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Saturday, December 24, 2005

OACAS; or JOKE for short

I will post the link to Jeanette Lewis' letter to the editor of the Globe yesterday, but first I wanted to let all of you know what an absolute JOKE and waste of money this agency is! It should be completely shut down and all their funding go directly to the ombudsman who will hopefully have the power to investigate. I've also thought it might be funny to see pigs fly, but I'm not holding my breath!

Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies is an agency set up to advise the 53 CAS and CCAS's on their policies and procedures... that's about the total purpose of the OACAS. They are also paid for all the marketing and, if I'm not mistaken, the fundraising for the CAS's. I wrote to them in September asking them to investigate what went wrong with Jeffrey's case; to do something that would let the CCAS know they were in the (very) wrong and should be held accountable, that I wasn't just going to forget what happened to this child. Their response was 'we advise the 53 agencies.' So, basically, they have no power to do anything about anything... so why is yet another useless (private) government agency getting millions a year care of you and I, Joe and Jane Taxpayer??

A clip from their website:
OACAS is a membership organization that represents 53 children's aid societies in Ontario. We have served our members, the community, the public and the government in a variety of ways since 1912. These services have included the promotion of child welfare issues, member services, government liaison and policy development, research and special projects, quality assurance in child welfare practice and training for all protection workers throughout the province. The Association is funded through membership fees, government grants and other revenue producing activities. OACAS provides system support to its member societies to assist and enhance their role in the community. Some of the services offered to member societies are accreditation, consultation services, French language services support, information and database services, the Ontario Child Protection Training Program, training and support to foster parents as well as our Youth in Care Network Support Program .

Did you notice that they have an 'accreditation service'?? Here is the BEST quote from the whole site:

Children's aid societies (CASs) in Ontario have expressed their determination to hold themselves accountable for providing high quality services to children and families across the province. Using a peer review model, the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies Accreditation Program evaluates all aspects of CAS service, governance and administrative responsibilities against common standards developed by the child welfare field. The standards for the OACAS Accreditation Program are designed to reflect the needs and expectations of the community, the requirements of provincial child welfare legislation, current best practices and emerging trends in the field of child welfare.

What a load of crap!

So, I agree with anonymous who said in a comment:

'Ms. Lewis now proposes a solution with more authority, money, and absolute power for her little business. Instead, I would say that the Legislative Assembly needs to review the entire process and revamp the entire structure. Bill C210 needs to be taken back to the Ministry for revision as it is seriously flawed. Ms. Lewis needs to give her head a shake and to get her facts straight as to who were the perpertrators and who were the victims. '

Here is Jeanette's letter to the Globe:

