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Saturday, January 08, 2011

Hello everyone,

I am just finishing up my last semester as a Paralegal then off to work! I am hoping to work for Legal Aid Ontario so I can help families, especially those with children. I will keep you updated.

If you want to see Greenwood Park with Google satellite, google the park. Use the satellite feature and zoom in. The bench is amid a cluster of yellow bushes, close to Gerrard Avenue. There is a pretty trellis in front of it and it looks onto the children's splash pad. I will be going there soon and will post new pictures.

About a year ago, I found out that James Mills, one of the adult's living in that house and who was playing video games the night Jeffrey died, had a son. The CCAS is not involved and as far as I know, have not been keeping track of these people. I sincerely hope I do not read about that child in the news. Though.. no one knew about (well, besides the government agencies, police and CCAS) Jeffrey until it was too late.

Keep watching for sorrow in small eyes...

Amanda

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Also... a beautiful song at the bottom of this page by Ben Harper called 'Waiting on an Angel'. You can listen while you read... enjoy.

Waiting on an angel
One to carry me home
Hope you come to see me soon
Cause I dont want to go alone
I dont want to go alone
Now angel wont you come by me
Angel hear my plea
Take my hand lift me up
So that I can fly with thee
So that I can fly with thee
And Im waiting on an angel
And I know it wont be long
To find myself a resting place
In my angels armsIn my angels arms
So speak kind to a stranger
Cause youll never know
It just might be an angel come
Knocking at your door
And I'm waiting on an angel
And I know it wont be long
To find myself a resting place
In my angels arms...
I have been very busy lately! I'm going to school to become a paralegal then hopefully off to law school. Watch out Minister of Child and Youth Services, here I come to take your job! :)

I am also working on a big project that I would love help with. It is in the same vein as the crisis nursery, but not quite the same thing. I will be posting more details in January.

I am also busy making some 'Jeffrey's Comfy Quilts' that I will take to the Canadian Center for Abuse Awareness at Christmas. They then pass them on to children in foster care, or who are having a rough time. It's a great charity and I really recommend donating money or toys, clothes, personal hygeine products, etc. to them. Please see their link on this site.

Also, I'm hoping the woman (I'm so sorry, I forget your name!) I lent my binder of newspaper articles relating to Jeffrey's case reads this blog and would please get in touch with me so I can pick it up... if you still have it.

Thanks!
Amanda :)

Bill 93

http://www.care2.com/next/528212318/503938031

Please, please go to this site and 'sign' the petition! To ensure the Ombudsman can hold the Children's Aid Societies accountable!

Ontario's Bill 93 2008 (*Formerly Bill 88 2006)
Target:
The Premier of Ontario, Canada and all the Ontario MPP's
Sponsored by:
bill88.ca
If passed, Ontario's Bill 93 will allow victims of malicious legal attacks by Children's Aid Societies to have an opportunity to be heard. Allowing the Ontario%u2019s Ombudsman Office to investigate the Children's Aid Societies will not interfere with legitimate child protection cases or child safety its objective allows Government to bring accountability back to Children%u2019s Aid Societies with the power to investigate these non-profit organisations in cases of wrongdoing


Right now there are only 383 signatures... surely we can do better! Please ask everyone you know to take 3 minutes to sign it. Thanks!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Plaque






After an unforgivable length of time, I have finally installed the plaque at Jeffrey's memorial in Greenwood Park. The tree is getting so big and the city has maintained the flowers beautifully! I installed the plaque, weeded the garden, cleaned up the very minimal garbage around it and then sat for awhile thinking about Jeffrey. I have been out of the loop for so long and feel like I have not fulfilled the promise I made to him to change some laws and shake up the Children's Aid system. I felt very sad sitting there looking at his beautiful face, but then all these kids came to play and it was very peaceful to sit there and watch them. It really is a very nice place to sit and watch and reflect. When the tree is full grown, that bench will be the nicest place to sit in the summer...

I am going to get back into my mission, but this time will ask for help... I got a little burnt out and emotionally drained two years ago because I was trying to do everything myself.


I would like to set up or join a group who's main goal is to make the C/CCAS held accountable to the public for every child. Would anyone be interested in helping me with this? I was thinking of a meeting every month or every other month in Toronto as well as a blog account to keep in touch on a daily/ weekly basis.
I thank everyone who still visits this site and I will be maintaining it more consistantly from now on.

Best regards to all
Amanda Reed






Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Please see the Auditor General's report on CAS:
http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en06/302en06.pdf

Very easy to read and understand... very disturbing!!

Also, I posted an excerpt from my proposal below, please let me know what you think.

Amanda
I don't want to let the cat out of the bag as I'm sure this site is being watched by the CAS, but here is an excerpt from my proposal. Feedback would be appreciated. Thank you to all who continue to post information, I read the blog all the time and find it very beneficial!

Take care and I will let you know my progress on this project.
Amanda


Goals and Mission
Why A Crisis Nursery?

There is a very large gap between loving, encouraging parents and extremely abusive, unfit parents. At present, there are very few social services for families who need help through a rough time in their lives, but who are capable, enthusiastic parents. Most of us have an extended network of loving family members and friends who are able to help us during our hard times; to take our children for short a duration, help out financially, to even just offer their company and listen to us. A lot of people do not have this web of close people to rely on; and let’s face it, everyone needs a little help on occasion. Asking for help should be considered a sign of strength, not of failure or weakness.

Jeffrey’s Place will be a safe place for parents to bring their children while they get the help they need to overcome a life crisis. This may be a loss of employment, loss of housing, financial difficulty, high levels of stress or sever depression, domestic violence, or the end of a relationship. It is, in effect, a children’s shelter.

