Ask for a review of a written notice to refuse your adoption application

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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 (CFSRB) 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 Form 3: Application for Review of an Adoption Refusal or call us and we will email or mail you a copy.

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 Inuk, the CFSRB will also notify the child's band or Indigenous community.

The CFSRB will decide if it can hear your application. If the CFSRB cannot hear your application, you will receive a decision from the CFSRB telling you why. If the CFSRB can hear your application, these two things will happen within seven days:

  1. You will receive a decision telling you that your application is eligible.
  2. You will receive a Notice of Hearing setting the date, time and format of the first day of hearing.

The hearing

It is very important to resolve disputes about adoption as soon as possible. This goal is reflected in the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 and associated regulations which require hearings to take place within 20 days of the eligibility decision.

The first day of hearing is held by telephone within seven days of making the eligibility decision.

A CFSRB member will conduct the first day of hearing, and will identify any preliminary issues and give directions about evidence and witnesses. The member will also work with the parties to set continuation dates to complete the hearing as soon as possible.

At the hearing continuation, a panel of 1-3 adjudicators will hear your application. You and the children's aid society will each have an opportunity to present evidence, call witnesses, and make submissions. CFSRB members may also ask the witnesses questions. The children's aid society will present its evidence first.

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


The CFSRB 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.

Rules of Procedure

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