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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I hope the Dufferin VOCA won't mind:

Crown Ward Murdered

February 8, 2006

Child protection has failed for another crown ward. This time he was murdered.
Metroland, Durham Region
Police releasing few details in teen's slaying

Feb 7, 2006

By Jeff Mitchell
OSHAWA -- An investigation continues into the stabbing death of a teenager on a downtown Oshawa street.
Durham Regional Police are releasing few details about 15-year-old Jerome Bennett and the circumstances under which he died. Homicide Detective James Stewart-Haass would not say whether or not police have identified suspects in the slaying.
"All I can tell you right now is the investigation is moving forward," he said.
The boy's body was discovered around 8:30 p.m. Saturday in a lot at the Glazier Medical Centre, at Simcoe and Gibb streets. Police said there were obvious signs of trauma to the body, which sustained sharp-force injuries.
The incident marks the first homicide in Durham Region this year.
Not much is known about the boy. He is estranged from his north Oshawa family, a source said. The Durham Region Children's Aid Society has confirmed he was in the agency's care.
"Jerome Bennett was a Crown ward in the care of the CAS," said agency spokeswoman Jacqueline Spencer.
She would not comment on how long the boy had been under CAS protection, where he was living when he died, or where he was going to school.
"The only thing I can confirm is he was one of our Crown wards," Ms. Spencer said.
The boy is also unknown at the Second Chance youth drop-in centre in downtown Oshawa. Young people at the Mary Street shelter Tuesday morning said they did not know the boy and records indicated he had not visited the centre, said executive director Clarence Keesman.
The centre caters to a clientele aged 16 to 24. Mr. Keesman said the vast majority of Oshawa's homeless youth do not choose to be on the streets, but find themselves there when they're thrown out or find life at home intolerable because of abuse or other pressures.
The remainder of the story, relating to other deaths, is omitted

Source:www.durhamregion.com/dr/regions/oshawa/story/3306236p-3828038c.html

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

As usual, CAS refuses to divulge any information that could point to their negligence.

Anonymous said...

Something similar happened with Matthew Reid - the boy murdered in the dump that CAS passed off as an excellent foster home. In that case, the agency also refused to say anything but the facts eventually came out. Subsequently, Matthew's grandmother revealled he was being sexually abused in that residence in the months before he died. According to Matthew's mom, he was taken from her as a baby because her house was a mess and she was depressed. Naturally, she blamed CAS for his death.

Some of these instances are swept under the carpet. In one Ontario community, a teenage girl in CAS foster care was brutually murdered. Although this crime was covered extensively in the local media, the connection to CAS was never mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Where have all the children gone, to the tune of where have all the flowers gone,
gone to care everyone, when will they ever learn, when will we ever learn.
Far to many children have died and been abused in care. How can we as a society except one death? We have a duty as parents to protect are children's peer group, the next generation, how can we expect moral and ethical behaviour from are youth, when are government, does not get it.

Anonymous said...

the C/CAS is a threat to families, especially low income ones. But the Government is planning to give the societies more power to seize children.
FAILING to follow the CFSA, poor training, and abuse of power unchecked by the Ministry of Community and Social Services lead the C/CAS to become perpetrators of abuse. "The war against CHILD ABUSE has become a war against children. Every year hundreds of children die, thousands more are forced to live with strangers and innocent families are thrown into CHAOS." (Richard Wexler, author of WOUNDED INNOCENTS.)
The C/CAS uses money to attack parents in the court system instead of providing support services.
The government quotas for active welfare cases are an incentive for children's aid workers to detain children. Money to C/CAS should be channeled to preventative care and support services.
Social workers make mistakes deliberately and intentionally, above and beyond the call of duty. In Durham, C/CAS worker Marion Van Den Boomen admitted to filing false affidavits.

* SENATOR Ann Cools states, "perjury and malice are rampant in Family Law practice."
A public inquiry into the workings of the C/CAS is needed in order to ensure ACCOUNTABILITY.
The Child Protection system is guilty of labeling people as ABUSERS.
* A foster couple in ESSEX County is suing the CAS to clear their names.
* Donald Lester, former foster parent from Flamborough, who had his name removed from the Child Abuse Register in 1991, name was released to the media, even though the CFSA expressly prohibits publication of the name of a parent or foster parent during a case of alleged abuse. There was "no credible evidence" (Child Abuse Registry descision, 1991); yet Donald's children 6 and 8 were taunted at school and shunned by friends, humiliated and harrassed. The CAS/CCAS has broken the law to destroy a lot of good families, and continues to do so.
STUDIES IN AMERICA by Investigative authority Brenda Scott reveal that destruction of families by the "unauthorized might" of Child Protection personnel is not a matter of "isolated incidents. Every year, it is estimated that over 1 million people are falsely accused of child abuse in this country". "NO matter how innocent and happy your family may be, you are one accusation away from disaster".


* HAMILTON LAWYER and Chairperson of the Status of Women Sub-Committee JOAN MCDONALD agrees that CAS has TOO MUCH POWER and THAT THEIR LAWYERS ACT TOO ADVERSARIAL.

STUDIES IN CALIFORNIA reveal that 80% of suspected child abuse are linked to a poverty-stricken environment.
Donald Lester and family are calling for a Judicial Review of the Administration of CCAS and CAS in Hamilton-Wentworth, and the responsibility of the Ministry of Community and Social Services to ENSURE that the CFSA is followed. They are not alone. They are supported by Women Against Poverty and Kids Need Both Parents.
We believe that families need moral, emotional and financial support, not policing.

* TESTIMONIAL HEARING: Disenfranchised parents need the support of the Community against the removal of their children without just cause by the CAS. Get together for a vigil to respect parents whose parental rights were stolen from them. *

Women against Poverty


SPEAKING OUT: BUILDING A CASE AGAINST THE CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY

In 1989, Donald Lester, a foster parent with the Children's Aid Society, was charged with 11 sex related crimes. His foster children were removed from the Delta Lee Group Home in Flamborough, where they had been under his care. In 1990, the Crown Attorney's Office dropped the charges against Donald Lester due to lack of evidence and in 1991, his name was removed from the Child Abuse Registry.

Keri and Simon Lester, Donald Lester's natural children, are seeking an administrative review of their father's case by the Ministry of Community and Social Services in order to clear their father's name. They are calling for an internal review into the Children's Aid Society.

Pieter Joubert, a former resident of Delta Lee Group Home, has stated that "Mr. Lester is a victim of improper investigation by the CAS."

Dennis Pringle, a former CAS social worker agrees that improper investigations by the CAS are a problem: "A sinister undercurrent of activity is happening within the criminal justice and child protection system, in which blameless men and women suffer the indignity of being accused, arrested, charged, prosecuted, jailed, bankrupted and stigmatized for LIFE."

The Lester case demonstrates a pattern of irresponsible and reckless disregard for human rights. Other victims of improper investigation, whose names have been withheld due to court-ordered publication bans are speaking out:


A foster couple hounded by unproven sex abuse allegations, is suing two CAS institutions including the Hamilton-Wentworth CAS. They launched the lawsuit in order to clear their names and expose a system that can label people as "abusers" without any proof.
"There was never a hearing and no charges were ever laid," the couple said.
(Toronto Sun, Thursday November 10, 1994).
A former Anglican Minister has won a $120,000 awarded against CAS authorities who "devastated" him with false allegations of "abusing" his children.
(Canada Press, Friday April 15, 1994.)


Critics of the CAS question why, "if anecdotal evidence is such that two thirds of allegations of abuse in custody and access matters are false, then why hasn't any one considered this a problem?"

- Kids Need Both Parents, Hamilton.


"If we are not willing to try to find out the truth about allegations and the truth is not our first priority, then a public service like the CAS has no right to so much clout."

- Rev. Brian Pearson of St. Simon's Anglican Church, Oakville.
(Hamilton Spectator).



HELP US BUILD OUR INVESTIGATION INTO THE CAS

Anonymous said...

Top doctor charged with abandoning baby A prominent Hamilton physician is facing a rare child abandonment charge after he allegedly left his six-month-old baby in a car for half-an-hour while he was grocery shopping.

Dr. Gordon Guyatt, a specialist in internal medicine, academic physician at McMaster University and NDP candidate in the last federal election, wascharged after a passerby found a little girl locked inside a car around 6:30p.m. Friday.

Police said the baby was there at least half-an-hour.

Guyatt said he decided at the last minute to bring his baby on a 15- to20-minute shopping trip and simply forgot about her.

He said the child was sleeping soundly in the back seat when he and his14-year-old daughter went into the grocery store. They were involved in a"very enthusiastic conversation" at the time.

"I feel terrible that I forgot the baby. I feel grateful that there was noharm to the baby," the 47-year-old father of three said yesterday.

Police were called after a message over the public address system inside theA&P grocery store in Dundas went unheeded. Guyatt said he heard a page whilehe was in the store, but he couldn't make out what was said.

While he was checking out, he heard a second very clear page about the baby.He said he dashed outside to retrieve the little girl, who stopped crying assoon as he held her.

"She was totally and absolutely and completely fine," he said. "She sweated a bit but she wasn't even thirsty an hour later."

Hamilton police took the baby from Guyatt and took her to McMaster University Medical Centre to be examined.

An officer who responded to the scene noted a gauge on his car showed theoutside temperature to be 29 C. It is unclear what the temperature wasinside Guyatt's car with the windows rolled up. He said it was cool on theway to the store because the air conditioning was on.

Dr. Jason Ohayon, a pediatrician who examined the baby at the hospital, saidthe child didn't seem to have any lasting effects from the incident.

"She appeared well. She wasn't dehydrated clinically, she was playful," hesaid, adding she appeared happy in Guyatt's arms.

Dominic Verticchio, executive director of the Hamilton Children's AidSociety, said although they see many cases of unsupervised children, it'srare for someone to leave a child in the car. Forgetting about a child inthe car is even more rare, he said.

"Never, in all my (26) years in child welfare, have I had that explanationgiven," he said.

Staff Sergeant Jorge Lasso of the Hamilton police child abuse branch saidpolice don't often lay child abandonment charges. He said warnings aresometimes sufficient, depending on the circumstances.

In this case, the charge was laid by uniformed officers at the scene, not bythe child abuse branch. Lasso said the length of time the child was leftalone may have been a factor.

"The potential for serious injury was high because of the temperature andbecause of the tender age of the child."

Guyatt said although no one is to blame but himself, he feels the charge isinappropriate. "I think there has been quite a considerable overreaction tothe whole scene."

Guyatt is a professor in McMaster University's Department of ClinicalEpidemiology and Biostatistics. In 1979, he was instrumental in founding theMedical Reform Group, a doctors' group dedicated to improving the health ofCanadians.

He writes a twice-monthly column in The Hamilton Spectator about the politics of health care. Editor-In-Chief Dana Robbins said Guyatt's role as acolumnist will not change because the allegations, which have not beenproven, are not relevant to his work for the newspaper.

Medical licences are reviewed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons onlyafter there has been a court verdict.

Nothing happened, why??? the baby could have died. A docotr! and ran for NDP the last two elec. It takes money and power, but then you can get away with child neglect, and abuse, things most parents cringe at. Britney Speers, baby in the front seat of her car?? is she was poor, her child would be in care

Anonymous said...

Dr. John G. Bradford
Ancaster

Bradford was charged with professional misconduct under subsection 61(3)(c) of the Health Disciplines Act. It was alleged that he committed numerous sexual acts upon a young female, Miss N, who was between the ages of five and nine years at the time.

The parents of the young girl separated when she was two. To facilitate her parental access, arrangements were made for her to spend weekends, holidays and summer vacation time in the Bradford household. Between 1980 and 1994, Dr. Bradford and his wife acted as surrogate parents. Dr. Bradford also provided medical care for the child.

The acts alleged kissing, touching of the breasts, touching of the genitals, and digital penetration of the genitals occurred during the four years the child was a member of the Bradford household.

Dr. Bradford entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of professional misconduct.

EVIDENCE ACCEPTED BY THE COMMITTEE

The central allegation related to an event that occurred on July 22, 1983. The complainant was eight years old.Dr. Bradford had undergone recent orthopedic surgery and although hampered somewhat by the use of elbow crutches, was able to ambulate and indeed drive his sports car.

Returning with Miss N from a trip to the supermarket, Dr. Bradford detoured on the way home to visit his office.

Miss N's testimony was that she was taken into Dr. Bradford's office, undressed and placed on the floor. Her genitals were fondled and manipulated digitally. She recalled Dr. Bradford's penis pressing against her and she recalled feeling pain. Subsequently she stated to others that she felt something was wrong inside her and that she could never have children. Evidence was heard that she subsequently fled from an attempt by a female doctor to examine her for evidence of sexual abuse.

Dr. Bradford's explanation involved an extraordinary series of improbable events. He testified that the visit to the office was unpremeditated. On impulse he decided to drop by to pick up medication for his psoriasis. He left the eight-year-old girl, unattended in his sports car in the parking lot outside his office, and went inside. He decided to apply the psoriasis medication. Partially unclothed, he then had the urge to go to the toilet. At this point, while he was seated the child burst through the doorway, screaming that she had been bitten by an insect. Surprised and angry, and hobbled by his recent surgery, he leapt to his feet and immediately fell, knocking the child backward and supine. At this point his genitals inadvertently came into contact with the child. He attempted to rise and once more fell upon her. She continued to cry out and he pulled down her underpants. Finding no evidence of an insect bite, he cursed, dressed and drove home. He made no mention of this event until a police investigation the following April, after Miss N had told her story.

The Committee found Miss N to be consistent and clear in her version of events. Her testimony was unchanged from previous occasions. The Committee found Dr. Bradford's version of events unbelievable.

Three other allegations the Committee accepted as fact. Two involved events whose details were corroborated in important ways by others whose testimony was heard by the Committee.

One allegation was that Dr. Bradford kissed the then five-year-old, and inserted his tongue in her mouth. The other, which occurred when Miss N was nine years old, was that Dr. Bradford, alone with her, attempted to remove or push aside her underpants and fondle her genitalia. She protested, and her cries were heard by another adult who intervened.

The final allegation found as fact by the Committee occurred when Miss N was eight or nine. She was watching television in Dr. Bradford's bedroom. He removed her clothing from the waist down and fondled her vaginal area both with his fingers and his penis. Afterwards Dr. Bradford explained that he "didn't do this to hurt you. Most girls like it."

There were two other allegations of attempted fondling for which the Committee felt there was insufficient evidence to find that those events occurred.

In addition to being impressed with the consistency of Miss N's story, and the corroboration supplied by other witnesses, the Committee also noted behaviour on Dr. Bradford's part that spoke strongly to his guilt and was otherwise inexplicable.

Between September 1990 and June 1991,Dr. Bradford gave Miss N, now a fifteen-year-old girl, a total of $2890.00, either in cash or in the form of bank deposits. These deposits were anonymous, and failed to indicate the name of the depositer. Dr. Bradford admitted that he had indeed made these deposits, and concealed the transactions both from his wife and from his secretary, who otherwise handled all of his finances. In giving money to the girl he claimed to be motivated by affection and altruism.

For her part, the complainant readily admitted she had approached Dr. Bradford for money and that she had lied to him about her reasons for doing so. She was candid that she had done so because she felt that he owed it to her for her childhood abuse.

Finally, upon receiving the letter of complaint from the College, the letter that initiated this proceeding, Dr. Bradford made a number of frantic attempts to reach the complainant, both through her father and through the group home where she was staying. Both efforts were characterized by an attempt at secrecy. Learning that another physician, Dr. C, had learned of Miss N's abuse and had stated that he felt a responsibility to report Dr. Bradford to the College, Dr. Bradford attempted, through a colleague who was both his patient and his friend, to determine the extent of Dr. C's knowledge.

The Committee heard from a number of witnesses who testified as to Dr. Bradford's good reputation in the community. The Committee agrees with Mr. Justice Supinka, writing in Regina v. Profit that:

"...as a matter of common sense, but not as a principle of law, a trial judge may take into account that in sexual assault cases involving children, sexual misconduct occurs in private and in most cases will not be reflected in the reputation in the community of the accused for morality. As a matter of weight, the trial judge is entitled to find that the propensity value of character evidence as to morality is diminished in such cases."

In considering whether Dr. Bradford's conduct constituted professional misconduct as defined by statute and alleged in the Notice of Hearing, the Committee was cognizant of the dual role that Dr. Bradford played in this child's life. He was in many respects the father that she never had. He was also, during this time, her doctor and her abuser.

The Committee therefore found that Dr. John G. Bradford was guilty of professional misconduct under the Health Disciplines Act for engaging in conduct or an act relevant to the practice of medicine that, having regard to the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by the members as disgraceful, dishonourable, or unprofessional.

PENALTY AND REASONS FOR PENALTY

The Committee first considered what weight, if any, to place upon the testimony regarding Dr. Bradford's good character.

The Committee was quite aware that Dr. Bradford had without knowledge of his counsel gone to extraordinary lengths to provide the witnesses with his version of events. The fact that he identified two panel members as appointees of a particular political party, and had described one of them in quite unflattering and erroneous terms, was clearly an attempt to discredit the Committee in the eyes of these witnesses. The Committee therefore found it not surprising, but singularly unhelpful in reaching its decision, to hear positive comments on Dr. Bradford by one witness after another.

While Dr. Bradford was not convicted of a pattern of misconduct repeated with a variety of victims, this Committee found that he had committed more than a single compulsive act, and had done so over a span of at least three years.

The Committee found that there was a doctor/patient relationship, but even had the professional relationship not existed, the Committee determined that the doctor's conduct was relevant to the practice of medicine. Central to such a determination is the nature of the conduct. Some forms of conduct which are considered criminal in a court of law theft, simple assault, criminal negligence, smuggling of illicit substances for example may have a tenuous relationship to the practice of medicine, if committed away from and separate from it.

However, Dr. Bradford's misconduct involved a breach of a particular and important trust. Physicians, probably more than any other group in our society, are aware just how central trust is to the practice of medicine. In placing oneself or one's child in the care of a physician, it is assumed that the physician will act always to protect the interests of the patient. The intimate nature of the healing relationship, and all that it involves, depends on the assumption that this trust will not be violated. This trust is virtually identical to that invested by a child in an adult upon whom it is dependent.

Trust may be violated in many ways, large and small, with minor or with major consequences. Sexual abuse of a child is an abuse of trust so extreme that it is difficult to conceive of one more egregious. Sexual abuse of a dependent child by an adult, or a child patient by a physician, are in the minds of the Committee forms of misconduct so similar, in concept and in reality, as to be indistinguishable. Having found Dr. Bradford guilty of sexually abusing a child in his care, the Committee finds that Dr. Bradford has breached the ethical standards required of a physician.

The Committee believes that any penalty must ensure that Dr. Bradford poses no risk to any child in his practice. The Committee has considered whether any possible restriction to his certificate of registration, or combination of restrictions, could accomplish this goal, and has concluded that none could.

The Committee further believes that Dr. Bradford's misconduct must be denounced unequivocally. Both the public and the profession look to the College to articulate and defend the standard of conduct expected of a physician. To do less to impose a penalty less than revocation would be seen as countenancing misbehaviour of the most serious kind. The trust that individuals have in their physicians, and that the public has in the College as a self-regulating institution, must be maintained.

The Committee therefore orders that Dr. Bradford's certificate of registration be revoked.

(Dr. Bradford has appealed the decision of the Discipline Committee to the Ontario Court of Justice, Divisional Court. The result of that appeal will be published when it becomes available)

Anonymous said...

we dont have to look to far to find some of the worst cases of child abuse, its on the College of Physians and Surgeons web site of Ont. the case above should have put this man in jail, instead?? read the site. Many many more. Very sad state. Dr Smith is not yet on the list. Acused many of the deaths in children, the parent went to jail, some now free, but are they ever really FREE.

Anonymous said...

Solicitor General John Les said budget cuts and government incompetence resulted in the failure to properly review the deaths of 713 children.

they all died in care.