Children will be able to stay at the house for up to two weeks while staff help their parents find a job, find affordable housing, get professional counselling for substance abuse, depression, stress, domestic violence, etc., receive parenting education and access to any other social service available that they need. The emphasis of all family social programs should be on helping parents to properly take care of their children so that families can stay together. Staff will visit the family’s at their homes after a child has stayed at the nursery to offer support and guidance for a year following release. In addition, parents or children can call the center 24 hours a day 365 days a year if they have questions or concerns.

The goal of Jeffrey’s Place is to reduce child abuse and neglect by educating and assisting parents as well as reducing the intervention by the Children’s Aid Society. It is understood that some cases may require more services than Jeffrey’s Place can offer, and it is in these circumstances that the CAS’s help will be requested.

Child Services:
Children will receive care in a safe and healthy environment while their parents get assistance with a life crisis.
Children will be assessed immediately after being brought to the center. The initial intake procedures and assessment will include the following and be documented:
the child’s name and age
the child’s physical appearance
the child’s emotional state
any belongings the child has will be labeled with their name and given back to them
the child will be asked favorite foods, drinks, activities, colours, etc. to encourage the child to become comfortable in the center and so the staff member can get to know the child
the centers services and rules, as well as the reason the child is there will be explained to the child in a manner suitable to the child’s age and emotional state
Children will be given three meals and two snacks a day. The meals will adhere to the child’s diet, (vegetarian, lactose intolerant, allergies, etc.) and will follow the Canada Food Guide. Meal plans will be prepared in advance and posted so that parents and children can see what will be served.
Children will have the opportunity engage in a variety of activities that suit their ability and age. Activities will be educationally based with time both outside and inside. There will also be toys, puzzles, books and craft items available for children to play with.
A report will be written at the end of each day about each child documenting:
the child’s behaviour when interacting with others (staff and the other children)
sleeping habits
eating habits
any aggressive, depressed or sexual behaviour
willingness and ability to learn new things
ability to cope with the environment around them

This report will be made available to the counsellor so they may effectively help the children in care. The child’s overall behaviour will determine the amount of time with them, but every child will see the counsellor upon arrival at the center.
Children will have journals available to them and will be encouraged to write or draw in them. They will keep these when they leave.

Older children will have light household responsibilities. They will basically include helping the staff to tidy up. A child will never be forced to do something, but helping around the house will be encouraged.

Children will be disciplined under the guidelines the Ministry provides for foster parents.
Should the Children’s Aid Society’s assistance be required, the child may remain at the center while a suitable foster family is being located unless otherwise specified by the CAS.

Parental Services
Parents will receive assistance with a life crisis in a nonjudgmental, compassionate environment.
As their children are being admitted into the center, parents will meet with a staff member to assess their situation. Parents will be asked a series of questions to determine their emotional state, approximately how long the child will be at the center, how we can effectively aid them, abuse history in the family, and what outcome they expect to gain from using the center.
From there, parents will be required to set up a plan of action. Using this information, we will put them in touch with the services they require. Housing, the job bank, a financial advisor to help with budgeting, counselling services, substance abuse organizations, women or men’s support groups, financial assistance programs, etc. They will be responsible for making and keeping appointments with these services, but will let us know what progress has been made. Some parents will be asked to attend parenting courses.
The parents, unless violent or under the influence, may contact their children. They can call their children anytime or visit their children at the center with prior notice.
At the end of two weeks, the parents will meet with staff again to discuss progress made and future goals.
Staff will visit the children and parents in their home throughout the following year at intervals:
Two days after the child has gone home
One week after the child has gone home
One month after the child has gone home
Once every three months after

Staff will be required to physically see and speak with the child and must spend time with the child alone and with the parents alone. Progress, concerns, questions and the general well-being of the family will be discussed at each visit. Staff will be documenting discussions, physical and emotional state of child, state of the household, (i.e. is there sufficient food in the house, are there any smells to indicate neglect of hygiene, are there signs of violence, etc.) and emotional state of the parents. If staff have concerns for the child’s safety, they may ask the parents permission to take the child to the center or they may call the CAS.

Diapers, formula and children’s clothing will be available at all times for parents to come and pick up.

Free parenting courses will be offered one evening a week to parents. Transportation and childcare will be arranged so it is easy for parents to come.

Anticipated Impact:
Statistics show that people who abuse were abused as children. They usually remember how it felt to be lonely, in pain, made to feel worthless, and miserable. In most cases, they probably don’t want to treat their children badly but don’t know how else to raise a child. This is how they were taught to deal with a child that cries or that wets their bed or who is messy when they eat.
People are afraid to ask for help because of the repercussions that may follow. The Children’s Aid Society has a reputation for taking children for a variety of reasons, some very questionable and unwarranted. The other problem with the CAS, (besides the reasons that the Auditor General’s report state) is that they don’t help the parents. The solution isn’t always as easy as removing children from their parents. Research shows that in many, many cases, the child would rather be with it’s parents, no matter how bad things got at home.

So why not help the child by helping the parents?

In many cases, although the parent is the adult, they act like children when they find themselves in frightening, stressful or strange circumstances because they weren’t given the tools to cope with anything unfamiliar. How do young children ask for help? They act out aggressively, they throw a tantrum, they cry and they get frustrated if they aren’t successful in what they are trying to do. However, these parents are adults and do need to be responsible and accountable for their actions but society can not fault someone for not knowing how to ask for help, or did ask and were punished for it.

By offering people a safe, nonjudgmental place to receive assistance and leave their children with confidence, it is anticipated that parents will be open to getting help and will use this service. Except in certain cases where the CAS will have to intervene, there are no disadvantages to this service. Parents can start getting their lives together while not having to worry about the welfare or whereabouts of their children, the children can get the counselling and education they may need and the end result is that the family can stay together.

