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Friday, April 14, 2006

Public Rally

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

Thanks,
Amanda

POST:

Anonymous said...

TO EVERYONE RE. RALLY:

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

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

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

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

CHILD PROTECTION SYSTEM

Ms. Andrea Horwath (Hamilton East): I'm pleased to present a petition from over 3,000 Ontarians concerned about the lack of independent oversight within the province's child protection system. The petition reads as follows:

"Whereas the Child and Family Services Act of 1999 has been misused to apprehend large numbers of Canadian children; it is financially onerous to the people of Ontario;

"Whereas the current legislation gives CPS workers more power than any policeman, physician or judge, the rights of Canadian children are routinely trampled in the name of `child protection';

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

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

I'm sending it to the table by way of Charlotte.

April 13, 2006 Hansard Ontario Legislative Assembly

http://www.ontla.
on.ca/hansard/house_
debates/38_parl/
Session2/L060.htm

Anonymous said...

This letter comes from within The Children's Aid



To the Minister of Social Services .

Some of us want to see change. We don't like doing the dirty work of corrupt offices and politicians.

We are a group of insiders, forced to work under duress, not able to say and do the things that are fair and protect children who are truly at risk.

Though we pose as professionals who are supposed to help families and protect children, we are now criminals. Not because we want to, but because for too long, apathy has caused workers to not question the ethics of the very people who have the power of life and death over children's and family lives. We who work quietly within to try to make honesty out of our fellow workers, supervisors and politicians. All but the very dysfunctional families can be saved and helped.

Some of us became alarmed when we read the court papers in the case of a wrongfully accused priest many years ago. For years, he was the pet project of a vengeful, out of control worker. The lawsuit he won against the Durham Children's Aid Society was a tremendous moral victory, but why was the worker, who was found in court to have maliciously lied and falsified critical documents, not ever arrested? Why did she simply relocate to another Children's Aid region. We demand that the premier and his ministers immediately make public, the judge's words of condemnation to the worker, and then please explain why she was never arrested. Any other citizen would have been.

There are those of us in the field that are sick at heart to be remotely involved with criminal liars. It makes all workers look bad. But through the dedication of groups of people who know the truth, both inside the Children's Aid Society, and advocacy group members, this problem has remained in the public consciousness. In some cases, it has made no difference.

Two Leamington children, drowned by their insane father, would be alive today. But they are not. The Children's Aid Society had many reports and concerns raised by citizens, for almost a year. The police were even called out on an assault charge, but the children were ignored -- ignored to death. Our fellow agency told the press that the CAS had done all the right things, but that is untrue.

Some of us have left this branch of social work, to try and fix things by helping grassroots organizations help expose the unbelievable evil. There are others of us who remain behind the scenes, but our hands are tied. There have been many workers who have spoken out, or tried to do the right thing in the most corrupt of settings. Being held responsible for criminal and negligent actions, is the only way to stop children from dying, and families being unnecessarily torn apart.

This is the first of a planned schedule of dropping information, and publicity that would put some of our co-workers in jail and ensure that they never work with children and families again.

The public perception is that all CAS workers lie in court and falsify sworn testimony. At our professional peril, we have gotten the right things done in most cases we have dealt with, but children are still dying and innocent families are forced into years of harassment by an agency that has no policing and answers to no one.

If this is a revolution -- then let it begin now. Information of how children die in Canada, and how parents have become crazy from trying to please an agency that is never ever going to be pleased. We are given an agenda in social work, and the time is coming when that multifaceted and horrible agenda will be made public.

We recommend that court records be examined. They will find vendettas, powered by the personal anger they suffer from, to ensure a victory for the agency, you will find perjury on the stand, falsified documents, secret filing systems and much worse. Children in this country are merely a commodity, a make work and money game, where the best interests of children are rarely observed.

Chief Julian Fantino is a hero to honest people everywhere. He could have stuck his head in the sand and continued to allow corruption within the police force. He demanded, and got a police force that was held accountable. We are doing no less here.

The lies and the pain have stop. Therefore, as time goes on, more and more critical and embarrassing stories will be leaked to people we trust. And we won't stop until the Premier appoints an independent review committee to look at records about how we are forced to operate under a shroud of lies and CAS must win at any cost, even the cost of truth and lives.

It is time to clean house. Crimes of murder by CAS will come to light. Then and only then, will we be able to do our jobs. The found records are only the beginning, and we continue to seek out more honest Children's Aid workers, filter the information to the public. This is just the beginning

Anonymous said...

Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto statement
TORONTO, April 7 /CNW/ - With the verdict rendered in the criminal
proceedings arising from Jeffrey Baldwin's death, the Catholic Children's Aid
Society of Toronto ("CCAS") is now able to respond with respect to the case.

JEFFREY'S DEATH
The Catholic Children's Aid Society deeply regrets Jeffrey's tragic
death. Knowing that we could have done more to prevent Jeffrey's death has
been heartbreaking for everyone involved. Mary Mc Conville did not look to heart broken to me, she was angry. how dare the reporter asked her questions.
The CCAS wishes to assure the public both that we have made substantial
changes to our operating practices to prevent a tragedy like this from
happening again and that we will co-operate fully with the Coroner in the
Inquest into Jeffrey's death. ITS A BIT LATE, and MAKES US ALL WARM A FUZZY TO KNOW YOU WILL CORPORATE AFTER CHILDREN HAVE BEEN KILLED, WHAT ABOUT THE OTHERS,IN YOUR GROUP HOMES IN FOSTER HOMES.
ALSO WE UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WANT SOCIAL WORKERS TO TAKE FORENSICS AND WORK ALONG WITH THE CORNER, TO HIDE THE DIRTY DEEDS,

BACKGROUND
After the apprehension of the surviving siblings and cousins, and as a
result of the background check, the CCAS found old records that contained the
criminal convictions of Jeffrey's grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman
Kidman in the 1970's. We then realized that we had not checked records on
these grandparents in the 1990's.WHY NOT WE ADOPTED IT WAS A KINSHIP PLACEMENT WE HAD BACK GROUND CHECKS AND HOME STUDIES IN 1996. The grandparents, who were not receiving the
services of the CCAS during this period, were reporting concerns to the CCAS
about the treatment of their grandchildren by their parents. On more than one
occasion they participated in case conferences to discuss their concerns. In
the absence of record checks to detect the history of these grandparents and
their advocacy for the welfare of their grandchildren, the grandparents came
to be viewed by CCAS staff as allies in the protection of their grandchildren.THIS SPEAKS VOLUMES ABOUT YOUR ABILITY TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE, THIS WOMEN IS BORDERLINE, HOW COULD YOU HAVE MISSED IT, YET YOU TAKE CHILDREN FROM GOOD FAMILIES FOR NOTHING , AND LIE IN COURTS.IF YOUR SO CALLED EXPERTS COULD NOT TELL THIS PLACEMENT WAS A RISK, YOU CANNOT TELL WHICH ONES NOT AS WELL.YOU HAVE DONE MUCH MORE THEN FAILED JEFFERY. YOUR ABUSE EXCUSE DOES NOT WASH.
The grandparents brought forward private applications to family court, seeking
custody of Jeffrey and his older siblings, with the backing of Jeffrey's
parents and the approval of the Catholic Children's Aid Society. Later,
through Child Welfare Court, a younger sibling was placed with the
grandparents with the approval of the CCAS.
We would most certainly have acted differently had the background of the
grandparents surfaced and in particular, the information about their criminal
convictions.YOU LET THEM TAKE CARE OF OTHER PEOPLES CHILDREN HAVE YOU INVESTIGATED TO SEE IF ANY OF THEM HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ABUSED?
Further, in the summer of 2000, an investigation was initiated during a
strike and completed shortly thereafter.SORRY YOUR CHILD DIED IN CARE MS, REID WE WERE AT STARBUCKS,HOW MANY MILLIONS DO YOU NEED TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE. The investigation occurred in
response to an allegation made by an on-line acquaintance of an adult in the
Bottineau/Kidman home and, although a record check was done, it was not
extensive enough to detect the historical record. A visit was made to the
home. Jeffrey and the other children were seen by a CCAS Supervisor. The
effects of maltreatment were not evident at this time, which was more than two
years prior to his death. This was the last contact the Society had with the
family until Jeffrey's death.Gillian Findlay: FOR HOW LONG OF A PERIOD OF TIME WOULD THIS HAVE BEEN APPARENT?Dr. Zlotkin: It's actually very difficult to be exact as to when the insult to Jeffery began in terms of the development of his malnutrition.But certainly we're talking about years not days and not months and I'm talking about years.
EXPLAIN THIS. IT TOOK YEARS. WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT YOUR WORKERS. YOUR NOT ACCOUNTABLE AND NOT COMPETENT.YET YOU EXPECT THE PUBLIC TO FORGIVE, NO THERE NEEDS TO BE A ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO ALL CHILD PROTECTION AGENCY, THE ONLY PEOPLE BENEFITING ARE THE LAWYERS. FOSTER PARENTS GROUP HOME OWNERS SOCIAL WORKERS PSYCHOLOGIST, AND ALL THE SPINS OFF THAT SPOOKY UNSCIENTIFIC NON EVIDENCED BASED PRACTICE, REMEMBER SATANIC RITUAL ABUSE,WHO PLANTED THAT STUFF, THE CHILDREN IN CARE SUFFER, ASK THE CROWN WARDS.

