.
  • Bake a heart-healthy cake. Instead of fat-laden, store-bought varieties, try baking your own birthday cake made with ingredients such as whole-wheat flour and unsaturated oils.
  • Create a sundae bar. Give each child a small cup with a scoop of frozen yogurt. Have fun toppings for them to choose from to create a delicious sundae. Fill small bowls with fresh berries, dark chocolate chips, granola, etc.
  • Have healthy beverages available. Quench kids thirst with water, milk and 100% fruit juice instead of soda pop, punches and other sugary drinks.

Reference: Adapted from Heart and Stroke. Make your child's birthday party a healthy one. Alyssa Rolnick, RD. Posted May 1, 2008.

For answers to your healthy eating questions contact Dial-a-Dietitian to speak to a Registered Dietitian in Manitoba.

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20. How can I help my child and teen grow well?

Helping your child and teenager to grow well is not always an easy task. These tips are some of the ways to guide their choices and pass on lessons they can use for life.

Healthy Eating Tips

Making breakfast a regular habit in your home.

  • Breakfast helps children to participate and learn better at school.
  • Great choices include: fruit, while grain cereals, bannock, pita, toast, milk, soy beverage, yogurt, tofu, eggs or peanut butter.
  • Try to gather the family early to allow times for breakfast.

Drink water often – it’s the best choice when thirsty.

  • Limit the amount of sugary drinks such as pop, fruit drinks and sports drinks. They provide little or no nutrition and can cause dental cavities.
  • Limit 100% fruit juice to ½ cup for younger children and 1 cup for teens per day.

Make mealtime a family time.

  • Cook together. Eat together. Talk together.
  • Family meals help promote healthy eating overall.

Share decisions about food.

  • Parents and caregivers decide what kinds of food to offer and when.
  • Let children decide whether and how much to eat. Trust their feelings of hunger and being full.
  • Praise, hugs and just spending time together work well as rewards, rather than using food.

Meals and snacks.

  • Sit down for snacks and meals.
  • Serve a variety of foods from all four food groups in Canada’s Food Guide.
  • Offer foods that are generally high in fiber, low in sugar and fat.

Tips for Active Living

Build physical activity into the daily routine.

  • Regular physical activity helps children develop strength and energy.
  • Aim for 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Have fun together with activities suitable for your child’s age.
  • Plan walks or a bike ride after dinner.

Limit screen time to less than 2 hours a day.

  • Screen time includes TV, computer or video games.
  • The more time children spend at a screen, the less time they have for family chats or being active.

Get enough sleep.

  • A child or teen is more ready for their daily activities if they have had a good night’s sleep.
  • Having enough sleep also promotes a healthy weight.

Model Healthy Habits

  • Children learn from watching others. They are more likely to make healthy choices when that is a part of your family routine.

Reference: Dietitians of Canada – Tips to help your child and teen grow well

For answers to your healthy eating questions contact Dial-a-Dietitian to speak to a Registered Dietitian in Manitoba.

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21. Are there any free prenatal classes available in Winnipeg?

Thank you for your question.

First of all, if you are expecting, we would like to congratulate you for embarking on this very special journey of motherhood. There are many supports available to you as an expectant mother right in your community. Here is some information regarding free prenatal classes:

Healthy Baby

Manitoba's prenatal benefit and community support program, Healthy Baby, provides supports to mothers and their babies right in their community!

Healthy Start for Mom and Me
This neighbourhood-based adult education group is designed for expectant and new families with babies up to one year. The organization operates drop-in sessions in nine Winnipeg neighbourhood sites, and they provide other practical supports as well.

Centre de Santé St. Boniface offers free French-language prenatal classes (cours prénatal en français).

Youville Centre offers free prenatal classes for young parents (25 and under) called “Young Expectations”.

