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Thursday, February 22, 2007

I need help... if anyone knows of previous foster / abused children who are now adults who would be interested in speaking with me, please let me know. I am trying to research what happens to these children once they are out of the system. I need to get figures and statistics about how many children become depressed adults, abuse others, get into criminal activities, etc. If anyone also knows of websites or books they could direct me to, that would be great as well. I am in the drafting stage of my crisis nursery proposal and need evidence that a service I am trying to set up would be beneficial. I am also off to Edmonton next month to tour a crisis nursery there.

I am so confident that a crisis nursery would reduce child abuse and neglect because it offers real help to parents while dealing with hardship. Loss of employment, loss of housing, termination of a relationship, etc. Everyone needs help once in a while; everyone.

I think the CAS should be an absolute last resort. It needs to be totally overhauled. 90% of CAS workers (especially the 'big cheeses' or Don's as I like to say because the organization may as well be a mafia) should be fired and then put in jail. Until that happens, a crisis nursery is needed.

I appreciate any help any of you can offer! My e-mail address again is



Lisa said...

My name is Chris
I am three,
My eyes are swollen
I cannot see,
I must be stupid

I must be bad,
What else could have made
My daddy so mad?

I wish I were better
I wish I weren't ugly,
Then maybe my mommy
Would still want to hug me.

I cant do a wrong
I cant speak at all
Or else im locked up
All day long.

When im awake im all alone
The house is dark
My folks arent home
When my mommy does come home
I'll try and be nice,
So maybe ill just get
One whipping tonight.

I just heard a car
My daddy is back
From Chariles bar.
I hear him curse

My name is called
I press myself
Against the wall
I try to hide
From his evil eyes

I'm so afraid now
I'm starting to cry
He finds me weeping
Calls me ugly words,
He says its my fault
He suffers at work.

He slaps and hits me
And yells at me more,
I finally get free
And run to the door
Hes already locked it
And I start to bawl

He takes me and throws me
Against the hard wall
I fall to the floor
with my bones nearly broken,
And my daddy continues
With more
bad words spoken,
"I'm sorry!", I scream
But its now much to late
His face has been twisted
Into a unimaginable shape
The hurt and the pain
Again and again

O please God, have mercy!
O please let it end!
And he finally stops
And heads for the door
While i lay there motionless
Sprawled on the floor

My name is Chris
I am three,
Tonight my daddy
Murdered me

I found this poem and the way it is written is easy to understand why we cannot stand by and allow this to happen. I miss Jeffrey and the think of him often. I hope his siblings are getting better and the help they need. Thank you for all your hard work Amanda, don't ever give up. Lisa

Anonymous said...

This is the CAS system - children shipped to nine foster homes in six months, and abused along the way...............


London mother Shelly Stringer had bipolar depression, abused alcohol, was in a relationship with a controlling man and had been a ward of the Children's Aid Society while growing up.

These are all red-flag indicators for workers involved in child welfare.

Stringer's little girl eventually landed in CAS care.

"It was a struggle for me to find support that I needed," Stringer recalled.

At one point, little Davina was in six foster homes over a nine-month

Several years later, Davina and Shelly are together again, but the pair have to deal with a number of issues, including Davina's post-traumatic stress after being abused by a caregiver.

Stringer believes her daughter and other children do best when they can remain with their parents and receive support from community agencies.

"Davina has progressed a great deal, just being under my care and living with me where she feels safe and happy," Stringer said. "She's stable; she has got consistency and love."

A groundbreaking pilot project kicking off this month in London aims to keep families intact and reduce the number of children in CAS care.

Family Networks, which some say is the first of its kind in Canada, is a partnership of many agencies, led by the local United Way and CAS.

Families will have access to to professionals and services needed to keep members together in a safe environment.

The three-year project will soon open offices in the East London Y and at a temporary location until June at Beacock library branch. Network services will be available round- the-clock.

Wendy Pol, a social worker with the CAS of London and Middlesex, was
involved in helping plan the levels of support families want and need. She talked to agencies, community centres and families themselves to get a broad understanding of what is needed.

"Very clearly, (families) said they wanted neighbourhood-based services, non-judgmental, non-stigmatizing," Pol said.

Stringer was pleased to hear the attempts the network is making to steer clear of passing judgement.

"Parents don't need to feel like they're being judged. I was judged. I was asked (by a social worker) 'How can you parent when you're bipolar?' "

Sandy White, who helped bring community leaders together in the project's infancy (when it was being called a parent mentoring program) in her capacity as a city councillor and a CAS kinship service worker, said one of
the network's strength will be providing role models for parents. Some of the mentors are single moms.

"Often parents just need someone to teach them to parent. It makes a huge difference for children to have that long-term connection to their families."

Stringer, who talks to parents going through situations similar to hers to offer support, is hopeful this project will make a difference to families because it's definitely needed.

"I see so many (cases) where . . . stuff could be worked on at home with the kids there still."

A lot of leadership, expertise and commitment from a wide range of people and agencies has brought this project to fruition. Some had to put differences aside to achieve this goal.

Over the next three years, and hopefully longer, the goal now will be to remember the children who are benefiting and continue to work together.

Alarming surge of children in crisis planted seeds for Family Networks

Sun, February 4, 2007


A just-launched support system aimed at helping London families at risk of falling into crisis began over a cup of coffee in 2001.

