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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ms.Chambers' reaction to Ombudsman... not good!

Ottawa Citizen Newspaper

Minister unenthusiastic about ombudsman overseeing CASs: Chambers lukewarm to Marin's proposal, but says she shares his concern for young
The Ottawa Citizen
Wed 14 Dec 2005 Page: C9 Section: City Byline: Jeff Esau Source: The Ottawa Citizen
Ontario Children and Youth Services Minister Mary Anne Chambers may share the provincial ombudsman's concerns about protecting children, but she's lukewarm to his ideas on how to do so.
"The ombudsman can say whatever he wants to say, but I, as the minister, cannot put myself in a position that could be defined as being in contempt of the legislative process," Ms. Chambers said earlier this week in response to ombudsman Andre Marin's proposal to place the province's Children's Aid Society under his office's oversight. She characterized the idea as only one of "a variety of options" for protecting children.
Last week, Mr. Marin told members of the legislature's social policy committee that if legislation to amend the Child and Family Services Act passes as is, Ontario would gain the "dubious distinction" of being "at the back of the oversight pack in Canada."
Mr. Marin noted that Ontario is the only province where child protection services are run by private agencies funded by the government -- in Ontario's case, to the tune of $1.2 billion each year. In other provinces, he said, child protection is a public function or is shared between government and private agencies. He also noted that all provinces, except Ontario and Quebec, have ombudsmen overseeing child protection services. The ombudsman then recommended this situation be rectified by granting his office oversight over Ontario's 53 Children's Aid Societies.
The minister, however, suggested Mr. Marin's recommendation regarding Bill 210 was too narrow. "The recommendation that the ombudsman is making is focusing on one particular solution.
Ms. Chambers said she and the ombudsman "share concerns about accountability on behalf of kids and families," but she questioned his assertion that Ontario affords convicted criminals housed in privatized provincial jails protection by the ombudsman, but fails to extend the same protection to children. "I don't think that's fair at all. We actually do have a number of opportunities for protection of children and youth. There are some provinces where the ombudsman has oversight, but there are some provinces where the ombudsman does not."
Ms. Chambers pointed out there is already a plan to make the ministry's child advocate -- currently an official reporting to the minister -- an independent officer of the legislature, similar to the ombudsman.
Mr. Marin dismissed the use of a child advocate for oversight as "not helpful in investigating complaints about the CASs." The child advocate, he said this week, is "like a town crier for children," which is a "world of a difference" from his own role as provincial watchdog. Unlike the ombudsman, "the advocate does not possess any investigative powers, is not impartial and is not neutral."
"We should be moving heaven and Earth to provide an investigative ability," said Mr. Marin. A child advocate "will not solve the problem of the CAS being without any oversight."
Not everyone agreed with Mr. Marin's view. Jeanette Lewis, executive director of the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, thinks the necessary oversight is already in place. Mr. Marin "has not very well articulated to the public the number of accountability mechanisms that exist for Children's Aid Societies," she said, pointing out such oversight functions as death reviews, Crown ward reviews, financial audits and ministry monitoring. As well, all decisions by child welfare workers to remove a child from a home are reviewed by the courts within five days.
"I'm not sure how the ombudsman's authority would then also deal with the court-related decisions," said Ms. Lewis.
The minister, meanwhile, noted the legislative process precludes her from responding in detail on what she expects regarding Bill 210. "If I am going to declare firmly and unequivocally what the outcome of a bill that we have introduced is going to be, why then do we have the legislative process?"
Ms. Chambers emphasized that with Bill 210 still at the committee stage, "there will be an opportunity for us right now to strengthen accountability and complaint mechanisms for Children's Aid Societies, and we're working on that."
Illustration:• Colour Photo: CNW Group Photo / Children and Youth Services Minister Mary Anne Chambers called the ombudsman's assessment unfair.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is now apparent why children such as Jeffrey Baldwin died and will continue to do so.

I will write Ms. Chambers immediately. It has become apparent what side she is on.

After speaking to her at the memorial it was clear to me she should have stayed in banking.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Marin is completely correct - making Ontario's Child Advocate independent of government influence has nothing to do with the lack of CAS accountability.

Nor do any of the accountability mechanisms referred to by Jeanette Lewis have anything to do with that fact that CAS routinely removes children from perfectly normal families and places them in positions of extreme risk. While Ms. Lewis offers red herrings (ie. financial audits) that are obvious attempts to mislead, even her seemingly credible statements (ie. the courts) skirt the fact that family law demands no burden of proof and offers no due process - CAS is free to abuse families at will.

It appears that Mary Anne Chambers strategy in all this is to hide behind the legislative process. That's about as lame as it gets - particularly when you compare her position with Marin's integrity.

The Ombudsman's reference to protections extended to inmates is a good one. As much as Chambers would like to deny it, children living in CAS foster homes are prisoners of the state. As Jeffrey's case demonstrates, these children are denied any voice of their own, leaving CAS free to misrepresent their position in whatever fashion it chooses to.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine the minister making such weak excuses if the dynamics were identical but her ministry dealt with any other human rights issue. Clearly she wants to keep all CAS' skeltons in the closet, no matter what the effect on children.