The Birth Centre offers a number of programs and resources for expectant parents including these programs:

  • Mothering/Parenting Support

    Having a baby – by birth or adoption – changes your life. The Mothers Program offers a range of community-based services in Winnipeg to support mothers through these changes. For more information on mothering support services, please call the Mothers Program assistant at 204.947.2422 ext. 113.

  • Healthy Families

    A drop-in group for pregnant people and parents of children up to age 2. Topics may include nutrition, self-care and reducing stress, midwifery care, children’s activities, and much more. No registration needed; drop-ins welcome! Child minding for older children is available.

Your public health nurse may have more information about prenatal classes and may also know of other resources that may be available to you. If you live in Winnipeg, you can get in touch with your public health nurse by contacting one of the community offices listed below. There may be free prenatal classes offered through these community area offices as well:

  • Downtown Community Office
    2-640 Main Street
    Winnipeg, MB.  R3B 0L8
    Phone: (204) 940-1626
  • Point Douglas Community  
    Health Centre
    601 Aikins Street
    Winnipeg, MB. R2W 4J5
    Phone: (204) 940-2025
  • ACCESS River East
    975 Henderson Highway
    Winnipeg, MB. R2K 4L7
    Phone: (204) 938-5000
  • ACCESS Transcona
    845 Regent Avenue West
    Winnipeg, MB.  R2C 3A9
    Phone: (204) 938-5555
  • River Heights Health & Social Services Centre
    6-677 Stafford Street
    Winnipeg, MB. R3M 2X7
    Phone: (204) 938-5500
  • Fort Garry Community Office
    2735 Pembina Highway
    Winnipeg, MB. R3T 2H5
    Phone: (204) 940-2015
  • St. Vital Community Office
    6-845 Dakota Street
    Winnipeg, MB. R2M 5M3
    Phone: (204) 940-2045
  • St. Boniface Community Office
    240-614 Des Meurons Street
    Winnipeg, MB. R2H 2P9
    Phone: (204) 940-2035
  • ACCESS NorWest
    785 Keewatin
    Winnipeg, MB. R2X 3B9
    Phone: (204) 938-5900
  • Seven Oaks Health & Social Services Centre
    Unit 3 - 1050 Leila Avenue
    Winnipeg, MB.  R2P 1W6
    Phone: (204) 938-5600
  • ACCESS Winnipeg West
    280 Booth Drive,
    (beside Grace Hospital)
    Winnipeg, MB.  R3J 3R7
    Phone: (204) 940-2040

Once again we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

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22. Hello, my sons attend a Montessori daycare/kindergarten. I am concerned with how little time they spend outside. How much time are my children required to play outside (they attend from 8:15-4:45) and does the walking time count as outdoor play time (because it is not "free play")? Thank you!

Thank you for your question.

We have consulted with Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care (MELCC) in responding to your question. MELCC is responsible for licensing and monitoring the child care facilities throughout Manitoba.

In response to your question, according to legislation a licensed child care centre which operates more than 4 hours per day must provide outdoor play for children on a daily basis, with the exception of days when there is inclement weather. The legislation does not stipulate the time period in which outdoor play must be offered, however, the intent is to have children experience a period of time where they can have large muscle play.

Walking children to and from school is not considered outdoor play.

Each licensed child care facility has a designated a child care coordinator (CCC) who is responsible for licensing and monitoring. If you need assistance in dealing with this matter we would recommend that you contact MELCC’s Information Line at 204-945-0776 or by email at cdcinfo@gov.mb.ca to obtain the name of the CCC responsible for the centre which your children attend.

Once again, we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful.

-- ManitobaParentZone acknowledges the assistance of Manitoba Early Learning and Child Care in responding to your question.

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23. Does the father’s name have to be on a child’s birth certificate for him to be required to pay child support? Will he automatically get joint custody because he's paying support?

Thank you for your question.

A parent of a child is considered to have joint custody of a child either where the parents live together after the child’s birth or where there is a court order providing for joint custody. The requirement to pay child support does not create custodial rights.

