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Monday, April 03, 2006

There have been a couple of requests for a public rally this Friday April 7. The day of the verdict. Is anybody interested?

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid the tight timeframe leaves little opportunity to get people out in numbers. That's important as small turnouts are easily discredited and ignored.

If a rally were to be held in future, there are many groups and individuals throughout the province that should be enlisted, as well as those who attended the memorial. The event would also benefit from sufficient time to notify anonymous individuals posting on other sites opposed to CAS.

Anonymous said...

Hi

The last poster is correct. It might be good idea to schedule something after The Fifth Estate airs its story "Failing Jeffrey". We can use the momentum of the verdict and the TV coverage to attract more participants.

Anonymous said...

This is a good time to get CAS issues before the public. There has been hard-hitting coverage in the media of late and many people will be shocked by what they've read. It would be a shame to miss this opportunity.

I suspect Amanda would have to be involved in setting date, time and other details. I would attend if there's strong interest from others.

Anonymous said...

I would try and attend and to get others to as well. Giving notice so that people can make arrangements for childcare and work is a must though. I suspect a lot would wish to attend. The poster is right in that many are in various areas of Ontario and would have to make travel arrangements. Of course the spring is a good time as road conditions are less of a problem for those outside of the GTA.

Lisa said...

I still think that it should happen on Friday due to the press coverage and the location. I will be there and will be bringing others with me. Amanda let me know if you will be there.Thanks

Anonymous said...

Even a small protest on the Friday, followed with a larger one would be a good thing.

Jeffrey's Law said...

I agree that a small gathering would be better than none at all on Friday. Having said that, it is my last day of work and can not come to T.O. A huge protest after the Fifth Estate airs is a good idea as well.

I hope the courtroom is packed on Friday, a friend of mine is calling me at work to tell me the verdict which I will post immediately for anyone else who couldn't make it.

You are all amazing people!

Anonymous said...

The NDP will introduce legislation today to allow the Ombudsman to oversee the CAS!!
This needs our support.
April 4, 2006


NDP PUSHES NEW, NEEDED POWERS FOR OMBUDSMAN


New Democrat MPPs Andrea Horwath and Rosario Marchese propose a legislative package to better protect Ontarians when provincial institutions fail them.

The NDP’s three private members’ bills, slated for introduction on Wednesday, propose new and necessary powers for the Ontario Ombudsman.


WHEN: Wednesday, April 5
11 a.m.

WHERE: Queen’s Park Media Studio
Main Legislative Building



-30-


Media contact: Dan O’Brien (416) 325-2777

Anonymous said...

Everyone let's meet at the courthouse at 9:00 a.m. and after verdict let's rally against CAS - we need to get message out now when media will be present. We need to make a statement and follow up after Fifth Estate program.

Anonymous said...

Rosario Marchese was a member of the committee involved with Bill 210. That he is also prepared to push for Ombudsman oversight is welcome news. Ted Chudleigh, another committee member, also believed the bill was flawed and there was a real need for CAS accountability. Hopefully, these developments will open the door another inch or two.

I'd also say the idea of a small rally followed by a larger one is good.

Anonymous said...

JUDGE ANDREE RUFFO

Andee Ruffo when the fifth estate first interviewed her in 1990. Andree Ruffo graduated at the top of her law school class and established one of the first practices to specialize in representing children. She seemed the ideal choice to be named to the Quebec youth court. When she was appointed, in 1986, Judge Andree Ruffo was one of the youngest, and one of very few female, judges at the time.
But Ruffo spoke often, and very publicly, about the flaws she saw in the youth protection services system. In her court, she refused to issue judgments that fit the resources rather than the child.


Throughout her career, Ruffo has criticised flaws in the youth protection services system in Quebec.Her determination to act on her conscience, and to speak her mind during her twenty years as a judge, set her on a collision course with the judiciary and with the social service bureaucracy.

Social workers and even her boss, the Chief Justice of Quebec, complained about her to the judges' disciplinary group, the Quebec Judicial Council. In total, hundreds of complaints were filed against the outspoken judge – though none of those came from children, their families, or the lawyers representing them.




