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Monday, April 03, 2006

April 3, 2006
Toronto Sun
Should foster care be licensed?
By VIVIAN SONG

Like licensed daycare, foster care should also be professionalized, says a professor of child and family studies and a foster parent.
"When our own children go to daycare, we as parents insist that the daycare is licensed and insist that the provider has some educational background like early childhood education," said Thomas Waldock, a professor at Nipissing University and a published child-advocate author.
"We demand more of those systems, but when it comes to foster care, because we're talking about marginalized kids from marginalized populations, we place ads in papers requesting foster parents to join the system."
On average, the base rate foster parents receive is about $26.71 a day, not including incidental fees like soccer, music lessons or special needs costs.
$350 A DAY
Costs of keeping a child in a group home - which eats the biggest chunk of the system's budget - can get as high as $350 a day.
By investing resources and money into foster parents with educational backgrounds in social work and early childhood education, children would be looked after with the same kind of standard parents exact of the daycare providers who only look after their children eight hours a day, Waldock said.
"What tends to happen is that people and the press focus on the fact that kids are left in (horrible) situations ... but where the children get placed after they're removed tends to get lost ... There's very little focus on the quality of system children go into," Waldock said.
For Jeanette Lewis, executive director of OACAS, the licensing notion is at once idyllic and impractical.
"There's something to be said for that," she said. "But at the same time, you can't professionalize love, attachment, respect and caring. That's the dilemma."

April 3, 2006
Wards move every 22 months
Aim of Ontario's new child-care legislation is to bring permanency for children in care
By VIVIAN SONG

Young people in foster and group homes move on average every 22 months, according to the ministry of children and youth services.
There are about 9,000 permanent Crown wards in Ontario, but only 10% of them are adopted each year.
Last Monday the province passed new child protection legislation in Bill 210, for children like the youth in the documentary Wards of the Crown, who spent loveless childhoods being shuffled from home to home.
Minister Mary Anne Chambers said the new bill places priority in creating greater permanence for kids in care.
"If kids are changing homes on average every 22 months, that means new schools, getting accustomed to new neighbourhoods and friends. It's not the kind of stable environment that support strong growth in kids," Chambers said.
There are no caps on the number of times a foster child can be uprooted and moved to another foster home, says Jeanette Lewis, executive director of the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, in part because there's a shortage of foster homes.
As of March of last year, the OACAS counted 8,004 foster homes and 1,460 adoption homes in the province.
"Overall, the whole question of taking care of another person's child has changed and the reality is more difficult," Lewis said.
As they grow older, existing foster parents stop fostering and retire the children back into the system. Increasingly multicultural communities also present unique challenges to an already overburdened child welfare system.
"There's a tremendous emphasis on the recruitment of foster parents from different cultures. But it's tough because in some cultures there is no word for foster care in their language. It's quite a challenge," Lewis said.
Claudette Maheux, manager of child and youth care services of the Ottawa CAS said the whole premise of foster care needs to be redefined.
"We need to do away with the term 'long-term foster care,'" she says in the film. "Foster homes should be for purposes of temporary care of children until we can find them permanence. It should not be the permanent plan."

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello to everyone out there, let's get a public rally organized on April 7, the day of the verdict. Let's get out there, meet at the courthouse and demonstrate against Bill 210 and lack of accountability for CASs and for a public inquiry into death of Jeffrey Baldwin and general child protection failures.

Anonymous said...

Licensing foster homes might improve a dismal situation but like all suggestions from those who serve the system, it ignores the core problem.

The vast majority of children trapped in the system should never have been placed in it. I was a bit dissapointed with the Sun's second story, as it suggests hot-button issues such as addiction and alcoholism are the norm. This may or may not be accurate in the specific cases related in the story, but the reality of CAS intervention is that most cases have nothing to do with such issues. Where alcohol or drugs are consumed in any quantity, CAS uses that information to portray people as hopeless addicts and unfit parents - just as it twists perfectly normal behaviour against parents. Not to be lost is the irony is that CAS plays it both ways - whether you act one way or its diametrical opposite you are considered to be guilty.

It would really be nice if the media got past the stereotypes and looked at the bigger picture. Until it does, Mary Anne Chambers will have free reign to make statements such as Bill 210 creates greater permanence for kids in care - as if maliciously removing them from their families was perfectly normal.

It's no surprise Jeanette Lewis is befuddled by the fact that some cultures have no word for fostering.
I also found her statement that you can't professionalize love, attachment, respect and caring in a foster home. Someone should remind her that CAS constantly portrays these places as an oasis of love for "damaged" children. Maybe even she recognizes the cat is out of the bag.

Anonymous said...

Given how few people trust politicians, I'm always amazed when their statements are accepted without being challenged. Mary Anne Chambers says adoption will create greater permanency for kids. That may be true compared to being shuffled around foster homes, but most kids have permanency in their families. It is CAS that distabilizes them. Adoptive parents divorce, die, lose their jobs, etc. just as others do. Children flee them at alarming rates and abuse appears to occur frequently. Why then, are statements such as the minister's accepted at face value. I hope others will write to the Sun reporter and tell her that while her articles are a good start, they have only begun to scratch the surface.

Anonymous said...

Professionalizing foster care could be very scary, as so-called child-welfare experts would be making and interpreting the rules. Obviously, CAS would not know what to do as their whole game is blaming parents in every situation rather than dealing responsibly and fairly with the types of challenges parents face every day. Applying the same bogus standards to foster homes as it does to parents would pit CAS against itself. Even more to the point, the very idea of asking the agency responsible for Jeffrey Baldwin's death how foster homes should care for children is absurd. Parents, who are the true child-welfare experts, will never be part of the equation.

Ontario has a long history of the insanity that occurs when parents are placed at the mercy of so-called child-welfare experts. On the other hand, professionalizing foster homes may be the perfect recipe for the system to implode.

Anonymous said...

What a joke. We already have 53 CAS agencies that are an abomination of the word professional. The Ontario College of Social Workers was instituted to ensure the standards of social work in Ontario but has done nothing to deal with the disturbed individuals that populate this field.

If foster homes were truly made professionally credible, the first thing they'd do is report CAS. If the idea was ever implemented, it would be more smoke and mirrors like the College.