Stop using the excuse, for more money, they need much less, and I fell they should be raising it, not allowing are tax dollars to be wasted on child protection as it stands.
1.billon!!! in On., do they allow children to die in care, or not keep close taps on those at great risk, it seems there is a history here, every time a child dies in care or by parents, they head off and ask for more money. Are they allowing children to die, in order to raise it? cynical, you bet I am, how many have died?
In my humble opinion we need to tell them to raise there owns fund, and keep the blood off the taxpayers hands. Why are so many CAS and CCAS hiring so many financial advisors, and in many areas you do not need a degree in social work. to work for CAS???( this may be a good thing, looking at there record)
But check out the Ministry web site, they are hiring, to put there new plans in place, more lawyers, and directors and accountants, humm , getting ready to make it rich, by apprehending many may children, and collect the adoption bonus.
taking the family court out of the picture, less LESS transparency, No one to turn to if your a child being abused in care. Or a parent that has been falsely accused, The lawyers, and no not the legal aid lawyers, tell how corrupt the system is, the CAS and CCAS in certain areas, you can never please, there answer is always NO. once a child is apprehended unless you do qualify for legal aid, you know you have to sale your family home or take out a second mortgage, to fight for your children back. Who gave them the right? the UN was addressing the rights of the child in third world country's. Can you imagine what 1.billon would accomplish in such a place. In this Canada the US and UK, its hell bent on keeping this industry going, it we had real guild lines for what is child maltreatment, this is why any risk will now do. There are not enough cases, if they could only go protect children really in need, so everything must be abuse, soon smoking will be, ( however I do agree it is) but will it be reason enough to remove a child? Hire away, this ministry this travesty will cost more children's lives, the public is waiting for the next wave of foster care panic,and we are also watching. That was one provence, how many have died in the Canada in the past 5 years. ?

Anonymous said...

1310

It is because of this fundamental belief that the strong family is the key to healthy, properly educated, law abiding, secure, adventurous and happy future generations that we advocate tax relief for families, tax fairness for families, respect for families, respect for their rights to make decisions that affect the welfare of family members and acceptance by families of responsibility for their decisions. We would like to see the justice minister, the health minister and the human resources minister, all ministers with social responsibility, band together and become the strongest lobby within the government for strengthening families.

Instead what do we see? When it comes to issues like crime prevention, youth crime prevention, illness prevention or unemployment prevention, the ministers of the Liberal government put their faith not in families but in government programs operated for the most part by well meaning but impersonal and inefficient bureaucracies. When bureaucracy fails their instinct is to appoint a super bureaucrat or an ombudsman to adjudicate among the bureaucrats.

This predisposition to trust bureaucracies to deal with our most delicate and serious social problems was graphically illustrated last week in question period when the justice minister was asked what should be done for these 10 and 11 year olds recruited into crime by teens and adults and if her department was going to ignore it. Her answer, which she repeated several times then and again this morning, was turn them over to the provincial welfare system.

Is the minister not aware that the public has absolutely no faith in that answer at all? Has the minister not read about or been briefed on the abuse and neglect of children by both provincial and private child welfare systems across the country? For example, the situation in B.C. of the torture and death of a young child at the hands of his mother, both of whom were under the care of the ministry of social services, sparked a whole special inquiry by Justice Thomas Gove and resulted in demands for a complete rethinking of the entire child welfare system in that province.

Has the minister not read the briefs or seen the reports on the situation in Manitoba where the number of child deaths in 1998 in situations where child welfare agencies have responsibility has prompted a complete review of the child welfare system there?

Has she not read the statistics on the situation in Quebec where more than 100 Quebec children under five die every year in violent, unusual or undetermined circumstances and where the child welfare system itself acknowledges having great difficulty in either getting to the causes or providing protection? Is the minister not aware that right here in the province of Ontario the starvation death of a five week old infant while under the care of the Children's Aid Society has prompted the review of child abuse and neglect cases in all 55 children's aid societies across the province?

Is the minister not aware that the appointment of a children's czar or a super bureaucrat or an ombudsman to adjudicate among the bureaucrats is not the answer to the prevention of social ills? Is the minister not aware it is time to challenge the whole notion, which is embedded in the administration and has been there ever since the second world war, that bureaucracies can care for people, in particular vulnerable people like the old, the sick, the poor and the young?

Why are bureaucracies not the best instruments for delivering frontline care? There are two huge reasons. First, bureaucratic structures with their layers and layers of organizational boxes divide up responsibility for the consequences of their actions so finely that no one is accountable for the final result. Thus we can have a revolving door parole system that simply does not work, that everyone knows does not work, and yet no one accepts any responsibility for it, for changing it and, worse, no one accepts any responsibility for the outcome of the defective system, not even the minister.

Thus there can be a bureaucratic system for guaranteeing the security of the blood system. When people die of hepatitis C contracted from tainted blood obtained from that system, no one is responsible. It is the same story.

The second reason bureaucracies are untrustworthy in caring for people stems from the way they handle information.
HOW TRUE.

Anonymous said...

These people require government approvals and reams of paperwork, regulations, and licenses to install a well, or to landscape their cottage lot.
Parents who take responsibility for their children and provide love, nurturing, and discipline must be on the lookout for the outstretched arm of the Children's aid Society. This agency can remove children and place them in bureaucratic institutions and foster care if a parent disagrees with them. The school boards are allowed to lock down our schools, and our children, and mete out punishment without consequence under the omnipotent zero tolerance policy. Zero tolerance is a bureaucratic phrase that justifies "zero thinking."

It is clear to all that governments are adept at creating new laws, rules and regulations, but seldom remove them. The casual actions of a person today are often the criminal act of tomorrow. The intentions of the law today are forgotten by the police and lawmakers of tomorrow.

To all of the people who are clamouring and supporting these abuses, and cheering for greater safety: what will you say, when you are imprisoned, or fined for having a beer in your backyard, eating fatty foods, or creating smoke from your BBQ?
What will you do when your child is taken away, or your house expropriated? Will you think it is still in the public interest to fine or imprison you? Or will you cry out, and ask others to defend your liberty?

There is an axiom that is forgotten: "If you wish for me to defend your rights, then you must be here to respect and defend mine." Our courts and bureaucracy have come to believe that individual rights are not real, only privileges that need justification. But what defines a right is the knowledge that it never needs to be justified.

Anonymous said...

Very good posts. The child welfare industry is a artificial, intermediary, and inward-looking industry that can only justify its existence through secrecy and deception. Its record of substantive negligence and abuse is horrendous - so far beyond the occassional instance of credible parental abuse that its beyond belief. CAS and the Canadian governments that support them are child-abusers in Canada. The system should be scrapped immediately.

Anonymous said...

Even when these morons have been conclusively proven wrong they refuse to return children to their families. Agencies with a real interest in children would never act this way. With CAS there are no admissions of guilt or apologies that could be legally used against them - just keep the kids and the money.

Anonymous said...

The number of children who die "in care" will be the next crisis emerging on the public awareness. Is the Ministry going to impose a bigger secrecy ban? It is already known as the "abuser" of families, parents and children. The Ministry plays Russian roulette with our families and this is a dangerous game.

The rest of the world knows about Canada and its failure to live up to its international commitments regarding children. It will affect our standing in the international community.

Apprehend 100 children to prevent one real case of child abuse. Kill or serious injure both physically and emotionally the remaining 99 children.

For every real case of child abuse published in the media, the remaining 99 innocent families are forced into silence.

When is the media going to revolt as this is not a level playing field. Sooner or later, a brave editor will take it on, maybe a even a new PM.

The statistics of child death and serious injury have remained relatively constant regardless of how much money Society throws at it. Why? Society cannot predict or prevent irrational human behaviour.

Society simply targets as "potential" child abusers the vulnerable- the poor, the uneducated, the single parent, the immigrant, and racial minorities.

Does Canada not have a Charter of Rights? Is there no premise of "due process" in our Courts?

Anonymous said...

I am laughing at due process in the family court system, of course there is none.
We should be reminding the minister of due diligence, and good faith.
Although child abuse of a different sort, imo. Drugs for ADHD and children, the EPA is not looking at if they should require a black box label, ( the highest warning given on any drug) What are we doing drugging so many children, is it a manufactured diagnoses for the glut of the baby boomer psychologist to further there careers,to allow the large classroom to exits, and zero tolerance for behavioural out burst in the school system. Why so much ADHD in Canada, Ont has the most cases, 90 percent of all ADHD in Canada is made up of children living in this province, interesting, we also have the highest mercury and lead levels in are air and water. Its environmental. Is it easier to drug the children, many 10 year olds are snorting Ritalin, creating a generation of drug addicted children?? this to may help further the bank rolls of psychologist, and the Drug Company's.
Parents are often blamed for this disorder, children have been removed .
We know the drugs are dangerous, and it would be more cost effective to fund special ed, and smaller classrooms, then to deal with the problems yet to come, and funding the mental health programs for ADHD and the like. and get to the core of the problem, clean up. Its all connected, Heavy metals cause neuro toxicity, is this what ADHD is?
It wont be long before we understand that, and then how will the mental health, educational and child protection industries explain that oops.
If Mr Harper was right about anything, he was correct, when he said mom and dad are the experts, not government. Studies do show children, in day care are more aggressive, have more behavioural problems, illness, and fair worse in primary school, then those taken care of by a parent. Did no one read the studies. Longer paid maternity leave. flex work programs,and the like are better solutions, then the child care program, with all eyes on the young looking for any sighs of child maltreatment, to help keep the economy rolling, and pay out adoption bonuses.
If you want to make sure your never accused, do what a CAS social worker did with her child, had her at home, never took her to a doctor, private education. I never understood this, till I look at the high number of false allegations, and a system that is corrupt to the core.

Anonymous said...

loud of Suspicion

W-FIVE Staff

In 1992, Wanda Young was a student at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. Wanda had always wanted to be a social worker and help abused children. She had been going part time to Memorial and wanted to be accepted into full time studies in Social Work Department.

It was a big dream for a girl from Spaniard's Bay, a small out port about eighty-five kilometers from St. John's. Her father Gordon Young is a cabinetmaker and her mother Barbara once worked in the local fish plant. Wanda is the middle child in this large close-knit family and ever since she was small she had one thing in mind – to become a social worker. When she told her father she intended to pursue her dream, he wasn't surprised. "She was cut from that cloth, says Gordon, "that's what she wanted to be."

For Wanda, being a social worker was more than just a career – it was her vocation. "I just felt in my heart and soul that I had something that I could do for these kids. I don't know, I just wanted to help them out in any way I could." recalls Wanda.

In 1994, after four years of university courses, her marks were slightly below the admission rate of 65 per cent and the competition for placement was high – she didn't get in. So she went to the head of admissions and asked her what she should do. Her advice floored Wanda. "It was at this point where she told me that they didn't think I had what it takes to be a social worker. And if I wanted to pursue a career in social work she would have to ask me to go elsewhere." But there was nowhere else in the province for Wanda to go. Hurt and confused she left the meeting in tears – and left behind her dream of a career in social work for good.

What Wanda didn't know was the university falsely suspected her of sexually abusing children.

Wanda had written a twelve-page term paper about juvenile sex offenders. The last two pages contained an appendix entitled "Case Study", a graphic and lurid account written by an actual teenage sex offender who would molest the children she babysat. Wanda had taken it word- for- word from a textbook, but she had forgotten to add a footnote.

She had written the paper for a long distance course taught by a social work professor, who was away on a research project in Labrador. The teacher was Professor Leslie Bella. When she read the appendix to Wanda Young's paper, alarm bells rang. She thought Wanda was writing about her own life. "There was attached to the paper was a first-person confession to being a child sexual abuser written by a young woman who was abusing her children in her care, says Professor Bella, "there was no reference, no citation indicating where it was taken from."

Professor Bella felt the suspected confession could well be a cry for help from Wanda. So she consulted her director, Professor Bill Rowe. Professor Rowe is a leading expert on child abuse. He contacted Newfoundland's Child Protection Services to warn them about Wanda Young. He then wrote a letter suggesting the RCMP investigate. But he didn't send the entire 12 pages – he only attached the alarming Case Study, which read like a confession.

But nobody from the RCMP or Newfoundland's Child Protection Services called Wanda. And when Professor Bella contacted her, it was on an entirely different subject. Professor Bella called Wanda and suggested that she had self-plagiarized the paper. Wanda had actually written the paper for another course and naively had submitted it to Professor Bella's class. The professor gave her a zero and she failed the course.

Wanda thought this was the end of the story. But it wasn't – based on the false suspicions Social Services now had a file on Wanda as a potential child molester. And from 1994 to 1996, that file traveled around Conception Bay to a half dozen out port community welfare offices. From Carbonner to St. John's more than twenty different social workers were handed the file on Wanda. A file that Wanda never knew existed. Even when the RCMP in Bay Roberts got the file - just five minutes away from her family home. But while everyone else talked - nobody called Wanda.

It wasn't until about two years later that Wanda had any idea of what had happened. She and her partner Roy received a call from the Child Protection unit in St. John's. They asked Roy to come in to discuss a matter concerning Wanda and his two young children he had from his former marriage. Roy and Wanda raced into the social services office and were confronted with the Case Study. The social worker asked him if he had any reason to believe that Wanda was sexually abusing his children. The social worker placed the Case Study in front of him and quickly he and Wanda sorted out the confusion. Wanda went home, found the term paper and showed it to the social worker.

Within twenty-four hours, Newfoundland's Child Protection Services sent her a letter clearing her of their suspicions.

Wanda thought this disturbing episode in her life was finally over, but it was just beginning. She and Roy thought it was appropriate for Memorial University to issue an apology but they refused. Explains Professor Bella: "In a situation where there's a possibility of child sexual abuse, you have to be extremely careful not to put the children in danger by doing the investigation yourself while it's happening."

So what should the professor have done? We asked Andrew Caddigan, a front line social worker with almost thirty years experience with young offenders. Says Caddigan:

"You'd have to be a moron to make some of these decisions I mean before you make any statement to anyone concerning the idea that this person could be a threat to children, you investigate it. Then investigate it again and then investigate it again."

But Memorial University stood firm and believed that professor Bella and Rowe did no wrong. Wanda Young met with the university on five occasions asking for an official apology but they refused to give her one.

So Wanda went on to work in a series of low paying part time social work positions – as a caseworker and as a guard at a juvenile detention centre. It was tough work and she received good feedback from her superiors like Andrew Caddigan but never was able to move up into more senior positions.

And one day while working at the Confederation government building in St. John's Andrew Caddigan overhead a group of people discussing who would be good for a promotion and heard Wanda's name come up. "I heard one of the workers say – but Wanda has been red-flagged."

Six years after meeting with the social worker whom she thought had cleared her name, Wanda found out through Andrew Caddigan that she was red-flagged and her name was on a registry within the ministry as a suspected child abuser.

A teary-eyed Wanda recalls: "Basically my resume got passed over because I was red flagged as an alleged sex offender. I was very angry.

And she understood now why her career was being held back. And a simple mistake made eight years earlier was causing a major disruption in her life.

In 2002, Wanda Young sued Memorial University. In October 2003 her case went to court in St. John's. After a three-week trial that made headlines in Newfoundland, the six-person jury found Memorial University, Professor Bella and William Rowe negligent and granted Wanda a damage award of over $800,000.

Wanda had her day in court and finally felt vindicated. But her nightmare was far from over. Memorial University appealed the case and won. Wanda had received about $300,000 of the $800,000 award, but had to pay it back. It was a devastating. "I still can't understand how somebody can take that away," says Wanda, "I can't believe somebody's letting them off for what they did. I makes no sense that they can do this to an individual and get off with it."

Wanda had one last chance to reverse the appeal court's decision. She took her case to the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court of Canada. At best, it was a long shot. The Supreme Court of Canada receives hundreds of applications and accepts about thirteen percent of the cases.

But in October 2005 they heard Wanda's case and in January 2006 made a decision. It was unanimous - all seven Supreme Court judges sided with Wanda Young. They dismissed all of Memorial University's arguments and upheld the original jury's verdict.

It was a big moment for Wanda, her family and her lawyer Gillian Butler. W-FIVE caught up with Wanda and her family at her lawyer Gillian Butler's office in St. John's. They were ecstatic about the ruling but Gillian Butler thinks there are larger issues for the rest of the country.

"The most profound one is you cannot make a report without a foundation. You cannot make an unjustifiable report because the consequences to an individual who was totally innocent are too significant," says Butler.

But not everyone agrees. Peter Dudding of the Child Welfare League of Canada thinks this case will have a negative effect on child welfare reporting practices across the country.

I'm worried about the family doctor, the school teacher, perhaps the police officer, those people who are dealing a lot with children, who may not be quite as well informed around their responsibities are and maybe worried about what their liabilities might look like," Dudding told W-FIVE's Victor Malarek in an interview.

Gillian Butler disagrees. "The Supreme Court of Canada says the university had no information. This ruling doesn't affect a case then people truly have information that a child is in need of protection. One, there was no child. Two, there was no information. End of story."

W-FIVE asked Memorial University for an interview but they didn't return our telephone calls. They did issue a press release saying they accept the Supreme Court decision and have promised to write Wanda a letter of apology.

And after all, that's all Wanda really wanted in the first place.

Dr Smith last week, now this. Before you make the call you need a foundation to base that report on.
I can see many more cases headed to the Supreme Court. If a PhD social worker cant get it right??a pycholgist??? teach this kind of ethics, should they be trusted?
Her story on needing to protect the children, in the story the children where being sexually abused?? how long did it take for child protection to arrive?? how many years. IF a social worker comes to the door tell them your not donating, your children to there non profit org, and are not in need of any sevices, say goodbye and thank you. That is are RIGHT. and they should leave.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeanette, Can we get some of this documentation released to the public under the freedom of information act? I would like to know how the Matthew Reid situation happened.


Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies
1
For Immediate Release
December 15, 2005
ONTARIO’S CHILDREN’S AID SOCIETIES ARE HIGHLY REGULATED
AND ACCOUNTABLE
Some media reports about the Ontario Ombudsman’s recent request for investigative powers into
complaints about Children’s Aid Societies have mistakenly stated that Children’s Aid Societies
are self-monitoring and are not subject to external scrutiny or review. This is not the case.
There are more than 30,000 children in the care of Children’s Aid Societies throughout the year
and thousands more children receive child protection services in the community. Children’s Aid
Societies are accountable to both the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the public
they serve. “The protection of children is a profound responsibility,” says Jeanette Lewis,
Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies. “That is why the
child welfare system is highly regulated, and why it operates with the oversight of the Ministry
of Children and Youth Services, the Family Courts, and governing Boards,” added Ms. Lewis.
Children’s Aid Societies are subject to numerous accountability review mechanisms provided for
under the Child and Family Services Act. As required by The Act, each Children’s Aid Society
has a complaint procedure that allows clients to come forward when they have concerns about
service.
Each Children’s Aid Society has a Ministry Program Supervisor, and the Ministry actively
monitors the services and practices of Children’s Aid Society. The Ministry is responsible for
conducting Crown ward reviews, service and financial reviews, reviewing service plans,
licensing foster care and residential programs, and reviewing fatality reports, and serious
occurrence reports.
Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies
2
When a child is harmed or dies under questionable circumstances, and/or as a result of abuse,
mistreatment or parental negligence or neglect, there are extensive reporting procedures, which
are guided by a Provincial Protocol. The Office of the Chief Coroner and its multi-disciplinary
Pediatric Death Review Committee reviews deaths externally.
With the exception of Nova Scotia, which has a mixed system, all other provinces directly
operate child welfare services through a government department or ministry. In Ontario, child
welfare authority is mandated to Children’s Aid Societies through a Board of Directors with
oversight responsibility.
Children’s Aid Societies only intervene in family life when there is evidence that a child may be
in need of protection. If a child is admitted into the care of a Children’s Aid Society without
parental consent, the Society must go before the court within five days to obtain a court finding
of a “child in need of protection” and to explain to a judge why the child was taken into care.
“The family court system is a powerful check and balance to ensure individual client rights are
respected and that, ultimately, children are protected,” says Lewis.
OACAS is a membership organization representing 52 of the 53 Children’s Aid Societies in
Ontario and in support of its members, is dedicated to providing leadership for the achievement
of excellence in the protection of children and in the promotion of their well being within their
families and communities.
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Contact: Jayne Patterson, Communications Coordinator
Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies
416-987-3675

Anonymous said...