Numerous complaints against Judge Ruffo led the Judicial Council to determine, in 2004, that she was unfit to sit as a judge. Throughout those years, the Quebec Human Rights Commission, was investigating agencies of the Youth Protection Service. In one case, they found an agency to be so seriously dysfunctional that the Commission advised the province to step in. In another they found children locked in empty cells, sometimes for days. Both agencies were in Ruffo's jurisdiction and had made complaints against Judge Ruffo.

Like Ruffo, the Commission concluded the entire youth protection system was in need of an urgent major overhaul. The province has now started committee hearings on reform.

But being right hasn't helped Judge Ruffo. In 2004, the Judicial Council determined that her behaviour and her refusal to change, rendered her unfit to sit on the bench as a judge. The Court of Appeal of Quebec dismissed Ruffo's appeal of that decision, effectively saying that a good cause does not justify improper judicial behaviour.


Ruffo has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to review her case. Now Ruffo has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to consider her case. If the highest justices in the land agree to hear her case, she may play a role in changing the law on judges' freedom of speech. If they decline, Andree Ruffo will be a judge no longer.

While she waits for their decision, Andree Ruffo keeps busy working for children. She is a founding member of the group 'Magiciens Sans Frontieres' which travels to orphanages and refugee camps performing free for children.

THE FIFTH ESTATE

Jeffrey's Law said...

If you are for sure going to rally on Friday, I will e-mail Gillian at the Fifth Estate, she will send a camera crew no doubt!

ph said...

Anyone have idea of when the verdict will come down - just approximate time?

Thanks.

(I plan on being there)

Anonymous said...

How about a sign that says "make the child abduction society accountable in the real and true interests of children and families"

Anonymous said...

How about:

Scrap CAS

Anonymous said...

I also wonder if somehow there could be pictures of Jeffrey on picket signs? I think the public needs to see the little face of this lost angel. Though many have I think it would really say a lot.
And may there could be leaflets or informational sheets giving people the website address to this blog, and to Dufferin VOCA and other sites. Just ideas.

Anonymous said...

What a good idea. Leaflets with this blog's address would encourage people to follow up. The more people reached, the better.

Anonymous said...

One of the Paternal cousins has T-shirts of a pic of Jeffrey and it reads "Justice for Jeffrey!" I saw it in a newspaper. Too bad it's tomorrow. I know they will all be there with the shirts, perhaps she has more??

Anonymous said...

Dale Ann Freed is writing a piece for tomorrow's Toronto Star. Email her dfreed@torstar.ca or call her 416 586 4436 now! The more publicity she gives this in the early morning, the more profile to the rally!!

Anonymous said...

Why didn't I think of that. Some of the posters on this site have really good ideas.

Anonymous said...

Check page 19 of the Star - Ombudsman publishes OP ED on the need for CAS oversight!!

Jeffrey Baldwin deserved better protection
The kind of systemic failings that contributed to boy's death are precisely the kinds of things the Ontario ombudsman's office is equipped to fix, says André Marin
Apr. 7, 2006.

Some say that the best thing about an ombudsman's office is its ability to solve government problems efficiently and inexpensively. There is something to that.

Ombudsman Ontario processes 23,000 complaints a year, with a budget comprising less than .012 per cent of government spending.

To be sure, some of these complaints are minor but many are not. Many have the potential if not addressed effectively to lead to rancorous and protracted litigation or even to public inquiries.

As masterful as Justice Bellamy's MFP computer leasing inquiries were, they cost $19.2 million — more than twice our annual budget — and they dealt with the kinds of issues that if complained about early could have been eliminated using the kind of tools my office has.

As important as efficiency and cost-effectiveness are though, they are not the best thing about having an ombudsman; solving human problems, even preventing tragedy, is.

One of the first cases I worked on involved a young man who was being saved by a miracle drug from a degenerative brain disease that had been stealing both his health and his mind. His parents were facing virtual poverty trying to fund his treatment, since Ontario would not.

We exposed bureaucratic intransigence and changed this. Our work also enabled dedicated parents who cannot afford residential treatment for their children to secure it without the indignity of having to relinquish custody to the Children's Aid Society on the pretence that they are unfit to care for their children.

Our efforts in another case pushed aside decades of inaction to secure broad-based newborn screening that will not only save hundreds of children from suffering preventable diseases, it will save lives.