Anonymous said...

If you read the third Toronto Sun article, the very notion of making the foster system "professional" is absurd. This system is the product of decades of inertia - it can't be fixed, simple as that. Kids in CAS custody want to go home. Let's stop the charade and let them return to their loved ones.

I also have to wonder what role the separation of John Dunn and his brother from their mom played in her eventual suicide. I'm sure this happens all the time.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it has happened. There are Mom's that killed themselves after the loss of their baby or child. It was too painful and they never hoped to see them again - how sad that is and was. I think the fact that John and his brother were abused in care, that his Mom knew and could not do anything must have totally broken her down. The whole thing is tragic. The system must be revamped. Many kids should be returned home - and in light of the current crisis an investigation that is independant of the CAS should be performed to see if these kids can be sent home. It is no different from a lot of the autistic kids, where they were finally ordered to restore custody. This happened largely due to the class action lawsuit. If the CAS keeps it up it may require another one to rein them in.

Anonymous said...

The article in the Toronto Sun this past Sunday from Vivian Song describes abusive adoptive parents WHICH IS THE NORM, not the exception. I do commend her for discussing this as the silent victims of the adoption industry must be heard!



Sun, April 2, 2006

After years of darkness, a light shines
By VIVIAN SONG




Suffer The Children


Patrick speaks about his darkest days with a candour that's disarmingly forthright.

The blond, blue-eyed 20-year-old from Scarborough is exceedingly polite and well-mannered. But when he lowers his gaze, intense looks of concentration betray traces of his former, latent temper -- a violent temper he describes openly and freely.

His father never slept, Patrick says.

"He was scared I'd slice his throat open," Patrick says. "I never saw him sleep."

Patrick's explosive temper and simmering anger are deeply rooted in a troubled and lonely childhood.


The Catholic Children's Aid Society took Patrick away from his drug-addicted and alcoholic mother when he was three and placed him with a childless couple who adopted him, a half-brother and another girl, raising them with a heavy hand.

During a messy divorce period, his distressed mother took a frying pan and tried to hit her then 10-year-old adopted son on the head.

COLD AND ABUSIVE

Instead she broke his middle finger when he tried to protect his head with his hands. A restraining order was brought against the mother and CCAS placed him into the custody of his adopted father, who was equally cold and abusive.

"We were never close. He said he would never hit me but he did. I knew I was going to get kicked out."

For Patrick, who after a tumultuous childhood is now on his feet, the one question he poses to the agency is: Where were they?

"My belief was that a worker was supposed to come by and check up on me to see how I was doing. They never did. They just left and didn't bother to see if I was all right."

In order to expedite the inevitable, Patrick took the blame when his little brother burned down the kitchen. What followed was a violent fallout: Dad pushed his head in the wall, son hit him back.

"It was a struggle in dominance. Either I had to go or he would have kicked me out," Patrick says.

Between 14 and 17, the troubled teen was shuffled between group homes when he wasn't homeless.

"I practically brought myself up since I was 14. I know how to take care of myself," he says.

He readily admits he had a tremendous rage problem. When he was 13, he says he "almost killed a kid" with a protractor because the boy was picking on his brother.

'NO ONE WANTED ME'

"I would ball things up and then snap," he says. "Everything goes black around me for about five to 10 minutes and then I act out ... I was concerned no one wanted me anymore."

But what he didn't know -- until three years ago -- was that he was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, a condition with spinoff effects including behavioural dysfunction and developmental delay.

He says he reads at a Grade 3 level, and his comprehension is at a Grade 1 level, but he's pleasantly articulate.

Recently he was diagnosed as bipolar, schizophrenic, and clinically depressed.

"I knew I had something wrong with me. It was hard to be around people. I was withdrawn and I wanted to be secluded."

But medication has helped the young man "mellow out."

He now volunteers at the East Scarborough Storefronts, a resource centre for teens at Morningside Mall, and keeps a circle of reliable friends.

Living in a group home gave him the skills to do chores and live independently. He now lives in a basement apartment in a Scarborough neighbourhood.

At the last Christmas party hosted by the CCAS, Patrick ate with 80 other kids and sat down to his first holiday dinner in 10 years.

He offered to play Santa for 80 kids at the party and laughed easily among his peers.

LONG, LONELY ROAD

It's been a long, lonely road for the young man, whose story is not unlike other youth in the child welfare system.

When asked if he ever feels loved, Patrick looks out the window onto a murky sky.

"Somewhat," he says. "But I envy people who have parents."

Anonymous said...

From the above article a number of points can be made 1) where was this boy's father - as the CCAS NEVER CONSIDERS MEN. To do that would be to stop the filthy adoption industry. 2) did they follow up on these people who adopted him NO. 3) they based this on a "homestudy" which is the same today with both public and private adoptions 3) did they EVER tell his mother what had happened to him 5) did they ever find out what happened to his mother or find out if she could have taken him - might she have recovered from her addictions? 6) and most importantly did that agency EVER contact or locate any of this childs real family to consider that they might be able to help him. I am glad that he is trying to help others, and himself. His story is not unlike thousands of others - he was abused by the adopters, and the system failed him. This story is the tip of the iceberg, many more have the same horror stories of abuse, cold-hearted strangers caring for those adopted and in care, and a general disregard by the CAS agencies of Ontario. Bravo to Vivian Song for finally addressing what happens after these so called "forever families" are arranged. Forever families often mean forever abused and disregarded by the very agencies and people who are seen as being "protectors".

Anonymous said...

I'm just glad that the "forever family" in the Toronto Sun article DID NOT KILL THIS BOY. Considering how many murdered children were in foster AND adopted it is good that he escaped at least death.

I wish this man the best. Again CAS is responsible. If the media really explored this issue they would find that the MAJORITY were abused. Some that adopted were not without question but more were abusive then were not. And with adoption and foster care the only difference is that the adoptive parents falsify the child's birth certificate and keep them "forever". Instead of short-term abuse long-term abuse is allowed. Homestudies are nothing more then tea and cookies with social workers and strangers who make reports. The CAS NEVER LOOKS BACK and they sell adoption as being safe? It is dangerous to start with as it convinces society to never look either - after all the CAS has "screened" these people into their "forever families".

Anonymous said...

