Subject: Auditor General Report
CBC: Ontario's Auditor General has found money the province provided for the protection of young children was misspent on expensive cars, meals and other perks for staff at some Children's Aid Societies. CBC News has obtained a final draft of the province's first value for money audit of Children's Aid which is to be released next week. The report looks at four of Ontario's biggest agencies in Toronto, York, Peel and Thunder Bay. The audit details the lack of controls on more than a billion dollars worth of taxpayers money that Ontario Children's Aid Societies spend every year, and as Margo Kelly reports, the Auditor also says the agencies aren't following the laws that protect children.
REPORTER: The Auditor's report contains disturbing details of misspent money. Several executives were given luxury vehicles including two SUV's worth more than $50,000. An employee had a staff car, but was also given $600 a month for the use of their own vehicle. One manager received a $2,000 a year gym membership and $650 every three months for a personal trainer. Numerous meals for child welfare staff at high end restaurants were expensed with no explanation. And the Auditor also questions expensive trips to the Caribbean, China and Buenos Aires.
MICHAEL DAVIS (Retired homicide detective): It's outrageous when you read it.
REPORTER: Retired homicide detective Michael Davis helped Ontario's Coroner review the deaths of hundreds of children who died while in the care of the Children's Aid. He's upset about the Auditor General's revelations about the lack of controls on hundreds of millions of dollars handed out to group and foster homes, and concerns that some services were never delivered.
DAVIS: Where is the paper trail with regard to the money that you're spending, the taxpayers money that you are spending, and...but where is the Minister in this?
REPORTER: Other findings illustrate how the societies aren't following the law to protect children. In one-third of cases reviewed, initial visits to children at risk were late by an average of three weeks, some children weren't seen at all. In the cases reviewed 90 per cent of the plans meant to keep children safe weren't completed as required and some were 10 months late. The Auditor asks why government funding for Ontario's Children's Aid Societies has more than doubled over six years, while the number of families served increased by only 40 per cent. The Children's Aid Societies have refused to comment, but CBC News has learned that the agencies have hired a public relations firm to help managed the damaging news. In their words - to preserve the reputation of Children's Aid Societies and their leaders. Margo Kelly, CBC News, Toronto.