By JEANETTE LEWIS
Friday, December 23, 2005 Page A21

Jeffrey Baldwin should not have died. It is always a tragedy when any child is hurt or dies, and it is particularly heart-rending in this case because members of Jeffrey's own family have been charged in his death. It is also clear there were some terrible errors made in the child-welfare system.
It is the role of others -- the courts in particular -- to assign responsibility for Jeffrey's death. I hope they act swiftly and with the full weight of the law. But for those in the child-welfare field, and for concerned citizens in general, the priority must be to look closely at what each of us can do to prevent future tragedies.
The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies believes that Jeffrey's tragic story provides the impetus for the child-welfare field to examine its practices and make changes to the system in collaboration with the Ontario government.
Much has changed since Jeffrey's death in 2002, and more changes are required. Here are some of the critical areas:
Mandatory training in forensic investigations for children's aid workers, in collaboration with police. One of the best ways to protect children is to have qualified, highly trained staff who are experts in conducting child-protection investigations. There are hundreds of such people in Ontario who have had the opportunity to receive state-of-the art training, including training in forensic investigation.
While forensic investigative training is now used widely, it is neither mandatory nor included in the training for new workers. We believe changes that would make such training mandatory at or near the beginning of a worker's tenure would greatly enhance the system's capacity to protect children.
Some say the job of conducting investigations should belong to the police, given their experience in dealing with criminals; others defend the role of the Children's Aid Society worker, who is trained to understand children's needs. Both views are valid: Investigations must be a shared responsibility. The pooled knowledge and different skill sets of a police officer and a child- protection worker investigating jointly provides the best protection for children.
Across the province, Children's Aid Societies and police services have protocols in place to govern joint investigations by defining the roles and responsibilities of each organization. Even more joint training of CAS workers and police in child-protection investigations would be the best way to fill a serious gap in our system.
Enhancing the coroner's role in reviewing and reporting on child deaths. When a child is harmed or dies under questionable circumstances, or as the result of maltreatment, there are extensive reporting procedures, including a review by the Office of the Chief Coroner and its multidisciplinary pediatric death review committee.
Unfortunately, the information from child death reviews is not regularly available. No analysis or interpretation of the reviews is provided except to individual CASs that are involved. If the coroner's office were to receive sufficient resources to publish this information on an annual basis, the system could learn valuable lessons that would enhance its capacity to protect children.
Passing kinship care legislation. The unfortunate reality is that the high standards that have been applied for years to foster care have not applied to kinship care -- that is, when a vulnerable child is placed in the custody of a relative. We believe the same rigorous standards that apply to foster care should apply to kinship care, too.
The government is listening. Ontario has recently introduced a wide array of initiatives designed to build the capacity of the child-welfare system. They include amendments to the Child and Family Services Act, policies around kinship care, new assessment and planning tools and a new funding model.
Workload relief for CAS staff. Children's Aid workers in Ontario conduct more than 82,000 investigations a year and provide in-care services for more than 30,000 children. Children's Aid Societies operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Child welfare is a highly regulated sector -- as it should be. CASs are subject to 16 different review mechanisms within the Child and Family Services Act. Each CAS is accountable to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, which reviews its performance. CASs are also accountable to the courts and overseen by boards of directors that represent the communities in which they serve.
In this complex environment and with this huge workload, the demands on workers can be overwhelming. It is critical that sufficient resources be put in place to enable them to fulfill their vital mission. Ontario's most vulnerable children deserve no less.
The responsibility to report: raising public awareness. Even with all these changes, our biggest ally in the fight to protect children is the public. Each and every one of us has a responsibility to report any circumstances in which we suspect a child is -- or may be -- at risk of harm.
Children's Aid workers are dedicated to child welfare. They are equipped to respond around the clock, and when they get a call, they respond very quickly. They have been protecting Ontario's most vulnerable citizens, its children, for more than 100 years.
But there are limits to what these workers can do. In a society that still has serious social challenges and too much violence directed at children, CAS workers need help. That is why a child's family, friends, neighbours and the general public must be the eyes and ears of the child-welfare community.
Even as society brings those responsible for Jeffrey's death to account, there is a broader challenge -- and there are larger lessons we must all learn. By making the right changes today, we can prevent countless tragedies tomorrow.
Jeanette Lewis is executive director of the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies.

and here's the link to the OACAS website: (don't laugh too hard at how ridiculous the whole thing is and drop them a line if you have a minute asking what exactly they do!!)
http://www.oacas.org

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

is this women crazy, or did she just have to much to drink at a hoiday party?

Anonymous said...