The cycle of abuse will just continue spiraling out of control. This service is intended to help people cope with the stresses in their lives, learn how to raise their children and stop the pattern of abuse.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I need help... if anyone knows of previous foster / abused children who are now adults who would be interested in speaking with me, please let me know. I am trying to research what happens to these children once they are out of the system. I need to get figures and statistics about how many children become depressed adults, abuse others, get into criminal activities, etc. If anyone also knows of websites or books they could direct me to, that would be great as well. I am in the drafting stage of my crisis nursery proposal and need evidence that a service I am trying to set up would be beneficial. I am also off to Edmonton next month to tour a crisis nursery there.

I am so confident that a crisis nursery would reduce child abuse and neglect because it offers real help to parents while dealing with hardship. Loss of employment, loss of housing, termination of a relationship, etc. Everyone needs help once in a while; everyone.

I think the CAS should be an absolute last resort. It needs to be totally overhauled. 90% of CAS workers (especially the 'big cheeses' or Don's as I like to say because the organization may as well be a mafia) should be fired and then put in jail. Until that happens, a crisis nursery is needed.

I appreciate any help any of you can offer! My e-mail address again is jeffreyslaw@cogeco.ca

Thanks!
Amanda

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I'm sorry to say that I haven't put the plaque on the rock yet. It has either been too cold or too wet when I have had time to go. I've also been busy making quilts for kids similar to the ones I sent Jeffrey's siblings last Christmas. I call them 'Jeffrey's Comfy Quilts' and I will be donating them to the Canadian Center for Abuse Awareness.

I'm also moving right along with my building plans, though the idea has changed slightly. In addition to being a crisis nursery, I want to also have room for up to 16 children, and 6 babies and toddlers. A big foster home. I will keep you up to date on that project.

If you need to get a hold of me directly, my e-mail address is jeffreyslaw@cogeco.ca

Take care and hope this is the year of change for society's; for our children!

Amanda

Friday, December 22, 2006

Jeffrey's Memorial Site

To get to Jeffrey's memorial site in Greenwood Park: (this is the only way I know, however, the actual address is 150 Greenwood Park should you need to do a mapquest)

From 401 west take 427/ Renforth exit (I suppose it's the same if you're coming from the east)

Take 427 south lane

Go east on Gardiner Parkway or Lakeshore Blvd. eventually both merge together to become Lakeshore

Turn left onto Leslie Street

Turn right onto Dundas Street West

Turn left onto Greenwood, you will see the park on your left

Jeffrey's bench, tree and plaque are near the children's playground and water park, in between the washrooms and arena buildings. Just so you know, it's usually wet in that area, I didn't take into consideration the area was lower there when choosing the location.

I hope many, many people will still go and visit. There are ribbons in the tree, so people have been going which is good. Unfortunately someone has written on the bench, so I will re-paint it in the spring.

Happy holidays all and if you're looking for a place to donate money or time this year, may I suggest your local Humane Society or the Canadian Center for Abuse Awareness. (which is NOT affiliated with any C/CAS!)
www.ccfaa.com

Take care,
Amanda

Friday, December 01, 2006

I'm back, sorry for the delay!!

I'm so sorry to have abandoned the blog for so long! I will be going to Greenwood Park this weekend with the permanent plaque to see if it will fit (somehow) on the rock. If it won't, then I will attach it to the bench. In either case, I will be installing it next weekend for sure. I have to borrow or rent a hammer drill to drill the holes in the rock, but I have the bolts and adhesive all ready. Again, I'm sorry for getting too caught up in other things and neglecting this site.

I'm back in the fight, I guess I just needed a rest!

First things first, please write to all politicians listed on this site once again demanding that the Ombudsman be granted oversight of Ontario C/CAS's, especially in light of what has just happened with the revelation of irresponsible spending of our money.

I'm starting to work on my proposal for a Crisis Nursery in Toronto to present to the city next summer. There are only TWO in all of Canada and they are run completley independant of CAS. If anyone can help with this (architects, engineers, child and youth workers, etc.) I need help tweaking my thoughts by professionals before sending out a proposal and would appreciate help!

Thanks for sticking around and posting here!

Take care,
Amanda Reed

Will this FINALLY rouse the public??

Subject: Auditor General Report
CBC: Ontario's Auditor General has found money the province provided for the protection of young children was misspent on expensive cars, meals and other perks for staff at some Children's Aid Societies. CBC News has obtained a final draft of the province's first value for money audit of Children's Aid which is to be released next week. The report looks at four of Ontario's biggest agencies in Toronto, York, Peel and Thunder Bay. The audit details the lack of controls on more than a billion dollars worth of taxpayers money that Ontario Children's Aid Societies spend every year, and as Margo Kelly reports, the Auditor also says the agencies aren't following the laws that protect children.

REPORTER: The Auditor's report contains disturbing details of misspent money. Several executives were given luxury vehicles including two SUV's worth more than $50,000. An employee had a staff car, but was also given $600 a month for the use of their own vehicle. One manager received a $2,000 a year gym membership and $650 every three months for a personal trainer. Numerous meals for child welfare staff at high end restaurants were expensed with no explanation. And the Auditor also questions expensive trips to the Caribbean, China and Buenos Aires.

MICHAEL DAVIS (Retired homicide detective): It's outrageous when you read it.

REPORTER: Retired homicide detective Michael Davis helped Ontario's Coroner review the deaths of hundreds of children who died while in the care of the Children's Aid. He's upset about the Auditor General's revelations about the lack of controls on hundreds of millions of dollars handed out to group and foster homes, and concerns that some services were never delivered.

DAVIS: Where is the paper trail with regard to the money that you're spending, the taxpayers money that you are spending, and...but where is the Minister in this?