Perhaps those in need of a "forever family" can be adopted by circus freaks like the Kilshaws - after all they are now going to be brokered online by a private baby broker and our government!! Are strangers attracted to this system even remotely sain is another question here? Why are Ontario children going to be shipped all over the place into "forever families" when Canada Court Watch and various other groups have evidence of corruption and fraud. The Kilshaws are the poster parents of adoption, they fit the bill rather nicely.

An article from the Guardian.......

If they'd kept quiet, would they still have the twins?

Nick Paton Walsh in Mold uncovers the curious past of the couple who chose to buy a bigger family, and finds neighbours less than impressed

Special report: babies for sale

Sunday January 21, 2001
The Observer


For Peter Shone, it was not the exorcisms, the menagerie of pets, the wild parties or the caravan park in the garden that was most annoying about living next door to Alan and Judith Kilshaw. 'It's the stray pot-bellied pigs,' the stable owner told The Observer last week. 'They keep escaping from their garden and coming over here to upset my horses.'
For two years, Shone has lived next to the Kilshaws, the couple who last week shot from anonymity in the Welsh village of Buckley to international infamy. The pair gleefully revealed last Tuesday that they had paid £8,200 to adopt twin American girls that had been put up for sale on the internet by their natural mother.

But instead of sharing the happy news, the world was horrified. Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, described the events as 'appalling'.

There was more anger when it emerged that the couple had apparently taken the twins, six-month-old Beverley and Kimberley, from a Californian couple, Richard and Vickie Allen, who believed they were the rightful adoptive parents. Loading the children into a people carrier in San Diego, the Kilshaws had driven more than 2,000 miles across America with the Allens in hot pursuit. After reaching Chicago, they booked flights home to Manchester before the distraught American couple could catch up with them.

It emerged that the Allens had already paid Tina Johnson, the head of an adoption brokers called the Caring Heart Agency, £4,000 for the babies. After two months caring for the twins, the couple claim they were tricked into handing the children back to their natural mother, Tranda Wecker, for a visit. Instead, she gave them to the Kilshaws. It is claimed that the British pair knew the Allens had already paid for the twins.

The 'adoption couple', as they have become known to weary locals in north Wales, will begin their battle for permanent custody of the twins on Tuesday at the High Court in Birmingham. The Allens have also called in lawyers, who said the FBI would see if any US laws had been broken.

Amid growing public disquiet, last Thursday night Flintshire social services, backed by police officers, swooped on the Beaufort Park Hotel near Mold where the Kilshaws were staying, courtesy of a US TV network. After a tense, three-hour confrontation between social workers and the couple, and in the glare of flashing cameras, the sleeping babies were removed under the terms of the 1989 Children Act. Within an hour, the twins were with foster parents - their fourth set of carers in their short lives. Amid chaotic scenes in the cramped hotel, friends of the Kilshaws fled in tears leaving the couple to angrily denounce the authorities who had applied to make the children wards of court.

It was thought yesterday that the Kilshaws had fled to France with the help of a tabloid newspaper, crowning a week of often bizarre and heated media interviews in which the couple had railed against a host of perceived enemies, blaming everyone but themselves for the debacle. They ignored worries that the twins' welfare might have been at stake during the punishing round of radio and TV appearances, a factor that finally persuaded social workers to act.

In a media frenzy, the couple quickly became objects of public hate as lurid details of their chaotic private lives spilled across newspaper front pages and television screens. Journalists fell on north Wales. Callers jammed radio chat shows savaging the couple. Their decision to publicise the adoptions was a PR disaster.

One man, though, had a more simple explanation for the farce. 'The Kilshaws are like kids in a sweetshop,' said Shone. 'If they want something - be it a horse, a car or even a child - they get it, and then they discard it once they're bored.'

Whitehouse Farm is not the typical country retreat of a practising solicitor. The only signs of Alan Kilshaw's reported wealth and respectability come from the Toyota MR2 sports car parked in the drive.

Last week a heap of manure lay near the front door. Shopping bags blew around the lawn and birds perched on two dilapidated cars rusting in the back yard. Through the dusty windows of a ground floor room, a fax machine whirred, yet another request for an interview.

With the couple and the accompanying media circus now gone, neighbours and disgruntled locals yesterday offered a glimpse of the sometimes bizarre life the Kilshaws have led. There was the ever expanding collection of tenants and pets, and a road rage incident in which they were said to have fought bitterly with another driver at the foot of their road.

One man grumbled about the caravan park the couple had opened in their back garden and muttered darkly about Judith. Then there was the 'the milky man', the apparition of an old man in a milkman's coat who the family were convinced haunted their home.

Judith, 47, moved into Whitehouse Farm with Alan, 45, two years ago. Before that she was a divorcee who had found solace in the clubs of Frodsham, Cheshire, near the estate where she lived. Alan was her white knight, whisking her and 18-year-old daughter Caley away to the detached expanses of the farm.

When Alan, Judith, their sons James, seven, and Rupert, four, and Caley moved in to the farmhouse, they held a party for friends and locals. About 50 people drank white wine in a marquee erected in the then immaculate garden. Shone, their new neighbour, felt comfortable enough with the latest additions to Well Street.

Then the pets came. 'They got a couple of dogs within the first month,' said Shone. Their cats quickly grew to 18 in number. They started buying up horses, most of whom were old, tired ponies bought from travellers at the horse market in Beeston, Cheshire. 'When they see an animal they like they just get it,' said Shone. 'Within the first six months they got to be overrun with 13 horses so they had to rent out a new field.'

Then the two pot-bellied pigs arrived, and began roaming the farm freely, often breaking out into the neighbouring property. Shone said Judith did not realise the smell of pigs distressed horses and, when her foals and ponies snorted, she thought they had gone mad.

Shone's stablehands often treated the Kilshaw horses. They recall them being poorly fed and ill. 'They weren't responsible animal owners,' he said.

Besides the occasional altercation, the Kilshaws kept their distance from other villagers. Alan, a director and spokesman for the obscure anti-European political group the Democratic Party, ran his solicitor's practice singlehandedly from the study - known as 'Whitehouse Chambers'.

He specialised in housing law, helping tenants take their landlords to court.