I need think only of the misery and death of Jeffrey Baldwin to realize the true value in having the kind of vital and robust ombudsman's office that we have in Ontario.

At the same time, however, I am struck with immense frustration, as my office cannot investigate cases like Jeffrey's because of the limits of its jurisdiction.

Even though Children's Aid Societies use public money to fulfill the state function of caring for children in need of protection, and their mandate is set by provincial legislation, they do not come under my office's mandate merely for the technical reason that they are not deemed "governmental organizations."

While there are courts with narrow jurisdiction, community boards without powers of investigation, ministerial reviews, and coroners to investigate when the unthinkable happens, there is no independent oversight mechanism mandated to uncover bureaucratic failings and potentially prevent tragedies before they occur.

Jeffrey Baldwin died in the care of his grandmother, a mentally defective woman who had been convicted of child abuse years before when her own daughter died, and of his grandfather, a man with a child abuse record of his own.

Jeffrey was with them because the CAS did not have procedures in place to deal with child placement with family members.

No background checks were conducted. No files were reviewed. It was assumed that because they were "family," that was protection enough.

Even if the CAS had checked, it is not clear whether this would have made a difference.

It boggles the mind.

This is a classic example of systemic breakdown. It is maladministration with grave consequences.

It would be unfair of me to suggest that Jeffrey could have been spared his terrible death if my office had jurisdiction over CAS.

The kind of systemic failings, however, that contributed to his death are precisely the kinds of things we are equipped to fix.

I can say that oversight by my office has the potential to uncover and remedy systemic failings that could prevent other vulnerable children from suffering a similar terrible fate.

This is why I am calling on Premier Dalton McGuinty's government to give Ontario independent and effective oversight over private or semi-private organizations that provide governmental services using public money — such as schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities and child protection services.

These institutions are outside the net of effective external oversight not because of discrete public policy reasons but merely because of happenstance, accidents of history, the downloading of services, and privatization.

As a result, the average citizen is left in the lurch.

Instead of having access to an independent, impartial investigator with the ability to get to the bottom of things and root out problems, the "little guy" is left to his own devices or the often weak and self-serving complaints mechanism offered by these organizations, if they even exist.

In November 2004, the auditor-general's jurisdiction was expanded to permit the auditor to conduct value for money audits over such bodies, recognizing that, along with government funding for providing public services, also comes accountability.

If you are going to insist on the financial accountability of these organizations, why not make them accountable also for the administrative decisions they make with public funds, decisions that have a direct and palpable impact on citizens?

Not only has the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman not evolved in 30 years but, over time, the reach of the office's oversight powers has slowly been eroded with the divesting of government authority to private and community organizations.

The failure to keep up with the times and with the changing face of government has meant that Ontario has fallen significantly behind other provinces in the oversight field.

Seven other provinces have Ombudsman oversight of hospitals and other health-care bodies, three others have Ombudsman oversight of private child protection agencies and four have Ombudsman jurisdiction over school boards and municipalities.

Others have modernized and expanded their Ombudsman's mandate, where our mandate has stagnated to the detriment of the citizens of Ontario.

As a result, we are now sitting at the back of the oversight pack. Not something to be proud of in an era where accountability is so high on the stated public agenda.

Let's move to the front of the line. Let's make sure that little Jeffrey did not die in vain.


André Marin is Ombudsman of Ontario.

Anonymous said...

Check page 19 of the Star - Ombudsman publishes OP ED on the need for CAS oversight!!

Jeffrey Baldwin deserved better protection
The kind of systemic failings that contributed to boy's death are precisely the kinds of things the Ontario ombudsman's office is equipped to fix, says André Marin
Apr. 7, 2006.

Some say that the best thing about an ombudsman's office is its ability to solve government problems efficiently and inexpensively. There is something to that.

Ombudsman Ontario processes 23,000 complaints a year, with a budget comprising less than .012 per cent of government spending.

To be sure, some of these complaints are minor but many are not. Many have the potential if not addressed effectively to lead to rancorous and protracted litigation or even to public inquiries.