CCAS RESPONSE

In 2003, we moved quickly to address inadequacies in our practices that
were revealed in the wake of the tragedy, particularly the need for mandatory
background checks and comprehensive home studies of potential family
caregivers.AND WE ALL KNOW WHAT THIS WILL DO IS HARM MORE CHILDREN AND MAKE LAWYERS MORE MONEY.
BECAUSE KINSHIP IS REALLY THE SAFEST PLACE FOR A CHILD TO BE PLACED, ALL STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT, THIS FAMILY WAS BY NO MEANS ANY WHERE NEAR THE NORM.
BUT YES THE PUBLIC WILL HATE IT ALL THE MORE, BECAUSE OF CCAS FAILURE, HEY YOU CAN MAKE MORE CHILDREN CROWN WARDS AND FOSTER CARE PANIC WILL HAPPEN ALL OVER AGAIN. APPREHEND GREAT NUMBERS OF CHILDREN FOR WHAT, MESSY HOMES. AND MANDATED REPORTERS USING CHILD PROTECTION TO GET OUT OF MEDICAL LIABILITY IS WELL DOCUMENTED NOW AS WELL.

We asked Susan Abell, an expert in the field of child welfare and the
review of child deaths, to conduct an external review. The Executive Director
of the Society consulted with the Office of the Chief Coroner and the Ministry
of Children and Youth Services about the scope of the review before
proceeding.

The recommendations of the external review supported the operational
changes made by CCAS in 2003. Through these changes, we have increased our
protection capacity and have done our very best to reduce the risk that such a
situation could happen again in the future. The changes to our practices
include:

- mandatory record checking and assessment of all persons including
family members who come forward as potential caregivers as an
alternative to placing children in foster care
BUT THIS WILL TAKE TIME AND CHILDREN WILL BE IN CARE, AND MOVED ABOUT TILL ITS DONE, ARE ALL YOUR FOSTER HOME JUST AS SAFE, WE ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT ONE, PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW ONE FOSTER FAMILY IS FIRED BY ONE AGENCY, YET HIRED BY THE CCAS PERHAPS YOU WANT TO LOOK INTO THAT, BEFORE SOMEONE TELLS THE PRESS.
APPREHENSIONS AND MOVING CHILDREN PUTS THEM AT RISK, IT BREAKS BONDS, AND WELL YOU KNOW WHAT IT DOES, BUT DON'T CARE, YOUR FAILURE TO SEE THIS FAMILY FOR WHAT THEY WERE. WILL CAUSE SO MANY MORE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES HARM, HOW SWEET. - re-training for existing staff and mandatory training for new staff in
conducting comprehensive record checks, and reviewing family histories
SO IF GRANDPA BACK IN 1969 HAD A DUI IS HE NOT ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF A CHILD? PEOPLE ARE NOT PERFECT NOT EVEN ARE MANY OF CANADA POLITICIANS A FEW PREMIERS HAVE SEVERIAL DUIs or possession of on cig of pot at 18 is that Uncle going to be unable to adopt the child? the JEFFERY'S GRANDPARENTS MURDERED A CHILD, SEXUALLY ABUSED A CHILD, YOUR AGENCY REMOVED TWO. WHAT DON'T WE KNOW?.
- improvements to our record keeping system to simplify record retrieval
by eliminating multiple systems, creating a master database, and
making historic records accessible from various CCAS branch offices
on-line ITS 2006 WHY WAS THIS NOT DONE YEARS AGO AND PLEASE YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH MONEY.

Along with these improvements, the external review identified the need
for systemic change and the establishment of provincial standards and
protocols regarding background checks and the assessment of kin homes -
where family members come forward as potential caregivers. The CCAS provided
the Coroner's Office and the Ministry with the recommendations of the external
reviewer and advocated for government regulations to standardize record
checking and home study practices.

PROVINCIAL STANDARDS AND PRACTICES
Children's Aid Societies have a responsibility to protect children from
neglectTHE PUBLIC IS NOT AWARE OF YOUR NEGLECT CRAP, MANY DO NOT GET THE MESSY HOUSE THING, AND ADHD, AND MISSED DENTAL APPT. AND SO FORTH, STOP WASTING MONEY ON THE SO CALLED NEGLECT AND GO AFTER REAL CASES OF ABUSE, LESS CHILDREN WILL BE HARMED YOU WILL HAVE MORE TIME.MAYBE LESS MONEY BUT ITS ARE MONEY. and from physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Although the purpose of
the Child and Family Services Act has always been to protect children, the
legislative framework and the focus of child welfare intervention in the
1990's and earlier was on family preservation, including consideration of
extended family members (kin) as potential caregivers.AND IT SHOULD STILL BE YOU HAVE TAKEN IT TO FAR, THE US IS NOW TAKING IT BACK, TO MANY CHILDREN HAVE BEEN KILLED IN CARE AND IN ADOPTED PLACEMENTS. YOU NEED REAL SERVICES, TO OFFER FAMILIES. WHY CAN WE NOT LEARN FROM THE LESSON LEARNT IN THE US.
During that time, and to this day, Ontario's Children's Aid Societies
follow standardized protocols and practices for considering all applicants for
fostering and adoption of children, including extended family members of
children admitted into the care of a Children's Aid Society. However, there
were no such provincial standards for assessing extended family as caregivers
for children in need of protection and who were not in the care of a
Children's Aid Society.
Major reforms to child welfare practices were entrenched in legislation
in 2000, but the gap in the regulations and standards to assess extended
family of out of care children were not addressed.YOU WRITE WHAT YOU WANT AND HAVE ALWAYS GOTTEN IT DON'T BULL US WE CAN READ.
In June 2005, proposed amendments to the Child and Family Services Act
set the stage for new government regulations announced this year that have
standardized the practice of all Children's Aid Societies with respect to
background checks and comprehensive home studies of extended family members
(kin).

CONCLUSION
The CCAS deeply regrets Jeffrey's terrible death and the harm done to his
surviving siblings. For an agency committed to the ongoing protection of
thousands of children and families in our community annually, this has been a
heart wrenching experience. The CCAS has learned from this tragedy and has
significantly improved its protection capacity. We have shared the lessons
learned so that the child welfare system can benefit as a whole.
The safety and well being of children must always be the first
consideration in protective services. We trust that the significant
improvements we have made to our operating practices and our co-operation with
the Coroner will assure the community that we are doing our best to minimize
the risk of a similar tragedy in the future.

Sincerely,
Mary A. McConville
Executive Director


Backgrounder
------------

Review of the Catholic Children's Aid Society - Jeffrey Baldwin Case
Author: Susan C. Abell, MSW
Management Resources

Key Recommendations:
--------------------

Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto:
-------------------------------------------

1. Family history to be emphasized in performing a comprehensive risk
assessment.

2. Catholic Children's Aid Society continue to develop the information
system with the focus on integration and access to current and past
client information.

3. Monitor the use of the policy implemented in 2004 to assess extended
family placements.

4. Training to emphasize the importance of family history and assessment
of caregivers. Mandatory training practice to continue with focus on
understanding child neglect.

5. When there are grounds to bring a child before the court as being in
need of protection, this intervention to be considered before plans
are completed for transfer of custody. Transfer of custody, based on
assessment of the alternate caregivers, to be part of the case plan,
i.e. court order. This is particularly applicable in cases of ongoing
child neglect.

((*)Note from CCAS to journalists: If a worker is faced with a
decision to remove children from their parents and has the option to
either allow the children to live with extended family or place the
children in foster care, according to this recommendation, if the CAS
chooses the option of extended family, the matter should still be
brought before child welfare court rather than simply withdrawing
once custody is transferred.)THIS IS BECAUSE OF YOUR FAILURE, LAWYERS WILL LOVE IT. BUT THE CHILDS BEST INTEREST. CHILD PROTECTION IS NOT ABOUT CHILDREN MARY READ WHAT'S WRONG WITH CHILDREN RIGHTS.

6. Legal training for new workers to include preparing family history
for the court, particularly in cases of child neglect.

7. Issues, recommendations and changes the agency has made to be
communicated to the wider field of child welfare as part of the
"lessons learned".

Ontario Child Protection Training Program:
------------------------------------------

1. To ensure that future training and curricula models adhere to
standards of content that place sufficient emphasis on family
history, assessments of alternate caregivers and child neglect. This
includes the need to reassess the training for new and authorized
workers with regard to the content on child neglect.

Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies:
------------------------------------------------

1. Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies to receive the
recommendations from the review and use it for presentation and
discussion with various parties, in particular the member agencies
and the Ministry.

Ministry of Children and Youth Services:
----------------------------------------

1. The Ministry to deliver on promise of the comprehensive information
system for Children's Aid Societies.

2. Fast Track to be reviewed with regard to the capacity to provide
relevant past history.

3. Retention of records, confidentiality and information sharing need to
be examined and direction given in relation to Part 8 of legislation.