She is just plan nuts, and like the rest of the pack understands nothing about children, and just how well the agencies protection has worked, just ask the three year old, in Welland, oh sorry he has been murdered in a foster home, lets send more into care great plan, you will need forensic investigators, the coroners office to bribe, and all the police forces on your side. Have they already purchased the urns they hope to place the ashes of all the children in care that get killed. She left funeral directors off her list, perhaps we will find some on the board of directors. They have law firms, psychiatrist, that help send the children to care, police members, to help break down the doors, and pepper spray resisting 6 year olds.
If this women believes what she is saying she needs help. On the other hand its working thus far for them, so why not take it one final step, gets the courts out of the picture, apprehend apprehend, money money, WE should be calling the CAS every two minutes to report every child Every child in this province, just go through the phone book, they are all at may be !!!!! some risk. Life is about risk, if you over protect your children they are at risk, The government need to get off its ass and say NO. Define risk. Define what child maltreatment is. Ask the about the numbers of child deaths and injuries in care? look at other areas that have tried this tactic, look at the tragic amount of child deaths in care, failed adoptions, Errors and family's torn apart. Listen to the people of this province, the parents, of this province, is this what we need in the name Child protection, ask any child over the age of 5.
Jeffery Baldwin, would not have been in that house, if they cared. That family is guilty, but so is the agency,
and this Ministry for doing nothing. That family is like none other . Kin that was not kin. But CCAS used them as a day care. Hello!!!! children are safer at home, CAS does not offer services, they have been cut. And the services they offer will turn any healthy child, into a helpless street kid, go look around. How many autistic children did they make parents sign over their parental rights to put in care because the cuts in care are deep. And they lied about it!!!!! This is also against Human Rights has anyone consulted a Human Rights attorney, I highly suggest the government does just that,or change Human Rights, before they pass this bill. This is so the agency don't take the hit for another child murdered on there watch. Poor social workers, the most flaky bunch of folks, you would ever want to meet. Most in the profession because of past experience of child abuse then selves also some of the worst parents I have meet are social workers, psychologist, psychiatrist, if this Minister would like there names I will gladly report them. JPN she is just plan nuts. But it is now time to start reporting everyone. Because every child on earth my be at risk of something, a paper cut opening Christmas presents, believing in Santa, maybe a sign of future mental illness, to much turkey at risk of a stomach ache, parents over feed the child criminals, apprehend, collect are money send the child to doctor Pop to have his way with, then into care, adopted the child out, still screaming for his mommy, who cares we just made a bunch of money next. This is not ridiculous this agencies reasoning why in many cases, they apprehended a child is very ridiculous. Everyone that hires a cleaning service must have a messy house, remove the child, anyone with a history of a treatable mental health issue, remove the child, every disable parent, remove the child, every child with ADHD remove the child. blame the parents the liberals think all we do is drink beer and eat popcorn, perhaps we better all think very hard, before voting. Move to Quebec and hope for separation at this this point. I do not want to witness the tears this bill will cause, the child YES children will suffer, and more will die, who do they think they are fooling.

Anonymous said...

What underlies the police mentality of the child protective system? ... Why have we drifted so far from the family preservation model?

Child welfare policy and practice in the United States can't be understood fully in isolation of other larger social phenomena in our country. We are a country that proclaims a child-loving philosophy, which is belied by harsh statistics that suggest for an advanced, industrialized country, we do very poorly by and for our children. We have a shockingly high infant mortality rate; we have known environmental pollution conditions in many, many industrialized cities, in which children suffer from life-threatening asthma at shockingly high rates; we have inadequate housing; we have inadequate income assistance for many, many children in this country. Given our relative wealth, one could say objectively we are one of the poorest distributors of income to children in any advanced country. We have the highest rate of poverty among children in any advanced country.

Now, against that backdrop, we also have the most vigorous, largest, aggressive child protection policy of any advanced industrial country. Why is that? Well, I would suggest that is in part because of a political compromise that was made in the 1970s, actually engineered by then-Sen. Walter Mondale, who created the 1974 legislation that brought into being the modern child protection system. And that system deliberately labeled the subject of child protection as about protecting children from bad parents, even though, in fact, caseworkers throughout the country understand that their first job, really, is assisting needy families.

If we made child protection too family-friendly, we would bump up against another political reality of U.S. politics, particularly as evidenced by 1994 and 1996 legislation in Congress eliminating welfare, insisting that families [and] individuals find a way to survive on their own. Child welfare is, in some ways, the residual outcome of a political choice in our country not to help families directly. But if it became too family-friendly, it would become an indirect subsidy just for needy families. So what we require instead is not merely that you demonstrate a need, but that we decide -- we, meaning the officials who will help you -- that you have failed in some respect.