Bill C210 will probably die. Read the minutes of the legislature. The aboriginals are all against it. The comments are that it cannot be fixed. The aboriginals are fearful of another child scoop as occurred between 1960 and 1980. Their children were gathered in large numbers and adopted away to the rest of Canada, the US and Europe. Each child that the is adopted away, decreases the payments to the First Nations. The First Nations receive $180,000 annually per person. It is all about money and the future of the land claims. The reservations are like Third World countries.


CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES
STATUTE LAW AMENDMENT ACT, 2005
LOI DE 2005 MODIFIANT DES LOIS
EN CE QUI CONCERNE LES SERVICES
À L'ENFANCE ET À LA FAMILLE

Consideration of Bill 210, An Act to amend the Child and Family Services Act and make complementary amendments to other Acts / Projet de loi 210, Loi modifiant la Loi sur les services à l'enfance et à la famille et apportant des modifications complémentaires à d'autres lois.

The Chair (Mr. Mario G. Racco): Good afternoon. Welcome to the meeting of the standing committee on social policy in consideration of Bill 210, An Act to amend the Child and Family Services Act and make complementary amendments to other Acts. The agenda for today is full. Unfortunately we are half an hour behind, so keep that in mind when you ask questions and make comments.

It is the fourth day of the four-day schedule, so this will be the last day. I want to remind the membership that before we leave today, we may wish to discuss the clause-by-clause timing. Keep that in mind for the end of the meeting, please.

CHIEFS OF ONTARIO

The Chair: With your permission, I will start with the first presentations: Chiefs of Ontario and the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians. You have 15 minutes for your presentation. If there is any time left, we will be able to ask some questions. Please start any time you are ready.

Regional Chief Angus Toulouse: First of all, I'd like to acknowledge the Mississaugas of New Credit, whose territory we're at today.

The Chiefs of Ontario is a secretariat which acts on behalf of the 134 First Nations based on resolutions passed from time to time at general and special chiefs assemblies. I'd like to acknowledge this opportunity to make a presentation to the committee on the all-important topic of child welfare in general, and Bill 210 in particular.

Child welfare is a high priority for First Nations. I'd like to acknowledge Minister Chambers and also the parliamentary assistant, Linda Jeffrey, for taking the time to meet with our chiefs' committee on child welfare on at least two occasions. I was really glad to sit down with Minister Chambers yesterday to talk about her wanting to know much more about First Nations people, and certainly wanting to educate herself on our history and of the good work that our chiefs' committee is doing and various First Nation activities in this whole area. It was really good to see the minister taking the time to sit down and work with us in that regard.

In Ontario, our First Nation families were affected by the infamous child scooping and adoption practices of child and family services agencies which continued well into the 1960s. Individuals, families and communities are still suffering the consequences today. This negative experience was one of the factors behind the significant infusion of First Nation provisions in the current version of the CFSA. The key First Nation part of the act is part X. While the provisions are not perfect, they are generally viewed by First Nations as a significant form of protection against past abuses, and a recognition of the special circumstances of First Nations. First Nations want to build on these provisions, not diminish them.

Among other things, the CFSA established respect for Indian culture as a fundamental principle within the preamble. The CFSA required that decisions about a First Nation child by the courts and child welfare agencies be based in part on consideration of the culture and traditions of that child and his or her community. For example, the CFSA made provisions for First Nations to represent as full parties, in protection cases, their collective interests in those children and families who become involved in the system.

First Nations take the position that their inherent right to self-government, which is confirmed by section 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, includes jurisdiction over child welfare. This means that First Nations can pass independent laws dealing with child welfare. This jurisdiction is being implemented gradually. In the meantime, it is recognized that CFSA has a direct impact on First Nations families and children. Therefore, First Nations have a direct interest in any changes to the CFSA, particularly any changes to the existing First Nations provisions in the CFSA. My purpose today is to outline procedural and substantive concerns that First Nations have with Bill 210, which proposes to amend the CFSA in different ways.

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Inadequate consultation: Based on section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, the government of Ontario is obliged to consult First Nations in a reasonable way when draft legislation is likely to prejudice First Nations' rights and/or interests. This obligation has been confirmed in several leading decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada; for example, the decision in Delgamuukw v. BC. It is clear that some of the CFSA amendments contained in Bill 210, which are outlined below, do prejudice First Nation rights and/or interests. Therefore, the constitutional duty to consult is triggered.

There's also a legal duty to consult First Nations based on section 2.2 of the 1965 welfare agreement, which is an active federal-provincial cost sharing agreement dealing with various social programs, including child welfare.

In summary, the province is under a legal duty, constitutional and contractual in nature, to consult First Nations on those parts of Bill 210 that affect First Nation rights and interests. The required consultation must be fair and reasonable. It cannot be pro forma or in bad faith. The honour of the provincial crown, in its dealings with First Nations, is at stake. Failure to consult according to the legal standard can lead to the invalidation of parts or the whole of the legislation.

The duty to consult has not been satisfied in the case of Bill 210. There has been little or no effort to consult First Nations. The consultation problem is illustrated by the current committee process which originally took no account of First Nations' input. First Nations had to protest to get a minimum level of involvement. Therefore, if the bill is passed into law in the immediate future, there is a real risk that parts, or even the whole, may be struck down in court later on. First Nations are ready to work with the government to identify reasonable changes to the legislative package.

Customary care is a fundamental component of the First Nations' approach to child welfare. It is also a fundamental component of part X of the CFSA. Only First Nations themselves can define and implement First Nations' customary care. The opening and all-important section 208 of part X of the CFSA provides as follows:

"208. In this part,

"`customary care' means the care and supervision of an Indian or native child by a person who is not the child's parent, according to the custom of the child's band or native community."

These all-important words recognize First Nation customary care and First Nation control of such care.

A major concern with Bill 210 is the new regulation-making power that would permit the provincial government, with little or no notice, to define and redefine First Nation customary care, in particular section 44, which amends section 223 of the CFSA, an existing regulation-making power that only applies to part X of the CFSA. Section 223 of the CFSA currently permits regulations exempting First Nations and other First Nation-related entities from parts of the CFSA and regulations, requiring consultations with First Nations in certain cases. These existing regulation authorities represent the positive approach of part X and the CFSA.

In contrast, section 44 of the bill adds a paragraph to section 223 of the CFSA, permitting regulations "governing procedures, practices and standards of customary care." This undermines part X in a fundamental way. It undermines the principle that customary care is in the control of First Nations. Customary care will be subject to control and change by the province.

The new regulation-making power is consistent with First Nation jurisdiction over child welfare matters. It is necessary for this regulation-making power to be removed from the bill. This definition of customary care should be controlled by First Nations. The province should respect the principles of part X of the CFSA.

Seeing that I'm really running out of time, I'm just going to go to the summary. I know you have the written text and there are other presenters behind me who will talk specifically to some of the experiences that they have. If there's an opportunity to answer a question or two, I'll have the opportunity.

That there are at least two components of Bill 210 that will do real harm to First Nation families affected by the CFSA. First, there is the new regulation-making power that would allow the province to arbitrarily define and redefine First Nation customary care. Second, there is the cut-off of access to crown wards which will affect First Nation children and families in a disproportionate manner, cutting them off from collective cultural supports.

In addition, Bill 210 fails to address fundamental problems with the CFSA in terms of First Nations. There is no guarantee of resourcing for the important role of band representative. There is no recognition of the First Nation prevention philosophy in child welfare as opposed to overreliance on protection in the courts.

Based on what it addresses and does not address, Bill 210 represents a significant pullback from the spirit of part X of the CFSA. This, in turn, represents a significant risk of a gradual return to the bad old days before the modern CFSA. That would not be in the best interests of First Nation children or the province as a whole.

Bill 210 has a significant prejudicial effect on First Nation rights and interests in relation to child welfare. As a result, based on constitutional principles in section 2.2 of the 1965 child welfare agreement, the province is legally obliged to consult First Nations, accommodate their positions and, in some cases, obtain their consent. In fact, the province has not made a serious effort to consult First Nations on Bill 210. This puts the legislation in constitutional jeopardy.

The best course is simple and straightforward. The rush on Bill 210 should be stopped. Instead, the package should be suspended to permit meaningful consultation with First Nations. If the consultations are conducted in good faith, the inevitable result will be a better legislative and program package. This will be in the best interests of the children.

That's a quick presentation in going right to the summary, understanding the time limits that we have today.

The Chair: Thank you. There is 30 seconds for each party for questions.

Mrs. Julia Munro (York North): I'm trying to digest this. I did have a question and I'm afraid I can't do it in 30 seconds, so I'll pass. Thank you very much for bringing such a thoughtful presentation forward.

Mr. Howard Hampton (Kenora-Rainy River): You've delineated many problems with the amendments that have been proposed by the government. Is it fair to say that what you would like the government to do is to stop this process insofar as it might affect First Nations or has the potential to affect First Nations and begin a longer-term consultation process with First Nations to arrive at some measures which have the support of aboriginal people and which will work for aboriginal people? Is that a fair conclusion?

Regional Chief Toulouse: Absolutely. Actually you hit it right on, Howard Hampton. Our long-term goal is our own First Nation child welfare act, which means that we drive it with our own jurisdictions that would protect our children, as historically we've always had. Long before the colonization of our people, we managed our own affairs with our own families and our own children. So we're more than capable of continuing to do that.

Mr. Dave Levac (Brant): Thank you, Chief. It's good to see you. Do I have this correct, that your understanding is that rights are according to the constitutional agreements that the province signed off on, which could make this process that you're concerned about in terms of the consultations remove the bill from validity? That means you see that if we do move into the consultation phase you're recommending, that would be more protective of the constitutional agreements you've referenced and protect the bill in its desire to improve the circumstances for the kids.

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Regional Chief Toulouse: Absolutely. I think any measure of consultation that is developed by us and agreed to by your government certainly would go much further than something being imposed, that has no consultation from our viewpoint and from our people. I think we're more than willing to engage in developing a consultation process that's more meaningful and makes more sense.

The Chair: I will certainly let Minister Chambers know your comments. Thanks for your presentation.

ANISHINABEK NATION
UNION OF ONTARIO INDIANS

The Chair: The next presentation is from the Anishinabek Nation; Mr. John Beaucage, please. You can start any time you're ready, the usual 15 minutes total.

Grand Council Chief John Beaucage: First of all, I'd just like to correct something that was missed in the House today. I was in the House for most of the afternoon and there were no birthday greetings for Mr. Leal. I understand there was another birthday today that was recognized, and we all forgot Mr. Leal. So happy birthday, Mr. Leal.

Mr. Jeff Leal (Peterborough): I appreciate that.

Mr. Hampton: How many?

Mr. Leal: Well, it's not 39.

Grand Council Chief Beaucage: I bring you greetings on behalf of the 43 member First Nations of the Union of Ontario Indians. Our territory stretches from Thunder Bay to the Ottawa Valley in the east and from the north shore of Lake Huron and Manitoulin Island to Sarnia in the south. The Union of Ontario Indians represents over one third of the First Nations people in Ontario.

It's a pleasure to make this presentation to the standing committee on social policy. I would like to thank all those members who met with me earlier today on another matter, involving Bill 36, the health integration act. I look forward to making that presentation to you in the near future.

Today I wish to raise some of our concerns and recommendations concerning Bill 210, An Act to amend the Child and Family Services Act. I have organized my presentation into four main areas: authority and jurisdiction, consultation requirements of the government, customary care and termination of access.

With regard to authority and jurisdiction of First Nations, it is important for the government of Ontario, within its legislation, policy and initiatives, to recognize the special status and rights of First Nations, which are based on section 35 of the Constitution. There are two sets of rights that are protected. These include aboriginal rights and treaty rights. Aboriginal rights are all those rights that are inherent and not addressed by treaty. Responsibility for the safety and security of the next generation was bestowed upon First Nations by the Creator. It is an inalienable and inherent right that has not been and could never be extinguished by any agreement, treaty or otherwise.

The legislation process undertaken to amend the Child and Family Services Act fails to recognize the authority and jurisdiction of First Nations in child welfare matters. It is important that any law passed, especially with regard to the future of our children, include the jurisdiction and involvement of our people.

We recommend the following measures: An amendment is needed to this legislation to recognize First Nation jurisdiction and rights. This amendment would state that First Nations authority and jurisdiction be recognized by Ontario in all matters pertaining to child welfare, including involvement in the legislative process as well as program development and delivery. In addition, provincial standards must be replaced by First Nation standards regarding foster homes, customary care and safe homes, and financial resources must be allocated to ensure that these are comparable to mainstream practices.

Consultation: With regard to consultation, it is apparent that the government of Ontario has failed to live up to its obligations under the Constitution and under the Supreme Court decisions of both Haida Nation and Taku River, and most recently in the Mikisew decision. The Supreme Court is clear that in any circumstance that a decision, initiative or legislation may directly affect the aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, a jointly established consultation process is required. In some cases, when that aboriginal or treaty right is adversely affected, the government has an expressed requirement to accommodate First Nation interests. My question to the committee is this: Has the government analyzed these court decisions and reflected its requirements in this piece of legislation?

I want to be on record with you, as members and as a committee, that the Union of Ontario Indians has not been happy with the government of Ontario's so-called new approach to aboriginal affairs. When this relationship was first put forward, it was pitched as a partnership between First Nations and the government. However, over the past few months, new policy and legislation have continued to be developed unilaterally. This is certainly not indicative of a true partnership and certainly doesn't respect the government-to-government relationship that the Union of Ontario Indians is insisting upon.

Further, Ontario has stated in their aboriginal policy framework and the new approach to aboriginal affairs that they are dedicated to developing processes for consultation with First Nations. However, this has not happened with regard to Bill 210. I want to make it clear that First Nations have not been consulted on this bill and the proposed amendments to the Child and Family Services Act.

I recommend the following: that a commission be developed specifically to address First Nation issues, and ask that that commission hold public hearings on Bill 210; secondly, that a jointly developed consultation process be developed, based on principles expressed in our written submission; and that consultation should be carried out as early as possible so that it is meaningful to the implementation of the initiative and provides the best protection for all parties' rights.

Customary care: Section 10 of the Child and Family Services Act was established as a means to provide for customary care. It is the contention of the Union of Ontario Indians that Bill 210 and its amendments do not adequately reflect the spirit and intent of section 10 of the legislation. Customary care remains an open-ended concept for the purpose of allowing First Nation communities the flexibility to determine their own customs regarding alternative care for children in need.

The province, under Bill 210, is removing the authority of First Nations in determining their customs for caring for children and placing responsibility for these arrangements with the government. This is entirely unacceptable to the Union of Ontario Indians, our 43 member First Nations and, frankly, all the First Nations in Ontario. As far as I'm concerned, this is an affront to our people.

My recommendation is straightforward: Strike section 44 of Bill 210 to preserve the authority of First Nations currently protected under the Child and Family Services Act regarding customary care. Furthermore, the subsidies provided to alternative care homes, including customary care homes, on First Nations must be equal to the rate non-natives receive for their foster homes.

Termination of access: In an attempt to address the impediments to adoption for crown wards, section 17 of Bill 210 calls for termination of all access orders for any child made a crown ward. We certainly have a concern in this regard due to the close and sometimes complex extended family relationships we have with our children in our communities. There have been many cases on our First Nations that a child has been made a ward of the crown and has maintained strong relationships within their community and their extended family. The proposed changes, however, will terminate all access, with children's aid societies as the only partner permitted to apply for openness orders. Once again, this does not consider the needs and special circumstances of our First Nation children nor does it respect the wishes and jurisdictions of that particular member First Nation. By terminating all access orders, vital relationships between the child and extended family members will be severed. The repercussions of such actions to the development and well-being of First Nations children have been demonstrated by similar attempts to sever vital relationships through the residential school experiences and the sixties scoop.

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Just to elaborate a little bit on the sixties scoop, because of the residential school experience, there were generations of our people that lost their parenting ability. Parenting was not a skill that was passed on because the children were taken away from our communities and sent to these residential schools. In the 1960s, some of these problems manifested themselves in a care problem with our children. Children's aid at that time came into our communities, took these children away and adopted them outside of our communities. They were adopted in huge numbers to urban areas and lost all their contact with our people and with their families. As a result, you had a whole number of people growing up without the benefits of the teachings of their families at home. That's the sixties scoop, and we don't want that to happen again.

In addition, these proposed changes fail to take into consideration the backlog in family court that could impede the process of obtaining an openness order, which would result in disruption of contact between children and their families. It is our recommendation that section 17 of the act be rephrased to allow for a seamless transition of access orders into openness orders where the relationship is still in the best interests of the child. Access orders should not be terminated unless they meet the current requirement under the Child and Family Services Act, that the access order is not in the best interests of the child or impairs the child's opportunity for a permanent or stable placement. Secondly, the act should give equal right and opportunity for all parties to apply for an openness order. This will ensure that families and significant people have an avenue to pursue to re-establish contact with a child once they are made crown wards.

Additionally, the legislation should include provisions to enforce adherence to the native provisions of the CFSA to ensure the rights of First Nations children and their communities are protected.

In conclusion, I respectfully ask the standing committee on social policy to ensure that Bill 210, An Act to amend the Child and Family Services Act, first and foremost, respect the constitutionally protected rights of First Nations people in Ontario. These include our aboriginal rights, our inherent rights and our treaty rights. For so long, the government has developed legislation, initiatives and policies in isolation from First Nations people and our governments. As in the past, the government continues to do what it sees as in the best interests of our people, and in this particular case the best interests of our children.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to state something so simple that it may even sound absurd: From our perspective, it is First Nations parents, communities and governments that know what's best for our own children.

We expect the government of Ontario and this Legislature to uphold the Constitution and our rights protected therein. We also expect the government of Ontario to live up to its rhetoric to include First Nations as an active partner in the development of policy and legislation. Ensure that the recommendations of the Union of Ontario Indians contained in our written submission and this presentation are incorporated into the final reading of Bill 210.

Meegwetch. Thank you very much for your attention.

The Chair: Thank you for your presentation.

SIX NATIONS OF THE GRAND RIVER

The Chair: The next presentation is from the Six Nations of the Grand River, Chief David General.

Chief David General: Before I begin, Mr. Chair, I would ask your indulgence to allow two other people to sit with me, please. They've been my sidekicks in the House committees in Ottawa and also in the Senate.

The Chair: It's a pleasure to have both of the ladies with you. You can start any time you wish. If you need more seats, we will be happy to add them.

Chief General: I'll try to get through it as quickly as possible.

My name is David General, Chief of the Six Nations. Before I begin my presentation, I'd just like to say that we've been on this treadmill of the FMM. Probably one of the most important discussions that came out of the FMM was not about money, but about the recognition of the place of our women in our communities. It was advanced to the assembly that if we look after our women, if we honour and care for our women, we will have strong, healthy children and strong, healthy communities, and that delivers strong, healthy nations. I use that as a backdrop to what I'm about to present. Again, thank you very much for the opportunity.

On behalf of the people of the Six Nations of the Grand River, I would like to offer greetings to the standing committee on social policy. I am David General, elected chief of the 53rd Council of Six Nations. In attendance with me from the Six Nations community is Arliss Skye, director of social services, Councillor Melba Thomas, who's a portfolio holder for that, and Elder Josephine Harris.

First, I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the cooperation that has been extended to us this day. Initially, these committee meetings were scheduled for last week. Unfortunately, that posed a scheduling conflict for us. The Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly was scheduled for last week. We sought an alternative time and our request was granted. Thank you for exercising your discretion. You've exercised a degree of flexibility in your busy schedule in order to accommodate our busy schedule. I trust the presentation today will be worth the wait.

Part X of the Child and Family Services Act is a unique component of the laws of Ontario. Subtitled "Indian and Native Child Family Services," this part provides provincial recognition of the unique position of aboriginal peoples in Ontario.

Further, part X is unique in its progressive outlook in the consideration of aboriginal people.