The obligation to pay child support arises when a person is the parent of a child.  There is no legal requirement that the parent’s name be on the child’s birth certificate in order for a support obligation to be created. However, if a parent’s name is not on the birth certificate and he disputes whether he is the father of the child, it may be necessary to obtain a declaration of parentage from the court, which may result in his name being added to the birth certificate.

Custody and child support are two separate issues, so it is definitely possible, in certain circumstances, to obtain an order which provides for child support but no custodial rights for the paying parent.

Issues around parental rights/responsibilities are very important and it would be best for you to consult with a lawyer who practices family law, to get some specific legal advice regarding your particular situation.

If you don’t think you can afford to consult with a lawyer, you may wish to contact Legal Aid Manitoba to see if you qualify for their services. Information on Legal Aid eligibility can be found by visiting their website or by calling (204) 985-8500 in Winnipeg or toll free at 1-800-261-2960.

Another option for you may be the Community Legal Education Association, which provides a Law Phone-in and Law Referral Program. They can be reached at (204) 943-2305 for legal questions and (204) 943-3602 for lawyer referral or toll free at 1-800-262-8800.

In addition, the Legal Help Centre, a not-for-profit legal information clinic located at the Portage Place mall (second floor), is another resource for information and advice about legal issues.

Once again, we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of the Family Law Branch of Manitoba Justice in responding to your question.

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24. Our adult daughter passed away this year, naming us (her parents) guardians of her 2 sons, aged 14 and 12. Do we really have to spend money to become legal guardians so we can make passports to take them on holidays with us?

Thank you for your question.

When parents name ‘guardians’ for their children in a will or other document, it is not legally binding. It is really just an indication of their wishes in this regard. It does not actually transfer legal guardianship; that does not happen until a court makes an order that transfers the guardianship to someone other than the child’s parent.

Aside from applying for passports, there are many reasons why it is important that caregivers become legal guardians. Here are some of the reasons:

  • without an order of guardianship, the other parent still has their parental rights and these would take precedence over the wishes of the parent that has passed away
  • schools will not let a caretaker register a child for school without an order of guardianship
  • caretakers will not be able to obtain passports or travel without an order of legal guardianship
  • technically, only the legal guardian can sign medical consent forms and make medical decisions for a child
  • an order of legal guardianship may be required to be eligible for any benefits, credits etc that would normally accrue to a parent.

In order to apply to be the legal guardians of your grandchildren, you (or a lawyer on your behalf) have to make an application to court pursuant to section 77 of The Child and Family Services Act. This is not an uncomplicated matter and it is always recommended that you obtain legal assistance.

As we are only able to provide you with general legal information through this “Ask An Expert” feature, it is best for you to consult directly with a family law lawyer if you require specific advice on the issues you’ve raised.

If you don’t think you can afford to consult with a lawyer, you may wish to contact Legal Aid Manitoba to see if you qualify for their services. Information on Legal Aid eligibility can be found by visiting their website or by calling (204) 985-8500 in Winnipeg or toll free at 1-800-261-2960.

Another option for you may be the Community Legal Education Association, which provides a Law Phone-in and Law Referral Program. They can be reached at (204) 943-2305 for legal questions and (204) 943-3602 for lawyer referral or toll free at 1-800-262-8800.

In addition, the Legal Help Centre, a not-for-profit legal information clinic located at the Portage Place mall (second floor), is another resource for information and advice about legal issues.

Once again, we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of the Family Law Branch of Manitoba Justice in responding to your question.

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25. My toddler was such a good sleeper at night. Recently he has been waking up at least 2 to 3 times a night screaming. Could he be having nightmares? Is this something I should be concerned about?

Thank you for your question.

Many children experience nightmares. There are many triggers for nightmares including: stressful situations, lack of sleep, reading a scary story or watching a scary show. Nightmares normally come and go. You can usually wake a child up from a nightmare or they will wake up on their own. Comfort your son and help him get back to sleep.