When the Kilshaws did socialise, it did not go that well. Twice, Judith went for a drink in the British Eighteen Club in Buckley, a reserved bar for ex-servicemen where even the stand-up comedians are asked not to use 'bad' language.

Judith first graced the club 18 months ago and, after a few drinks, was asked to empty her glass and leave after a complaint about language from a female member.

About a year later, Judith returned with Caley, who was then underage. After a few drinks she was again asked to leave after fighting in the ladies' toilets with a younger woman. She has not returned.

One of the Kilshaws' later parties at the farm - with a tarts and vicars theme - ended with equal embarrassment when police were called after a complaint about the noise. One partygoer recalls the Kilshaws taking a fair time to realise that the officers were genuine, and not stripogram entertainment ordered by their guests. Later, Judith added to her increasingly bizarre reputation in the village when she called in paranormal investigators after a vision of an old man in a dairyman's coat which one son had nicknamed 'milky man'. The investigation was even filmed.

The procurement of the twins was supposed to be the final step on a long and difficult journey for the Kilshaws, anxious to expand their family yet further.

Judith had had a lengthy search to overcome fertility problems. She looked for children to adopt in Thailand and China. She tried IVF a number of times. She admitted to one newspaper that she had given her husband's sperm to a friend who was having problems conceiving after giving birth to a stillborn child.

But the most curious attempt to conceive involved the help of her estranged eldest daughter. Even she was prepared yesterday to dish the dirt on her mother.

Louisa Richardson, 22, moved out of the former family home after the failure of Judith's first marriage to civil servant Mike Richardson. Yesterday she spoke of how she had raised a child without the support of her mother in a freezing cold caravan.

Yet this turn of events had not stopped Judith from making an astonishing request of her eldest child. Kilshaw asked her daughter if she could 'rent' her womb, and so have Louisa be the surrogate mother to her stepfather's child. Louisa says she was offered £3,000, and declined.

Flintshire social services declined to comment as to whether the Kilshaws had requested permission to adopt before, but it is understood the couple were older than the usual limits allow. They had certainly not been open about their new American arrivals. One of the lodgers who lives in their farmhouse told The Observer that he thought the twins were Judith's granddaughters, and not her adopted children. 'The first I knew about the adoption it was in the papers,' he said.

At 6pm last Friday night, a thick mist surrounded the phalanx of satellite dishes and TV crews at the Beaufort Park Hotel. The Kilshaws had been taking interviews from dawn till dusk. A policewoman arrived and knocked on their door. 'Mr Kilshaw, it's the police,' she said. There was no reply. It appeared the couple had forced the lock on the hotel room window, escaped on to the wall below and sneaked off into the arms of a Sunday tabloid, which has paid them handsomely for their story.

Anonymous said...

Those who foster and adopt are saints to the CAS simply as THEY ARE NOT RELATED. What a plan they have - and what stupidty they have enduced into society for anyone to think that strangers are safer based on CAS "homestudies". "Forever families" - forever abused, forever discarded, forever blocked FROM EVER SEEING THEIR REAL FAMILIES FOR DECADES. And all under the magic bullet theory of adoption where severing a child from everything they know, their name, their identity, their family, their history and ancestry is "safe". Open adoption will emerge as having the strangers sending a postcard to the real families. It gives no one rights except the clients of the CAS who are those who cannot have children, or those who simply "want" them.

How many baby brokers turn down the hunters of children, and how many CAS agencies do either? Few folks are turned down - the great thing is to be not related. It is insain.

Anonymous said...

That Vivian Song even attempted to stop portraying those who adopt as child saving saints is a step in the right direction. Patrick is a real man, with a real story all too common - more need to be told, instead of the crap spewing from the 53 child abduction societies of Ontario.

Anonymous said...

Ontario AND Canada should make private adoption illegal but NO what does our government do here - they get in bed with a private baby broker, and now they are going to farm kids out all over the earth online into "forever families" with baby brokers profits soaring at an all time high. What a plan they have it is absolutely insain.

Anonymous said...

Should children wrongfully taken from the CAS be sold online? Should the government be working with baby brokers? Should government bills be written by former defense lawyers from the CCAS? And should the public trust that Bill 210 is going to "save" children - or might it be that they are going to "scoop" children for the billion dollar, filthy adoption industry under a system that has NO ACCOUNTABILITY and that has not had any for over 100 years? Would love some comments here - does this make sense to anyone?

Anonymous said...

And what might this have to do with Jeffrey Baldwin a sweet, precious little boy in this madness? Well we are asking the same agency that ORCHESTRATED his death to be in charge of these "forever families". The Toronto CCAS placed Jeffrey into a forever family under their guidelines - and the excuse that they did not have a policy I think is a blatant lie. These agencies will be "screening" strangers for children and that the public believes it will be "safe" is insain as well. They have sent more children to child abusers over any family that was abusive to start with. It is Big Brother, it is doublespeak, it is so crazy that one can barely get your head around it.

Amanda Reid had a good point saying that why are we paying all these fees for foster families? Did anyone ever think of actually helping real families? Why are we shipping kids to foster care as their family is poor? Why are the smallest of things cause for the CAS to take a child? Why is it that the hell of this system has been so buried? If anything Jeffrey Baldwin will always be a catalyst for change. He deserves that, he deserves to be a name that we never forget. He is the tip of the iceberg, and we should never, ever forget how he suffered.

Anonymous said...

And why might anyone reading this blog wonder why this tragic death has attracted so many who were fostered and adopted onto a site in memory of Jeffrey Baldwin who was killed by his own grandparents? Because it is no surprise, because it does not shock anyone who has been in the system, who has been in foster care, or who has been adopted by the CAS system, or anyone who has lost a child - re: had a child stolen. Because they failed thousands and they still do. That they failed Jeffrey as dark as it was and is, does not shock anyone who knows about this system.

Anonymous said...

I am increasingly sceptical when I read of mothers labelled as drug addicts and alcoholics. Not that this never occurs. But I long ago realized you cannot accept a single CAS statement at face value - labels have always been used to demonize parents wherever possible.

In the Sun story, it's not clear whether CAS or the boy characterized his mother as an addict. However, it's unlikely that a child removed at three would have any real insight into his mom's condition. If he was the source of this statement, it probably came (directly or indirectly) from CAS, perhaps with support from professionals who worked with the agency and had no problem compromising their integrity. This may seem far-fetched to some readers, but distorted assessments are both common and lucrative in this field.