Anonymous said...

So, Madame Mary Ann Chambers thinks that there is enough of a complaint and review process in Bill C210. Perhaps she has not read the legislation or maybe she does not understand the language and the process. Perhaps she has not been at the receiving end of some of CAS's "good work." Oh yes, her child is in the criminal justice system and she is so proud of him. She must be thinking "Give them all boot camp!"

I would say that she is just another political hack with not much upstairs. Day after day families are appealing to her as the Minister. Her heart for these children and their families is under the sole of her shoe.

Ontario never saw Brenda Elliot's face when she was Minister. She hid out in her office. Mary Ann follows her lead. She makes her decisions without ever seeing the faces or hearing the voices of those that this Government destroys, innocent little children and their parents.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps some one, should remind the Minister of Senator Ann Cools, remarks on the family court system, and take a hard look at the number of complaints lodged on that body, of trusted, integrity driven, body of professionals, (tongue in cheek) Upper Canada Law Society, but oh yes! sorry ! most politicians are lawyers. And Ont is run by liberals. The Grove inquiry, and I quote " for as long as anyone remembers child protection has operated in secrecy".
Ms. Chambers, needs to keep it that way, its about the economy, it has nothing to do with child protection. Ms. Lewis comments on forensic Psychology, the same profession, that
tried to apply therapy, on the so called deviant behaviour, of homosexuals.
That are now seen fit to adopt children to. They did not need therapy.
Satanic Ritual Abuse, Repressed Memories. We have not forgotten.
The family courts, use psychology as there expert witness, the very same group of people,are forever expanding what Risk of harm is. Its everything today. A parents illness! Chronic pain. Poverty, and lack of services, cut by the government are a major players in the risk to children. Housing, Education, prevention, issues that are to difficult to address, therefore, call it parental neglect when a child suffers from a learning disability, that is in most cases genetic. Education neglect, have you looked at the one size fits all approach to the public school system? the standardized testing. the lack of funds for aids. Parents that Home school children should have a right to do so, and by law do, yet are harassed by the Child Protection industry.
Many studies have pointed out that most of the children being home school are ahead of their peer group, and socially more advanced as well.
Its control, control of the public and what better means to do it then though families, living with the risk that they could be next. If they already have not been, look at the sheer numbers of files opened?. Hospitals, and doctors are now under mandated by threat of the law, to report suspicion of Risk as are teachers, what happens when a child is not easily diagnosed, parents feel concerned ( a normal response) it is some how twisted to mean parents not coping, yes I have seen it myself.
A doctor knowing may face a negligence allegation, using the Child protection agency to protect them, this is not new, look at the UK. Look at the shape medicine is in. Doctors are angry. What happened to their pensions, and Caps on salaries, they no longer have the time to listen to parents, or patients. Call CAS. Buy into the psycho babble, that grows daily, to only be shoved undercover, once it is realized it is fabricated by the industry.What a shame this is. Psychology nor medicine is science.
Yet heavily relied on by the Family courts. Criminal courts needs evidence. It is a death sentence to a parent, to remove a child. It may very well be the death of that child once taken into care. That's a Risk, that is being over looked.
You name it, its all Risk, they are Manufacturing Victims perhaps the Minister should read a bit on the back ground of this very spooky craft. When CAS board members are made up of people with vested interest, it is an absolute conflict. One CCAS board of directors actually has the CAPS doctor on its board. And in a recorded meeting subject to a family, when the CAS did not find reason to remove the children, the parents should asked to be referred to the CCAS. This is an outrage. And one that is hard to explain away.
What will they tell the media, they meant by that, slip of the tongue!
The bottom line is the public is awake, and well.
Sick of corruption, and especially when its given the title of child protection.
As more class action suits are look at in this province, and people head to Human Rights, and perhaps the Supreme Court for answers, what will that do to the economy. The bottom line is at risk. And the tax payers cannot afford it.
Define the risk, treat families with respect, remove children only as a last resort, and make sure they are in safe placements, and there needs are meet. That there is an honest body they can report to in care. And stop the abuse of families and foster families on the pretexts of Risk of anything and everything, we need children to be aware its ok to take risk we have all taken risk or surely life would be meaningless.
So better define and term.And a parents illness, is not risk, its LIFE.
Allow over sight by the ombudsman, and do the right thing, not the correct thing, children are worthy of at least that much.What are you afraid of, should be the question, when one runs, from over sight, there is always a reason.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Marin's mention of the Child Advocate is very accurate. However Ms. Chambers' attempt via legislation to make the Child Advocate more accountable and report to the legislature is very necessary to strengthen protections for Children and Youth in care. This is what the current manager of the office has asked for when administrative means of making the office accountable were attempted by the Conservative government.