4. The Ministry to develop policies supporting protection of children in
kinship care arrangements.

5. The Ministry to initiate discussions regarding the integration of
custody applications with past records of child protection findings.

6. The review of child protection standards and their use needs to be
completed to ensure that the focus and balance are in place to
provide appropriate interventions for children and their families.

Office of the Chief Coroner:
----------------------------

1. The Coroner's Office to consider developing a capacity for
consultation with the Pediatric Death Review Committee on those child
deaths which are not covered under the present protocol.

2. Review the protocol for its effectiveness with emphasis on the
purpose and use for internal reviews.

3. The Coroner to give consideration to means to support Children's Aid
Societies, workers and related professionals to review and examine
their practices, in an environment that encourages being open,
without the threat of prosecution.




For further information: Anne Rappé, Manager, Communications at
(416) 395-1500 or mailto:pr@ccas.toronto.on.ca

Anonymous said...

These three documents are very important. Amanda. They should be posted for comment.

Lisa said...

this is something that I just found searching the net go to this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Baldwin

Anonymous said...

Suit filed on behalf of Jeffrey's siblings, cousins
HAYLEY MICK

A provincial legal agency is suing Jeffrey Baldwin's murderers and the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto for negligence on behalf of the boy's five surviving siblings and cousins.

The lawsuit, filed Jan. 18 by the Office of the Children's Lawyer -- an arms-length agency that works for the legal rights of children?????????? -- alleges physical and sexual assault, psychological abuse, infliction of mental distress, breach of duty !!!!!and the intentional infliction of mental distress.

The amount of damages being sought has not been set.

Jeffrey's grandparents -- Elva Bottineau, 54, and Norman Kidman, 53 -- were convicted last week of second-degree murder in a horrific case of systematic neglect.

Their co-defendants include Jeffrey's parents -- Richard Baldwin and Yvonne Kidman -- along with his two aunts, Yvette and Tammy Kidman and their two male partners. All of them either lived in or frequented the east-end home in which the five-year-old boy died on Nov. 30, 2002.

The allegations in this case have not been proved in court.

Jeffrey weighed 21 pounds when he died of septic shock from malnutrition and bacterial pneumonia that was caused by sleeping in his own waste.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Jeffrey's brother, two sisters, and two cousins, who are under 10 years old and are now in foster care. They were living in their grandparents' Toronto home at the time of Jeffrey's death.

The suit is likely an effort to ensure the children have financial backing "for the rest of their lives,"??????? said Toronto lawyer Nicholas Xynnis, who defended Ms. Bottineau during the murder trial.

THEY ARE GOING TO GIVE THEM THERE WELFARE CHEQUES IN ONE LUMP SUM, AND PUT IT INTO TRUST, AND MAKE MONEY OFF IT. ITS BULL, ITS COMING FROM THE SAME PURSE, OUR TAX DOLLARS, DOES THE PUBLIC NOT REALLY UNDERSTAND THAT. ??? THIS IS A POLITICAL AND LEGAL STRAGIDY, TRYING TO MAKE THE CHILDREN'S ADVOCATE OFFICE LOOK CLEAN. GETTING TOUGH ON CCAS. BUT WHAT A SCAM.

Brendan Crawley, spokesman for Attorney-General Michael Bryant, said it was too early to comment on the suit.

"As this process develops, more information will be available," he said.

The defendant with the "deepest pockets" is the CCAS,!!!!!!! Mr. Xynnis said, adding the children's family members have little savings.

the deepest pockets and best defence because we fund this PRIVATE agency. its not public, yet has more powers then the police.

Yesterday, CCAS spokeswoman Anne Rappe refused to comment on the lawsuit, saying only that the society, which is funded by the provincial government, has insurance coverage.

The CCAS has admitted that it failed to protect Jeffrey when it supported his grandparents' bid for custody, even though the agency's own files -- which were not checked -- showed they were both convicted child abusers.

The case is expected to take months, possibly years, to reach the trial stage.

WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND, THE OFFICE OF THE CHILDRENS LAWYER WORKS FOR THE CCAS AND CCS. ITS BY NO MEANS AN ARMS LENGHT AGENCY, THIS IS ALSO IN ONE OF THE NDP BILLS,

Anonymous said...

THE DIRECTOR OF THE CCAS Mary Mc CONVILLE LIED TO THE FITH ESTAET AND EVERYONE WATCHING WHEN SHE AGREDDED SHE WAS A PUBLIC AGENCY. WRONG MORE LIES, SUCH A SHAM FOR A FAITH BASED AGENCY. SHE SHOULD BE FIRED. CCAS IS A PRIVATE AGENCY FUNDED WITH PUBLIC FUNDS. MISLEADING PEOPLE AGAIN!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Why the law suit???

The CCAS has insurance. The CCAS will amalgate with the CAS. The government will fold the "private" CCAS corporation to limit its legal liability. Remember that the government has very deep pockets.

They will need to get the lawsuit out of the way now so that the children cannot sue as adults. As adults they will sue the CAS and the government who owns and operates the business.

Believe me that this law suit is in their interests, not the children's. The Children's lawyer is not an independent player. He works for them.

Who will control this money? The children's guardians, the CCAS! This does create an odd situation. Do you think that these children will ever be adopted? They will be repeatedly be shuffled around individually so that they never acquire an education good enough or sibling identity/ cohesion to pursue the legal issues aggressively. They will drop them back into their old environment and the cycle will start again. Maybe this explains "the whys" of what happened to Karen.

This is diabolical in nature. Who protects these children from the "child protectors." This is Orwell's 1984.


These children's paternal grandparents should be initiating the suit on their behalf maybe with a lawyer like Eddie Greenspan.

Maybe the insurance company will smarten up and realize that this will be overturned later.

Maybe the two older children, Fred and his sister, should consider a similar lawsuit. Afterall, they were left in that home after she battered her first baby to death.

Remember the Dionne quints, the million dollar babies.

These children are now the million dollar babies!

How many times has our government and CAS done this? They are pros at this.

Anonymous said...

Yes you are absolutely right it is a "prviate" agency funded publically - and this type of privacy is part of why it has abused it's power, and why it has been totally unaccountable to no one in it's entire history!

Anonymous said...

Whoever claims the office of the Children's Lawyer (PUBLIC TRUSTEE) works for the CAS is wrong.

They handle monies for all kinds of vulnrable segments of our society --including the elderly and handicapped adults.

They fall under the umbrella of The Attorney General not CAS.

They are a government agency.

Anonymous said...

The last poster has it right. The Children's Lawyer is, in fact, often in an adversarial position to the CASs and has sued CASs or sought costs against them for bungling as usual.

I am pleased the CL has commenced a civil proceeding against all these degenerates, however apart from CCAS, they have no $$, so it is a hollow suit in some measure.

CCAS's insurer will have to pay out, if found liable, however they insurer may deny CCAS coverage for damages if the CCAS is found liable for breach of fiduciary duty, any intentional failures to act or puntive damages. It is unclear if CCAS has excess insurance which may provide coverage beyond the usual for such types of failures.

I will keep following the civil action and keep all apprised regarding developments.

Anonymous said...

excuse me, but have you not ever read after foster care, did you not see the Crown Wards, speak to the children in care, the children's lawyer IS NOT A CHILDS ADVOCATE, THEY NEVER REPRESENT CHILDREN IN COURT, OR LISTEN TO THEM IN CASES.
This is why there is a private members bill in the house right not, to make that the Children's lawyer separate and independent from the CAS and CCAS agencies. It was introduced at the same time as the Bill for oversight.

But then again its so hard for people to really get it, the government is in bed with the CCAS and CAS. They always have been. Did you not read about the lawsuits filed against the Office of the Children's Lawyer, by ex Crown Wards looking for there own money. there have been many, or are you a member of the honest lawyers club?

Anonymous said...

To the last poster, I agree with you that CASs are complicit with government, namely the responsible Ministry, which CASs always lobby effectively. I have no doubt about that. However, just because the CL is a branch of AG's office does not make it a puppet of CASs either. The CL is the legal office of the AG that is there to represent children who have no other litigation guardian or when ordered to represent children by the court. You are completely incorrect in stating that that the CL never represents children in court.

I am not clear on what lawsuits you are referring to, perhaps you can post details of them so that I may review these cases myself.

In regard to private members Bill, I think you may be referring to Bill 89, however I don't believe that it seeks to do what you say at all. It deals with the issue that when a child dies in care of a court-ordered access permit of an abusive parent, there should be an automatic coroner's inquest and the victims' justice fund would allow the family to have standing.

John E. Caswell said...

To all - I only recently became involved in the store of Jeffrey Baldwin - Toronto Star, front-page story April 8th.

This story has struck me in a way I've never been affected before, and I am now constantly haunted by images of Jeffrey and the horror of his existence. I feel a constant ache in my chest for him, and my guts call for vengeance.

I am still gathering and formulating my thoughts.

I am a visual artist trained at the Ontario College of Art and currently the Creative Director of a Graphic Design and Marketing Company. I've made a commitment to myself to develop a series of works of art about Jeffrey and his horrors.

Unfortunately one of my problems related to being a visual artist with a great imagination is that I cannot stop seeing him and experiencing him in my mind. I feel pain and wish I could have saved him – I also feel responsible.