As the previous poster suggested, we're given no details about the mom's capacity beyond the label she's stuck with. There is no real way to know if the label is true, partially true or completely fabricated. I for one cannot trust the word of a secretive system that abuses people at will and is shielded from any scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Are all parents monsters - no, some are abusive without question but the difference between real cases of child abuse and those who have and still do have their children taken by a system that is unaccountable, arrogant, brazen and inept is huge. Should Jeffrey Baldwin have been given to child abusers with a history of child abuse - NO. But that in and of itself should not give anyone the suggestion that being shipped to strangers is more safe, as it is in fact more dangerous. In what other level of society do agencies or institutions operate under such unprecedented power?

What other agency in Ontario, or Canada has no oversight? What other system has had no accountability for over 100 YEARS. The justice system has changed, the school system, the police system, the political system to a degree, the charter had changed, wars have been fought, the depression was survived and YET THE CAS HAS NO OVERSIGHT STILL AFTER BEING INVENTED IN THE LATE 1800'S? Does that make sense?

Anonymous said...

I thought the person who posted the following remarks made an excellent point:

That Vivian Song even attempted to stop portraying those who adopt as child saving saints is a step in the right direction.

I hadn't realized it, but you're right. I can't recall any mainstream newspaper dealing with adoptive parents in a general article so bluntly. Kudos to Vivian Song.

Anonymous said...

I am as well skeptical as they have LIED FOR DECADES. Systems that operate in secrecy are a treadmill for deception. It is almost never the secrets of the individuals that are the problem, but rather the secrets of the system itself.

The CAS is a secret system that has paved the way for abuse of power under a realm of silent abuse - however those that have been involved with the system know the truth. Vivian Song interviewed the OACAS which is to me the market board of these agencies. The social workers in these ivory towers know nothing - they are not the victims, they are not the real persons affected, they are not the one's who lose, they gain at all costs to those who lose.

Anonymous said...

People who have developed dependency due to drugs administered for chronic pain or severe trauma have stated CAS has used this to attack them. Others have been labelled unfit parents for using marijuana. It's also known that assessments of alcoholism, drug addiction, psychological problems, etc. have been made by social workers that have no competence in their own field and no medical credenitlals.

CAS has labelled sexually abusive for taking photos of their young ones in the bath. To believe their assessment of other conditions is any more honest is sheer nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Here's another story that shows that with CAS parents are always the enemy. In this case, with deadly consequences.

Youths wishing to expose themselves to danger use CAS to interfere with their parents' ability to protect them.

In addition to the unbearable stress caused by their child's behaviour, parents are further victimized by CAS' hostility (imagine you're the parents under suspicion) and the knowledge that CAS stupidity is allowing their child to place herself at extreme risk.

Report cites bureaucratic failures in death of Reena Virk

Richard Watts, CanWest News Service; Victoria Times Colonist
Published: Tuesday, April 04, 2006
VICTORIA -- The parents of swarmed and murdered teen Reena Virk are taking some satisfaction from a newly released report they say points out how social workers failed their daughter.
Suman and Manjit Virk, Reena's mother and father, blame B.C. government social workers who they say scooped up their daughter and put her in foster care based on nothing more than Reena's adolescent (often fantastic) tales of abuse.
It was while living in foster care that their daughter met the streetwise teens who would eventually kill her.
"They (child-protection workers) failed miserably. They failed miserably. There is no excuse for how they failed," Suman Virk said in an interview Monday.
Reena died at the age of 14 on Nov. 14, 1997. First, she was the victim of a group beating that night. After most of her assailants had left, two of the teens, a boy and girl, remained behind and beat her again. Then they dragged her into a Victoria inlet and drowned her.
Six teenage girls were convicted of assault causing bodily harm. Warren Glowatski, 16, was raised to adult court and convicted of second-degree murder in March, 2000. Kelly Ellard, 15 at the time Reena was killed, also was raised to adult court. After three trials, she was convicted in April 2005 of second-degree murder.
The fatality review report was initiated by the B.C. Children's Commission, now defunct. It was completed by the commission's former chief investigator, John Greschner, on behalf of the B.C. Coroners Service.
A Ministry of Children and Family Services spokesman said the ministry is not prepared to make a comment at this time.
While the report stops short of pointing fingers, it notes omissions when social worker became involved with Reena.
Investigations were closed prematurely, stories were not corroborated with sources outside the family, and social workers failed to work with the Virk family as a unit, the report says.
The report details many of Reena's allegations that began when she was 12. These included tales of physical, mental, emotional and even sexual abuse. All proved to be groundless.
The allegations of sexual abuse began with Reena levelling accusations at unnamed relatives in India and progressing later to her father.
Manjit Virk was arrested after a social worker took Reena to police to fill out a complaint. All charges were eventually dropped, but not before their entire family was nearly destroyed, the Virks said.
"Due to concerns about the youth's credibility and her history of fabricating events, criminal charges against her father were stayed in court," the report says.
Reena also told a story that her parents were planning on taking her to India for an arranged marriage at the age of 13.
And there were horrific tales of her father striking her with a hammer, tying her to a chair, threatening to cut off her fingers and burning her on the foot with a hot barbecue tool. She said her mother hit her on the head with a high-heeled shoe.
The Virks said they begged for a proper investigation, or a family conference to prove Reena's allegations were all just stories designed to get attention. But they were told it was important to listen to children in these matters.
"These people are trained professionals and they couldn't clue in that this child was a total storyteller," said Suman.

Anonymous said...

I know of one case where a girl who repeatedly stole from her parents bank account, stole the family car, and paired up with a youth convicted of multiple gun theft used similar tactics to use CAS against her parents. At the family conference, the social worker sent the girl out of the room and refused to discuss matters further as soon as the parents challenged the girl's outlandish stories. No matter what the parents said, they were the enemy. That they declined to play the role of abusive parents for CAS' satisfaction only made these hostile social workers more furious. Where do they find such idiots who work for these agencies?