It is the product of considerable thought and deliberation. It provides a platform for further development. With the great diversity of First Nations within the boundaries of Ontario, further development should always be expected. However, for these further developments to be of mutual benefit, full and meaningful consultation must take place.

The great diversity of First Nations within the boundaries of Ontario is no small point to be taken for granted. In order to illustrate the point, consider the following: If you were to cut out a map of Ontario and then superimpose that map over Europe, how many different European nations would then be covered? How diverse would be the group of people? In that manner, one should similarly consider the great diversity of First Nations within the boundaries of Ontario. The Cree of the north are distinct from the Ojibway, and the people of the Six Nations are distinct from the nations mentioned above.

Today, I would like to deliver the following message: Six Nations has the ability to take care of its own. We have the talent, we have the ability, we have the desire and we have the commitment. All we need is your further co-operation. Your co-operation is required in the following way: We need the opportunity for our capable bureaucrats and technicians to review the proposed changes. In brief, we need the opportunity to consider the full implications of part X of Bill 210, the Child and Family Services Act, or more specifically, how the proposed changes of Bill 210 will affect the delivery of services to aboriginal communities.

In order to have the full and complete consultation on Bill 210, Six Nations and all First Nations need the opportunity to complete our own internal consultation. We require further time to discuss these considerable changes with our own people. We need to talk to our directors, our policy advisors and our lawyers. This all requires more time. Therefore, our discussion today must not be considered as consultation. Today's discussion will focus on the need for an extension of time to enable us to do our work. After the work is complete, only then can we have full and complete consultation.

In the spring of 2005, the current government presented its new approach to aboriginal affairs. With its insightful subtitle, "Prosperous and healthy aboriginal communities create a better future for aboriginal children and youth," I, along with other leaders in First Nations communities, were hopeful that it would indeed mark the start of a new approach.

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To refresh our memories, I would like to remind you of the opening paragraph from Ontario's New Approach to Aboriginal Affairs: "Ontario is charting a new course for a constructive, co-operative relationship with the aboriginal peoples of Ontario, a relationship that is sustained by mutual respect and that leads to improved opportunities and a better future for aboriginal children and youth." I agree and concur with Grand Council Chief John Beaucage when he says, "To this point in time, we're a little disappointed."

I believe that everyone in this room is working for the better future of aboriginal children and youth, as everyone in this room, as a parent, is working for a better future for each of our own children. Bill 210 touches on fundamental aspects of the new approach. Most importantly, Bill 210 addresses those children who are not our own children but those children who are most in need: those children who need protection. For everyone in the room, I have no doubt that there is a general desire to help all such children, regardless of background or location. I hope we can use our mutual interest and find a mutually agreeable solution.

On a preliminary basis, the majority of the proposed amendments may be beneficial. The proposals would be flexible and adaptable to the cultural environment of the agencies. However, Bill 210 also proposes some amendments that may have adverse consequences on part X of the Child and Family Services Act; more specifically, to the amendments that may affect the delivery of services to aboriginal communities.

With the announcement by the Liberal government of the new beginnings, we may be on the threshold of a new era. To cross this threshold, we need to rethink our roles and apply our knowledge and skills to the tasks of disassembling the past, which must be left behind, and assembling what we want and need to have for our future. We need to blend the past, the present and the future to serve our nations.

We ask the standing committee to have the courage to respect the view of First Nations. We ask the standing committee to encourage the government of Ontario to work together with us in a practical, concrete way to advance the vision of taking care of our own.

The people of the Six Nations believe that we have the solutions for child welfare on Six Nations. The solution: allowing our people to apply our traditional practices to our community. In the past, outside practices have not worked. The solution will be found in our traditions and in our people.

I'd like to thank you very, very much for the opportunity to present here today. Again, I go back to the teachings I have received from my community and my elders. Our children are a gift. They are something the Creator provided to us, with the responsibility that we be there at every step of their development. We -- their parents, their grandparents -- are responsible for them. We applaud any effort of any government to make sure that children are safe, but in the development of any new legislation, we need to be included. It's a very, very important part, and I bring that message from the elders at Six Nations.

Season's best to all.

The Chair: Thank you, Chief. General. There is about a minute each for questions. Mr. Hampton, would you like to start?

Mr. Hampton: If I can jump ahead, I suspect that some government members are going to take the position that some mistakes were made in drafting of this bill, but those mistakes can now be fixed by introducing a few other amendments. What I think I hear you saying, however, is that trying to put in a few amendments at a later time is not going to fix a process that has been fundamentally flawed from the beginning. What I think I hear you saying is the government should stop. If it wants to proceed with those elements of the bill which would not affect First Nations, would not affect aboriginal children, and if it's prepared to give an undertaking that they would not be applied to First Nations and would not be applied to aboriginal children, you might be prepared to live with that. But insofar as this could potentially affect aboriginal people, aboriginal children and First Nations, I think what I hear you saying is you want the government to stop and begin a real process. Is that a fair assessment?

Chief General: That's a fair assessment, Mr. Hampton. Also, we're talking about the duty to consult being between the government and First Nations. Myself and council as a government on our First Nations, we also have the duty to consult our people. Something as important as the issues of child care, welfare and safety -- that has to grow from the community up. Too many times, the care and attention that should be provided is directed down, and I think there needs to be this consultation building from the ground up so there's buy-in from the communities, from the nations. That's going to be the strength of any changes or amendments to your legislation.

The Chair: Ms. Jeffrey.

Mrs. Linda Jeffrey (Brampton Centre): Do I have a minute?

The Chair: Less than a minute.

Mrs. Jeffrey: That's not enough time to ask any questions. We're grateful that you accommodated our schedule as well to be here today, and we thank you for your thoughtful presentation. You're right, you do have the talent in your own community to take care of your children, and I look forward to seeing the amendments that we'll bring forward to reflect what you've asked for.

Chief General: [Remarks in native language.]

The Chair: Ms. Munro, please.

Mrs. Munro: I do have questions, but we don't have time to discuss them. I think it's very important that the parliamentary assistant has given you some assurance in terms of amendments. We'll certainly be looking forward to those, and assume that they are going to be ones that you will have an opportunity to look at.

Chief General: Mr. Chair, we invite any questions that the members of the committee have. Forward them to us. We'll deal with them at the political level, at the administration level. We look forward to that dialogue.

The Chair: Thanks very much. You heard the PA comment and I think that should give you some relief.

NOG-DA-WIN-DA-MIN
FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

The Chair: We will be getting the next presentation from Nog-da-win-da-min Family and Community Services.

Sir, you can start whenever you're ready. There's 15 minutes total time.

Mr. Bill Gillespie: Good morning; bonjour. I'd like to start with a history of native child welfare in our area.

For over a decade, the First Nations in the catchment area of Nog-da-win-da-min Family and Community Services have been waiting for any significant developments pertaining to native child welfare to take place. Several significant events have taken place over the past 10 to 15 years, but did not involve First Nations. We have not had an opportunity to present our concerns during the amendments to the legislation in 2000 and remain optimistic with the opportunity to present here today to the standing committee.

A ministerial review of the aboriginal agencies was conducted, but that report was never released to the public. Although the final draft number 9 version has surfaced in First Nation communities, the ministry has never officially released this review; any noteworthy facts and/or recommendations to benefit aboriginal communities have never been revealed.

With the latest proposed changes to the legislation, First Nations were not consulted until the process was well underway. With the lack of both human and financial resources, our communities have not been afforded the opportunity to thoroughly review and analyze the impacts that will affect our communities once again.

At present, there are 10 native child and family services agencies in the province that have the task to deliver services to First Nations with the mandate of improving children's lives. Five of these agencies have the child protection mandate and five are pre-mandated and primarily do prevention services. Pre-mandated agencies have very little authority regarding the apprehension and placement of native children, yet we are expected to keep our children in their communities, or at least as close as possible to their home community and in native homes.

Although Nog-da-win-da-min Family and Community Services has the authority to license our own foster homes, it is up to the children's aid society whether they will utilize our homes. We have a number of children in care, yet we are not able to place every child within our communities. Nog-da-win-da-min continues to advocate for additional resources to expand our service delivery model as we strive to keep our children in our communities.

Severe social problems -- for example, poverty, violence, addictions and multi-generational issues -- lead to other more traumatic issues for our families. We acknowledge the change in direction from a protection to a strengths-based family and community approach in caring for our children with adequate resources to accompany this. Responding to any reform will be very difficult, given the enormity and weight of the issues, as well as the long-term effects of these issues.

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All children in Ontario should benefit from the reforms and policy changes, especially access to services. Some of the reforms and policy changes are seen as positive and very helpful to our children. We strive to have our children know who they are, where they come from and what it takes to maintain the connections to family, clans and communities.

There is a lack of native agencies to provide culturally based services to native people in the province. We acknowledge that our First Nations leaders have rejected Bill 210 in its entirety until such time as there has been proper consultation. Providing resources to prevent children from going into care is a good investment, as is the flexibility to respond to families when they are in financial crisis, which would result in children going into care with our help.

Families shouldn't be penalized financially for trying to help their own. Prevention and other community services need to be adequately resourced to take on the increased demand for services through differential response. Our belief that native services should be delivered by native people for native people is reinforced by a report by Frank Maidman in October 1998, titled Aboriginal Child Welfare Prevention Practices Project.

We view fostering our children as being positive, whether it be through adoption or legal custody. We believe that foster parents should be provided with the training and supports needed to assist in caring for our children. This will encourage First Nation families who would like to assist relatives but do not have the resources to meet the needs of some high-risk/high-needs children and youth, providing the foster parents applying for custody do not bypass the community and the band's party status in these proceedings.

It's not a given that all foster families will maintain access to communities for reasons of culture and identity. This is why access orders enforcing compliance is important. Further, any training or curriculum developed for foster parents needs to be adapted for First Nations agencies and workers; for example, the Pride Curriculum and Looking After Children.

In order for these reforms and policy changes to be successful, there needs to be a corresponding investment in capacity and infrastructure-building at the community level. This is greatly needed, as many First Nation communities do not have the services available as compared to mainstream agencies. First Nations do not have access to children's mental health services or child development services on reserve, for example. Our children are put on long waiting lists.

Customary care: The ministry acknowledging the use of customary care is hopeful. Our apprehension, however, is in section 44 of Bill 210, which would allow the Lieutenant Governor to regulate customary care. We're basically opposed to the province making regulations "governing the procedures, practices and standard for customary care."

Regulating and/or defining the procedures, practices and standards for customary care falls under the authority of the First Nations. Customary care is a traditional aboriginal custom, and it should be the First Nations communities who develop and define how customary care is practised. Furthermore, customary care is defined and practised differently throughout the province, as developed according to the tradition custom of each First Nation to meet community needs. Customary care practices also vary across cultural groups.

The Child and Family Services Act, as it reads today without any changes, contains provisions that enable the use of customary care by First Nations authority, as facilitated through existing legislative arrangement. These provisions have been in effect and productively utilized for over 25 years. We are firmly opposed to amending the act to regulate customary care, but we are open to work with the ministry to resolve any issues or concerns that have come up.

We are experiencing an increase in apprehensions in our catchment area. Our fear is that if the children's aid society receives an enhanced protection mandate status, they will be even less co-operative with those communities that are now served by them. This will undoubtedly further increase the number of our children being apprehended.

The children's aid society continues to place our children in non-native homes and refuses to place our children in our licensed foster homes that are available.

Inadequate funding and not being able to hire more workers will greatly deter us from resolving problems and maintaining our focus of early intervention. There has been little or no increase in funding since the late 1980s. Actually, there was a decrease of 5% in 1996. Our prevention programs were driven by demand for services beyond primary prevention to include secondary and tertiary prevention. Our recent strategic planning has refocused our programming to do just primary and secondary prevention. Our staff is more than capable of providing prevention services, but they do not have the capacity to meet the existing demand for services.

That concludes my presentation.

The Chair: Thank you. We have about a minute for each party for questions. Mrs. Jeffrey, do you wish to start?

Mrs. Jeffrey: Thank you very much for being here. I have no questions. I appreciate your thoughtful paper. That's very helpful for us to have a sense of what you think is important. I appreciate your being here today, and I appreciate your patience. Sorry we're running late.

The Chair: Mrs. Munro?

Mrs. Munro: Thank you very much for being here with us. Much has been said about the issue around customary care. On page 4, you talk about it as well, because obviously this is a critical part of the concerns you have. In here, it suggests that it should be the First Nation communities that develop and define how customary care is practised. I wondered if you had developed some initial sort of best practices and things like that that you would want to offer as, if I might say, remedies -- just simply best practices that you would want to promote.

Mr. Gillespie: I think those are being captured. We have a committee that sits right now. I'm part of that committee, as a member of the association, along with the chiefs' council. We are developing those guidelines, to be reviewed eventually, I guess, by the legislation, hopefully in the future.

The Chair: Mr. Hampton?

Mr. Hampton: I just want to be sure I've got the understanding of this. Your agency is not a mandated agency, so you don't have the child protection/child welfare mandate under the CFSA.

Mr. Gillespie: No.

Mr. Hampton: So you, by necessity, have to work in co-operation with a non-native child and family service agency.

Mr. Gillespie: Yes.

Mr. Hampton: And part of your fear is that where this act is headed, it will give considerably more power to that non-native child and family services agency.

Mr. Gillespie: Yes.

Mr. Hampton: They would not have to take into account culture and extended family. They would not have to take into account the wishes of First Nation leadership.

Mr. Gillespie: Hopefully, they would take into account First Nation leadership. In apprehending our children, hopefully, they would contact our band representative first or go on reserve to investigate any concerns. That is our fear, yes.

The Chair: Thank you for your presentations and your answers.

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KINA GBEZHGOMI CHILD AND
FAMILY SERVICES

The Chair: The next presentation is from Kina Gbezhgomi Child and Family Services.

Ms. Margaret Manitowabi: Good evening. My name is Margaret Manitowabi, and I come from a First Nation called Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. I'm also a board member of Kina Gbezhgomi, which is also a child and family service that is not mandated. We've been trying to seek mandation for a number of years. We became incorporated in 1981.

I'll begin my presentation. You have an outline of what I'm going to present today. It was produced by our executive director. She could not be here, as we are meeting with our foster families and some of the children this evening and having a Christmas party.

The history of Kina Gbezhgomi Child and Family Services: The development and design of Kina Gbezhgomi, which means "We are one," came as a result of the amendments to the Child and Family Services Act in 1985, which provided First Nation communities with certain native provisions in addition to part X of the act, which supports band authority in native child welfare proceedings. Kina Gbezhgomi has been incorporated since 1991 with the original intent, as with all the chiefs of this area, of becoming a protection agency for the seven First Nations; namely, Wikwemikong, Aundeck Omni Kaning, Sheshegwaning, Sheguiandah, M'Chi-geeng, Whitefish River and Zhiibaahaasing. We're from Manitoulin Island. I drove six hours to get here, alone, to speak to you today. Fourteen years later, our agency continues to operate as a prevention-based agency, although a number of proposals have been forwarded to the ministry to build our capacity to provide protection services to our community members.

Since 1985, the spirit and intent of the native provisions, including part X, has not been implemented in a manner that truly respects First Nation contribution to the practice of child welfare. Kina Gbezhgomi continues to operate with the same budget that was negotiated with the Ministry of Community and Social Services in 1991. Our budget continues to be $1.4 million. Comparatively, the children's aid society of Sudbury and Manitoulin districts operates with a budget of approximately $25 million. Before the child welfare amendments created in 2000, the children's aid society had a budget of $2.4 million. As you are aware, the funding formula implemented for mandated agencies increased as the number of children in care increased. These children are from our communities.

Manitoulin Island is a beautiful island with seven First Nations. Eighty per cent of the Manitoulin Island work of the children's aid society is with our children.

Our communities were not consulted regarding the reforms in 2000, nor do we seem to be included in the reforms for 2005. Currently, 80% of the children in care of the children's aid society are from our seven First Nation communities. The current risk assessment tool is discriminatory of First Nation realities. The tool does not consider the economic realities of our communities. As you all know, most of the native communities, if not all, in Ontario do not have an economic base. The strengths of the families are not considered, nor the strength of the extended families or the community.

Currently, families who are referred to the children's aid society and are eligible for child welfare service receive a standardized intake investigation as prescribed by the Ontario risk assessment model. The implementation of this model has crippled our ability to respond effectively to the ever-increasing number of apprehensions occurring within our jurisdiction. Over the past five years, the amendments to the Child and Family Services Act have devastated our families and communities as we have lost yet another generation of our families to the child welfare system.

The intergenerational effects of residential schools and the well-documented sixties scoop compound the mistrust and trauma suffered by our communities. The residential school impacts are still very much alive today as we are faced with families raising children by those very survivors who were tortured, sexually abused and forced to forget their culture, languages and customs that bonded native families and communities. The sixties scoop was also an era that reached through the 1970s and into the 1980s, whereby a disproportionate number of native children were forcibly removed by well-intentioned social workers who believed that our children had to be removed from our communities in order to protect them.

Today, a number of these survivors are involved in the child welfare system with their own children being removed from their care. The lack of infrastructure within our communities to address the intergenerational effects of our past is compounded with the lack of both human and financial resources to address the multiple issues faced by our communities. However, the resiliency of our families and communities continues to be demonstrated and documented, and we believe that our communities possess the strengths, knowledge and skills necessary in keeping our families and communities together.

Band representation as defined in Child and Family Services Act: The CFSA provides for band representation as legal parties since 1985 in the various decision-making processes regarding native children and is intended to ensure that our children are cared for within our own respective communities. The CFSA further permits the minister to exempt a First Nation agency from sections of the CFSA, which broadens the scope of developing a truly unique and culturally appropriate approach to child and family services. The power and authority to effectively represent our community's interest in protection cases has been compromised, as the native provisions lack regulations from the ministry to ensure that mainstream societies adhere to the consultation process with First Nation communities and the placement of native children with extended families within our communities.

Regardless of the native provisions and part X, the amendments to the Child and Family Services Act, 2000, have further resulted in a significant increase of our children being apprehended, leading to the adoption of our children to non-native foster homes throughout the province.

Our communities' interest in protection cases has been compromised by long debates between the federal and provincial governments and lack of commitment to ensuring that First Nations remain as an active party to all child welfare proceedings involving our band membership. The lack of funding to support the role of the band representatives further impairs our ability to respond to numerous protection cases filed by the society. Some communities can no longer afford to participate in child protection hearings, as we do not possess the additional funding required to support this critical role within our communities.

In 2003, First Nations were advised that Indian and Northern Affairs no longer has the authority to fund our band representation program, stating that the treasury board has taken the position that the band rep program is an anomalous activity.

Currently, my First Nation, Wikwemikong, which has a population of approximately 8,000 on and off reserve, is using its Casino Rama dollars to fund this program. We would like to use our Casino Rama dollars on economic development, but currently we are using them to hire three of the band reps in our community, and they go to court all over Ontario. As a matter of fact, one of the gentlemen who was supposed to be here this evening left the community on December 7, to go down south toward London and Windsor. He is supposed to be back here this evening. Those are the kinds of things we're struggling with, not only my reserve but other First Nations.

Further to this, the provincial government fails to recognize and support the native provisions contained in the Child and Family Services Act by providing regulations and funding for First Nation communities to respond as a community to children involved in the child welfare system.

Customary care provisions: Under part X, "customary care" means "the care and supervisions of an Indian or native child by a person who is not the child's parent, according to the custom of the child's band or native community." Further, "Where a band or native community declares that an Indian or native child is being cared for under customary care, a society may grant a subsidy to the person caring for the child." Currently, we don't get a subsidy. If you go into customary care, we have to run to the welfare office to ask for some money to look after that child.

I looked after a child and received $210 a month, which is $7 a day, to take care of a young lad -- all his needs.

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Currently, customary care is a voluntary arrangement, not regulated under the Child and Family Services Act, which may be entered into by the child, the child's parents or the child's band, pursuant to the band's customary care declaration and arrangements with the children's aid society. A customary care agreement may be changed or extended as long as all parties who participated in the original agreement consent to any changes or extensions. Customary care arrangements must remain within the authority of the child's community, and that cannot be governed by the time restrictions for children in care.