REPORTER: Other findings illustrate how the societies aren't following the law to protect children. In one-third of cases reviewed, initial visits to children at risk were late by an average of three weeks, some children weren't seen at all. In the cases reviewed 90 per cent of the plans meant to keep children safe weren't completed as required and some were 10 months late. The Auditor asks why government funding for Ontario's Children's Aid Societies has more than doubled over six years, while the number of families served increased by only 40 per cent. The Children's Aid Societies have refused to comment, but CBC News has learned that the agencies have hired a public relations firm to help managed the damaging news. In their words - to preserve the reputation of Children's Aid Societies and their leaders. Margo Kelly, CBC News, Toronto.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 8:24:57 AM

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Addresses:

Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario
Legistlative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1

Jack Layton
1506 Danforth Ave.
Toronto, ON M4J 1N4

Andrea Horwath
MPP Hamilton East
720 Main Street East
Hamilton, ON M4Y 1C6

Andre Marin
Ombudsman of Ontario
Bell Trinity Square
10th Floor, South Tower
Toronto, ON M5G 2C9

Mary Anne Chambers
Minister of Children and Youth Services
56 Wellesley Street West, 14th Floor
Toronto, ON M4S 2S3

Mary McConville
Executive Director
Catholic Children’s Aid Society
26 Maitland Street
Toronto, Ontario
M4Y 1C6

Jeanette Lewis
Executive Director
Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies
75 Front Street East, 2nd Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M5E 1V9

Friday, June 09, 2006

Baldwin grandparents sentenced to life in prison
Updated Fri. Jun. 9 2006 1:07 PM ETCTV.ca

Toronto grandparents found guilty of second-degree murder in the starving death of their five-year-old grandson have been sentenced to life in prison with no hope for parole for at least 20 years.Elva Bottineau, 54, was sentenced to 22 years before becoming eligible parole, while her common-law husband Norman Kidman, 53, was handed 20 years, said Superior Court Justice David Watt."The inhumanity revealed here has shocked the community," Watt said. "They must pay a very steep price."But the couple will be eligible to apply to have their sentences lowered after just 15 years under the so-called faint hope clause.Reaction to sentencesCrown Attorney Paul Culver was pleased with the sentences."It was a great judicial reaction to an indescribable situation. Jeffrey was totally ignored during his life and certainly wasn't afterwards. It was a great investigation, a great prosecution," Culver said shortly after the sentencing.Second-degree murder carries an automatic life term, but the judge could have set parole eligibility after as little as 10 years.Bottineau and Kidman were found guilty in April for the death of five-year-old Jeffrey Baldwin.The horrid living conditions that led to Baldwin's death in 2002 have been described as one of the worst cases of child abuse in the country's history.Jeffrey and his siblings were put in the care of Bottineau and Kidman while the Catholic Children's Aid Society (CCAS) probed allegations of abuse by their birth parents.Instead, court heard the couple used Jeffrey and his sister to draw income through government support cheques while they were confined to a cold, fetid room each night.Court was told Jeffrey was hidden away in the unheated bedroom for as long as 14 hours a day, and forced to dig through garbage to find food and use the toilet for drinking water.The boy, who was called "Pig" by his grandparents, weighed an emaciated 21 pounds when he died just short of his sixth birthday in November 2002, weighing less than he did when he turned one.Officially, he died of starvation and septic shock.Worried about futureJeffrey's maternal grandmother said she wonders about the suffering the boy experienced and worries about how his sister will deal with what she experienced."I can't imagine what he must have felt," Susan Dimitriades said Friday. "I can't imagine how he lived under that condition and his sister too. Like the judge said, the sister has to deal with what happened to her, and maybe the rest of her life will never be the same."When authorities rescued Jeffrey's sister from the squalor, she too was showing signs of starvation with a distended belly and open sores.Bottineau and Kidman were also found guilty of forcible confinement for the sister's care.Although Jeffrey and his sister lived in squalor, the living quarters for the other children were normal, court was told.Bottineau's lawyer Anil Kapoor, had argued his client was mentally handicapped with a personality disorder that prevented her from seeing Jeffrey waste away.
No cooperation
Homicide investigator Mike Davis expressed frustration with the CCAS outside the courthouse Friday. He said the agency provided "little - if any - cooperation" during the investigation of Jeffrey's death.Davis said there are "policies and procedures" for organizations such as police and the CCAS, "and at no time did I see any cooperation whatsoever with the Catholic Children's Aid Society.""This is something that only a public inquiry can look into and look into the systemic issues that are underlying with the Catholic Children's Aid Society," Davis said."We were and continue to be shocked and surprised by the level of cooperation that was given by the various children's agencies," Culver said.After last month's guilty verdict, Ontario's chief coroner announced an inquest will be held, which will look into how the system failed to protect Jeffrey and the involvement of the CCAS.It is alleged the CCAS did not do a background check on the grandparents prior to the placement. Each of them has previous child abuse convictions.No date has been set for the start of the inquest.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The unbearable darkness of being
CHRISTIE BLATCHFORD
I have been writing about Jeffrey Baldwin off and on for more than three years, since shortly after his miserable death in his prison of a room in an east-end Toronto house on Nov. 30, 2002.