Anonymous said...

kids intent on placing themselves in danger have no better allie than CAS.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that Renee Virk had involvement with child protection. That was an awful case, her parents must be haunted by the whole nightmare. Her fate was brutal. It does not surprise me to know that child protection services etc.. were involved.

Anonymous said...

It is important to listen to children and to follow up on alleged abuse incidents as in some cases they are true HOWEVER there must be a proper investigation, there must be follow up and social workers should not be making hasty decisions to remove children at their own whim. They appear to be totally inept with all of this. They take someone like Reena with no formal investigation, and they leave someone like Jeffrey with real child abusers. The system is beyond a mess. These workers do not seem to know how to discern the truth of anything.

Anonymous said...

To the poster who had no idea Reena Verk was involved with child protection - you're definitely not alone. CAS involvement is regularly kept out of the media. Words are carefully chosen to avoid revealing the relation between the people where CAS is involved. Some deaths involving CAS do not even make it into the media. My own feeling is that public knowledge about CAS has increased to the point where the media will be less inclined to promote CAS myths and more inclined to place them under scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Who exactly failed Rena Virk? Her parents turned her over to CAS and in my opinion they have no business complaining.

I can smell a lawsuit....

Anonymous said...

How heartless the last poster is!

These people's lives were destroyed.

Teenagers do just this sort of thing but for it to be abetted by the CAS renders it nothing short of criminal. This girl is now dead.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the heartless poster is the family hater from the previous blog posts. No family willingly gives their child to the child abduction society, and the notion that they do is indeed part of the lies of the industry that hunts down children. It is also part of the hatred against families that was created in the first place. What happened in the Virk case is horrible. If she was in foster care, she was likely confused, afraid and not doing well - leaving her prone to be more vulnerable to start with. What type of agency simply grabs a child and dumps them into foster homes without an in depth investigation? Yet one of the posters is blaming the parents? Again old trick - let's promote the hatred of families to make infertile strangers seen as being safer. I think this is chapter one in the CAS manual of destruction.

Anonymous said...

To the poster that said the stories involving CAS do not make it to the media, I would agree. They have not even started to cover the real stories from those who were in the system.

The few articles of late, are a good start in some ways though.

Anonymous said...

Really a license for foster homes is very much the same problem as the "homestudy" issue. Having a few tests to measure what cannot be measured - as in the daily interactions with the caregivers and the children cannot be predicted. Instead of a license all should be done to prevent children from being in the system - and if a child has to be with a guardian they should have long-term and ongoing involvement with the child and the people who are the guardians. A few studies in and of itself creates a false sense of security to the public. It will prompt people to never look at anyone who has a "license" as being a child abuser, with the same damage that the system has done in deeming those who are foster parents and adoptive parents as being safe - simply because they foster and adopt. When we suggest that a certain segment of society is safer we leave that so called safer segment wide open to abuse of power. It reminds me of the child molesting priests - after all priests are supposed to be safe - and not supposed to abuse children. It is this attitude that they are on a pedestal and "better" that creates opportunities for them to abuse their power.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons why so many were abused in foster care is as the CAS marketed it as being safe, the public believed them and never looked for abuse. A license is not the answer, though clearer monitoring would be a good step in the right direction. And as well many child abusers do not have records either, many people abuse children who have not been charged. This is in part due to the justice system itself. Really there is no fool proof safe guard against abuse in foster care but one of the best ways to prevent it from going on is to start looking for abuse instead of accepting that a homestudy itself is the measure of safety.

Anonymous said...

Reena Birk's parents did not turn her over to CAS. She was removed from her home on the basis of groundless accusations and placed in a foster home. Her father was criminally charged.

The pathetic loser who consistently denies CAS abuse and confirms her hatred of families is at it again. Did you know she claims not to support CAS although every word she posts blames the abused? It's all on another board, including her inability to renounce pedophiles for abusing children in CAS foster homes. Nuts is not the word.

Anonymous said...

I think the poster has a great interest in promoting the adoption industry - as most who do promote it do so with a hatred for real families. I too think it is stranger that the poster does not appear to care what so ever about abused foster kids, and adopted kids. Nor do they appear to care about the CAS and their ineptitude. God only knows why they would be on a blog in memory of a child killed due to a CCAS decision, and a forum to make the CAS responsible. The only reason that I can think of is to try to make a small attempt and the lies and myths of the system.

Anonymous said...

The poster who hates families has shown her true colours. At this point, there is not even a veneer of credibility.

Anonymous said...

When any child is killed it is a tragedy. When those killed by adoptive parents, and foster parents come to light it is not just a tragedy it is more of a travesty. "In the best interests of the child"?? When children are removed by CAS agencies for a so called better life and they are tortured like Jeffrey Baldwin was, or murdered by strangers as in the cases of many stories on this site it is an outrage. It should be evidence enough to have the Ombudsman oversee the CAS agencies of Ontario, and it should make all of society question what the hell is going on with child welfare in general. How can agencies act like God on one hand, deem themselves experts yet when really measured completely steer away??? What type of system alleges to protect children that is caked in secrecy, sealed files, ancient laws, unaccountability, deception and lies? How can any of these agencies think they can protect children now when they refuse to be responsible for the past, and when they refuse to even look at the past? What type of system operates in a cloak and dagger fashion where scrutiny is not allowed, and where total power and control is bestowed like a red carpet of oppression?

Anonymous said...

The tragic thing about the article regarding Patrick is that he is still involved with the Catholic Child Abduction Society. I think he is a lost soul, trying to recover, and I wish him only the best. I do hope that he removes himself from the wicked agency though, and that he sticks with real people that actually care.

Anonymous said...

When the Reena Virk incident occurred, the country was shocked by it. A common question was where were this girl's parents? Now we know they were blameless. CAS was the negligent party. My question is how many other situations have occurred where people assume that parents are at fault when they are really the victims of CAS?

Anonymous said...

That is a great and quite insightful question. My guess is that the numbers are huge. And I would think that the majority are indeed victims of the CAS with very few being actual abusers. And this is precisely what the media needs the guts to say, and to explore. And this issue is the very heart of what should be discussed during a full legal inquiry into the child abduction societies of Ontario, and elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

http://www.originscanada.org/

Anonymous said...

you know it is funny that the media does not consult more of those who were in the system. this past year has been the best ever though

Anonymous said...