First Nations communities have advocated for the placement of children with customary care givers for over 20 years -- and long before that -- with very little consideration provided by the mainstream children's aid society. The reality is that raising children in today's economy often forces well-intentioned family members to relinquish the care of their children simply based on the fact that they cannot afford to care for another child. As a result, our children continue to be placed in ministry-regulated foster placements as defined in the Child and Family Services Act.

When a child is apprehended by the children's aid society, that caregiver gets $25 a day, but for us, it's $7 a day if we look after that child.

Customary care is distinctly different from foster care, as the standards and regulations for licensing requirements do not consider First Nation customs, practices and realities. Customary care must remain as a First Nation-driven and controlled process in order to effectively deliver the decisions and processes that are required by the service providers, families and leadership.

Given the expansion of family-based care opportunities for children in the current welfare transformation, the need to regulate compliance rates of mainstream society to engage First Nations is essential. There has never been any regulation or policy or practice in place to assess the compliance rate of non-native children's aid societies, including: notification requirements; consultation with First Nations, including the apprehension of children, the placement of children in residential care, the placement of homemakers and the provision of other family support services; the preparation of plans of care; status reviews under part III; temporary care and special needs agreements under part II; adoption placement; the establishment of emergency homes; and the practice of customary care as defined in the legislation supported by a subsidy for our customary care givers.

The Chair: Thank you for your presentation. We've run out of time, so there's no time for questioning. We have the statement, of course. We all have this to make reference to. That was all of your presentation, am I right?

Ms. Manitowabi: That's right, but the rest is in here.

ONEIDA NATION OF THE THAMES

The Chair: The next one is the Oneida Nation of the Thames. You can start any time, sir.

Chief Randall Phillips: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I didn't prepare a written submission for you. It's not my style to provide written submissions. The other thing too, as I'm looking at this, is that you've got a mountain of paperwork and for the most part I think they're reflective of everybody's concerns. That's another reason why I think I saved myself and the committee the heartache of reading through another one. Nevertheless, I hope the committee does take my points and what I have to say into consideration when dealing with this particular topic.

I bring you greetings from the Oneida Nation of the Thames. My name is Randall Phillips. I'm the current elected chief at Oneida. I'm a member of the bear clan. I say that simply because it's important when we have these discussions about customary care that within Oneida, we have a different family line. I want to say that now, and I'll get back to that point a little bit later.

First of all, what I want to do is talk a little bit about Oneida. I'm representing a community here that is one of three Oneida communities throughout North America. That forms our nation -- our nation. I just want to repeat that. We're not a First Nations community; it's a nation. It's that kind of thinking that I want committee members to start to realize. I certainly understand that what we're here to talk about is legislative amendments, but where I'm coming from is a different reality with respect to that. I just want committee members to appreciate that.

I say that I'm elected to council, because we have two styles of governments back home. One, we have a traditional council. The traditional council for Oneida Nation is made up of nine titleholders. Out of those nine titleholders, eight of them reside within our community, and it is that very fact that presents some challenges with respect to governance issues. Certainly it has an impact when we talk about customary care and the responsibility and the right to protect children and, again, for a notion within customary care.

Within those nine titles, we're part of a larger confederacy called the Iroquois Confederacy, which has 50 titles. Those are all family lines. It's important to know when we start talking about extended family clans that within that confederacy there are also responsibilities to help other nations.

I want to start the presentation with something the last speaker talked about, a little bit of background as to why we're here in the first place, and that is the first amendments that happened in 2000. I think they set the background and the context for what we're dealing with here today, and I don't think they were done in a good way.

One of the first things that was mentioned was that we weren't involved in any consultative process with regard to any of those amendments. One of the fundamental changes that occurred at the 2000 review was the change in terms of the paramountcy of the act. What they had done was to take a provision that allowed for native children to be placed primarily within their culture and change that to considering the child at risk. It was a fundamental change. What it did was put the child into a different context, and that's what we're dealing with here today.

The other thing that is important to recognize is that the children are always going to be part of that culture. I believe you've heard presentations made here that, simply because our children get adopted out, that doesn't mean they don't come back to our communities in terms of seeking their family lines. They do come back. They will always come back. So there is no dissociation here; there's just a period of disruption in terms of their lives.

The other thing that happened in 2000 was that they changed this notion of thresholds, which unfortunately for impoverished communities like mine had a dramatic effect, because once you've lowered the thresholds to see whether or not these places are safe or can accommodate children, they're lost. We don't reach that threshold. Unfortunately, that occurred in too many of the households there. An idea that each child had to have a separate bedroom -- I don't know the familiarity of the committee members, but within a native community we're subjected to standards with regard to housing. They're all built on the same sort of building block. This notion that you're only supposed to have one or two children and that's it, and if you go over three, then of course your house doesn't accommodate that any more, creates difficulties. The other thing that was mentioned was the introduction of new clinical assessments in schools that I think are very culturally inappropriate. All of these changes that I mentioned are just the highlights, but they lead to the context in terms of where we are today.

I'm going to be very short on this next part because you've heard it. I've heard it nine times today and Mrs. Jeffrey, I'm sure, has heard it a thousand times because she's been involved with us in terms of other meetings. It's this notion of consultation. Quite simply, it is a legal requirement. Quite simply, we're looking at it from a different process than maybe other people would with respect to consultation. You've come to me and said, "What's your opinion?" and we've consulted. That's certainly not our view and not our definition of "consultation." Again, we take a look at that in a different context.

There is a reason why there are legal requirements when you're dealing with First Nations. Once again, I don't know the history or the experience of these committee members, but it's certainly something it would behoove you to look into.

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I certainly support, and Oneida supports, the idea of a separate process to deal with these issues. In 1985, when we did the native provisions, there was a glowing example in terms of why we need a separate process to deal with First Nations communities specifically. I think this again deals with that. So with the notion of consultation, I would be looking specifically at some kind of specific process to deal with the Oneida nation.

One of the things I want to talk about quickly here is, what are the impacts on this community? We've talked about legislation. What's the impact in terms of the community? I want to go over a list of a few things in terms of what the changes I've outlined have done, and what these potential changes you're talking about will do.

First of all, there has been increased involvement by the CAS in our community as a result of the legislative changes. Our people haven't become any different; our situation hasn't changed one iota. Something else changed to spark this increase. It creates an increase of hardship in terms of our financials from a band administrative point of view to deal with these issues, to deal with this increase. You heard the lady before you say that her band rep worker isn't here because he has to be someplace else. It's a direct result of that increase in terms of the CAS involvement that we've got people all over the country -- not necessarily within our own little ridings, but all over the country and certainly all over the province.

We haven't received any real increase in terms of resources from the ministry to provide this kind of function over the last many years. There may have been small notional gains, but certainly not enough to address the concerns we had outlined.

It creates an increased strain on the family and community supports. The more people we have involved in the system now requires more and more involvement from other agencies, other services to ensure we provide the right kind of protection and the right kind of environment for those children. It certainly has increased the caseload for our workers. Certainly, on reserve it has. One of the things we haven't talked about or I haven't heard today is the notion of the citizens who don't live on a reserve or on our territory. Within Oneida we call it a settlement. There are some significant cases that were mentioned here: the Musqutis case, which talks about employment access, and Corbiere, which talks about election. Those things were granted by the federal government to extend to all First Nations people. So by definition we can't limit ourselves to only concern ourselves with what goes on within our communities. We have to look at all our children, regardless of where they reside.

At Oneida we've expended an awful lot of resources in terms of cultural and linguistic programs -- millions of dollars over the last couple of years. What's going to be the impact here, and why we are doing this, is for the children. Now we have a system we're fighting that is directly opposed to that by trying to remove our children from that. Once they're gone, they don't come back until after they're 18 or 19 years old, and of course you realize that at that point in time the acquisition of a new language becomes much more difficult. There's a time frame when you're supposed to learn your language and your culture, and that is when you are young. Removing them from that environment doesn't help that at all.

There is a recognition that we can take care of our own that needs to be accepted. We've been working at this and we tease about it. Unfortunately, we tease about it that, as chiefs, we administer our own poverty. We're given such scant resources to try to cover a variety of social issues, economic issues, that it makes it very difficult and the challenges to balance those types of budgets are very difficult. But we've survived and we continue to do so. What we're looking for is support.

One of the areas I want to talk about with respect to the bill is this notion of accountability. Currently, the way I read it, there are no accountability mechanisms for the CAS regarding any program initiatives. Who do they respond to? Who do they answer to, the board of directors? I was on a board of directors for our local CAS. Certainly they don't answer there; that's for sure.

We talk about a change in the complaint process or a recommendation to limit or put the complaint process right back on CAS officials, and that's something I don't agree with. Who do we complain to then? I mean no offence by this, but new, young overzealous employees who kind of fill the gap of a new CAS because they've got an increase in load -- why aren't they questioning why they've got an increase in load rather than just bringing in more human resources to deal with that? I find that surprising: why the committee hasn't tried to address that or why nobody has tried to address that. I think it's reflective of my accountability issue that CASs don't have to deal with that.

As First Nations communities we've dealt primarily with the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs -- judge, jury and executioner all in one. I see that very same thing, the same vein, the same theme happening here with the CAS. They're judge, jury and executioner.

There's no accountability in regard to the existing native provisions in there, and I think that would be helpful. Let's have a report card in terms of how CASs do this. It is separate. There's a separate part X with specific native provisions. Let's have them accountable for that.

Regarding notifications, sometimes we get them, sometimes we don't. Sometimes we get them a day before the court hearing and can't get up there. Somebody needs to be called on that.

Information-sharing: When we ask for this -- the legislation calls for the band rep to be privy to this stuff -- we get hurdles and roadblocks put up. I think the notion of representation has been addressed with regard to the band rep and the problems and struggles they have there.

With respect to crown wards, I also don't agree with this notion of termination of access simply by becoming a crown ward. Again, going back to 2000, they changed the time limit to one year. So if there were any problems, then certainly within that one year they may not be addressed and this will unilaterally terminate that.

It's the same concern with adoptions. This whole idea of permanency, I think is a rush. I think Bill 210 just kind of fills the gaps in terms of what Bill 6 didn't do, and so there's a problem with that.

Mr. Chair, I appreciate the fact that I'm running out of time. I'm going to be real fast here.

Similarly with regard to customary care, going back to our nation, we have family lines. They have responsibilities. That needs to be recognized and we need to be supportive so that can happen. That's our customary care. It's not going to be a best practices model that happens on Manitoulin Island. It's not going to be a best practices model that happens in Kenora. It's going to be a best practices model that is culturally relevant to the Oneida Nation of the Thames.

Finances: We've talked about finances here. Who's going to pay for these things? How are we going to do this? I think this is important, and I'll end on this statement right here. With respect to this, there's a 91% return from the federal government to take care of this particular issue. So what we're talking about now is an added burden on the province of Ontario. Rather, what we should be doing is that the province of Ontario should be supporting First Nations and directing those monies directly to us.

The legislation allows for the recognition of agencies, societies and First Nations authorities. Let's talk about that. Let's leave that there. Certainly that provides us with an avenue for resources.

In closing, I want to say two things: First of all, I certainly appreciate the time you've taken to listen to my rants and raves, but I also want to say that 15 minutes is not adequate to discuss these kinds of issues. Fifteen minutes is not adequate for anybody to outline these types of things. I've heard committee members today acknowledge the fact that they've got questions on their minds, but can't ask them because of the time restraints. If questions don't get asked, then they won't get answered. So there's a gap there.

I just want to tell you that not everything seems to be as bad as it is. Certainly as First Nations we want to be involved directly in the new relationship with government processes that deal with our family and our people.

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At Oneida, we have a program that's called Project HUGS. Every month, we try to contact all the crown wards and bring them back to our community; every month, we try to do that. We just had a little Christmas party and, unfortunately, I met three new ones.

I'm a representative of the Chiefs of Ontario committee on child welfare. I'm the president of Mnaasged child and family services, which is pre-mandated. I'm chief of my community. I've been on the board of directors of a CAS. I think what we need to do is to start to change that -- start to change our involvement so that it does not have a negative impact on our children for years to come.

The Chair: Thank you, Chief, from the Oneida Nation. You went over by four minutes, but that's understandable; we have no problem with that. We have made exceptions for other people too, but we try to stay within the 15 minutes. Your comments have been heard by all. I'm sure we will keep that in mind for next time.

ASSOCIATION OF NATIVE CHILD
AND FAMILY SERVICES
AGENCIES OF ONTARIO

The Chair: The next presentation is from the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario. You can start any time. There's a maximum of 15 minutes, please, as there are other people waiting.

Mr. Ernest Beck: Thank you, Mr. Chair, and members of the standing committee. By way of introduction, my name is Ernest Beck. I'm the current president of the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario. I'm accompanied today by Ms. Betty Kennedy, who is the current executive director. Given the time restraints, I'll try to go right to the guts of this submission, which will be available to the committee upon completion. Hopefully, at the end of these proceedings, we'll have a positive outcome.

Firstly, in terms of process, we acknowledge that our First Nations leaders have rejected Bill 210 in its entirety until such time that there has been proper consultation. We stand behind and support the position of our leadership. The disproportionate number of aboriginal children in the care of the child welfare system is a widely known fact. This situation warrants serious consideration, and immediate short- and long-term planning and consultation with First Nations needs to occur. First Nations have never relinquished the right to care for our own children. The agencies stand in solidarity with their First Nations in this resolve.

As stated in a report released by the association in 2001, "The responsibility for the safety and security of the next generations was bestowed upon First Nations by the Creator -- it is an inalienable and inherent right that has not, and could never be, extinguished by any agreement, treaty or otherwise. Thus, when speaking of native child welfare issues in Ontario, it is important to understand that regardless of the federal and provincial legislative environments, First Nations are first and foremost governed by tribal authority."

The focus of our submission to the standing committee on social policy corresponds to the purpose of our organization, and thereby centers on practice and service delivery implications of Bill 210 as an interim measure toward reclaiming full aboriginal authority on child welfare. The primary objective of the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario is to ensure that any changes to the child welfare system result in improved service delivery for the aboriginal children, families and communities we serve. Our feedback is intended as technical in nature, and should not be construed as consultation with First Nations.

Our membership is diverse, consisting of mandated aboriginal children's aid societies and pre-mandated aboriginal child and family service agencies. Our agencies range in the services they offer from on-reserve, off-reserve, and urban to remote and across different aboriginal cultural groups. It may also be said that our agencies serve along a cultural continuum, making mainstream services available within the context of more traditional cultural services. We may adapt a service to meet the needs of the children, families and communities we service. Nonetheless, all of our agencies will face various changes in their child welfare programs and practices with the passage and implementation of Bill 210.

Overall, feedback from our membership has been indicating that the majority of changes expected with the proposed amendments would be welcome, in that they would be flexible and adaptable to the cultural environment of the agencies and may help produce or enable improved service delivery and outcomes. However, the bill also proposes changes that may have negative consequences for our children, families and agencies. The following are some comments, concerns and recommendations of the association in regard to Bill 210.

To begin, we would like to acknowledge the change in direction from a protection to a strengths-based family and community approach in caring for our children as a move in the right direction. This positive new approach will require adequate resources in northern and remote areas of the province and especially in First Nations communities.

As the reader is undoubtedly aware, many aboriginal communities are struggling with poverty, violence, addictions and multi-generational issues. The enormity and weight of these issues on our children and our communities make it very difficult to respond to any reform, let alone the long-term effects of the issues. The responsibility rests in large part with only 10 native child and family services agencies. Presently, only five of these agencies are mandated to provide child protection services. In this regard, we believe the major capacity-building initiatives proposed by the Minister of Children and Youth Services' child welfare transformation agenda should be focused on First Nations. The ministry's current funding arrangement is flawed and does not reflect adequately the realities faced by our communities. It should instead be redesigned to provide equitable access to service to meet the needs of our mandated and pre-mandated agencies.

While we perceive alternative dispute resolution, differential response and some elements of permanency planning as a step in the right direction, concerns are also raised as to the insufficient resources and number of First Nations agencies mandated to implement these approaches. This is especially critical as it relates to the lack of designated First Nations agencies in southern, central and northeastern Ontario. This situation could produce the unintended consequence of further placements of aboriginal children in environments that are not First Nation-based, culturally appropriate and/or that do little to strengthen the partnership with First Nation communities.

We also have concerns with the proposed amendments in Bill 210 relating to status reviews and custody orders. These amendments, if passed, would have the effect of foster parents' rights superseding the rights of parents, extended family and community. There is no acknowledgement that the First Nation must approve of custody orders. Any custody orders of a First Nation child must be sanctioned by the First Nation.

Reform efforts to increase accountability can only be viewed as positive. However, despite First Nation-specific provisions in the Child and Family Services Act, there are still inadequate checks and balances in the system concerning aboriginal children. Although the native agencies have been regularly subject to reviews, the non-native agencies have yet to be reviewed in regard to their adherence to the aboriginal provisions of the act. Our pre-mandated agencies continue to work with non-native CASs that may or may not be adhering to these provisions. Overall, our pre-mandated agencies experience a lack of meaningful consultation and involvement in all levels of service planning.

We are encouraged to see the ministry acknowledging the use of customary care. Of primary concern for the association, however, is the provision in section 44 of Bill 210, section 223 of the act, which would allow the Lieutenant Governor to regulate customary care. We are fundamentally opposed to the province making regulations "governing procedures, practices and standards for customary care." Regulating and/or defining the procedures, practices and standards for customary care falls under the authority of the First Nations. Customary care is a traditional aboriginal custom. It is not a practice in the realm of expertise of mainstream governments and decision-makers.

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Furthermore, customary care is defined and practised differently throughout the province, as developed according to the traditional custom of each First Nation to meet community needs. Customary care practices also vary across cultural groups. Should the provincial government take on this task, which is ultimately outside their area of authority and expertise, there is a high likelihood that the resulting regulations, even if well-meaning, could place undue restrictions on the use of customary care and have extremely negative effects on First Nations' ability to continue to practise customary care effectively within our communities.

The Child and Family Services Act, as it reads today, without any changes, contains provisions that enable the use of customary care by First Nation authority, as facilitated through existing legislative arrangements. These provisions have been in effect and productively utilized for over two and a half decades. While the association would agree that changes to the child welfare system are required to better support and strengthen the use of customary care, it is not necessary to change the act, as proposed by Bill 210, to do so.

The association understands that the ministry and a number of mainstream child welfare agencies may be unclear on the actual procedures, practices and standards for customary care. We also understand that the provincial government may be concerned about liability issues. We agree these types of concerns and questions are important to address and resolve, and we are prepared to work in partnership with the provincial ministry to do so.

We are, however, categorically opposing the amending of the act to regulate customary care. There are alternatives for clarifying the practice and addressing concerns outside of amending the act, as is currently proposed. In fact, the association is currently conducting a project jointly with the Ontario child welfare secretariat to resolve these outstanding concerns.

We do have some recommendations with regard to some of the concerns raised in this presentation.

Recommendation 1: The association recommends strongly that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services pursue an appropriate and thorough consultation process with aboriginal leadership in respect to Bill 210.

We make the following recommendation as well, regarding reviews facilitated through the Child and Family Services Act.

Recommendation 2: In order to ensure that the rights of First Nation children, families and communities are upheld, the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario recommends that all child welfare review processes utilized by the provincial government include aboriginal representation on the review committee, as sanctioned by the First Nation.

Specific to the contents of the bill itself, the association puts forth these additional recommendations regarding section 4. We note that there's no obligation in the new subsection for communication with the child's First Nation, and make the following recommendation.

Recommendation 3: The association recommends an additional subsection be added to section 59 of the act to recognize that if a crown ward is an Indian or native child, contact must be maintained between the child and his or her First Nation.

Regarding section 27, we note that there does not appear to be any provision for extended care and maintenance to apply to customary care arrangements, and make the following recommendation.

Recommendation 4: The association recommends that an additional subsection be added as follows:

"(3) Where a band or native community has declared that an Indian or native child is being cared for under customary care, the society may continue to provide care and maintenance in accordance with the regulations."

Regarding section 24, the association makes the following recommendation.