In that 42-month period, I knocked on the front door of the house, this in those early days before his grandparents were ever arrested, and was chased away by his obese, glowering and remarkably entitled grandmother, who later called police to complain about me; broke the story of how the Catholic Children's Aid Society had agreed to give custody of Jeffrey and his siblings to the grotesque grandparents without even checking its own files that detailed the pair's earlier, separate convictions for child abuse; covered much of the grandparents' criminal trial (they were found guilty of second-degree murder and will be formally sentenced on May 30); attended a tender memorial, organized by strangers, for the dead boy; and read and wrote about a searing report written by an external consultant, who described in crisp prose the ways the CCAS had failed Jeffrey.
For the longest time, I had a picture of the little boy on a wall of my home office and, later, a T-shirt with a blown-up version of the same photo.
I took them down a couple of weeks ago.
Jeffrey's grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman, are likely to pass the rest of their lives in prison — second-degree murder carries an automatic "life" sentence with only the parole ineligibility period still to be decided by the judge — but, as an outcome, this is so profoundly unsatisfactory as to evoke despair.
Last month, Mr. Justice David Watt of Ontario Superior Court ruled that, as Jeffrey's caregivers, the grandparents are guilty of killing him, and so they are. For her part, the grandmother is of borderline intelligence but a vicious, self-referential woman, and surprisingly capable and cunning. The grandfather is a big, lethargic dope, uninterested in much beyond his own creature comforts and unwilling to put himself out one bit to help the child who was slowly dying before his eyes.
They richly deserve their sentences, and not a whit of pity.
But, my God, Jeffrey and his little sister, centred out for cruel treatment by the grandparents though Jeffrey bore the worst of it, lived in that small house surrounded by adults.
Two of the Bottineau-Kidman grown daughters, and their men, also lived there, the most notorious of them one James Mills. Mr. Mills is the best known because he was the only one of that household to testify at trial — Judge Watt described him as "a curious mixture of blatant self-interest and unfathomable loyalty to the persons charged" — and because, as the only one in the house not related by blood or marriage, he might have been presumed to be less bound to the studied indifference that was the household's reaction to the little boy's plight.
Alas, like Mr. Kidman, whom he so admired, Mr. Mills lifted not a pinky, not once, not ever, to help the suffering Jeffrey. The night the little guy died, Mr. Mills was in the bedroom next door, playing video games.
The only price he paid for his stunningly heartless behaviour was the sting of publicity, the same price, albeit to a much lesser extent because they were not called to the witness stand, paid by the other adults who lived in the house.
So, while the grandparents are the perpetrators, while it was their legal duty and theirs alone to have properly cared for a vulnerable child, there was a larger pool of adults who donned blinkers. This is not criminal conduct, but it is morally reprehensible and depressing.
Institutionally, there were three different systems involved one way or another in the case. Two of them — the police and the administration of justice — did their jobs and emerged with honour, in reasonable good time.
Though homicide detectives probably harboured dreams of charging every person in that vile house and the agency that agreed to give the grandparents custody in the first place, and though they would have done so to wide applause, they correctly arrested only the grandparents, because only they had legal liability and opportunity and could be successfully prosecuted.
The accused were robustly defended before one of the best judges in the nation, who heard the case without a jury and wrote a 200-plus-page decision that is as sound as it is literate.
Only the Catholic Children's Aid Society came out of the abyss if not entirely unscathed — the agency, too, was called to account in the realm of public opinion — then unbowed.
At the crux of the agency's explanation for what happened was that there was, at the time Jeffrey's grandparents gained custody of him, a policy vacuum in child care.
Back then, went this explanation, when relatives stepped into the breach when parents were deemed unfit, there was no rule that workers do background checks on the relatives — as though it were perfectly acceptable that a requirement for a thorough family history, in any custody case, should flow from a formal directive.
Child-welfare agencies, chiefly the CCAS, were intimately involved with Jeffrey's various family members for 36 years; there was a wealth of frightening information about the grandparents in the files the agency failed to review.
To my knowledge, the agency has never explained — nor been asked to explain by anyone other than the press — how it was that it also approved Ms. Bottineau as one of its own paid child-care providers a mere four years after her husband was convicted of assaulting two of her youngsters from a previous marriage and despite her own conviction in the 1970 pneumonia death of her first baby, an infant named Eva who later was found to have suffered multiple fractures consistent with battered-child syndrome.
Its front-line workers involved in the case have never publicly explained their thinking.
There remains one last hope that the agency and those workers will be asked these questions and others — Ontario's chief coroner has called an inquest into the little boy's death.
The cynical view is that little good can come of these proceedings, because the recommendations of any inquest jury are only that — recommendations — and because the inquest cannot assign blame.
I don't subscribe to that view. I think the more such decisions are examined, the more publicity brought to bear on the workings of secretive organizations, the more good, ordinary people see that wasted little boy as he appeared on the autopsy table, the better.
Studies show that the sort of slow, semi-starvation Jeffrey Baldwin endured is worse, physiologically and psychologically, than total starvation. In the latter, hunger pangs disappear within a few days; in the former, there is no such blessing.
I can't bear to look at his picture any longer, but he remains in my heart. I await the inquest with eagerness.
cblatchford@globeandmail.com
To all:

I am still away at school and haven't read the blog for so long until today. I don't encourage hate or nasty comments, I don't like that people use what is supposed to be an open forum to discuss idea's and feelings about C/CAS, Jeffrey, child care, etc., to vent their problems or attack each other. I probably won't have the chance to read this again for another month.

John, thank you for all the work you are doing. Believe me, it is frustrating and hard to try and fight the 'machine'. I got sick of slamming my head into a brick wall whenever I dealt with Mary Anne Chambers or Mary McConvile! Don't get consumed!! You WILL burn out and your family will suffer because you're so busy. The absolutely must be a joint effort from everyone who wants change, one person CAN NOT do it alone.

Hope everyone is well, take care,
Amanda

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Public Rally May 17, 2006

Wednesday May 17, 2006
10:30 a.m.
Courtroom 4-9
361 University Ave.

is the date for sentencing subissions before Justice Watt.

Please come out and show your outrage for failure to protect Jeffrey, failure to permit Ombudsman investigative oversight of CASs and for failure to take steps to hold CCAS criminally accountable as well for its unconscionable failure to protect Jeffrey. Stand up for Jeffrey, don't just hide behind the scenes!!!
Even the Toronto Sun gets it! In case you missed it, here's the lead editorial today: May 1, 2006 EDITORIAL: Give this watchdog more biteEver since he was appointed Ontario Ombudsman a year ago, Andre Marin has been making trouble for Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government.And that’s good, because that’s his job. Marin investigates cases where citizens receive poor service from the province, just as the auditor reports on fiscal mismanagement. Beyond dealing with individual complaints, Marin has increasingly been taking on cases where he sees a system-wide or “systemic” failure of government. Thus far he’s exposed:- Bureaucratic bungling which forced parents of severely disabled children to give them up to children’s aid societies.- A shocking failure to update the screening of newborn babies for diseases, a situation that could easily have been fixed for $2.4 million.- Arbitrary and secretive conduct by Ontario’s Municipal Property Assessment Corp. in setting property assessments. These assessments directly impact on how much property tax people pay.Such rulings haven’t made Marin popular with the government, even though he was chosen for the job by an all-party committee and says most of the problems he’s uncovered started before the Grits took office.Now he’s worried the powers of his office are being curtailed. He notes a law passed recently by the Liberals establishing a civilian review process for complaints about the police contains a specific clause keeping the agency out of his jurisdiction.Ontario, Marin says, is also lagging behind other provinces which empower their ombudsmen to probe municipalities, universities, school boards and hospitals — the “MUSH” sector which accounts for 80% of provincial spending — as well as children’s aid societies, which receive $1.5 billion annually.Soon after he was appointed to his job by the government, a committee of senior civil servants recommended his entire office be scrapped as a cost-saving measure. Bad idea.As Ontario’s ombudsman and in his previous jobs as the federal military ombudsman and head of Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit, which probes the use of police force, Marin has shown himself to be a tough, compassionate defender of ordinary citizens.We agree with him that his office should be given the same jurisdictional authority as the auditor.Marin says he doesn’t know what the government is afraid of, given that he only has the power to report on and publicize his findings. Neither do we.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Remember we have collected over 5,500 sigs, from doctors nurses, hospital social workers, in 2 cities, one in only a small affluent area, all stating agreeing with the below statement, one has been presented, already, the other should be next week, and still going strong. I am shocked by the stories from the medical community they are NOT fans of the child protection agencies, nor are the teacher, they see this system doing more harm then good. Its time to really listen to the people, of this province after all we are whom they represent. So yes we have spoken to doctors social workers nurses, lawyers, judges, parents, there needs to be change, this petition has yet to reach the family's that have had involvement , but it will be interesting to see what they have to say. The mandated reporters are not happy. They report they feel more harm is done to the child and family.

PETITION

TO The Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

WHEREAS The Child and Family Services Act of 1999 has been misused toapprehend large numbers of Canadian children; it is financially onerous tothe people of Ontario;

WHEREAS the current legislation gives CAS workers more power than anypoliceman, physician or judge, the rights of Canadian children are routinely trampled in the name of "child protection";

WHEREAS the funding of this agency is piecework based, it is financially rewarded for each file opened and each child apprehended;

WHEREAS to insure accountability and transparency, we need to have the Ontario Ombudsman have oversight over Bill C210

We the undersigned petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to open up the process to public scrutiny to ensure a level playing field, and ensure a proper judicial review with proper representation.

Name (Please Print)
City Signature________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Name

(Please Print) City Signature

If people want a printable copy of this petition calling for Ombudsman oversight, Andrea Horwath will email them one. You can then print and circulate it to family, friends, neighbours, etc.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Jeffrey's case
If any 'good' comes from Jeffrey Baldwin's death it will be from the inquest called by Ontario's chief coronerBy MARK BONOKOSKI
The Grandparents Grimm -- custodial monsters Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman -- will appear in court again May 17 to learn how long the jailer's key will be thrown away before they can apply for the unthinkable prospect of parole following their convictions for second-degree murder.
Their barbarism has been well documented in recent days, of course, despite words falling short of fully describing what is surely indescribable for even the best of writers.
When their 5-year-old grandson, Jeffrey Baldwin, died from the brutality and starvation they had inflicted upon him, for example, his weight was that of a 10-month-old baby -- his years, according to Ontario Justice David Watt, "eked out" in the "miserable existence" of a locked room described as a "dungeon" that was cold, urine-soaked and coated with the filth of human feces.
There is no mind's-eye picture that could possibly conjure the reality of that scenario -- unless, God forbid, a photograph of the poor boy's wasted corpse was able to flash on some screen in the psyche of us all.
Until then, it must hopefully remain unimaginable.
INQUEST IS NEEDED
If there is any good that can come from this horror, and the word "good" is used because of the lack of any other, it is that Ontario's chief coroner, Dr. Barry McLellan, has ordered an inquest into young Jeffrey's death -- with the focus clearly centred on the Catholic Children's Aid Society.
And rightly so.
For it was that agency -- a taxpayer-funded, social safety-net of guardianship -- that handed the boy over to his eventual killers when a simple background check would have uncovered a high degree of child abuse in that family.
In 1998, when Jeffrey's own parents were being investigated for child abuse, and he and his siblings were seized, the CCAS never opposed Bottineau's bid for legal custody of her daughter's children -- meaning they never checked their files to learn that, as a teenage mother, Bottineau herself was convicted of assault causing bodily harm in the 1970 pneumonia death of her first child, Eva, who was also found to have suffered multiple fractures.
And then there was Bottineau's husband, Norman Kidman, whose documented history has him convicted of the extreme beatings of two of Bottineau's children from a previous marriage -- another record easily accessed by the CCAS.
Yet into those abusive arms young Jeffrey Baldwin was tossed, as well as three other siblings.
Following the trial, Paul Dimitriadis -- husband of Jeffrey's paternal grandmother, Susan -- minced no words when it came to the CCAS which, according to reports, backed Bottineau and Kidman in barring the two from even visiting their grandchildren ... a visit which, in retrospect, might have led to young Jeffrey being rescued from their clutches.
But this was never to happen.
CASTLE WALLS
"I believe the Catholic Children's Aid Society lives in a big castle with high walls," he said. "And when they come out, they are guarded by pit bull terriers called lawyers, who are ready to tear anyone apart (who) try to question them."
And he, in many ways, is not far from being wrong.
Not a week goes by that I do not get one or two e-mails, and just as many calls, from a parent or a grandparent with what they see as critical concerns regarding one children's aid society or another -- concerns they want to see go public.
And this is where the "high walls" come into play. Privacy laws not only prevent names from being used, they are also used as a shield by all CAS to deflect, not only comment, but often even acknowledgement of the case in question.
And this is a dilemma for those in the news business who, after time, often find it easier to walk away from a potential story than face the inevitable dead end of the agency invoking privacy laws as a convenient and effective way to legally cover ass until the story goes away.
And it could have even happened here in the Jeffrey Baldwin case, if not for the chief coroner calling an inquest.
While the vast majority of CAS cases are undoubtedly well handled, the few that are not demand scrutiny.
Perhaps the upcoming inquest into Jeffrey Baldwin's death will find a way to address that concern as an important sidebar issue in the juggling act between privacy and protection.
While it may seem small in the greater scheme of the unfathomable picture of the horror that brought the Grandparents Grimm to trial, what of the case I wrote about a month ago about the Cobourg father who discovered -- through a third party, not the CAS -- that the man living with his ex-wife and their 7-year-old daughter was also the man written up in the local newspaper as being sentenced to "house arrest" for sexually assaulting his teenage stepdaughter's best friend?
Facts being facts, it would seem a simple task to get his daughter out of harm's way.
Surely the Children's Aid would see absurdity in these living arrangements, as well as the inherent danger of a 7-year-old little girl having an admitted sex offender as an authority figure.
But that is not the way it played out.
SEXUAL ASSAULT
In fact, the Children's Aid refused to acknowledge that the man in the newspaper convicted of the sexual assault on a teen was the same man now living with his ex-wife and therefore sharing the joint custody of his little girl.
"All I am asking is for one of two things to happen," the girl's father told me back then. "Either give me full custody of my daughter, or get him out of that house."
Neither has happened.
Today, his daughter is still living under the same roof as that convicted sex offender, but it is no longer in Cobourg.
They have packed up and moved because they have supposedly "found God," and the only church where that "God" can be found is apparently nowhere else but Peterborough.
Perhaps the children's aid there will find this odd.
But, then again, likely not.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Public Rally