We're Allowing Environmental Child Abuse:

WE'RE ALLOWING ENVIRONMENTAL CHILD ABUSE

Date: 000824
From: www.globeandmail.com

A report released this week and changes to an Ontario law put new responsibility on us to protect future generations

Trevor Hancock, Globe and Mail, August 24, 2000

Is what we are doing to the environment a form of child abuse? Richard Jackson, director of the U.S. National Center for Environmental Health, has said, "People who wouldn't dream of abusing a child think nothing of giving their children and grandchildren an environment that has been abused."

I wouldn't suggest -- at least, not yet -- that either the manufacturers of products known or believed to cause harm to children, or the federal and provincial governments whose job it is to regulate them, should be formally charged with child abuse.

But a review of recent amendments to Ontario's Child and Family Services Act (OCFSA), and a dire environmental report released Tuesday by the Canadian Institute of Child Health, does raise the question.

The act now requires people to report suspected child maltreatment by "the person having charge of the child." That maltreatment includes both actual physical harm and "a risk that the child is likely to suffer physical harm resulting from the person's failure to adequately . . . protect the child."

It also extends the definition of child maltreatment to include both actual emotional harm and the "risk that the child is likely to suffer emotional harm . . . demonstrated by serious . . . anxiety, depression or delayed development" where "there are reasonable grounds to believe" that this harm resulted from a "failure to act . . . on the part of . . . the person having charge of the child."

This is a broad definition, and indeed may be broad enough to encompass some aspects of the concept of environmental child abuse that I'm advancing. For example, given the evidence of the impact of second-hand smoke on infants and children, one could certainly argue that smoking in a house where children live is a form of child abuse. Indeed, the presence of a smoker in a household has already been used as grounds for refusing adoption and for denying custody in divorce cases. And we may not be too far from the day when the use of household and garden pesticides in the presence of children could be identified as a form of environmental child abuse.

Certainly, the sanctioning by boards of education of the use of pesticides in schools is a clear example of the "person having charge of the child" creating a situation where there is a risk that children may suffer physical harm, given what we know about the relationship between pesticides and environmental sensitivity, allergies, and neurological, immunological and other health effects, including cancer. The Institute of Child Health report found a 25-per-cent increase in the rate of childhood cancers in the past 25 years.

Surely, any board of education that approves the use of pesticides in schools should be reported to the Children's Aid Society (CAS), at least in Ontario. Indeed, failure to make such a report by a professional (including teachers and physicians) who knows of or suspects such a situation, under the new OCFSA, would open that professional up to a fine of $1,000.

However, I'm not concerned so much with these individual acts of environmental child abuse and their potential legal implications, as I am with our collective societal contribution to environmental abuse that will, in turn, have profound consequences for our children and grandchildren.

Clearly, the principal target of the OCFSA is the parent or those acting in loco parentis. But when it comes to potentially harmful chemicals to which children may be exposed -- such as chlorpyrifos, a common pesticide that has been in use for decades but now is being removed from the market because of evidence that it may cause neurological damage in children -- who has charge of the child? It cannot be the parent or daycare worker or teacher if they are using a product that both the manufacturer and the regulator have approved. So surely, in a very real sense, it is the manufacturer and the regulator who have charge of the child.

Under the terms of the OCFSA, then, it seems reasonable to suggest that the physician, other professional, or indeed any ordinary citizen, must report to the CAS if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is likely to suffer physical harm or emotional harm, including serious delayed development, as a result of the failure of a manufacturer or regulator to adequately protect the child. Surely, the failure to immediately remove a product when there are reasonable grounds to suspect that it might cause physical harm to a child constitutes such a failure. And the repeated failure to remove such products constitutes "a pattern of neglect in . . . protecting the child," which is also a basis for a mandatory report to the CAS.

Just how far should we extend this argument?

Hard to say. Can anyone seriously doubt that Inuit children born with a high body burden of persistent organic pollutants might suffer physical harm and/or delayed development? Or that some children exposed to the levels of urban smog we experience on a regular basis in and around Canada's cities will suffer from asthma or other health problems? Or that children for several generations to come, for whom we surely bear some responsibility, will likely suffer both physical and emotional harm, including serious anxiety and depression, as a result of the depletion of resources, the warming of the climate, the destruction of habitats, the extinction of species and other damage we are wreaking on the Earth's ecosystems?

In short, we are abusing our children's environment and in the process we are, in effect, abusing our children and grandchildren.

We are reducing their opportunities for a long and healthy life, undermining the ecological systems on which they will depend for sustenance and bringing them into the world with a body burden of persistent organic pollutants.

If these activities do not constitute environmental child abuse, I don't know what does.

As a society, we can no longer afford an economic system that provides us with excessive wealth and instant gratification at the expense of future generations' health and wellbeing. Only through a massive transformation of our economic system to one that is fully sustainable in environmental, social and human health terms can we hope to provide our children with the same or better level of health, wellbeing, and quality of life that we enjoy today.

As a society we are collectively responsible for what amounts to environmental child abuse.

It is time to take this responsibility seriously -- at least as seriously as we take other forms of child abuse -- and begin to make changes in our production and use of chemicals, our use of resources, and our way of life that will ensure a healthy environment for our children and their descendants. Trevor Hancock is a public-health physician and health-promotion consultant. He is chair of the board of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.

Anonymous said...

Anyone informed about the Rina Virk case would not be supporting the family.

I remember only too well the grandfather condemning Rina on national television after she died a horrible death.

I believe Rina was living with her mother at the time of her death. Poor Rina had such poor life skills and poor self-esteem that she gravitated to anyone she felt accepted her including her killers.

Anonymous said...

The pro-CAS poster has deliberately manipulated facts regarding several CAS cases. As with CAS employees, you can not trust a word she says.

With respect to Reena Virk's grandfather:

The elderly man took the stand for the first time to tell the judge how he feels after seven and a half years of grief.

Mukand Pallan choked back tears as he described missing his grandaughter every moment and longing to sit with Reena and hear her call him grandpa.

"We long to sit with Reena, to hear her voice, hear her call me grandpa. That's my dearest wish, to be together like we were in the same old way."

He cried as he told the court Virk will never get to grow up and become a nurse.