I have two young children – one has a face that reminds me of Jeffrey all the time, when he smiles at me – I cannot understand how so many people could harm one child in such a horrific way.

Further more – I call for the dismantling of the Catholic Children’s Aid, the removal of religion from government and public agencies, and the complete rebuild of the Ontario Children’s Aid from scratch with proper funding, resources, structure, accountability and ability to perform the duties of child protection.

I have two nephews currently placed with the Children’s Aid in foster care, and have experience first hand how easy it is for a worker to walk through a welfare home and state: “Everything seems OK”

Part of me hopes there is a God, This story to me proves there is not one – and I openly call to him/her/it – show yourself and explain, show us that Jeffrey is someone better than this, prove it to us. I openly mock God now – you do not exist.

To Jeffrey – I’m so sorry I couldn’t have been there for you – to hold you in loving arms, and rescue you from the scum of your family and the other “adults” around you. I’m so sorry.

I will be at the rally and would like to work and assist those with common ground on this issue.

I can provide graphic design and production artwork for flyers, posters, banners, etc. I cannot provide the print production however, but have some trade relations that may be valuable.

With great pain and sorrow, John E. Caswell

Anonymous said...

To John E. Caswell: I am so pleased with your offer of assistance for the rally, this is GREAT!

Can you prepare posters for us for the rally? Even just 2 or 3 posters would suffice so that we can hold them out following the sentencing hearing. I suggest that they say Justice for Jeffrey and All Children NOW!

If you can think of something else for posters also, please advise.

I am so glad you will be coming to the rally and please let others know and have them come out too!

Jeffrey's Law said...

I have a t-shirt that says: 'The Catholic Children's Aid Society Killed Jeffrey Baldwin'... that would be a good flyer slogan!

Anonymous said...

Yes Amanda that would go good with Jeffrey's picture. The CCAS KILLED ME!!

Anonymous said...

I am glad CCAS has insurance, as they are the true Higher Power to all.

Anonymous said...

The Office of the Child's Lawyer is a joke. Read Martin Guggenheim's book "What is Wrong With Children's Rights." He talks about the Child's lawyer. The Child's Lawyer is paid by the Government. The Government own and runs the CAS. It is a conflict of interest.
Some of these lawyers actually believe that they should represent the child's wishes. Most are just rubber stamps for the organization. They regurgitate the CAS position regardless of what the child wants.

Anonymous said...

Million dollar babies. These poor children now have a bounty on their heads.

Anonymous said...

I think you are confusing childrens lawyers provided for representing children during cas hearings and the Public Guardian (Or Trustee or the Office of the Childrens lawyer)

These are not the same....the Public Trustee DOES NOT just handle CAS CASES BUT looks after ALL VULNERABLE members of society. Without a living will they jump in.

Many examples include the elderly, the mentally handicapped, minor children etc etc.

IN other words they look after citizens monies to make sure that (for example) others dont spend it from under them.

Yes they fall under the government on Ontario--The Ministry of the Attorney General.

I have had dealings with them and as much as I didnt like it much I realized it was the law and it was there for a reason.

I can tell you one thing for sure--they do not hand monies over easily---I fought them tooth and nail (with a paid lawyer I might add) and got nowhere.

They have no ties to CAS.

Anonymous said...

I can come on Friday may 19th. Jefferys case has kept me sleepless for weeks, The CCAS the government his own family his parents all murdered him by standing by and watching him die. The school where he was to attend why did they not question his whereabouts?? All these people should be held accountable. Jefferys worker I cannot even explain in enough words how guilty she is in this situation Margarita Quintana shame on you! We need to protect all the other children in need. People working for the CCAS,CAS do not ignore and pretend things are alright, children need advocates they need to be heard and protected. Why are we publicly funding the CCAS, public take religion out of all leagal issues. So far anything Catholic has had negative impact in the news and on children. If we publicly fund $88 million a year to this society the public has a right to know how corrupt it is. How can I personally help Jefferys sister she too experienced horrible confinement and starvation, she survived. For poor Jeffery, may you rest in piece, its too late. Please anymore information on the lawsuit for the surviving children, who will take care of them, adoption, a stable family home, I am willing to adopt, and provide the love and needs of this child. Please write responses here or where I can contact someone for more information regarding helping the surviving children. I can come on May 19th, I will bring people, unfortunatly I cannot make it May 17th. I hope the support will still be effective May 19th.

Anonymous said...

Amanda, I applaud you!!You are an angel, lets help other children before its too late!!!! Dr. Barry McLellan, Chief Coroner, Dr. Jim Cairns, Deputy Chief Coroner I applaud you as well for not ignoring, having heart, no childs death should be ignored. The abuser should be stopped from doing harm again or to other children.

Anonymous said...

Crotta, Jefferys uncle. You ignored Jefferys tiny, sore covered starved little body. You have no right to say you are family you sick bastard, family does not stand by and let a child die. Mills, James Mills, you heard Jefferys cries and coughs in the next room as he was dying, how could you?? You killed him by ignoring his suffering. Watching him take 10min to walk up to his dungeon to die!!!

Anonymous said...

James Mills and all of the others involved in the torture of Jeffrey Baldwin should be in jail. Can anyone please let me know why Mike Davis could not charge the rotten pigs that participated in this horrifying case.

Can we do something together to DEMAND THAT THEY ARE HELD TO ACCOUNT FOR THIS.

Anonymous said...

The Catholic Children's Aid Society is jamming organized religion down the throats of innocent parents, and stealing their children. What happened to Jeffrey Baldwin is one of the most horrific cases of child abuse in North America. His death and torture should in no way give this vile agency more grounds to kidnap children. Only in cases of real child abuse should a child be taken from their parents. That is a vast difference from social cleansing.

And the CCAS is not the only agency that has given children to child abusers either. All 53 of these agencies have created disaster, pain and misery upon thousands of people for decades.

If the government does not rein them in we the people have to.

Anonymous said...

And all 53 CAS agencies are responsible for giving far more children then Jeffrey to wicked child abusers.

It is a doublespeak set-up based on laws from the early 1900's.

We do not ship children all over the earth, use them as pawns for profit and get away with it.

Jeffrey's Law said...

RE: Other adults in the house:

According to the criminal code of Canada, the other four adults (mills, tammy, yvette and michael) were not the primary caregivers and therefore not responsible for the welfare of the four Baldwin siblings in the home. The children's lawyer is able to sue them for negligence causing death or bodily harm because we all fall under that law. If you see someone bleeding to death on the road an do nothing, you can be charged with criminal negligence. (this is what I have deducted from my own research, I may be wrong though) Mike Davis stated in his interview with the fifth estate that had he been legally allowed to charge the other four adults on the spot, he would have. It's a double edged sword, as many of our laws are... but that's why. Yes, they should ALL be in jail. Also, because mills testified, he may be exempt from any charges. It is illegal for a prosecutor to ask someone to testify against someone else with their knowledge of a crime then turn around and charge them... unfortunately. However, I think that his testimony was somewhat neccesary because he knew what went on in that house and that information was needed.

He's a liar though, while I was in court he stated that Jeffrey actually ate MORE than he did then turned around and said that no, he had never actually seen him eat at the table or a proper portion!

Please correct me if I'm wrong about the laws though....

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me what time May 19th the friday??

Anonymous said...

The CFSA gives child protectors powers without obligations. No one in the child protection industry has been held responsible for harm to a child, even fatal harm.

Anonymous said...

Brantford Police Admit Mistake
April 15, 2006
Here is a follow-up on our story about a child seized with threats instead of cause, this time in The Brantford Expositor.

expand

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April 13, 2006

Police acknowledge error in handling of CAS case

Police board chairman: 'They shouldn't have done that'

Stories and photo by Susan Gamble

Expositor Staff / Brantford

City police officers made a mistake when they forced their way into a child's home and threatened her mother with arrest unless her daughter was turned over to the CAS, says the police board chairman.

"They shouldn't have done that," Bob Lancaster said in a recent interview.

"That was the one error made by police and now it's a training issue," so it won't happen again."

But that doesn't satisfy a Burlington child court advocate who was asked to intervene in the Brantford case.

Anne Marsden appeared at a recent police board meeting to explain her concerns about a September 2005 incident where a Children's Aid Society worker, accompanied by police officers, apprehended a three-year-old girl. The CAS had suspicions that a man they considered to be unsafe was living in the house.

Later, it was determined the man was living in a different community and, after a court appearance, the child was returned to her mother.

Marsden maintains the damage done to the child is irreversible.

She and the child's mother laid an official complaint with police but the complaint was lost.

Insp. Scott Easto, who normally deals with such matters, said the complaint was somehow lost while he was away on vacation.

Police Chief Derek McElveny wrote an apology to the mother and asked for a copy of the complaint.

And Lancaster said the board addressed the problem by advising the police to set up a system to ensure a signed complaint can't be lost.

But Marsden still insisted on speaking to the board about their protocol in having police assist with CAS apprehensions.

"The police made five visits to that home before finding the mother in and yet, on the Internet, the police board chair has clearly stated that additional resources are required for the police to perform their duties," said Marsden. "I wanted to talk to them about how they are allocating their resources."