I'm sorry I couldn't be at the sentencing on April 7th, however, I e-mailed all my media contacts asking them to be there and heard there were a small hand full of people. So, let's try again. Unfortunately I won't be at this one either, (in the Fall, I will be back in force) but please see post below. I will again e-mail my contacts, if you think you can get out of work or make it, PLEASE do! I don't want to cry wolf and have no one except the media show up. Hopefully this is enough of a notice so you can ask for the afternoon off work or make arrangements to be there. Please post your thoughts so I can guage if I should formally 'announce' it to the media.

Thanks,
Amanda

POST:

Anonymous said...

TO EVERYONE RE. RALLY:

Please note that I am advised by Nick Pron of T.O. Star that Wednesday May 17, 2006 starting at 10:30 a.m. in courtroom 4-9 at 361 University Ave. is the date for sentencing subissions before Justice Watt. If it goes a second day, Friday May 19th is reserved.

I told Mr. Pron that we are attempting to have public rally on the sentencing date, he suggested it be on May 17. I agree. Please come out and show your outrage for failure to protect Jeffrey, failure to permit Ombudsman investigative oversight of CASs and for failure to take steps to hold CCAS criminally accountable as well for its unconscionable failure to protect Jeffrey. Stand up for Jeffrey, don't just hide behind the scenes!!!

Posted: Thursday, April 13, 2006 11:02:27 AM

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Some hate mail... WHO is this guy??

I assume he is elva's son who was one of the two children taken before she had the three girls? Elayne, can you elaborate? I don't think he is part of the paternal family...?


Date:
Wed, 12 Apr 2006 23:34:55 -0400
To:
jeffreyslaw@cogeco.ca
Subject:
Jeffrey Baldwin
From:
FRED CROTTA

Amanda Reed,
Where do you get off interfering in family matters? Why do you feel the need to fight for someone you don't even know? Do you not have a life of your own? I truly believe you should consult the family before broadcasting a plaque memorial when the family hasn't been consulted. I'm sure his family would have quite a bit to say about you interfering with their personal losses. I know I do and none of it can be stated in this email, due to proper ettiquette. Being his uncle I thin k you should butt out! This is a family matter and last I checked you weren't family.
F. Crotta

My response:
That's unfortunate then because I WON'T butt out of this! YOU should have done something... he's not yours anymore. He will be the catalyst for change for all future children in this country! It's good you didn't swear because I'm posting your letter on my blog... feel free to visit me there and voice yourself, you won't offend me, though I'm SURE you must have SOMETHING better to do with your time!

By the way, I'm thrilled I'm not part of your family!

Amanda Reed
Jeffrey's Law Organization

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Did you see:


"Failing Jeffrey"
The Fifth Estate

Will re air on CBC Newsworld over the weekend
RE: Plaque

I can not move installing the plaque to the Spring because of a few reasons, however, if someone else would like to be 'in charge' of organizing this, I will certainly hand over the plaque. Please let me know and please remember I have very limited internet access so may not respond as quickly...
Thanks
Is she joking??