So we've made a global, societal problem of the well-being of children into an individual, family-only failing. And it's in that model, within that model, that child protection operates in this country. It need not be that way and it isn't that way in most countries in the world. In most countries in the world, child protection systems are seen as helping families first, and then separating out those that can be helped and should be helped from those that either can't be helped or ought not be helped because they're too far gone. In our country, we start with an assumption, in far too many jurisdictions, that the families can't be helped first, and children are removed. ...

Just a small bit on what some of the formost experts on children and familys are writing, the JOKE should read some of it they may learn a thing or two , and really prevent more child abuse, learn by the mistakes of others, not try and cover theirs up. Martin Guggenheim a good book to start with. Whats wrong with childrens rights.

Anonymous said...

I thank the previous writer for his scholarly assessment. I totally agree with him.

The problem does date back in the US and Canada to Mondale and Clinton administrations' increased funding of child welfare. They created this monstrous industry. It routinely demands steady increases in public funding. With this, it seeks absolute power without accountability.

As we know Canadian policy follows the US by 5 years. This policy has to do with the judicial writings of Hilary Clinton..."It takes a village to raise a child." The upbringing of children has become the primary responsibility of the State, a shift away from the parent. The State funds "home visitation" programs,daycare,"early start"/"best start" etc.... these programs are designed to monitor the upbringing of the State's children." They routinely invade the privacy of our homes, seeking to criminalize parents, under the guise of helping them parent. Parents are profiled and targeted as vulnerable.

The most recent court rulings separate the rights of children from those of their biological families. They give children their own individual rights. All children are now "wards of the Crown." The Crown has the right to decide who can parent. Children become little chess pieces that the Crown can move around the chess board on a whim....i.e. if you are poor, immigrant, single, young, uneducated, disabled etc. It is simply justified as being in the "best interests of the child."

The child's welfare is now the responsibility of the State with the biological family's rights cast aside. The State says "So what! if a 100 or 1000 extra children are apprehended to insure that Jeffrey Baldwin type situations do not occur." But, it ignors the tremendous harm it does to normal families, to thousands of other children.

The reduction in welfare support/services to families combined to produce the present "checklist" child welfare system. It is a system based on piecework reimbursement, a system rewarded for files opened, files rated at increasingly high risk,apprehensions, and the acquisition of children with "special needs". Disabled children are acquired under guise of providing services to them.... these services are not generally available to "children with parents." These parents are referred to agencies with no funding for help. The agencies quietly tell them to leave their children in the emergency room, effectively abandoning them. The most criminal part is that there are no services out there and these children are just warehoused.

It is a system that puts a bounty on children's heads, $10,000 for every adoption completed. It does not care about the qualifications of adopting family...as long as the crown ward is off its books. There is a bonus forthcoming every time a Crown is moved around on the chess board. Bizarre! Many of these then become failed adoptions and the whole process starts again. No one wins, not even the child. Note the family of adopted, homeschooled children in New Jersey found starving to death, eating wall board. Is this what is going to happen here as the Crown downloads its liabilities.

Checklists and rating scores now dominate the lingo of the industry. Common sense goes out the window.

This philosphy has created this monstrous system of child abduction. Children are just ripped from parents. The parents are criminalized. They are given a couple hours of access a week. Over time this becomes less and less until the child is totally disconnected. They call parents at work, identifying them to the employer as child welfare criminals. These parents lose their jobs, homes, and their children.

Not a pretty picture of Canada on the world stage. I know the Geneva is monitoring this situation in Canada. It is not the "wonderful country" it seeks to portray itself as. The world measures it by how it treats its children.

Unfortunately Canada trafficks in children.

Anonymous said...

I am so sick of this woman being given a soapbox to rant and rave about he merits of CAS.

The deaths and details of these poor helpless children speak for themselves.

Go ahead CAS and its many "fine workers" you may as well blow your own horn--nobody is listening.

Anonymous said...

Worth noting is OACAS cannot be emailed!!!!!!!!!! You must mail a letter or phone.

I will write.

Anonymous said...

Jeanette Lewis has Mary McConville's old job as head of OACAS. She is the media guru for these organizations. It is known as advertising. Terrible things happen on their watch and they then scream that they need more money and employees.