Recommendation 5: The association recommends that this proposed amendment be removed from Bill 210 so as not to have the effect of foster parents' rights superseding the rights of parents, extended family or the First Nation community.

Regarding section 44, the association again makes the following recommendation.

Recommendation 6: The association recommends that this proposed amendment be removed from Bill 210. Further, we recommend that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services work with the Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario and First Nation leaderships -- for example, the Chiefs of Ontario office -- to resolve any outstanding concerns related to the practice of customary care.

In summary and conclusion, our legal and constitutional rights were ignored in this whole reform process and, as such, we recommend a full judicial review.

Second, we are adamantly opposed to any amendments that restrict, exclude or impinge in any way on the operations of part X. Accordingly, all amendments should be redrafted to ensure that there is absolutely no negative application to the native provisions.

Third and finally, furthermore, there are significant costs associated with effective implementation of any amendments or other aspects of transformation, let alone part X. We strongly recommend that any and all funds being provided to mainstream agencies be evenly matched and directed to First Nation agencies to facilitate the necessary growth and development of part X.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Beck and Ms. Kennedy. The 15 minutes have been used up. Thanks very much for your presentation.

CHIPPEWAS OF NAWASH

The Chair: The next presentation is from the Chippewas of Nawash. There are 15 minutes for your presentation. You can start any time.

Mr. Anthony Chegahno: I would like to thank the chairperson, as well as the members, for this opportunity to share briefly -- I don't want to rehash a lot of information that you've had, so I'll try to restrict my comments to about 10 minutes. Somebody else -- maybe Mr. Hampton -- can use my five minutes.

I would like to thank Andrea Horwath, as well as Mrs. Chambers. As I was reading the government remarks, they mentioned that it was important to get comments from the stakeholders, and that meant a lot to me as I read these comments. It is very important that you talk to stakeholders in anything that deals with legislation that's going to be passed.

I work with native child welfare on Cape Croker. It has different names. The English name is Cape Croker. The Anishnawbe name is Neyaashiinigmiing, and I guess the government name is Chippewas of Nawash. I've worked with this, and I want to come from the perspective of a social worker, I guess.

I'm very concerned about this bill and how it presents to many First Nations. The Chippewas of Nawash First Nation has a special responsibility and interest to provide for care of the children of members of the community of the Chippewas of Nawash in a manner that is First Nation specific, First Nation determined and community-based. That's important to us -- to any community.

As you look overall at how Toronto is broken up, it's broken up into areas where certain ethnic groups live. I look at this and I want to see fairness when you're dealing with First Nation people. As First Nation people, we have a special status, which is recognized in treaties as well as provisions in the Indian Act, the Constitution of 1982 and the Ontario Child and Family Services Act of 1984.

The key thing I want you to remember is that First Nation children are the natural resource of the future of our nation, not only the Anishnawbe nation but Canada as a whole. Our livelihood depends on this concept. Our children are very, very important to us. The best interests of First Nation children should be recognized and protected. That's the Chippewas of Nawash intent.

I was reading also that the standard refrain we commonly hear all over Ontario about child protection is, "It's in the best interests of the child." As First Nation people across Canada, we strongly believe this. We hold this dear to our hearts. Every First Nation child should be encouraged and assisted to develop to his or her fullest potential. That's what drives us: that we can leave a legacy for our children. The family, including the extended family, is the first resource for care, affection, nurturing and protection of our children.

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Preservation of native cultural identity is important in terms of language and customs for all First Nation children, and Bill 210 does not say how to meet the needs of our language and customs that are very important for our First Nation children.

The decision-making process regarding the provision of service and delivery of any service specifically to First Nation children must involve First Nation people, with proper consultation. I guess you've heard that all day: proper consultation.

Our First Nation is responsible for the planning, design and delivery of prevention programs appropriate to First Nation custom, culture and way of life. We ensure that a range of family and child protection services are delivered to First Nation residents.

We provide a range of approved placement resources for children within the community pertaining to customary care. Many of the speakers before me have said that each First Nation, because of the uniqueness of the First Nation, has a different interpretation of what customary care is.

My friend from Manitoulin Island said that because customary care is not recognized, many times a band has to foot the bill to provide customary care. I don't think that's fair. There should be a level playing field. That's what the Constitution of Canada pertains to. It says there is fairness for everybody. But when a community has to foot the bill to keep its own children within the community while the act provides that CAS can provide better money for home care, it's not fair.

The placement of native children in a foster home on the First Nation shall be a responsibility as a team. It's not only the responsibility of the First Nation. Through customary care, which this bill fails to recognize, I believe we can come to an understanding. You can't omit something that is very dear to our hearts and customs. You can't do it with the stroke of a pen. I urge you to reconsider and make some proper amendments that would meet First Nation needs right across the board.

What else can I say? As a former worker at a CAS, when you see your family being apprehended, that's one of the hardest things you can see; seeing them leave your community and saying, "When am I coming back?" We need our children within our community.

Along with other First Nations in Ontario, we are fundamentally opposed to certain provisions in Bill 210 that undermine First Nation children's practices in our jurisdictions. In particular -- and many have quoted it -- section 44 of the bill gives the government open-ended regulatory power to redefine First Nation customary care.

This bill affects First Nation rights and interests. The government of Ontario is under a legal obligation to consult First Nations and attempt to accommodate those rights and our interests. We strongly believe in the importance of our children.

The provincial government has not lived up to its legal duty to work with First Nations on key provisions of Bill 210. The consultation record of this bill is practically non-existent. As a result, we oppose the bill as it is written and ask for consultation for First Nations input before you attempt to bring it to another vote.

We have quality staff who can take care of our children. Many of them have gone through the courses that are required by the children's aid society.

One of the chiefs said, "A child is a gift from our Creator." I strongly believe in that, and how we train that child so that when he or she is old, they will not depart from those teachings that are very, very dear to our hearts.

You can't fix a flaw, like a cracked windshield in your car. You can't fix it; it will always be a flaw. As the winter comes and you turn the heat on, that crack starts to grow more. Pretty soon you're making amendments here, you're making amendments there. Throw that windshield away and put a new one in. What many First Nations are asking the government to do is come for full consultations. That's what we need. Honourable member Hampton has asked that question. It's very important to us that you come.

If you want to come to the communities, you're more than welcome, just to see how the process has worked. If you want to come and see many of the homes that we have in the communities that are below the poverty line, come and see. Many times when the elections are coming around, that's the only time we see some of our elected officials. Come and see us each and every day, or when you're in a community, drop in and see where your dollars are being spent and how wisely we are spending them on the limited income that is brought forward.

If you don't have questions, feel free to come to my community. We'll welcome you with open arms. We'll show you what we have, but most of all we'll show you our children, who are our future. They're your future. They could be the future members of Parliament. One of the greatest things that we have is those teachings that we give to them through customary care, through whatever aspects are adapted by our culture. I can't help but reiterate that a child is a gift. Each and every one of the mothers say that is important; when your children are growing up and they begin to leave the nest, how that hurts. That hurts even more when our children get apprehended and taken out of our community. That's their community; that's their home; that's my home. That's part of the home that I'm willing to share with you if you want to come and see how the Chippewas of Nawash operate. Meegwetch.

The Chair: Thank you for the invitation and for your comments. We have a minute each. I'll start with Mrs. Jeffrey.

Mrs. Jeffrey: Thank you for your thoughtful presentation and thank you for the invitation. We appreciate your patience today; I'm sorry we're running late. Thank you for being here today.

Mrs. Munro: I appreciate the comments you've made today. Members of the committee, obviously, have heard many of the issues that have been raised, but I think that your way of presenting them has allowed us to remember exactly why we're all here, and recognize that it is all of us, as parents and grandparents -- that's really what the whole initiative is about. The parliamentary assistant has made comments about looking at amendments, and certainly that's what we will be looking at as we go forward.

Mr. Hampton: My fear is I think the government believes that by a few strokes of the pen over here and a few strokes of the pen over there, they can fix what is wrong with this bill. What I think I heard you say is that while amendments might be appreciated, there is something much deeper and of much greater concern here that cannot be fixed by amendments. The government has to sit down with First Nations and work in partnership with First Nations to fully understand how important these issues are to aboriginal people, to aboriginal children and to aboriginal governments. Fair assessment?

Mr. Chegahno: That's a fair assessment.

The Chair: Thanks very much for your presentation.

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NISHNAWBE-ASKI NATION

The Chair: The next presentation is from the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, and it's Stan Beardy, Chief. You can start any time, sir.

Grand Chief Stan Beardy: Remarks in Oji-Cree.

I won't speak too much, Mr. Chair and members of the committee. I'm from Muskrat -- 300 people. It's about 1,000 miles from here and I spent $3,000 to be here for 15 minutes. I don't want to speak too much in terms of the legislation itself, about the suggested changes, but I want to try to share with you our history with the Confederation and also with the province of Ontario.

The point I'll put across here is that until such time as we are allowed to run our own lives, until such time as our inherent right is recognized that we are capable of looking after ourselves, nothing will change. I want to start off a little bit with the residential school experience.

I want to mention too that I'm from Muskrat and we're not on a power grid. We depend on generator sets to operate our lights and our computers. Last night, the power was out, so I was not able to produce a written handout at this time. However, I'd like permission to send a summarized written presentation, perhaps tomorrow. By the same token, I was not able to reproduce any copies and I only have one copy of everything which I managed to gather as well.

I should mention as well that I am Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation. Our territory covers two thirds of Ontario. Our borders are from Manitoba, Hudson Bay, James Bay, Quebec and roughly the 50th parallel, and roughly two thirds of the landmass of Ontario -- 210,000 square miles. As I mentioned earlier, we have 50 First Nations in there and roughly 45,000 people. Roughly 70% of the total population is under the age of 29; unemployment within that group is roughly 85%.

Suicide among my young people -- as young as nine years old -- is roughly eight to 10 times the national average. At the present time, we have three child care agencies within Nishnawbe-Aski: Tikinagan, Payukotayno and Kunuwanimano -- it's a Cree word. The reason I mention those statistics is the fact that outside legislation has been imposed on us many times without any consultation, without any accommodation. I mentioned the result of the statistics I just outlined as a direct result of that outside legislation being imposed on us without any meaningful input or consultation or dialogue with the people. So we produced a document that outlines the legacy of residential schools. When you grow up in an institution, for example -- which 90% of my people were exposed to or impacted by -- you lose parenting skills, you cannot pass your teachings down because the culture, the languages are lost. The statistics I outlined are the result of that outside legislation being imposed on us.

The other thing I want to share with you is what we call the sixties scoop. That was only 40 years ago. The province of Ontario had this policy where they went around Indian reservations, kidnapped our children and shipped them all over Ontario, all over Canada and the United States, Europe -- the world. That's called the sixties scoop. In some cases, the province of Ontario 40 years ago issued death certificates for children so that we cannot trace them. I have documentation here of some of those cases.

I'm trying to point out to the committee members that we are real people. We have families too that we care about. I talk about the suicides that are 10 times the national average. I'm talking about somebody's children here. I'm talking about somebody's grandchild. I'm talking about somebody's sibling. We too have feelings when we lose our children. This is the work of the Ontario government 40 years ago and that's why I appear, that's why I travelled from so far away, to try to convince you that we are people too. We have families, we have dreams like everybody else. We live in Ontario and there has to be consideration given to us as people.

I have here as well an article that appeared in the Citizen and the Globe and Mail, I think it is. We just located one of our people from Cat Lake who was locked away in a mental hospital for 46 years because this person went out as a child, five years old, and he was not diagnosed properly. He was blind, but because he couldn't speak English he was locked away in a mental hospital and we just found him 46 years later. This is the effect that those outside legislations impose on us. That's why it's so important that you work with us to make sure things like this don't happen. We're talking about the year 2005. We just found this person 46 years later, who has been locked away somewhere.

Here as well I have a brief outline of some of the devastating impacts of residential schools and what it does to individual people, a race of people, under those institutionalized situations. So I want to leave this with you, Mr. Chair. As I said, unfortunately, I was not able to make any copies.

I'll also speak very briefly to some of the challenges as the reality exists in my territory.

I understand there's a gentleman who is five minutes late; maybe I can borrow his time.

Interjections.

Grand Chief Beardy: I understand the act we're talking about was proclaimed in 1984 and that it gave special, unique status to native children and families to recognize our uniqueness as native people, native culture within Ontario. The act made special provision for the apprehension of native children and it gave the band status as a party in legal proceedings concerning a child. The act also provided that before a native child could go to a mainstream foster home, the extended family and other native families had to be considered. Bands do not get funding for the band reps any more. I'm sure you've heard this over and over again. Bands in that situation -- I mentioned that it cost me $3,000 just to be here. Of the communities I represent, 34 of them are remote, and air travel is very costly. So the bands cannot afford lawyers and cannot afford to send band reps to court. Courts are often held hundreds of miles or kilometres from where the child and family and the band are located.

The five-day rule -- a hearing within five days -- is a major problem for us as well, because First Nation courts are held every three months at best. In most cases, the hearings take place in urban centres. As a result, the child doesn't have any legal representation, the band cannot afford travel and we cannot afford a lawyer to represent the family. So the only person who is there is the children's aid lawyer to make a case, and because nobody could defend our situation, we're left at the total mercy of the courts.

Some of the recommendations -- I mentioned earlier the bigger picture, where unless the jurisdiction of First Nations people is recognized and worked toward, I don't see any major change in terms of improvement in quality of life for children in my communities. However, just looking at the act itself, we need to preserve and protect the special status given to native children and families under the 1984 Child and Family Services Act.

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Number two is to provide proper funding for children to permit bands to hire lawyers and band reps to advocate for their rights, as promised in the Child and Family Services Act, and to provide proper legal aid funding so that native families can hire lawyers and travel to court.

Number four is to keep the promises made in 1984, when the Child and Family Services Act was proclaimed.

I think number five is important: that there has to be meaningful dialogue and input allowed from us to make sure that what I outlined is not repeated again. I mentioned Ontario's practices. That was only 40 years ago. I know that was before most of the ladies were born, but 40 years ago is not a long time.

That's all I have. Mr. Chair, I'd like to send in my summarized written presentation, if I may, tomorrow.

The Chair: If you please, and if you send it to the clerk's office, she will provide a copy to all of us and it will be part of the record. We'll accept whatever we're going to receive tomorrow.

There are 30 seconds each if you want to ask questions. Could I start with you, Mrs. Munro, please?

Mrs. Munro: I just want to thank you for coming here. We appreciate the distance that you have come and obviously the unique circumstances of the area you represent. I certainly appreciate your coming here to make a submission today.

The Chair: Mr. Hampton.

Mr. Hampton: I just want to know, Stan, how bad are the highways?

Grand Chief Beardy: We don't have highways. We travel by air. I mentioned that 34 of my communities are fly-in. We even get delayed sometimes up there, because when the clouds are really thick, the plane gets slowed down.

The Chair: Ms. Wynne.

Ms. Kathleen O. Wynne (Don Valley West): Stan, thank you so much for coming. I just wanted to clarify, because the other groups have talked about section 44 in particular: Is that the section that you're most concerned about, the customary care provisions?

Grand Chief Beardy: No. I think the bigger picture is what I am most concerned about. The message I'm trying to get across here is that we are people too. Prior to Columbus getting lost, we used to look after ourselves and look after our own families. I think the message I'm trying to get across is that we need to work with the province of Ontario to make sure the legislation works for us as well.

The Chair: Thanks very much for your comments and answers.

LONDON DISTRICT CHIEFS COUNCIL

The Chair: The last presentation for the day is the London District Chiefs Council -- 15 minutes, my friend, this time. You can start any time you're ready. We start minus four minutes, I hear.

Chief Randall Phillips: Yes. Good afternoon again, Chair. Good afternoon, committee members. Hopefully, you'll see the difference between an off-the-cuff speech and a typewritten speech. If I do this, it's not any offence; I just can't see.

My name is Chief Randall Phillips. I'm the elected chief of the Oneida Nation of the Thames. I'm here today representing the London District Chiefs Council, which is comprised of eight First Nations communities in southwestern Ontario. We'd like to thank you for adding the extra two days so that we could make this presentation.

We are in the early stages of developing a First Nations child welfare authority. It's called the Mnaasged Child and Family Services. We recently passed our milestone in that organization, as we recently had our first general assembly.

Before I speak on the specific issues raised by the proposed amendments, I'd like to discuss the difficulties we had with that process. In June 2005, the Ontario chiefs in assembly rejected Bill 210 due to lack of consultation with First Nations. This position was formalized in two resolutions that were forwarded to the government. The London District Chiefs Council supports these resolutions forwarded by the chiefs. We are demanding meaningful consultation on the amendments in a separate, distinct process specifically designed for First Nations.

We take the position that the government of Ontario has a legal obligation to consult with First Nations and take all reasonable efforts to accommodate those rights and interests. This legal duty flows in part from section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Further, it flows from section 2.2 of the 1965 Indian welfare agreement, to which Ontario is a signatory, and this requires First Nations consent before any significant alteration to a welfare program, including a child welfare program, occurs. The provincial government has not lived up to its legal duty to work with First Nations on these key provisions of the bill.

In order for consultations to be meaningful, adequate financial resources must be made available for First Nations to fully participate in the process. This includes resources for professional fees, travel and meeting space. Each First Nation must have the flexibility to decide how they wish to be consulted, whether it be individually, as a member of a tribal council or within their PTO. The costs related to consultations of this magnitude might seem significant at first glance, but the actual cost pales when compared to the human and social costs associated with implementing flawed legislative regimes in our communities.

Notwithstanding our complete and total opposition to Bill 210 itself, we are cautiously optimistic that the perceived shift in the philosophy for child welfare that seems to be outlined in the amendments would make a difference to our children in our communities. The movement in the system toward investing in families and communities contains a strong, positive message. I think you've heard before that our communities have been actively engaged in customary care and this differential response for many years.

We concur with our brothers and sisters who have spoken before us: Customary care is an aboriginal custom, something unique to each nation, and it cannot and must not be treated as a regulatory function controlled by the government of the day. Section 44 of the bill -- section 223 of the act -- would in effect give the government open-ended regulatory power to define First Nations customary care. This is inconsistent with the spirit of part X of the Child and Family Services Act, and it also affects First Nations rights and interests as it intrudes on First Nations' authority. We strongly recommend that this section be stricken from the amendments contained in the bill.

We are also encouraged by references in the amendments to alternative methods of dispute resolution. While the bill itself leaves the details of the system to be specified through a regulatory regime, we view this philosophical shift in a positive light.

As I noted in my opening remarks, we are at the initial stages of setting up our own child welfare authority in our region. The children from our communities are still receiving services from non-native societies.

In closing, I'd like to address the third component of the ministry's child welfare transformation agenda -- accountability -- and discuss the issue of non-native societies who provide services to First Nations children and communities.

As in our region, the majority of First Nations of Ontario receive their child welfare services from non-native agencies, and First Nation children are over-represented in that system. We are not aware of any accountability mechanism by which the ministry ensures that mainstream societies are utilizing the native-specific provisions in the act appropriately.

The research that we have conducted in our region indicates a high degree of use of formal legal intervention in terms of care type and status as opposed to the voluntary care agreements which utilize First Nations extended family placements. This is somewhat confusing, as one of the stated purposes of the act is to ensure that the native children have the opportunity to receive culturally congruent care whenever and wherever possible.

The ministry should take immediate actions to ensure that non-native agencies providing services to aboriginal children, families and communities are being accountable to the native provisions of the act.

On behalf of the 15,000 members of the First Nations of the London District Chiefs Council, I thank you for this opportunity to address the standing committee on this most important issue.

The Chair: There is a minute each for questioning. Ms. Wynne, will you start, please.

1820

Ms. Wynne: Thank you, Randall. Written and unwritten, you're very good. Can you just clarify for me -- I understand where you said your position is that there needs to be a meaningful, separate consultation, and I have heard that. But I also wanted to ask you what the ongoing discussion is right now, either internally among the First Nations groups or with the ministry. Can you just clarify for me what the ongoing discussion is?