After much discussion, Marsden agreed to speak at a closed meeting of the board in March

from Duffern VOCA web site

Anonymous said...

POEPLE: There may be no one at the courthouse on May 19 as that day may not be needed for sentencing. That is why we said May 17 which are sure ther will be attendance for.

Amanda: I will clarify the laws later in regard to what you referred to.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully those with their big ideas and double-talk will show up at the court house this time.

Amanda thank you for notifying the press --I am sorry that very very few showed up at the day of the verdict. I dont really think I would notify the press this time as they are always giving press conferences outside of court anyways....if anyone shows they will catch it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the last poster refers to by big ideas and double talk. I was at the jdgment reading and was the only person there for the rally. Nobody else cared to show up. I don't believe the last poster did.

I am trying to get it organized again for May 17. If you don't like it, you can stuff it. I am sure I won't see you there anyway, big talker.

Anonymous said...

First and foremost I was there. Secondly I did not state I was showing up nor did I agree to participate in any rally.

I am camera shy.

Anonymous said...

People focus on the cause!!! Band together, if this is a revolution lets at least focus on whats important...justice to Jeffery and all other innocent children.

Anonymous said...

To the last poster: AGREED.

Anonymous said...

Amanda,
Can you write up a page that we can print out and distribute in the office or in communicty for the rally? I think we need more people to come out. We need to get the word out.

Anonymous said...

From today's London Free Press letters to the editor.

Child protection needs oversight

With respect to the letter, Tragedy mustn't overshadow vital child-care work (April 12), by Beverley J. Antle.

The death of Jeffrey Baldwin should be a catalyst for change. This is not the first time a child has been given to child abusers by a CAS agency. In the past, many in foster care were abused and many who were adopted from CAS agencies were also abused.

What happened to Jeffrey Baldwin is a travesty; his horror is unimaginable. The 53 CAS agencies of Ontario have had no independent oversight for more than 100 years.

MPP Andrea Horwath and the NDP have designed Bill 88 to give the Ontario ombudsman investigative oversight of the CAS. It is long overdue that CAS agencies were held to account to taxpayers and to those whom they serve.

Throwing more money at an agency is not a solution, but having responsible oversight is a first step. Let Jeffrey Baldwin not die in vain and, finally, let's overhaul the child protection system. Another child was killed in foster care in Welland last December as well.

Anne Patterson

Anonymous said...

The top petition is fantastic - good for them in doing this.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to Anne Patterson and the London Free Press.

Anonymous said...

We should all be gathering signatures, on petitions, I have, and I have asked others to do so as well, it will may help with achieving oversight.
Also this Bill will have ( like all bills) a time to make public comments, this is a time we all should make are feelings known. We after all pay to support the agencies.

The petition handed in, has over three thousands signatures, most that signed are from the medical field, as well many social workers and their spouses surprisingly came out to sign that petition. This alone speaks volumes



The CAS tried very hard to stop people from signing it. Its a story in it self, the levels to which they will go to stop any kind of inquiry's and oversight into there actions.

There is a petition now in Hamilton with thousands of signatures , that will also be presented, it as well has been singed by hundreds of people from the medical community here, social workers, teachers, lawyers ( that was the biggest surprise, just how many were willing to sign it, and affix there profession) as were the many doctors and pediatricians, that are also tormented by the agencies here.
The public is wide awake, and asking for oversight and more then an inquiry into Jeffery's death, they want total change.

Literally thousands of people in Ontario should be heard, the story's I have heard by so many are heart breaking, the abuse of power unbelievable, its past time we demand the politicians take action, and truly protect the people they are suppose to represent.
Many professionals talk about the fear, that CAS will come after them as well. IS this what child protection is suppose to be about??

Parents also stating we live in fear, and will do something when are children are 18, parents that all seem to know someone that has been effected by the abuse of power.

And parents that have had involvement with the agencies, not many where willing to speak out, they are either gagged still, or traumatized and unwilling to sign a petition for fear of retaliation, this is shocking to me.
It should be shocking to this government, do they find it gratifying that citizens are living in fear, that so many mothers, fathers, understand that now advocating for their OWN children is NOW done with great trepidation.

That many mothers are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and children as well from dealings with the so called child protection agencies.

So with now over five thousands signatures from two community's, do you think the Minister will listen?
Many people feel we would all be better off with out the Minister of children and youth, its costly and the agency's are harming more children then it has ever helped.
When will we truly have the will of this government to act on behalf of the citizens of this province?

Anonymous said...

So if I printed the first post and attached a petition is that all I would need to get it started?

Anonymous said...

Yes it is and Thank you, then send it to Andrea Horwath,

Anonymous said...

A blank copy of the petition can be found on the main page of the dufferin voca site

Anonymous said...

There have been too many cases of children who fall through the crack of the system and I fear there are systemic fault lines that mean we will hear of more children's deaths in care and bad placements again.

The CCAS has said they will co-operate with the inquiry, one would expect them to.

Child protection service organizations too often cloak themselves in privacy issues, seemingly more concerned about covering their own butts then improving the system that is suppose to protect children.

Nothing can bring Jeffery back, but given the horrifying circumstances around his death the inquest must take a hard look at the decision-making process in child custody. Perhaps Jeffery would still be well, and in school if they left him at home.
It must ensure that checks and balances that HELP not HINDER ACCOUNTABILITY.
Other wise stories such as Jeffery's and Matthews will not stop.

The shame of that is our collective responsibility.

Get out and ask for accountability. Oversight and change. Parents and children are suffering.

Morgan said...

Amanda: I just posted on canadiangeek.ca re: Jeffrey Baldwin. I live in Vancouver, BC so cannot attend your rally. I will be there in spirit. This case of abuse has hit me really hard. I'm a single parent of 2 kids about the same age as the "bad kids". My daughter is the same age as Jeffrey when he died at the hands of these sick people. I'm so happy you and others are taking action. I strongly believe we as a community must help each other. Law makers, etc must change their policies to take care of the innocent (whatever age they may be). I'm in tears every day/night since viewing the Fifth Estate program. This beautiful little boy didn't sign up for a life like his. Children are basicly 'trapped'. They don't understand they could run away, etc. I wish I could have taken him and his siblings/cousins away from the horror. I won't sit idle and just write my comments. Jeffrey's death has caused me to take action. In my own little way, I plan to see to it that this doesn't happen again. Will keep you posted.

Anonymous said...

there has been a 63% increase in the numbers of children in care in Ontario alone since 1998, the government gave them more power, and risk of neglect became everything, and anything.

The cost increased 115% from 542 million in 1998 to 1.16 billon in 2004.
how many children have been saved???
how many parents have suffered for very little, or even needlessly because of the changes.
There own reports state, Case work relation with parents are seen as inessential part of child protection the shift towards investigating ( anything and everything) and REGULATING families, ( did this include over protective moms, advocating parents, messy houses)
and an increase emphasise on liability ( always this is the bad word)
and fear of error, ( what about the harm by apprehending children needlessly)
resulted in the increase of children in care.

There needs to be oversight, and they should accept it. Even many of the social workers would not be opposed its the legal depts that fear it.
There also needs to be a family centred approach , rein in the power, and leave children in their home unless it is absolutely necessary to remove them, Even your own studies done by Child protection have concluded children are safer with in their own families. The stuff on social reform is to sick to post, but many of us understand this is what social work today is really about, others would call it a genocide.

Anonymous said...

I call it social cleansing with no accountability. You know in Jeffrey's case they have done everything to make this look like a "small" incident. This child was so tortured that it is just horrendous. And what was there response - hide or allege to have lost 30 files, make cheap statements to the public, and try and run from the whole thing. That is classic CAS though.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tara said...

RE. RALLY:
I've made it a point to let lots of people know about the rally on May 17. I'm hoping "talk" will turn to 'action' and that people will indeed show up.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tara! I will be there too. It will be great to see you and others out on May 17 for our rally against injustice as happened to Jeffrey and that is happening to children in Ontario.

Everyone: please do not forget Jeffrey, come out and stand firm on May 17 for what you believe in!

Anonymous said...

I think there is a lot of pain and anger on this site - primarily as many people who have been in CAS care or involved with them have posted on this site. Perhaps it will give the public some insight into how devastating the system has been to people. As well many of the articles are very informative, and the petition is a fantastic development.

Anonymous said...

Those involved with the exploitation of children in foster care and adoption do not support families - be they parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents or anyone else - as it directly interferes with their goal of finding children for other people.

Jeffrey's other grandparents could not even see the little guy. If they had more involvement I believe he would be alive today. The response of the CCAS has been simply unacceptable. Jeffrey was a sweetheart, a helpless little boy -and they do not appear to demonstrate real care for this at all. Fighting the Ombudsman to have oversight of the CCAS certainly does not indicate great care on the part of the CCAS, nor does it indicate any care on the part of the other agencies who do not wish to have any oversight what so ever.

Anonymous said...

I don't know who is blaming Pupatello for this mess, but I think they have the wrong target. It is government lawyers at fault -she has no control over the "damage control" scheme of things. That being said the NDP have been the best in standing for justice in this disaster.