Death cannot cloud work
Apr. 11, 2006. 01:00 AM
Abusers convicted of killing grandchild
April 8.
When a child dies or is maltreated, especially when the circumstances were preventable, demands for a full and thorough investigation are warranted. It is important that every effort be made to examine what went wrong and to identify the checks and balances that must be put in place to prevent future tragedies. Moreover, it is important that the implementation of recommendations receive both priority and adequate resources.
In the case of Jeffrey Baldwin, the 5-year-old child who died of malnutrition while in the care of his grandparents, the Toronto Catholic Children's Aid Society (CCAS) has acknowledged that its records were not checked when the grandparents applied to the courts for custody of Jeffrey a number of years ago. The CCAS has since put protocols in place to ensure this will not happen again.
While the hardships associated with Jeffrey Baldwin's tragic death must not be diminished, the Ontario Association of Social Workers cautions against allowing his death to overshadow the important and effective work the CCAS and other child welfare agencies carry out each year.
In Ontario, highly skilled child welfare staff, many of whom are social workers, conduct more than 82,000 investigations a year and provide services to 30,000 children in care. They operate seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Caseloads are complex and the demands on staff immense. Professionals working in this important, yet often times maligned role, need the support of the community as they continue to protect our most vulnerable citizens, our children.

Beverley J. Antle, President, Ontario Association of Social Workers, Toronto

_____________________________________________________
Well said!

Change child welfare rules
Apr. 11, 2006. 01:00 AM
Abusers convicted of killing grandchild
April 8.
Jeffrey Baldwin's death is a tragedy. Everyone from government to children's aid societies to the people who care for children and youth in need of protection like Jeffrey must learn from his experiences (and those of his siblings) so they are not repeated.
In our view, there needs to be fundamental changes to Ontario's child welfare system to avoid the chances of something similar happening to another child in the future.
Changes are needed to ensure that children are placed with the best people to provide proper care; to provide the ability for a third party to independently review the child's care and to fund the child's care and treatment accordingly. In short, providing children with the care they need, not just the "minimum" as can sometimes be the case.
As providers of high-quality treatment foster care and group home care to more than 4,000 children and youth in Ontario yearly, our members continue to work with the Ontario government, children's aid societies and other partners to recommend ways to make the system better.
Jeffrey's death must serve as a catalyst to ensure vulnerable children can get the best chance at a good life.
Richard Solomon, Executive Director, Ontario Association of Residences Treating Youth, Richmond Hill
Amanda - FYI

CBC has posted the audio and a summary of the Jeffrey Baldwin case discussion with the Ombudsman this morning at

http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2006/200604/20060411.html.

If you didn't catch it this morning, thought you might want to listen in or share it with your readers.

_____________________________

Hi everyone,
I'm at school now and there is NO internet access except early in the morning. So, I won't be posting very much but will be of course reading the newspapers and keeping up as much as possible.

Take care,
Amanda

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Bill 88, 2006, Ombudsman Amendment Act (Children's Aid Societies), 2006.
Andrea Horwath NDP MPP has introduced to the Legislative Assembly, Bill 88, 2006. By Introducing this to the Legislative Assembly, she is forcing the Government to publicly admit that they do not want any form of external accountability over CAS's.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Here is the permanent plaque I will be installing in Greenwood Park this summer with my dad. I will of course let everyone know when I'm going so you can all come.

May this sweet child be the catalyst for change in a corrupt, broken system to save other children from suffering the same fate... he is an angel.
Please write the Chief and Deputy Chief Coroners thanking them for calling an inquest. They could have ignored it, they could have been in bed with CCAS, but they didn't and they're not.
Thanks!
Amanda

Dr. Barry McLellan, Chief Coroner
Dr. Jim Cairns, Deputy Cheif Coroner
Office of the Chief Coroner
Coroner's Bldg, 2nd Floor
26 Grenville Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2G9
Phone: (416) 314-4000
Fax: (416) 314-4030

Friday, April 07, 2006

2nd Degree Murder and a Public Inquest Called!

April 7, 2006
T.O. grandparents who starved boy to death guilty of second-degree murder

TORONTO (CP) - A Toronto couple who allowed their five-year-old grandson to starve to death have been found guilty of second-degree murder.

Fifty-four-year-old Elva Bottineau and 53-year-old Norman Kidman were supposed to have saved their grandchildren from a life of abuse after they were taken from their birth parents. Instead, five-year-old Jeffrey Baldwin was confined to a locked, unheated bedroom for as much as 14 hours a day, breathing in the smell of his own urine and feces.

The details of his tragic life were outlined for the court Friday in a lengthy address by Justice David Watt that took much of the day.

Court heard he was treated like a dog, made to eat out of a bowl with his fingers and he often drank from a toilet when he was thirsty.

Immediately upon the verdict's release, Ontario's chief coroner announced that an inquest would be held.

"The circumstances surrounding Jeffrey's death have been a matter of public interest," Dr. Barry McLellan's office said in a release.

"Issues to be addressed at the inquest include the Toronto Catholic Children's Aid Society's involvement in Jeffrey's placement and the role that agency, and others, had in monitoring his well-being prior to his death."

Emergency crews were shocked when they found Jeffrey's frail body, weighing less than he did on his first birthday.

He was just 21 pounds when he died of starvation and pneumonia in November 2002, weeks before his sixth birthday.

When his sister was rescued from the house she too showed obvious signs of starvation with skinny limbs, a distended belly and open sores.

Although the children lived in squalor, the rest of the house was immaculately clean, court heard.

The couple was also found guilty of forcible confinement for the girl's care.

Bottineau's lawyer Anil Kapoor had argued his client did not deliberately kill her grandson. He cited a psychologist who testified Bottineau was mentally retarded with a personality disorder that prevented her from seeing Jeffrey waste away.

But another expert witness, Lisa Ramshaw, contradicted that assessment and said Bottineau had "a higher order of thinking than someone with mental retardation" and lied to protect herself.

Lawyer Catherine Glaister told Watt that Kidman did not plan to kill Jeffrey and had little involvement in the children's lives.

1:15pm...

... still not too much from the courthouse, but there probably won't be illegal confinement charges in regards to Jeffrey's sister...