Chief Phillips: We have established a chiefs committee on child welfare at the Ontario level, through a resolution. Currently, there are representatives from the major PTOs in Ontario -- NAN Treaty 3, AIAI, Independent and Union of Ontario Indians -- along with representation from the Association of Native Child and Family Services and those unaffiliated communities that don't fall within that process or are stand-alone, like --

Ms. Wynne: And they're having an internal conversation about these issues?

Chief Phillips: We have met with the minister, the parliamentary assistant and her staff to start to discuss the wider issues with respect to child welfare issues, not just 210. Bill 210 precipitated this, but we're trying to use that body and that forum to address all the other issues you've heard today that were raised.

Mrs. Munro: I just wanted to thank you again for providing us with this information. From my perspective, I think it's a question of waiting to see how the government is going to respond in terms of the kinds of issues that have been raised here, and certainly look at ways by which we could encourage government to move in the directions that are suggested. Thank you.

Chief Phillips: I certainly agree with you, Ms. Munro, that we're all anticipating in which direction the government will move and whether or not they've heard any of the submissions made on this issue.

Mr. Hampton: Just to follow up on the questions that Ms. Wynne asked earlier, it seems to me you've reflected on the issue of Bill 210 and you've pointed out that some things need to be struck from the bill and some amendments might be welcome. But what you're really concerned about is the broader and deeper issue, which the government so far has seemed to miss the boat on, and that trying to patch up 210 is not going to fix or address or deal with the broader and deeper issues that First Nations want the government to start paying attention to.

Chief Phillips: I think my previous presentation, in conjunction with comments made by Chief Stan Beardy, outline that exactly. But this is a wider issue other than a couple of amendments here. What we're talking about is a systematic approach that has had a negative impact on our children, our families and our communities, and that's the issue that needs to be addressed. Although we're taking the opportunity to voice those through this process to deal with one specific piece of legislation, it's a wider picture that we're certainly looking at.

The Chair: Thanks very much for your presentation. We have finished this evening's presentations. I would ask the members of the committee to wait, because we have to decide our next meeting and when we are going to clause-by-clause. Thank you again for coming and making your presentation.

Are there any suggestions from anybody?

Ms. Wynne: Mr. Chair, I just wanted to follow up on my question with the committee. It seems to me that it's really important that we know, as a committee, what the result of those internal conversations is before we move forward with amendments -- the conversations that Mr. Phillips was just talking about, those internal discussions among the First Nations. I don't know whether staff or somebody can answer that, but I think we need to know what the result of those conversations is before we accept amendments. Maybe we can just send that comment back to the ministry so that they're aware, or at least --

The Chair: That's fair. I guess what I'm trying to understand is if we wish to move on with clause-by-clause, or do we need more time because we're going to be waiting to get some answers?

Ms. Wynne: My understanding is that the minister has said there will be some sort of dovetailing of those conversations with our amendment process, but I just wanted it to be on the record that that should happen.

Chief Phillips: Mr. Chair, if I could, Grand Chief Denise Stonefish is the chair of our meetings and perhaps would be --

The Chair: OK. Go ahead. I'm sure the members want to hear, so go ahead, please.

Grand Chief Denise Stonefish: Basically, our meetings have been to talk about some of the amendments that Bill 210 is proposing. We've indicated the same information that we've been presenting here. We are looking at a long-term goal in establishing our own native child welfare act, which will be specific to us, because as you heard throughout the hearings here, we're wanting to maintain care and control of our children, which is something we never voluntarily gave up.

Right now, those particular meetings that we're having with the chiefs committee on child welfare and the ministry have been twofold: They've been fact-finding sessions, and it's to inform the minister as to where we're coming from and those types of discussions.

Ms. Wynne: The committee probably won't meet for clause-by-clause until after we come back in January or February. Is there a possibility that we can have some information about your deliberations before we -- is that time frame reasonable?

Grand Chief Stonefish: I'm sure we can provide you with some information, with a synopsis of those two particular meetings. The other thing we are looking at too is clause-by-clause of Bill 210, and I'm pretty sure we can also forward that information to you.

Ms. Wynne: OK. I think that timing's very important. Thank you.

The Chair: Thanks very much again for your assistance.

Are there any suggestions when we should meet at this point? Anyone?

Mrs. Munro: I think it would be appropriate to be looking at it from a subcommittee perspective and then present to the committee. It would seem to me that would be when we come back.

The Chair: So we are looking at February.

Ms. Wynne: Does that mean January 16 or does that mean February? Sorry, Julia, I wasn't sure.

Mrs. Munro: Well, the House doesn't come back, I understand, until February.

The Chair: There will be a subcommittee meeting some time in February when we come back and we will decide the date for the clause-by-clause. I think that's what I hear. Any disagreement with that?

Mrs. Munro: And that would fit -- obviously from these discussions it would be appropriate, I think.

Grand Chief Stonefish: How's that for speed?

Ms. Wynne: Awesome.

The Chair: Thanks very much. That is all. The meeting is over.

Anonymous said...

I am seeing quite a few ads from the different CASs for a quality assurance officer reporting to the Chief Financial Officer. This must be a new gimmick from the Ministry.

I guess that they want to dot their eyes and cross their t's to be sure that they are providing the proper documentation needed to get maximum funding. Their responsibilities include dealing with the mickey mouse Ministry audits.

Anonymous said...

My Understanding of the Ministers role, was to over see CAS/CCAS, yet when one goes to them with a complaint, the Ministers office, warns CAS/CCAS about the complaint, WE have a few in actual writing, and e-mails from the Ministers Office.
THIS is not what the public is lead to believe is the role of the Ministry.
To let the CAS know about a parent recording, what is being said, by the agency workers.We all know its in the families,best interest to record and write down, all conversations, between anyone dealing with the Industry. What shows up in court, is a twisted statement of what was said. But why is the Minister e-mailing the agency, and warning them, when clearly the conversation that took place, was not what was written in the report.
This begs for an answer.
The Bill is flawed in many ways.
It needs to be scraped. Its even against case law. Let them figure that out.
The scoop of the aboriginals children,
is a black mark on Canadian History, we are allowing it to continue, by the scoop of the families living in poverty. Immigrants, and anyone who disagrees with this Child protection industry,and is brave enough to be vocal about it. Why do we not have stories of what great things, they have done for families????
Because it does not happen.
The Supreme court was correct, false allegations are harmful to the entire family. they are especially harmful to the child, at risk of being removed and more often then not removed. The Risk of harm in care out ways the risk of harm at home.
A 13 year old child, running away from foster home, because she is being threatened, and wants to return home. Psychological testing of the child, states she is traumatized by being in care, and should be returned home,has the capacity to make that decision.
But it is not heard by the agency, or the Minister.
And the reason she is in care, in the first place is highly questionable, the parent was found innocent of the charges, so why was the child not returned???
This is are Child protection Agencies. This is not hearsay. I have no other interest in this issue other then reporting, the injustice of it.

They have tried to scoop up all the special needs children. Who next?
No one is safe, RISK is being born in Ontario.
If this bill is passes it should be taken to Human Rights.
and the International court is necessary.
The Minister has a lot to answer to, as does this government.

Perhaps someone with more knowledge about the Ministers role, could inform me,on what if anything can be done to hold that office accountable as well.

Anonymous said...

The person taping her situation failed to realize that the culprit/criminal is really the Ministry, not the CAS.

The CAS is simply an instrument of the Ministry. It is "following the law." The CAS does not go to the bathroom to take a piss without first asking the Minister.

Ms. Chambers herself is directing this criminal activity. She knows. She has been told.

Anonymous said...

perhaps that is why Maria was reposted, she got to close, and started to ask to many questions, in the mins, it even has someone being told to hush up. Its right there.
Its past time we put an end to this.
Are we going to be willing victems. slandered, lose are homes to pay legal cost. Many lawyers report no ones pockets are deep enough to hold them accountable, its time we took it to the press, with all the documentation, recordings,and information gathered.
Let Ms Lewis spin that.She makes my head spin as is, with her lame attempts. Can anyone really be that stupid. Even Joe six pack with a bowl of popcorn, can see though this.

Anonymous said...

AFFIDAVIT ON BEHALF OF CHARMAINE SMITH, THE MOTHER

Faxed to Fulton County Juvenile Court /Judge Jones Office for the hearing before Arrest

My name is Carol Stronstorff. I am the vice-president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Patients, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Florida. I reside at XXX Bradenton, FL 34209.

Since 1999 I have been following the medical situation in United States. I've come to the unfortunate conclusion, that profit motivated medicine is a detriment to quality care. It appears, that the fear of lawsuits often lead to unethical behavior on the part of medical professionals. Throughout the years with extensive lobbying [AMA, AHA, etc.], medical professionals have gained ever more power in determining individual rights. The recent medical malpractice insurance "crisis" with the backing of basically unregulated insurance corporations, again is trying to limit the rights of compensation for damages.

Patients' rights are being eliminated basically to maximize profits though elimination of full liability. Often, groups of professionals falsify or distort facts to eliminate a record, which would indicate malpractice and negligence. Liability of several doctors and the treating facility and personnel can be involved in one case. Unfortunately, this liability often leads to less the ethical to try to cover their own and their colleagues mistakes. This leads to falsification of evaluation of medical facts and undermines responsible quality healthcare in general.

From the facts, which I have learned from Charmaine Smith and the case of her son Timothy, it appears that this case may fall into this category. [The story of this case is found at http://www.spcpi.homestead.com//files/timothy.htm. ] Timothy was born premature into a loving family. The record shows that the mother was caring and loving with the baby's interest in the foreground.

On December 28th and 29th, following inoculations, extreme fever led to an emergency hospital visit at Scottish Rite. It appears, that the medical condition hydrocephalus was recognized already at this time. [Charmaine: "three different doctors, all three doctors felt the top of his head ....but did not do a x-ray or scan of his head.."] However, no action was taken-

possibly because, Timothy was only a Medicaid patient, allowing for less coverage for the needed operation or possibly to protect the pediatrician, who had not diagnosed the condition or

possibly just plain common negligence.

In any case, the child's pediatrician, Dr. Gabriella Drake-Forte, appears to have been negligent in not measuring the baby's head regularly, especially in the third month following the emergency care of Timothy.

On January 26, 2004 Charmaine and Timothy's father visited Pediatric Neurosurgeon Dr. Kevin Stevenson upon appointment and suggestion of her pediatrician Dr. Drake-Forte following the January 23rd 4-month-checkup. This was not an emergency, but a regularly scheduled appointment, when absolutely no abuse was suspected by the loving family.

Charmaine: "I also asked Dr. Stevenson, the Pediatric Neurosurgeon, why the hospital had not done a CT-scan when Timothy Isiah was hospitalized on December 28, 2003. He informed me he did not work for the hospital, and he apologized the condition had not been detected earlier but he wanted to fix it right away."

-page2-

It appears that this is what Dr. Stevenson did: "fix-it" - instead of leaving a record that indicated that the hospital and physicians were negligent, he appears to have coordinated a shift of blame to the family. Such action would give the hospital more time to change records and correct their negligence, and not allow for the family to get a second opinion or change facilities and doctors.

The lack of supporting evidence of child abuse as well as the unwillingness for these physicians to appear at court to testify under oath to their "findings" is indicative of this scandalous treatment of Timothy's family.

Department of Family and Children

Involvement of DFACS with Mr. Davis in this case may indicate that the hospital did not go though regular channels in reporting "abuse." In any case, it is normal for a case worker to make an attempt to keep the baby in the child's extended family. This was not done in this case. If more such cases are found, it could be possible that Mr. Davis may receive kickbacks to allow the hospital to gain control of children patients in order to cover-up their negligence. I have no proof of this. However, the reported circumstances arouse my suspicion. In any case, he did not perform in the child's interest, since the baby was nursing at the time.

Radiologist and Medical Records

Kimberly A. Spencer, M.D of Diagnostic Imaging Specialists, P.A.

Was hired by the mother to interpret her child's x-rays [The x-rays given to her as the x-rays for her child by Scottish Rite Children's Medical Center].

The same radiologist then testified that she had been given a 2nd set of x-rays by the hospital to interpret and these showed fractures and other damage. The radiologist cannot be impeached for giving false testimony if she viewed different x-rays showing a different status.

The court should be made aware that the hospital is clearly guilty of negligence, since maintaining accurate and complete medical records is required by law.

By coming up with an unknown set of records for Timothy, the hospital appears be guilty of fraud and/or negligence. It has violated Georgia law, since Charmaine had requested all medical records from the hospital.

Code of Georgia § 31-33-2 Authorizes the hospital to give all the records to the mother. Code of Georgia § 31-33-3 Authorizes the hospital to charge a fee:

(a) The party requesting the patient´s records shall be responsible to the provider for the costs of copying and mailing the patient´s record. A charge of up to $20.00 may be collected for search, retrieval, and other direct administrative costs related to compliance with the request under this chapter. A fee for certifying the medical records may also be charged not to exceed $7.50 for each record certified. The actual cost of postage incurred in mailing the requested records may also be charged. In addition, copying costs for a record which is in paper form shall not exceed $.75 per page for the first 20 pages of the patient´s records which are copied; $.65 per page for pages 21through 100; and $.50 for each page copied in excess of 100 pages. All of the fees allowed by this Code section may be adjusted annually...

-page3-

(b) The rights granted to a patient or other person under this chapter are in addition to any other rights such patient or person may have relating to access to a patient´s records...

The hospital appears to have acted in extreme bad faith in

1) withholding information to the mother at the time of the removal of the baby,

2) with the overcharge of fees for the baby's medical records and with

3) the later presentation of unknown x-rays to Charmaine's radiologist and

4) under the known and given circumstances falsely accusing the family of abuse of Timothy.

Testifying doctors and Accusations

Drs. Patrick D. Barnes, MD and Harold E Buttram, MD have already spoken to the Court on behalf of the family, explaining possible causes of blood on the brain. These reputable doctors have done so without any desire for financial gain and in the interest of falsely accused families everywhere. They have also expressed alarm at the actions of the various doctors involved in this accusation of child abuse. They have also pointed out how Shaken Baby Syndrome [SBS] is not based on scientific evidence and that this questionable diagnosis has resulted in numerous false allegations, unnecessary hardships and convictions.

I call attention to the fact that to date not one doctor has appeared before the court in this case against the family. From the details known to me through Charmaine, a young, but loving and competent mother, I find this indicative, that the doctors have no desire to be placed under oath for their unconscionable actions. Under these circumstances the expense of having to defend themselves from a ridiculous charge of abuse is unwarranted if not scandalous.

Conclusion : Violation of Patient's Rights for Profit

From my experience, this appears to be another incidence of patient abuse in the interest of healthcare professional profits. Patient's rights are violated with impunity in an effort to protect personal reputations and avoid a possible lawsuit. Nowhere is this made possible under Universal laws. Yet, through strong lobbying of medical interest groups, such behavior is quite common.

Rather than admit that the hospital made an error by not taking action on Timothy's hydrocephalus in December, the hospital appears to have staged this abuse scene to gain time to falsify their records and rectify the earlier medical neglect.

My web site http://www.spcpi.homestead.com//files/timothy.htm has Charmaine's story, which shows a concerned parent, who has her baby taken away from her on a regularly scheduled appointment. This follows Timothy's one month earlier admission for "high fever." High fever is obviously not caused by physical abuse! This appears to be an obvious med-mal cover-up at the patient's expense.

I have been told that Charmaine's physicians, who are testifying without cost - no profit motive- have informed the court that the spinal tap in December was even life-threatening for Timothy. Dr. DeGrandi is not a radiologist and appears to have negligently accused the family of abuse.

-page4-

The handling of this case by DFACS is also strange. Mr. Davis appears at the hospital and the baby's custody is taken away from the family without any attempt to place the child under another family member. If such measures were necessary, why was no effort made to have the custody given to Charmaine's family?

I believe, it was known that there was no parental abuse. The hospital may have wanted custody removed from the parents, so that they could gain control of the child and falsify the records to cover their errors.

COMMON SENSE indicates that a baby with no outward signs of abuse [bruises, scratches, crying from pain] cannot have suffered any physical abuse. The incident related to the removal of Timothy was a regularly scheduled appointment - no emergency. No sudden violent trauma was indicated. True abuse in this case was the removal of a nursing baby form her loving family under such scandalous circumstances. Timothy had a plastic tube shoved down his nose in order to nourish him. This was done when his loving mother was available to nurse him. Here one sees true CHILD ABUSE performed by the doctors and DFACS.

I request that the Court be made aware of the violations in the medical area of our constitutional rights to equality before the law. Equality should place patients on the same footing as doctors and demand accountability for their actions. Please reunite Timothy with his family and be aware that there are many possible causes for false accusations of abuse. Even medical doctors make mistakes, yet their actions and mistakes can result in incredible hardship for innocent families and victims of malpractice.

More information can be found on SPCP web sites: http://www.spcp4u.org/ http://spcpi.homestead.com/HospitalAbuse.htmlHttp://spcpi.homestead.com/MalpracticeVictims.html end of Affidavit

Before me personally appeared Carol Stronstorff, whose identity is personally known to me and who, acknowledges that she has made this foregoing Affidavit of Facts and Truth.

It is the sworn testimony of the Affiant who solemnly swears that the facts contained therein are true, correct and certain. Every claim made in the Affidavit is backed up by documentary evidence that is provable without any contrivance.

__________________________

Signature

Sworn by Affiant before me this 19th Day of April 2004 (two thousand four)

________________________

SPCP - The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Patients is a non-profit patients' rights organization. We are here to aid you in furthering your health and to assist in reducing your health care problems.

Founded on a deadly experience with no recourse, we strive to prevent further occurrences of such medical abuse in the interest of profits.

SPCP Bradenton, FL 34209 Tel: 888-492-5856 / 941-794-1634 Fax: 775-257-6489

e-mail: spcp4u@netzero.net

Home: http://www.spcpi.homestead.com/ or http://www.spcp4u.org/

This page was last updated on May 8, 2004 by Carol Stronstorff, VP, SPCP

This is all to common in On. as well.With the Dr Smiths of the world, still praticing.
Is this is part of the reason so many children are in care. Cover your ass, call CAS. it really does come in handy if you pratice peds.

Anonymous said...

Torture


269.1 (1) Every official, or every person acting at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of an official, who inflicts torture on any other person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

Definitions


(2) For the purposes of this section,

"official" «fonctionnaire»


"official" means

(a) a peace officer,

(b) a public officer,

(c) a member of the Canadian Forces, or

(d) any person who may exercise powers, pursuant to a law in force in a foreign state, that would, in Canada, be exercised by a person referred to in paragraph (a), (b), or (c),

whether the person exercises powers in Canada or outside Canada;

"torture" «torture»


"torture" means any act or omission by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person

(a) for a purpose including

(i) obtaining from the person or from a third person information or a statement,

(ii) punishing the person for an act that the person or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, and

(iii) intimidating or coercing the person or a third person, or

(b) for any reason based on discrimination of any kind,

but does not include any act or omission arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

No defence


(3) It is no defence to a charge under this section that the accused was ordered by a superior or a public authority to perform the act or omission that forms the subject-matter of the charge or that the act or omission is alleged to have been justified by exceptional circumstances, including a state of war, a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency.

Evidence


(4) In any proceedings over which Parliament has jurisdiction, any statement obtained as a result of the commission of an offence under this section is inadmissible in evidence, except as evidence that the statement was so obtained.

Anonymous said...

Brampton father sues CAS for $8 million
Last updated Jul 12 2004 03:34 PM EDT
CBC News


A father who alleges that his son was sexually abused by a convicted pedophile while in foster care has launched an $8-million lawsuit against the Peel Children's Aid Society and the foster parents.

The suit, filed by a Brampton man, alleges that repeated sex offender Douglas Moore was a friend of the foster parents that his son was living with and had regular contact with the boy.

A statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court states the CAS and the foster parents knew or ought to have known that Moore should not have been allowed near children.

The youth was a ward of the CAS in Peel Region from Nov. 2001 to Aug. 2003.


Moore committed suicide in jail cell three months ago. He was facing sexual assault charges involving three children at the time and was a suspect in three murders.