Anonymous said...

The conservatives at large have been the absolute worst in this as well. They too despise normal families.

Tara said...

The fact that theccas doesnt welcome ombudsmen oversight its upsetting. Wether its one death or many, obviously their internal ability to deal with issues has failed.
If they were serious about correcting and improving their system,one would think they would welcome outside involvement.
My heart aches for Jeffrey, I think about him so often and his suffering is something I can never accept or make peace with. The 'system' failed him horribly and their sincere remorse seems noticeably lacking, their actions speak louder than words and yet their silence is deafening.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Tara's post above, however I take it a step further adn say that WE all failed Jeffrey miserably for not ensuring that the "system" protects children.

To Everyone: Please do not fail Jeffrey and any other helpless child again!! Come out to our rally on May 17 at the courthouse 10:30 a.m.

It is the silence of good people that lets evil flourish. Get out and make some noise!!!

Anonymous said...

This is ONE OF THE BEST ARTICLES about the angel that this blog is for - please read if you have not already. What he suffered is beyond horrific and the CCAS IS RESPONSIBLE.

The Globe and Mail

CHILD PROTECTION

FAILING JEFFREY

As the murder trial of Jeffrey Baldwin's grandparents moves into its final phase, CHRISTIE BLATCHFORD looks at the role in the family's life of the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto. Through exclusive interviews with some of the key players and access to documents not part of the criminal trial, a picture emerges of how the agency failed again and again to protect the children.

BY CHRISTIE BLATCHFORD
MONDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2005 PAGE A8

If the story of Jeffrey Baldwin is about one thing -- aside from the guilt or innocence of the grandparents accused of starving him to death -- it is about the child-welfare agency that was for 36 years intimately enmeshed with the little boy's family.

It was this agency, the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, that consented, fatally as it turns out, to Jeffrey and his three siblings being placed in the care of the grandparents.

Through exclusive interviews with some of the key players and access to documents not part of the criminal trial of Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman, The Globe and Mail has pieced together a harrowing account of how the CCAS failed to protect the youngsters.

Yet while the trial put Ms. Bottineau and Mr. Kidman under the microscope before Ontario Superior Court Judge David Watt, with nothing less than their liberty at stake, they are the only principals in this tale who have had their conduct fully scrutinized.

The CCAS is not in any meaningful and public way held to account for its mistakes in the death of five-year-old Jeffrey in 2002, or any other. Neither are any of its 52 sister children's aid societies in Ontario, which in fiscal 2004-05 collectively ate up $1.174-billion of taxpayers' money.

The only body that even critically examines the deaths of children like Jeffrey is a small, underfunded and woefully short-staffed arm of the Ontario Coroner's Office -- the pediatric death review committee -- and it has no power to enforce change.

Indeed, what the late Ronald Reagan once said about government appears true of Ontario's children's aid societies: They are, in the former U.S. president's words, "like a big baby -- an alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other."

The CCAS has been involved with Jeffrey's family since 1969, when his maternal grandmother, Ms. Bottineau, gave birth to her first child, through the fall of this year, when Jeffrey's surviving brother and two sisters were abruptly removed and separated from the foster home where they had lived together for almost three years.

These two events, which bookend all else that happened, demonstrate such a stark lack of common sense, or street smarts, that it is as though agency workers were forbidden to use the tools that ordinary people call upon every day to make assessments of those they meet: What does Mr. X look like? What is Ms. Y's background? What have they done in the past?

The CCAS didn't do even a rudimentary check on the grandparents and thus missed in its own aged records the fact that Ms. Bottineau and Mr. Kidman, now 54 and 53 respectively, were both convicted child abusers when the agency approved them as legal guardians of their daughter Yvonne's quartet of youngsters in three separate proceedings over three years ending in 1998.

The agency has explained this failure, in part, by citing a policy vacuum (there was then no rule to make such checks in cases where relatives were stepping into the breach) and by pointing to the confusion caused by the plethora of last names in the case and no automatic link to old files.

But the agency didn't make this mistake only once.

It made the same mistake at least five times over the years.

As Yvonne and her husband, Richard Baldwin, kept losing their children to her mother and Mr. Kidman, so did they keep on having more -- one who was stillborn in 1999 and another who was born this past summer and was immediately seized by the CCAS.

It was a pattern perhaps bred in the bone.

Ms. Bottineau was convicted of assault causing bodily harm as a teenage mom in the 1970 pneumonia death of her first baby, Eva, who later was found to have suffered multiple fractures consistent with battered-child syndrome.

Undeterred, Ms. Bottineau had another child the next year, and another the year after that, both by the same boy-man -- reported in agency files to be a distant cousin and a heavy-drinking product of the children's aid and foster systems -- before she took up with Mr. Kidman.

It was these two youngsters who in 1978 Mr. Kidman seriously assaulted. Late that December, he pleaded guilty to two counts of assault causing bodily harm for what were described as extensive beatings. He was fined $150 on each count.

But there was much more in the CCAS files, only some of it made public at trial and virtually none of it used when it mattered most.

Ms. Bottineau was first diagnosed in a 1970 psychiatric assessment as a "borderline mental defective" with an IQ of 69, a hostile personality and a sexually provocative manner. The diagnosis was confirmed nine years later when psychologist Ruth Bray assessed her again at the request of a judge.

The judge had asked for the assessment because the couple still had their three young daughters living with them --Yvonne, Yvette and Tammy -- though the CCAS had removed the two children Mr. Kidman assaulted.

The Globe has interviewed one of those two children, the girl, who is now 34 and living in southern Ontario, gainfully employed and happily married with two youngsters of her own.

So uncannily similar was her and her brother's dreadful childhood to the suffering Jeffrey and his sister would endure three decades later that it is almost as though the first two youngsters served as practice children for the grandparents, providing them with the opportunity to perfect their maltreatment skills.

What happened to Jeffrey and his sister, who were then five and six, "is exactly what happened to us'' at the same age, she said, referring to herself and her now 33-year-old brother.

As Jeffrey and his sister were locked in a dank and unheated bedroom, she was kept in a dog cage, sometimes for weeks at a stretch, and her brother confined to a garbage can. As Jeffrey and his sister were so desperately thirsty that they drank from the toilet, so did this woman and her brother. As Jeffrey and his sister had to stand on a rubber mat in a corner of the Bottineau-Kidman house that was known as "the pigs' wall," so, when this woman and her brother were allowed out, were they made to stand over an air-intake vent that was between two bedrooms.

"You were always cold," she said, her voice jarringly mild. "I was always hungry. I drank out of the toilet. It was exactly the same."

A lengthy affidavit produced at the trial by CCAS worker Jennifer Maryk, who conducted a review of the agency's records after Jeffrey's death, confirms much of what this woman told The Globe about the abuse she and her brother endured, particularly their state of near-starvation and their over-sexualized behaviour, complete with the girl's disclosure to a foster mother that she and her brother "had been taught to perform sexual acts together."

This was all in the agency's own records. It is undeniable that in the late 1970s the CCAS recognized -- at least on paper -- that Ms. Bottineau and Mr. Kidman were dangerous.

Indeed, the agency maintained for several years "orders of supervision" on the family and the three young daughters whom the CCAS left in the home.

Yet within four years of Mr. Kidman's criminal convictions, the agency was anointing Ms. Bottineau as one of its own child-care providers.

Ms. Maryk's affidavit shows that by 1983, Ms. Bottineau "was working as a home child-care provider with the support" of the CCAS. The woman went from being what a psychologist described in a report to the agency as "a danger to herself as well as to others" to so reliable a caregiver that the CCAS was entrusting her with other people's children.

From April, 1983, through to November, 1984, and perhaps even through the fall of 1986 and beyond -- it is unclear from the affidavit how long it went on -- Ms. Bottineau was being paid by the agency as a "funded daycare provider," even despite what appear to be at least two documented complaints about sexual abuse that were deemed "unsubstantiated."

The agency declined a request from The Globe to discuss these issues at this time.

"The CCAS deeply regrets the circumstances that led to Jeffrey Baldwin's death," reads a statement the agency provided. "We plan to discuss the substantial changes we have made to our own operating policies and the sector-wide reforms under way that will help reduce the risks that such a tragedy could happen again in the future."

But not now, the agency said. "While the charges against Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman are before the courts, the CCAS has been advised by legal counsel that it should not comment on these issues before the trial is completed."

The only external review of the CCAS conduct, written by a consultant named Susan Abell in September of 2004 at the agency's request, makes no bones about background checks being a core function of the social worker's job or of the impact the lack of them had in Jeffrey's case.

"The inability to connect to the past history of the extended family when the children were referred for protection services in 1994 meant that the Catholic Children's Aid Society was a participant in Jeffrey and his siblings being at risk," Ms. Abell wrote.

It was Ms. Abell who identified "at least five different pivotal points when there was the opportunity to search for the old records," the latest in 1998 when Jeffrey's little brother was placed with the grandparents, but that it was never done.

Even here, though the agency did a "formal home study" on the grandparents before the little boy was placed with them, Ms. Abell said, "the report was minimal and doesn't include a police check."