"She will never be married or know the joys of parenthood," sobbed Pallan who has been in court almost every day of the long trials, his wife who is sick with arthritis at his side.

Virk's family has listened to the agonizing details of the attack over and over again. They have watched people lie on the stand and it has driven them into ill health, said Virk's grandfather.

Shortly after Pallan's granddaughter was killed, his two sons developed Multiple Sclerosis.

His wife's arthritis has become nearly unbearable, preventing her from doing much walking and sitting through the days at court.

Pallan said his own heart disease has worsened over the years as he wrestled with constant thoughts of the violence Virk suffered.

The trials have taken a lot out of him, he said.

"It has been stressful and frustrating, listening to the facts and lies over and over, the horrible details of a crime by two heartless killers.

Virk's father hasn't been able to bear witness to the proceedings, too shattered with depression to face it, his wife said.

"Reena was very much a daddy's girl," Suman Virk told the court.

Anonymous said...

Reena Virk's self-esteem issues resulted from her body size and physical appearance. Because she was he considered by unattractive by youths her own age, she was teased or ostracized by others in her age group. In her efforts to "fit in", she began to associate with "street youth" and gang values. Her parents were not responsible.

Anyone informed about the Reena Virk case would fully support the family. Obviously, that excludes nutcases like you.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Reena Virk's killers were both products of foster homes.

Anonymous said...

I am not aware whether it was the paternal or maternal grandfather on national tv but it was on. We are not talking about what he may have said 7 years later but at the time of her death.

His unkind words of his grandaughter were dispicable.

Anonymous said...

You also remembered a frozen young child wandering the streets because of her unfit parents. In that case, the girl had just left her apartment in the middle of the night. She was found directly across the road with no signs of discomfort.

Seven years? Let's shave five years off of that. Reena's grandmother had this to say:

"Reena was a nice girl," she said. "She was a cheerful, happy young lady, full of life and laughter."

"And she always respected us," her grandfather added.

In the more than two years since her death the pain has not eased, Virk's grandparents said.

"I loved Reena and I miss her," Mukand Pallan told reporters, his voice breaking. "I pray for her soul. I tell Reena, 'You didn't deserve this."

Here you are again, ignoring all evidence to the contrary and twisting information to any conclusion that the victims are somehow to blame. You desperately want to blame the family for CAS' negligence in this case. Do you have any idea how sick you are?

Anonymous said...

The only dispicable words I see are those of the pro-CAS poster.

Anonymous said...

To the poster who hates families:

At the time of her death, Reena Virk lived in a CAS foster home far removed from her family. The stranger who ran it allowed her to stay out late and provided her with her own seperate entrance.

Anonymous said...

adopted children and their parents also get CAS harassment, If Ms. Chambers, would like to speak to some "forever safe families" there are a few of us posting on this blog,
should we not be immune from CAS and the false crazy allegations, after all we are your so called solution to all that ills the children, and abuse issues.
No sorry its the system,
because here we are, your "forever families", and no we are not abusing children, but CAS would like to find "another forever family" in many cases.
Do you understand it never ends.
No one is safe!!!!!
No one is safe from the abuse of the power hungry child protectors


And open adoption , do not be fooled, its all up to the adopting parents, a picture a year, is not in the child's or natural moms best interest,
its in there best interest to stay at home.
If and only IF the child's natural family ALL agree then the child should be placed with a family that respects and honours the child's biological roots and natural origins, and inclusive relationships are important.

Why do so many of us find are self's dealing with CAS, because if you can think, your a risk, if your child has special needs, and many children that are placed for adoption, do come with all kinds of surprises, mystery illness, FAS, FAE, and more, and can you find all the answers?rarely, and even in kinship, which in my opinion should be the first placement sought, and once again ONLY if that child needed to be removed, or was placed ( and that does happen by natural mom.) and done so with out the CAS involvement ( after all its failures)

How do you navigate in this no services world with a child, the school does not understand, and it takes years to find the answer, then once you do, well EA are to expensive even if your child would benefit, so can you home school, hell no, and private school, only if you can afford that , along with the orthodontist and all the other cost, but this so called forever safe family is middle class, like so many others, we may in some cases be privileged with a better education, and there for a RISK if we advocate well, and in this time of high RISK of what ever, and parents have become the enemy's at schools, and the doctors office. This is the state we live in, even the so called forever families, if I am honest, as much as I love my child,and I do, I would not have ever adopted or had a child if I knew what I know now. NO one is safe Ms Chambers because the agencies are a mess, and RISK of anything and everything in that last Bill you past is being abused, by everyone. It wont be long before parents of adopted children will all have CAS files open, and many will return them, who needs this.
There are survival guides on how to avoid the CAS being handed out. There are nurses and doctors , teachers, and yes even social workers, not telling parents how to parent , but how to avoid going broke, and having the CAS come for your child. get out there and talk to the public, talk to the peds, most scared to death because of the young SW storming into the offices and abusing the power, but there names are on the petitions, no one ever seems to present, thousands of signatures of professionals this province can not afford to lose, this government is not paying attention.
Is this perhaps why SW want to be called doctors. We wont have any at all soon, so perhaps they will have to practice medicine as well, god help us all.

But I intend to write the Minister, I am a so called "forever safe family," had it out with the doctor and now, well, here we go again and who is really at risk here, the government, as they will be held accountable at some point.

So for now Ms Chambers, me and the other parents your agencies target, the "forever safe families" want immunity, or is it just a game you all play to see how much damage you can cause children. How many forever families will they indeed have, till this so called child protection system is dealt with.
till then I pray the child I love and raise, will not be found in need of yet another forever safer family.
She is safe at home right now, but no one is safe from a wrongful or spitful investigation.

Anonymous said...

Get your facts straight!!! Most children apprehended by CCAS are born to mothers that are horribly addicted to drugs and alcohol. I have seen the reality first hand. THey inflict permanant damage to there children in utero and then leave them to be cared for by others in society...adoptive parents. GIVE ME A BREAK!! I know MANY MANY MANY biological parents that have created terrible experiences for their children. Take a look at all the children with FAS. Adoption has been around since the beginning of time, it is a beautiful expression of humanitarian love...we are all brothers and sisters in the end. Stop making excuses for peoples mistakes!

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