As masterful as Justice Bellamy's MFP computer leasing inquiries were, they cost $19.2 million — more than twice our annual budget — and they dealt with the kinds of issues that if complained about early could have been eliminated using the kind of tools my office has.

As important as efficiency and cost-effectiveness are though, they are not the best thing about having an ombudsman; solving human problems, even preventing tragedy, is.

One of the first cases I worked on involved a young man who was being saved by a miracle drug from a degenerative brain disease that had been stealing both his health and his mind. His parents were facing virtual poverty trying to fund his treatment, since Ontario would not.

We exposed bureaucratic intransigence and changed this. Our work also enabled dedicated parents who cannot afford residential treatment for their children to secure it without the indignity of having to relinquish custody to the Children's Aid Society on the pretence that they are unfit to care for their children.

Our efforts in another case pushed aside decades of inaction to secure broad-based newborn screening that will not only save hundreds of children from suffering preventable diseases, it will save lives.

I need think only of the misery and death of Jeffrey Baldwin to realize the true value in having the kind of vital and robust ombudsman's office that we have in Ontario.

At the same time, however, I am struck with immense frustration, as my office cannot investigate cases like Jeffrey's because of the limits of its jurisdiction.

Even though Children's Aid Societies use public money to fulfill the state function of caring for children in need of protection, and their mandate is set by provincial legislation, they do not come under my office's mandate merely for the technical reason that they are not deemed "governmental organizations."

While there are courts with narrow jurisdiction, community boards without powers of investigation, ministerial reviews, and coroners to investigate when the unthinkable happens, there is no independent oversight mechanism mandated to uncover bureaucratic failings and potentially prevent tragedies before they occur.

Jeffrey Baldwin died in the care of his grandmother, a mentally defective woman who had been convicted of child abuse years before when her own daughter died, and of his grandfather, a man with a child abuse record of his own.

Jeffrey was with them because the CAS did not have procedures in place to deal with child placement with family members.

No background checks were conducted. No files were reviewed. It was assumed that because they were "family," that was protection enough.

Even if the CAS had checked, it is not clear whether this would have made a difference.

It boggles the mind.

This is a classic example of systemic breakdown. It is maladministration with grave consequences.

It would be unfair of me to suggest that Jeffrey could have been spared his terrible death if my office had jurisdiction over CAS.

The kind of systemic failings, however, that contributed to his death are precisely the kinds of things we are equipped to fix.

I can say that oversight by my office has the potential to uncover and remedy systemic failings that could prevent other vulnerable children from suffering a similar terrible fate.

This is why I am calling on Premier Dalton McGuinty's government to give Ontario independent and effective oversight over private or semi-private organizations that provide governmental services using public money — such as schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities and child protection services.

These institutions are outside the net of effective external oversight not because of discrete public policy reasons but merely because of happenstance, accidents of history, the downloading of services, and privatization.

As a result, the average citizen is left in the lurch.

Instead of having access to an independent, impartial investigator with the ability to get to the bottom of things and root out problems, the "little guy" is left to his own devices or the often weak and self-serving complaints mechanism offered by these organizations, if they even exist.

In November 2004, the auditor-general's jurisdiction was expanded to permit the auditor to conduct value for money audits over such bodies, recognizing that, along with government funding for providing public services, also comes accountability.

If you are going to insist on the financial accountability of these organizations, why not make them accountable also for the administrative decisions they make with public funds, decisions that have a direct and palpable impact on citizens?

Not only has the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman not evolved in 30 years but, over time, the reach of the office's oversight powers has slowly been eroded with the divesting of government authority to private and community organizations.

The failure to keep up with the times and with the changing face of government has meant that Ontario has fallen significantly behind other provinces in the oversight field.

Seven other provinces have Ombudsman oversight of hospitals and other health-care bodies, three others have Ombudsman oversight of private child protection agencies and four have Ombudsman jurisdiction over school boards and municipalities.

Others have modernized and expanded their Ombudsman's mandate, where our mandate has stagnated to the detriment of the citizens of Ontario.

As a result, we are now sitting at the back of the oversight pack. Not something to be proud of in an era where accountability is so high on the stated public agenda.

Let's move to the front of the line. Let's make sure that little Jeffrey did not die in vain.


André Marin is Ombudsman of Ontario.

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