As far back as 1997, the year before that home study was done, even Hockey Canada was urging its member minor hockey associations "to conduct criminal record checks where possible" and to "thoroughly research individuals who apply for coaching and other positions." Such checks are now mandatory across the nation.

The Globe has obtained a copy of Ms. Abell's 37-page report.

Even this woman, a veteran social worker and the executive director of the Ottawa CAS before her retirement two years ago, didn't get to interview the front-line workers involved in Jeffrey's case "due to legal implications."

However, it appears unlikely Ms. Abell knew that Ms. Bottineau was, for that undetermined period in the 1980s, a CCAS-paid daycare provider.

Certainly, she made no reference to it and doesn't appear to count it as one of the five points where she says the agency logically might have checked for the old records.

The terms of her review, she said frankly, were determined by CCAS senior management, who decided she should focus on the services provided to Jeffrey's parents during the period 1994 to 2002.

Ms. Abell concluded that, because Ms. Bottineau went to the CCAS with concerns about her daughter and son-in-law's care for their first baby, and kept pestering the agency as each successive child was born, the CCAS began to see her as an ally.

"Given the level of her concern for the children," Ms. Abell wrote, "the role of the grandmother was viewed as a family strength."

Moreover, Ms. Abell found, "there does not appear to have been follow-up with the family after the children were living with the grandparents. With each subsequent placement, the grandmother applied for custody within weeks and the case was closed for further service."

Lacklustre background checks and poor investigations are familiar laments about children's aid agencies.

Though Jeffrey was not "receiving services," as the jargon of child welfare puts it, when he died on Nov. 30, 2002, he would have been if the CCAS had done minimal checks -- either of the records it already had or even a simple criminal-records search.

In the eight years before Jeffrey died, the agency was involved in much-publicized deaths of two other young clients -- the April, 1994, murder of baby Sara Podniewicz by her parents, and the June, 1997, starvation death of infant Jordan Heikamp. Both died while ostensibly being monitored by the CCAS.

In those cases, as with this one, it was evident that CCAS workers failed to properly investigate the caregivers and to adequately monitor the vulnerable children.

As British Columbia Judge Thomas Gove noted in his famous 1995 review of one little boy's death and the child-welfare system in that province, "Many other children continue to die in similar circumstances, yet little seems to change."

Many of the most significant problems he found in the death of Matthew Vaudreil centred on poor investigations. As he noted, "background history . . . does not seem to be part of an investigation."

All the damning information the CCAS had in what Ms. Abell described as "child-protection files, court files, child-in-care files and adoption files" was never once accessed.

Even without it, the agency was concerned enough about Jeffrey and his three siblings that four times they held a "high-risk-case conference."

Yet the only record checks performed were done on the people who were losing the youngsters -- their parents, Yvonne Kidman and Richard Baldwin. Not one check was done on those seeking custody of them -- the grandparents.

Most cruelly, it is debatable what the agency has learned -- beyond adopting a new policy requiring background checks on relatives seeking custody -- from its failures in Jeffrey's death.

The same day the little boy died, his siblings were retrieved by the CCAS. After a brief stint in emergency foster care, using what's called a "collateral" agency, Carpe Diem, the CCAS placed the shattered youngsters in a permanent foster home so far removed from their experience, and so preposterously beautiful to their weary eyes, that Jeffrey's oldest sister believed they had been brought there merely to have Christmas pictures taken.

There, under the care of a woman named Karen and her husband and their own two young girls, the siblings bloomed.

They did so as one would expect in youngsters who had been grossly traumatized -- in fits and starts. Each child had different and painful adjustments to make.

The sister who had been locked away with Jeffrey had to learn that a toilet was not for drinking from or washing in; that she did not have to Hoover down everything in sight because there really was another meal just around the corner; that she should brush her hair. The little girl had to learn, in short, that she was a valuable, worthy and lovable human being.

The older sister, who had been treated relatively well under the Bottineau-Kidman regime but simultaneously given far too much responsibility and far too much exposure to adult anxieties, had to learn that she was a child who was free to be a child.

Mostly, she had to learn to accept that she could not have been, should not have been, and would never have been expected to be Jeffrey's saviour.

Critically, she had to learn that her terrible, corrosive guilt was misplaced.

The youngest boy, who had been spoiled by Ms. Bottineau and Mr. Kidman in the ways they believed mattered -- with material things and overtly preferential treatment -- had to realize that he was no longer the first among unequals. He had to pick up after himself, not order about like a servant any adult female he encountered, and stop whacking and berating his little sister. He had to understand he was no longer that precocious creature called "the Prince" by his grandparents.

These are tough lessons, not learned overnight and arguably not even in a lifetime.

But the children made significant progress, every bit of it chronicled in the regular "plans of care" that Carpe Diem prepared and sent to the CCAS and its lead worker.

The little girl, enrolled by her foster parents in everything from karate lessons to swimming and Brownies, gained physical confidence and, with that, began to show the first tenuous signs of self-acceptance. The elder girl made friends at school and became popular, did well academically and began to shed the reserve that was a necessary shield in her grandparents' house, where Jeffrey was a dirty secret to be kept from the outside world. The little boy, though prone to temper tantrums and stubbornness, was learning that men, especially husbands, need not hit their wives and that women were not chattel.

It was this youngster who inadvertently precipitated the crisis that, just before Thanksgiving this year, saw the children abruptly yanked from the foster home and separated.

The reason for their removal has been shrouded in secrecy, but The Globe has interviewed the foster parents at length and seen documents that appear to support their version of events.

The foster mother was walking the five children -- Jeffrey's sibs and her own two -- to school. En route, the little guy suddenly sat down smack in a neighbour's driveway and refused to move.

"Buster," she said, "if I have to drag you there I will," and with that, and a reminder that he would get to play basketball that day -- his new favourite game -- she scooped him under one arm and half-carried, half-dragged him the rest of the way.

"They [the CCAS] say I should have stayed with him," she said in the recent interview. "But I couldn't leave the four girls on their own.

"I'm not Betty Crocker," the foster mom said with a tearful grin of how she handled things that day, "I'm a normal mom."

The little boy went into his class and promptly reported: "My mom dragged me here." Teachers and school officials were well aware that they had the youngsters from a "high-profile" child-death case in their ranks. They were on high alert, and called the area children's aid society.

In short order, social workers descended upon the school, and all the children -- but for one of the foster mom's own daughters, who was sick and had gone back home with her --were privately questioned.

The little boy, finding himself in his rightful place once again -- the centre of adult attention -- complained that his foster mom had also thrown his computer away, tossed his money in the fireplace, locked him in his room.

Meanwhile, Karen was back at her house, blissfully unaware of what was coming.

At five to 3, she was back at the school to walk the kids home. A case manager from Carpe Diem met her there and said, "There's a problem. There's been an allegation."

Soon, they were all back at her house -- two workers each from Carpe Diem and the CCAS, a couple of representatives of the local children's aid, the five children.

The foster mom sent the kids upstairs, knowing it was futile and that they would hear everything anyway. The oldest girl, with her learned distrust of social workers, was already packing.

The questions came hard and fast for Karen. Do you call the kids names? Yes, she said, if you mean did she tell the little boy, "You have to pick up your toys; bend at the waist!" or tell one or another of them, "You can't watch too much of the idiot box, or you'll become one." Do you send them to their rooms? Yes, she said, sometimes, but their doors are open and they each have their own music there and besides, "How do you punish children who have been through what they've been through?" Do you yell at them? "I have five children under the age of 11," the foster mom told them. "You need to be louder than them."

A letter from the local children's aid society received more than two weeks after the meeting notes the agency had "verified" certain "protection concerns."

The yelling was deemed "moderate risk of emotional harm;" the half-dragging of the little boy "moderate risk of physical harm;" the sending of the youngsters to their rooms -- the little girl, for instance, would be told to stay in her room until she brushed her hair, which could take hours if she got distracted -- was labelled "moderate risk of cruel and inappropriate treatment."

Despite that, Karen told The Globe, the local agency concluded the children were not at such risk that they had to be moved. It was the CCAS from Toronto that made that call, and so, that very night, Oct. 4, the youngsters left their foster parents' home forever.

When the children were called downstairs and officially "told" what they had already overheard, "all five of them burst into tears." The little boy immediately recanted, said he'd been lying -- indeed, the Carpe Diem reports of this year noted that he "has a tendency to lie about anything and everything" and was bitter about his loss of status -- and that he didn't want to go. The older girl announced she was packed. There was a platoon of cars outside the house, ready to take them away.

"I told them, 'Make us proud,' " the foster mom told The Globe, weeping.

The three children remain in separate foster homes -- apparently, their therapists believed the sight of one another was causing them to be "retraumatized," so the removal provided an opportunity to test that theory -- and meet once a month for a supervised visit at a neutral site.

"They kept saying they had to 'err on the side of caution' because of the 'high-profile nature of the case,' " the foster mom said.

She remains furious and bewildered. CCAS workers "were in this house every 30 to 45 days," she said, and knew first-hand how well the children were doing.

The Carpe Diem reports refer to increasingly warm bonds the children and foster parents were developing, with remarks from the children themselves that they wanted to "grow up in that house and stay there forever," and praise for the foster parents.