He also remains a suspect in the deaths of Joseph Manchisi, his friend Robert Grewal and Rene Charlebois of Mississauga.

Anonymous said...

Lock up your children, CAS will have them killed or abused, in care. looking at the record, it very frightening. Poor child. no amount of money will be enough to ease the familys pain. But it sends the message.

Anonymous said...

I wish the last poster would stop cutting and pasting from various mdia outlets. You fill up the blog with outdated information.

I thought the idea of this blog was for posters to post their OWN opinion about CAS and the Jeffrey Baldwin case.

It seems this poster is only interested in criticizing foster homes and praising parents who had their children taken away.

I am sure many dont even bother reading one third of the crap posted. If you thought readers might be interested perhaps you could direct them to various media outlets.

Anonymous said...

New York Doctor Exposes Inadequacies of Child Protection Agencies in New Book
Posted on: 09/13/2005



NEW YORK -- Mary Jane Bovo, MD, FACOG, a leading board-certified OB/GYN in Manhattan, today announced the debut of her latest title, “A Child Betrayed,” a deeply emotional chronicle of her struggle with U.S. child protection agencies. Published by SterlingHouse Publisher, Inc., this is the eighth book in a women's health series by Bovo, a 20-year veteran advocate of women's issues.

Inspired by Bovo's own experiences with her grandson's child abuse, “A Child Betrayed” takes an inside look at the failures and cover-ups inside the nation's Child Protection Service agencies, including the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFUS). Referencing more than 300 hours of interviews and thousands of pages of notes with officials and child experts, Bovo exposes the breakdown at state agencies designed to protect children's rights. In an alarming discovery, “A Child Betrayed” uncovers that federal agency reviews of state child protection services failed to pass in every state.

"Unfortunately, no one is immune to this epidemic," said Bovo. "Everyone who knows a child is deeply affected by these inadequacies failing our children. Child abuse can manifest itself in the most obvious and ambiguous ways -- everyone needs to be aware of all its ugly forms. ‘A Child Betrayed’ explores how children are suffering through this horrible experience because agencies designed to protect them turn a deaf ear."

Bovo received her medical degree from Pennsylvania State University and served as a chief resident at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania during the mid-1980s. As a veteran child abuse/domestic violence reform advocate for more than 20 years, Bovo's medical theories focus on empowering the individual, accepting personal responsibility, and alternative forms of medicine.

Source: SterlingHouse Publisher, Inc.
there are many books, some Canadian, many more American authors,on the what is wrong with Child Protection Industry. If people were treated with respect, and heard, parents not assumed guilty, and children removed,and then kept by the agencys for twisted alligation, and made to jump hoops, in order to save the family, would we see so much backlash.?
Do we have an epidemic of child abuse? in some citys we seem to have an epidemic of MTBP!. messy homes, and familys screaming fowel. While they visit children in a cage being watched and anilysisd like rats in a maze. Its call supervised acess, and reminds me of studys dones on chimps.

there are many books, some Canadian, many more American authors,on the what is wrong with Child Protection Industry. If people were treated with respect, and heard, parents not assumed guilty, and children removed,and then kept by the agencys for twisted alligation, and made to jump hoops, in order to save the family, would we see so much backlash.?
Do we have an epidemic of child abuse? in some citys we seem to have an epidemic of MTBP!. messy homes, and familys screaming fowel. While they visit children in a cage being watched and anilysisd like rats in a maze. Its call supervised acess, and reminds me of studys dones on chimps.

there are many books, some Canadian, many more American authors,on the what is wrong with Child Protection Industry. If people were treated with respect, and heard, parents not assumed guilty, and children removed,and then kept by the agencys for twisted alligation, and made to jump hoops, in order to save the family, would we see so much backlash.?
Do we have an epidemic of child abuse? in some citys we seem to have an epidemic of MTBP!. messy homes, and familys screaming fowel. While they visit children in a cage being watched and anilysisd like rats in a maze. Its call supervised acess, and reminds me of studys dones on chimps.

there are many books, some Canadian, many more American authors,on the what is wrong with Child Protection Industry. If people were treated with respect, and heard, parents not assumed guilty, and children removed,and then kept by the agencys for twisted alligation, and made to jump hoops, in order to save the family, would we see so much backlash.?
Do we have an epidemic of child abuse? in some citys we seem to have an epidemic of MTBP!. messy homes, and familys screaming fowel. While they visit children in a cage being watched and anilysisd like rats in a maze. Its call supervised acess, and reminds me of studys dones on chimps.

Anonymous said...

Why an expert witness is in the dock
TRACEY LAWSON

LITTLE more than a year ago, Professor Sir Roy Meadow wore the crown of the children’s champion.

As a paediatrician he was credited with discovering Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, a particularly insidious form of child abuse. When he stated that one sudden infant death was a tragedy, two suspicious and three murder, until proven otherwise, his aphorism was dubbed Meadow’s Law.

By appearing as an expert witness at the trials of mothers convicted of murdering their babies, he had helped jail some of the most repulsive criminals our society has produced.

Or so we thought.

Over the past 12 months, Sir Roy has seen his professional reputation all but destroyed.

In January last year, Sally Clark walked free from jail when the Appeal Court overturned her convictions in 1999 for murdering her baby sons, Christopher and Harry.

In June, Trupti Patel was acquitted of killing her three youngest babies, Amar, Jamie and Mia.

And last month, the Appeal Court threw out Angela Cannings’s conviction for the murder of her little boys, after 19 months in jail.

Sir Roy acted as an expert witness for the prosecution at all three trials.

Following Mrs Cannings’ release, three Appeal Court judges ruled that a mother should not be convicted in cot death cases on expert medical opinion alone.

Now it is Sir Roy who is in the dock of public and professional opinion: the existence of Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy is being questioned; Sir Roy is to be investigated by the General Medical Council, the doctors’ governing body, and Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, is to examine dozens, if not hundreds, of criminal convictions to see if more mothers have been wrongly convicted of killing their children. Sir Roy has been vilified in the press, with one tabloid describing him as "the child-snatcher-in-chief".

Sir Roy’s glittering medical career is shattered. But to some who have known him most of his life, there is a sad inevitability to the situation he is in now.

"In retrospect, the signs were there - in who Roy was - that he would go too far," said Gillian Paterson, Sir Roy’s former wife, and the mother of his two adult children.

"He found it everywhere. He was over the top. He saw mothers with Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy wherever he looked.

"I wish that somebody could have said to him: ‘Roy, they’re not everywhere. They do exist, but they’re rare’. I wish somebody could have stopped him."

As the post mortem examination of the professor’s career begins, questions abound. How many innocent mothers have been jailed because of the evidence he, and doctors who followed his theories, gave at trials which should never have taken place? How many children were wrongly removed from their parents at behind-closed-doors family law hearings, because sheriffs and judges unquestioningly gave credence to his beliefs? How did a man now so vilified rise to become a criminal prosecutor’s expert witness of choice, a position which gave him unparalleled power to shatter so many lives?

And what is the character of this 70-year-old retired doctor, whose name will forever be associated with one of the most serious miscarriages of justice the UK has ever known?

According to his former wife, Sir Roy is a misogynist - a claim which will be seized upon by those who have accused him of conducting a witch hunt against innocent mothers. "I don’t think he likes women," said Ms Paterson, a journalist and writer. "He’s not gay. I don’t think he’s gay. But, although I can’t go into details, I’m sure he has a serious problem with women," she said.

Samuel Roy Meadow was born in June 1933, the son of a chartered accountant from Wigan, Lancashire. His mother was a housewife, but according to those who know Sir Roy, her ambition for her son, and his elder sister, Pauline, was fierce.

"Roy’s parents weren’t wealthy," family sources have said, "but they were incredibly driven for their children to succeed. Doris, especially, was fantastically proud of Roy. But her affection was - I would say - conditional upon him doing well. Roy knew the score. He had to do well. Doris was very judging. Her children were her trophies in this rather dreary, small town."

After studying at Wigan Grammar School and Bromsgrove School, he won a place to study medicine at Worcester College, Oxford, graduating in 1957. While working as a GP in Banbury, Oxfordshire he became interested in child healthcare, and by 1980 he had risen to become the head of paediatrics at St James Hospital, in Leeds - one of the most prestigious posts in his field.

In 1961, Sir Roy had married Gillian MacLennan, the daughter of the British ambassador to Ireland, a match which must have rocketed him up the social ladder. Their children, Julian and Anna, were born in 1963 and 1965 respectively. Now, his former wife says that although popular with colleagues, Sir Roy had no close friends.

She also recalls how he would visit the Anna Freud Centre - Anna was the psychologist daughter of Sigmund Freud - for what she described as a "Bloomsbury-set" chats about child health.

In a bizarre coincidence, sources claim that Sir Roy starred in an amateur production of Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, playing the role of the discredited Judge Danforth who is at the heart of the witch-hunt that is the backbone of the play. "Roy confided in me that he found it an uncomfortable part because he identified with this judge more than he was happy with," a source recalled. "I always remember Roy playing that part. He was made for it. He was brilliant."

It was in 1977 that Sir Roy wrote the paper that was to change his life: "Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP): the Hinterlands of Child Abuse."

In the study, Sir Roy described the cases of two sick children whose symptoms had left doctors puzzled.

It transpired that in the first case, a mother had added some of her own blood to her child’s urine sample. In the second, the mother had allegedly poisoned her toddler with excessive salt doses.

Sir Roy wrote that both mothers were suffering from Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy. The new illness took its name from Munchausen’s syndrome - the term coined in 1951 by Dr Richard Asher (the father of the actress Jane Asher), in reference to Baron von Munchausen, the 18th-century German mercenary famed for his fabulous lies.

Munchausen’s syndrome sufferers fake symptoms of illness and will travel from hospital to hospital to secure surgical and medical procedures for illnesses they do not have, simply to get attention.

Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy is a more sinister variant of Munchausen’s syndrome, in which parents - almost always the mother - replicate or even cause symptoms of illness in their children, simply to draw attention to themselves.

His findings were published in the Lancet medical journal, and attracted worldwide attention.

Ms Paterson recalls: "He took a lot of flak at the time. Nobody wanted to believe mothers did that sort of thing. Later [in 1993], he was vindicated with the Beverley Allitt trial (The nurse who murdered four children in her care and harmed a number of others). That’s when they stuck him on a pedestal, made him the number one expert witness in the land, and proceeded to believe everything he said."

But it was in 1989 that Sir Roy coined the now infamous Meadow’s Law, when he wrote in The ABC of Child Abuse: "One sudden infant death is a tragedy, two is suspicious and three is murder until proved otherwise."

It was this phrase, which captured the imagination of public and press when Sir Roy was called as an expert witness for the prosecution at the trial of Mrs Clark.

Mrs Clark was found guilty and jailed, but her conviction was overturned last year, after her husband, Steve, unearthed new evidence that the baby had a life-threatening infection at the time of death. It was Mrs Clark’s case that was to turn the tide against Sir Roy. After more than 20 years as an expert witness, Sir Roy now stands accused of failing to provide a scientific basis for his claims.

Jean Golding, the professor of epidemiology at Bristol University, was originally asked to be a prosecution witness at the trial of Mrs Cannings. But her reading of the pre-trial evidence swung her to the defence.

In court she savaged Sir Roy’s methodology, saying that 81 cases on which he based his outlook did not stand up to scrutiny, because he had no control group. (In fact, Sir Roy has admitted shredding the raw data on which he based his beliefs.)

Prof Golding told a Radio 4 File on Four programme in July 2002 that Sir Roy’s statement "lacked scientific rigour" adding: "I called it stamp collecting ... you pick out the cases that you want to present and then you present them."

The Royal Statistical Society also wrote to the Lord Chancellor stating there was no statistical basis for Sir Roy’s court claim that there was only a one in 73 million chance of Mrs Clark losing two babies in sudden and unexplained circumstances.

Shortly afterwards Mrs Patel was acquitted of murdering her babies - and now Mrs Cannings has seen her conviction overturned.

Presented with a situation of three mothers found innocent, the government has been forced to react, hence Lord Goldsmith’s review. Thousands of other cases dealt with by local authorities are expected to be reviewed as well.

So how did Sir Roy maintain so much credibility for so long in our supposedly rigorous courts of law?

Dr Lucy Blakemore-Brown, a psychologist from Brunel University who has studied Sir Roy’s work for some time, says juries and judges quite simply trusted a man whom society had rewarded by making him a doctor, professor and knight of the realm. Dr Blakemore-Brown also believes that Sir Roy’s turn of phrase has played a crucial part in his credibility in court.

She says: "One, two, three, ABC ... 73 million to one....these are phrases a jury can understand amid the foreign language of the court - but why did the judges not realise Sir Roy had no science to back his claims?"

Whatever the questions hanging over Sir Roy now, he has undoubtedly enjoyed widespread respect among his peers. A number of colleagues have jumped to his defence in recent weeks.

Harvey Marcovitch was a paediatrician for more than three decades and is a member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Health Care and a member of the General Medical Council of the UK.

He suggests that a simple case of supply and demand may have helped Sir Roy become a pre-eminent expert witness: there is a limited number of paediatricians; those practising are unlikely to be able to clear two or three weeks of their diary to give evidence at a trial; of those, many will not be experienced or expert; many are reluctant to risk the public scrutiny of a case in which they have no need to get involved.

Dr Marcovitch explains: "You are left with few expert witnesses. Then, if one performs well in court, the lawyers will employ him for their next trial. The word gets round that this guy is good, and he is called again and again. So he become known as the foremost expert witness in his field - it’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Dr Marcovitch is in no doubt that Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy exists. He points to a recent study of UK paediatricians carried out by the British Paediatrics Surveillance Unit which found that doctors were discovering between one and two cases of the syndrome annually per million head of population. He adds: "I do not think you will find a paediatrician who does not believe MSbP exists. But it is rare, and over the years the term was used to describe a wider and wider range of things. For example, Beverley Allitt did not have MSbP as suggested at the time - she was a killer."

It was because of concerns about the increasingly blurred definition of Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy that the Royal College officially dropped the term in 2002. It now uses the terms "fabricated" and "induced illnesses".

Sir Roy was not answering the telephone at his home near Leeds, yesterday, where he lives with his second wife, Marianne.

Whatever the GMC and Attorney General’s investigations discover, it will be painful for all involved.

In the past, Sir Roy was applauded for thinking the unthinkable, and he has no doubt rescued some infants from abuse. But far from being a children’s champion, he may have simply championed his own cause - at the expense of truth.

Pivotal evidence now deemed ‘manifestly wrong’ and ‘grossly misleading’

Over the past five years Prof Meadow’s evidence was pivotal in the trials of three women:

• 22 November, 1999: Angela Cannings was arrested and questioned about the death of her four-month-old son.

• 26 November, 1999: Sally Clark is sentenced to life imprisonment for killing her two baby sons in 1996 and 1998. Prof Meadow gave evidence to the effect that any more than three cot deaths in one family could be construed as involving murder.

• 16 April, 2002: Angela Cannings is jailed for life at Winchester Crown Court after being found guilty by a jury of smothering her two sons.

• 29 January, 2003: Sally Clark’s conviction is quashed as the appeal judges condemned Prof Meadow’s claim that the chances of having two cot deaths in one family was 73 million to one as "manifestly wrong" and "grossly misleading", and express concern that key evidence was not put before a jury.

• 12 June, 2003: Trupti Patel is acquitted of killing her three babies. During the case, evidence is given by Prof Meadow, and a small group of protesters attempt to distribute leaflets questioning his credibility.

• 10 December, 2003: Angela Cannings is freed after the Court of Appeal overturned the verdict on the ground that the convictions - which were based on Prof Meadow’s research - were "unsafe".

Related topic

* Cot death 'murder' acquittals

Anonymous said...

much like your Dr Smith in Canada. Perhaps worse he made up the syndrome,
and mother carried of to the prison.

Anonymous said...

I agree, there's too much unrelated stuff on this blog!

Anonymous said...

If I'm correct, the last comments are meant to agree with an earlier post that read:

"I wish the last poster would stop cutting and pasting from various mdia outlets. You fill up the blog with outdated information.

I thought the idea of this blog was for posters to post their OWN opinion about CAS and the Jeffrey Baldwin case.

It seems this poster is only interested in criticizing foster homes and praising parents who had their children taken away.

I am sure many dont even bother reading one third of the crap posted. If you thought readers might be interested perhaps you could direct them to various media outlets."
_____________________________________

You're wrong to call the pasted stories outdated - most are as recent or more current than that of Jeffrey Baldwin.

My understanding is the blog's purpose(suggested on its index page) centres on making the child welfare system accountable. The posts you object to promote a deeper understanding of this system. Many are factual stories compiled by neutral third parties.

I have some trouble understanding your claim that the contributor is only interested in criticizing foster homes and praising parents who have lost their children when such a great variety of issues are reflected.

Although you dismiss these posts as "crap" I thank the individual for posting them - far more than I can say about the limited and erroneous opinions you have expressed.

Anonymous said...

As I said before .....the readers could be directed to the various reading materials as opposed to cutting and pasting them on a site set up as a "Jeffrey Baldwin Memorial site"

Those that might be interested would then go there instead of filling the blog with paragraph after paragraph of info regarding cases worldwide over the past 10 years.

Anonymous said...

The post are not all 10 years old, this site is also in hopes there will be an inquiry, and oversight on CAS, if that does not happen, we will have done him and all children in this provence a dis service. please read the post, no they were not all copy paste, and there is nothing there at all
natural parents, vs foster parents, its about the agencys, and it is a world wide issue.

Anonymous said...

This site "is dedicated to ensuring the CCAS and CAS's of Ontario are held accountable in all aspects of their jobs in the name of Jeffrey Baldwin."

Amanda Reed has stated "My goal is to have all Children's Aid Societies held accountable for their actions when placing or removing a child."

Clearly, these objectives are not restricted to "memorializing" Jeffrey in the limited way suggested.

You can't hold the child-welfare system accountable unless you know how it really operates. These posts significantly benefit those with a genuine interest in learning about the system and the psychotic abuse it engages in.

The person who requested moving the posts regards them as "crap" - two thirds of which are unread. This position conveniently misses the point that these are largely contemporary accounts detailing unspeakable horrors that are fully relevant today. They are an excellent entry point for holding the system accountable in the name of Jeffrey Baldwin.

It's a mistake to assume that because some items originated in other countries that they don't apply here. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that child-welfare abuse is rampant throughout the world should concern every reader that much more.

Anonymous said...

These posts challenge the assumptions of some readers who have openly scoffed at the facts. They're valuable for that reason alone.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who believes an inquiry will accomplish anything is only fooling themself.

Other than wasting tax dollars and coming up with a bunch of recommendations nothing is accomplished.

Remember these inquiries have been held before and yet children are still dying under CAS care.

If cncerned citizens could change things in Canada that would be an accompishment--to expect to change things worldwide is a shot in the dark.

Anonymous said...

I agree, but don't think anyone is suggesting this be pursued on a world-wide basis - here, Ontario is the focus.

Anonymous said...

I thank the person/ persons, for all the information posted. I have been asked to review this blog, by a constituent, and do agree the post reflect much of what has been happening in Ontario, and the need for oversight on all matters pertaining to Child and youth protection.

It is multi-level problem, from mandatory reporting,with out evidence of harm, to the Health Care system, perhaps using a false allegation, or misunderstanding of parental concern,a medical error, or misdiagnosis, or one yet not made
to protect the Hospitals or a particular physician from liability. This not so far fetched. And one I have also heard several times.
I applauded your effects,and realize something more needs to be done, my office receives calls weekly, a parent /parents claiming to be wrongly accused of some form of child abuse, we are at a lost to explain the high numbers of children in care. And Children's Aid Society's involvement in so many family's.
Some of the court documentation, and private recordings I have heard, personally leave me concerned. I do not have an answer, or help to offer the callers.
A public watchdog is required. I must agree in should be one with no vested interest in the Ministry, or agency's. If I may offer advice , it would be to call your MPs and educate on the issue, as one women, has asked me to continue to look at the issues, in child protection, that are effecting so many family's and children in this community. Keep writing letters, and organize, letters to the federal level is also warranted.
Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your imput and acknowledging the work of many concerned citizens.