There are no real health concerns with nightmares, except for interrupted sleep. Having a regular, calming bedtime routine, ensuring your child has adequate sleep and avoiding frightening stories or movies before bed may help prevent them.

Night terrors are different than nightmares.

Children with night terrors usually seem to wake within the first few hours of going to sleep and scream or call out. The terror may last for several minutes. Usually the child's eyes are wide open, but are staring and not focused. The child does not wake up even if you talk to them or sit them up. Often they are not calmed by hugging or talking to them. The terror and not being able to comfort the child is usually scary for the parent. The children almost never remember what happened the next morning. Most night terrors are not caused by stress, diet, or parent behavior. In some cases, a high fever can cause night terrors during the illness. The terrors usually fade away during the elementary school years. Talk with your child's health care provider if you are concerned about your child's terrors.

There is no special treatment for night terrors. If you think your child is having night terrors, we strongly advise you to consult your child’s pediatrician in addition to trying the following:

  • Try not to let your child to get too tired or stressed since this may increase the chances of having a night terror.
  • Comfort your child until they calm. This may take several minutes.
  • Do not talk about the night terror the next morning since they will not remember the terror and you may scare them by stories about it.
  • Some children will not have a night terror if you purposely wake them (enough to sit up and respond) about an hour after they have been asleep.

Once again, we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of Health Links – Info Santé in responding to your question.

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26. My girlfriend and I have a 2 year old son and have recently become separated. My son is living with his mother. What does shared custody mean?

Thank you for your question.

Generally speaking, under Manitoba law, if there is no court order of child custody, the parents have joint custody by operation of law, as long as they lived together after the birth of the child. This is set out in The Family Maintenance Act, which says:

Joint rights of parents in children

39(1)Subject to subsection (2), rights of parents in the custody and control of their children are joint but where the parents have never cohabited after the birth of the child, the parent with whom the child resides has sole custody and control of the child.

Either parent may apply for custody of child

39(2) Either parent of a child may make an application
(a) for custody of the child; or
(b) for access to the person of the child; and upon the hearing of the application the court may order that
(c) custody of the child be committed to the applicant or respondent or both;
(d) the non-custodial parent have access, at such times and subject to such conditions as the court deems convenient and just, for the purpose of visiting the child and fostering a healthy relationship between parent and child;
(e) a party pay costs in such amount as the court may determine.

For more information on child custody, see Family Law in Manitoba - 2014 Public Information Booklet (pdf)

If you haven’t already done so, you may wish to consider formalizing the custody and access arrangements related to your son. In order to do this, we would encourage you to consult with a lawyer who practices family law in order to get specific advice about your situation. Your lawyer will be able to advise you of the different options available to you and represent your wishes in court.

If you don’t think you can afford to consult with a lawyer, you may wish to contact Legal Aid Manitoba to see if you qualify for their services. Information on Legal Aid eligibility can be found by visiting their website or by calling (204) 985-8500 in Winnipeg or toll free at 1-800-261-2960.

Another option for you may be the Community Legal Education Association, which provides a Law Phone-in and Law Referral Program. They can be reached at (204) 943-2305 for legal questions and (204) 943-3602 for lawyer referral or toll free at 1-800-262-8800.

In addition, the Legal Help Centre, a not-for-profit legal information clinic located at the Portage Place mall, is another resource for information and advice about legal issues.

Also, Family Conciliation Services offers a range of conflict resolution and mediation services, for families at no cost. This service is an alternative to traditional court action for parents who are willing to meet and work together with an impartial, trained mediator to make decisions about the ongoing needs of their children after separation. You can read more information about Family Conciliation Services, as well as find the contact information for their offices, at this link:  http://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childfam/family_conciliation.html.

Once again, we thank you for your question and we hope that the above information is helpful to you.

-- ManitobaParentZone.ca acknowledges the assistance of the Family Law Branch of Manitoba Justice in responding to your question.

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