Almost gruff and affectionate, the foster mom was blunt that she had expectations for the three youngsters, just as she does for her own two. Where the social workers urged her to be happy if the threesome merely socialized at school, for instance, Karen believed they should also do their homework.

It was a bit of a philosophical divide, with the foster mom believing the three were capable of greatness, and the social workers content if they were attending classes.

Karen's own two daughters were devastated by the sudden removal.

The foster parents had just bought a new van, the better to transport their brood about. The whole configuration of the couple's sprawling new house was geared to there always being five kids there -- bunk beds for two girls in one room; for two others in another; the boy's awash in Spiderman paraphernalia; both leaves always in the big wooden table in the bright kitchen.

As plain, good sense was missing in the beginning, so it was again at the end.

For years, the Catholic CAS failed to perform what is surely the most elementary task in child welfare -- that is, check out the people getting custody of a youngster -- and ultimately failed to protect Jeffrey and his siblings.

Then, when Jeffrey was long dead, the agency was hyper-vigilant, and overreacted to the angry allegations of a furious little boy even though they appear to fly in the face of evidence singing the praises of the foster home.

These are flip sides of the same coin -- on the one, extreme institutional sloppiness; on the other, the harshness of zero tolerance.

The only independent body that reviewed Jeffrey's death was the pediatric death review committee, originally set up in 1991 and expanded six years later under Ontario deputy coroner Dr. Jim Cairns. He decided, after a series of inquests into the deaths of children being monitored by children's aid societies, that the committee would review the deaths of all youngsters who "died with an open CAS file" within the previous year.

It is possible, even probable, that Dr. Cairns could decide after Judge Watt's verdict is delivered to hold an inquest into Jeffrey's death. But just as the review committee can only make recommendations, not impose them, so are inquest jury recommendations merely suggestions.

Ontario's Children's Advocate, an agency of the children's and youth services ministry, cannot investigate either, and indeed, in a 2003 report called It's Time to Break the Silence, was pronounced the least powerful and worst-staffed of the eight child advocate's offices across Canada.

The Ontario ombudsman, André Marin, appeared this month before the standing committee on social policy -- the group reviewing proposed new child-welfare legislation -- to beg that his office be given power to probe complaints against children's aid societies.

In addition, he told The Globe in an interview, he has personally lobbied Premier Dalton McGuinty and the new Child and Youth Minister Mary Anne Chambers to push for independent oversight for the agencies.

"It's hard to find a champion," Mr. Marin said, because "oversight means accountability."

His counterparts in other provinces, Mr. Marin said, can probe complaints against a child-protection agency.

But while his office has investigative tools he calls robust -- the ability to subpoena witnesses, hold hearings, even send people to jail for non-co-operation -- he is precluded from probing complaints involving children's aid societies and long-term-care institutions for the elderly.

The bill revising the Child and Family Services Act has gone to second reading at the legislature, but though Mr. Marin said it would take only "a 10-word line" added to the bill to give his office the necessary authority, "there have been no changes" thus far.

"It's just a crying shame that children are not entitled to the same oversight" as the Ontarian who is denied a driver's licence, Mr. Marin said. "If you're after a licence and you don't get it, you can complain to me."

As Judge Gove wrote a decade ago in his searing indictment of the B.C. child-welfare system, "Child protection has, for as long as anyone can remember, been conducted in secrecy, with at least the perception that social workers are not accountable."

There remains no champion for independent investigations of children's aid societies, or for all those children who do not die but are merely injured and who suffer unnoticed.

There is none at all for the little boy who was once -- in the relatively glorious months before he was removed from his parents' sometimes violent and always erratic care and placed in the far more dangerous home of his grandparents -- called Jiffy Pop for his popcorn hair.

Did Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman kill Jeffrey Baldwin? Will they be found guilty of murder? At the least, their feet have been put to the fire. They have been called to account. In the matter of dead children in this province, that's as good as it gets. The buck stops with the alleged killers, not with those who arguably placed the victim in their sights.

Long-term solutions

Change legislation so the independent Ontario ombudsman can probe complaints about children's aid societies.

Better fund the pediatric death review committee, and change the definition of "an open CAS file" to include those children who die within two years of receiving services from a CAS and any other case it deems fit.

Better fund the office of the Children's Advocate so it can reach vulnerable children, such as those in foster care, to inform them of their rights to complain.

Remove the investigative function from CAS social workers and have agencies hire instead former police officers, coroners, public-health nurses -- anyone who "thinks dirty" and doesn't take at face value what prospective caregivers say -- as investigators.

- Christie Blatchford

Troubling history

Jeffrey Baldwin's death was the third high-profile case in less than a decade of a child dying while being monitored by the Toronto Catholic Children's Aid Society (CCAS).

Sara Podniewicz, six months

Died April 25, 1994

Parents convicted of second-degree murder. Expert evidence at trial showed that before she died of pneumonia,Sara suffered multiple fractures to her ribs, arms and a leg as well as internal bleeding in the chest cavity and spinal cord. Jury heard the CCAS case worker relied on information given by the parents and recommended the agency end its involvement with the family.

Jordan Heikamp, five weeks

Died June 23, 1997

Died of chronic starvation while in care of his 19-year-old mother, who had no home, no money and no job. A coroner's inquest, which ruled the death a homicide, heard that the case worker assigned to Jordan saw him only twice, the last time about two weeks before his death.

Inquest issued 44 recommendations, including a call for child-protection workers to focus on their young charges and not the parents or families.

Jeffrey Baldwin, 5 years

Died Nov. 30, 2002

Died of septic shock and pneumonia brought on by chronic starvation. Placed by the CCAS in the care of his grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman, both previously convicted of child abuse.

They are now charged with first-degree murder.

cblatchford@globeandmail.ca

John E. Caswell said...

Rally Sign graphics and design are posted at: http://www.artofperceptiongraphics.com/jeffreybaldwin

Please have a look and provide your comments, suggested text, etc., via email - jec@artofperceptiongraphics.com.

I'll will produce 2 - 4ft x 8ft chloroplast sheets inkjet printed in colour and trimmed out into a maximum of 9 signs each for a total of 18 signs at a size of 15.5" x 31", minimum yield would be 8 signs total at a size of 24" x 48". If you wish to carry a sign please let me know so I can gauge production requirements.

Production will commence on Monday May 15th and I will deliver and distribute signs to those who wish to carry them on shortly before 10:30 am. Upon completion of the rally I will retrieve the signs at the completion of the rally for future use.

Vertical (portrait) designs will work best - Versions 1, 2 and 3. The horizontal designs where an initial vinyl banner idea.

Let me know what statements you believe will be the most effective.

Please try to steer clear of statements of anger only as they do not call for change and action but only express anger. For example - I'm mildly uncomfortable with the V2 "No more C.C.A.S." as it rings with an anti-catholic tone, however this would not be my intention. Intention would be to have one effective and accountable agency for all children regardless of race and religion. The best way to teach religion is at your own church or temple. Statements such as "C.C.A.S. Killed Jeffrey Baldwin" would be inaccurate since his grandparents killed Jeffrey, and don't suggest what to do to make positive change in our society for the protection and enrichment of the lives of all children.

I look forward to you comments.

Thanks, John Caswell

jec@artofperceptiongraphics.com

cell 416-904-8095

John E. Caswell said...

Rally Sign graphics and design are posted at: http://www.artofperceptiongraphics.com/jeffreybaldwin

Please have a look and provide your comments, suggested text, etc., via email - jec@artofperceptiongraphics.com.

I'll will produce 2 - 4ft x 8ft chloroplast sheets inkjet printed in colour and trimmed out into a maximum of 9 signs each for a total of 18 signs at a size of 15.5" x 31", minimum yield would be 8 signs total at a size of 24" x 48". If you wish to carry a sign please let me know so I can gauge production requirements.

Production will commence on Monday May 15th and I will deliver and distribute signs to those who wish to carry them on shortly before 10:30 am. Upon completion of the rally I will retrieve the signs at the completion of the rally for future use.

Vertical (portrait) designs will work best - Versions 1, 2 and 3. The horizontal designs where an initial vinyl banner idea.

Let me know what statements you believe will be the most effective.

Please try to steer clear of statements of anger only as they do not call for change and action but only express anger. For example - I'm mildly uncomfortable with the V2 "No more C.C.A.S." as it rings with an anti-catholic tone, however this would not be my intention. Intention would be to have one effective and accountable agency for all children regardless of race and religion. The best way to teach religion is at your own church or temple. Statements such as "C.C.A.S. Killed Jeffrey Baldwin" would be inaccurate since his grandparents killed Jeffrey, and don't suggest what to do to make positive change in our society for the protection and enrichment of the lives of all children.

I look forward to you comments.

Thanks, John Caswell

jec@artofperceptiongraphics.com

cell 416-904-8095

enquirerer said...

Another rally will be held June 20th in Toronto Queen's park from 11 to 12:30. Come and show your support to reforms for CAS.

enquirerer said...

hi

enquirerer said...

There will be a demonstration, rally at Queen's park Toronto on June 20th from 11 to 12:30 to promot changes to the CAS. Please come and let them hear your concerns

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