I kept asking myself why these organizations were private corporations. Some of them claim charitable status with only a $25 donation.

They are obviously owned by the Ministry of Child and Youth Services and are funded with tax dollars. Private corporation status allows them to escape open ended legal responsibility for errors in judgment and outright misdeeds. This corporation goes bankrupt and collapses. It then resurrects itself in another form, much like Canadian Blood Services did.

I did not understand until the Ombudsman brought it forth was that as a private corporation, it could escape the scrutiny of the watchdog public bodies...Ombudsman,
child advocate, provincial auditor etc....

Our representative must remedy this flawed system. The taxpayers of Ontario give these organizations their mandate to protect vulnerable children. They answer to us. The stakeholders have not only a obligation but a duty to rein in the abuse of power.

Joe, Mike and Mandy and your conscience said...

KEEP SCHOOLS SECULAR

Re "Religions seek funding for their schools in Ontario," (Nov. 17): All schools should be public and that's the end of it. If you want your children to have religious-based education, pay for it yourself! Instead of the government funding everyone, the government should not fund any faith-based school.

Amanda Reed

Acton

(Liberals don't want to risk alienating supporters by tinkering with the system)

Anonymous said...

All who post hear, respect what this site is intended to do. To remember a defenceless child was tortured to death, in a home that even Stephen King could not have dreamt up. His siblings now living apart, children that have witness such horror, without parents to comfort them, love them, respect and treat them with dignity.
They have been removed, from a foster family in my opinion, unjustly, that may have given them just that. People come to this from all different perspectives, some have had experiences with CAS/ CCAS, that have left them and their family's shell shocked, falsely accused and no recourse. Others have been in care, and no one listened. Many in care go back to the home they where removed from once released. Do they know more then the protectors? Should have they been removed.? Are children in care in safe placements.?
I am going to vote for a party I would never have in the past, the leader of that party has said to the media, familys know how to raise children not government, Paul Martin wanted to have experts study day care money, Parents are the experts,Mr Harper ! I agree.

Many more live on the streets. How are those children helped? We are throwing money at a system that ask for more, when they fail, is this the answer.? Children are dying in care.And on the streets.
Most of us, outraged about the horror of what happened to Jeffery Baldwin, the system that failed him, failed his siblings, failed many, and continues to do so.
In Jeffery's name lets work to change the system. Destroys family's, and misses cases of outrageous abuse. Keep calling and writing and ask for changes and oversight of Child Protection. and an inquiry into Jeffery's death.
Remove the secrecy, and truly advocate for the children.

Lisa Burns said...

Thanks Amanda for continuing this fight for all the children and families. I'm proud to call you a friend.

Anonymous said...

So Amanda:

The government is dictating to you what you can post and what you can't. The lawyer's letter arrived. It normally does. They own the big firms. I found that out too.

They want the personal attacks on Mary McConville and the Catholic CAS to continue. They however do not want the testimony of the people abused by the system. The taxpayer funds ($1.3 billion annually) might just dry up.

It is sad that they thought that they could use you to do their dirty work. Tell them to do their own dirty work.

What must Mary McConville think of this?
Her own people doing this to her.

The corrupt nature of the system must be obvious.

Jeffrey's Law said...

Please elaborate, I have no idea what you're talking about... I haven't been contacted by any lawyers, nor have I been told what i can and can not post. You've definately interested me though! Has someone said something to you anon? You can always e-mail me privately at jeffreyslaw@cogeco.ca

Please respond quickly, I would love to know how to keep the CCAS and Mary McConville on their toes!
I'm just sitting waiting until the trial is over then it's full on force again.

Thanks,
Amanda

Anonymous said...

Amanda: You are only doing what the Ministry allows you to do. Are you their puppet? They pull the strings and you dance to their tune.

This is not about Jeffrey alone. It is about all the children living in the CAS glass prison. It is about Matthew Reid and the 14 year old girl accused of killing him.

You need to breach that glass prison and let those children escape.