Helen Connell and John Liston, then head of the Children's Aid Society of London and Middlesex, discussed an alarming trend facing the CAS -- a surge in the number of children dealt with.

"He said, 'It's huge, the number of children coming into (our) care. Something is happening out there,' " Connell, executive director of the United Way of Middlesex and London, said last week.

"I remember John saying, these aren't the Children's Aid's kids. These are the children in our community."

Flash forward to this month and the launch of Family Networks, a program whose goal is to help struggling families so CAS intervention isn't needed.

The program will operate in two underserviced neighbourhoods producing a high number of CAS referrals. One site will be along east-end Dundas Street; the other, at Highbury Avenue and Huron Street. Both open Feb. 14.

A family from those areas that contacts the CAS, but doesn't meet requirements for further investigation can be referred to Family Networks.

Three mentors, hired by Merrymount Children's Centre, will work at each site.

One will help the family find needed supports.

In 2001, Liston's concerns weren't imagined: Mirroring a provincewide trend, the number of kids locally had surged 70 per cent between 1995 and 2001.

He and Connell pieced together funding from the city and Middlesex County to find why so many families were struggling and so many kids were entering care.

A study led by child psychologist Alan Leschied of the University of Western Ontario was released in 2003. It offered several possible explanations for the rise -- including domestic violence and depression among mothers.

"Glen Howlett (then manager of community services) said, 'Don't let this gather dust.' We took that to heart," Connell said.

Leschied joined officials from the United Way, CAS and Merrymount Children's Centre on a 2004 trip to Pittsburgh where a program similar to Family Networks inspired London's project.

Pilot project offers help to struggling city families

Sat, February 3, 2007

Avoiding Children's Aid Society intervention is the goal of Family Networks.


One problem, two paths

A groundbreaking pilot project offering guidance to struggling London families could stop the rising number of kids entering child-protection agencies, its backers say.

Family Networks, launched yesterday to serve two neighbourhoods for the next three years, will help families who don't need Children's Aid Society intervention -- yet.

"If those families could receive that support, they might not need us in the long run," said CAS executive director Jane Fitzgerald, whose agency spearheaded the project with the United Way of London and Middlesex.

"(At home) is where children want to be. And that's where parents want them to be," Fitzgerald said.

The two sites, one along Dundas Street in the east end and the other at the Highbury Avenue-Huron Street intersection, open Feb. 14.

Existing agencies are operating the project, several years in the making.

A 2003 report, led by University of Western Ontario researcher Alan Leschied, examined the dramatic rise in kids entering CAS care -- locally, the number has doubled in the last decade -- and offered possible causes.

Those findings, coupled with consultation with experts and parents, led to the three-year project, which will work in two underserviced neighbourhoods already producing a high number of CAS referrals.

A family from those areas that contacts the CAS but doesn't meet the requirements for further investigation can now be referred to Family Networks.

Three mentors, hired by Merrymount Children's Centre, will work at each site.

One would be assigned to the family and, drawing on personal experience and training, offer support and help the family to find other community services.

That kind of personal connection can be key to help a young parent with few supports, said Helen Connell, the United Way's executive director.

"We're talking about parents who love their children," she said. "We should be coming together to help those . . . children and families who could, with community help, stay together."

Similar to a provincewide trend, the local CAS has seen the number of kids in its care double to about 850.

Stopping that uptick is one of the main goals of Family Networks, which will offer help at all hours.

Researchers from UWO will track the results over the project's three years. By its end, organizers want to see a reduction in CAS referrals from the two neighbourhoods.

"We're looking at something that will have outcomes to it, that we can say, 'How are we doing? How is this working?' " Connell said. "There's nothing else like it in Ontario.

"This program in some ways is filling in the kinds of things that communities and neighbourhoods and families have done for centuries. But maybe they're not available to these people."

The project isn't an alternative to the traditional child-protection work done by the CAS, Fitzgerald stressed. Of the 8,500 calls the local CAS fielded last year, only 580 resulted in files opened on families.

"Safety is paramount and all of our referral sources will continue," Fitzgerald said. "This is not intended to bypass those families that need child welfare.

"(But) when you look at the number of calls we get versus the actual number of families we actually get involved with, that tells you there's a gap. If this project is successful, less families will need our help down the road."

The project's co-ordinators are Ruth Young and Laverne Foran, who stated the ultimate goal simply: "That (these families) don't need us anymore."

With an annual budget of $565,000, the Family Networks costs are split among several groups:

- $278,000 a year from Ontario's Ministry of Children and Youth Services;

- $50,000 from the City of London;

- $50,000 a year from well-known London philanthropist Don Smith;

- The rest from an anonymous donor and United Way fundraising.

To Fitzgerald, that kind of co-operation speaks to the importance of the project.

Yesterday's launch at the downtown London library featured several speakers -- but none more emotional than London-North-Centre MPP Deb Matthews. The focus of the project can't be forgotten, she said.

"This is about protecting children. This is about supporting children. This is about allowing kids to remain with their families where they desperately want to be," she said.

Anonymous said...

Little cashier with big heart embraces life


She stands just an inch over five feet. But here in the Valu-mart grocery store on Wortley Road, it's hard -- no, make that impossible -- not to notice the big-hearted little cashier.

"Hello ducky!" she sings. "That's it lovey. That's all she wrote today."

When a customer inadvertently leaves an item behind, the cashier warbles out a warning that turns heads up and down the aisles.

"Come back and get your milk!" she yells, the word 'milk' dropping from her lips like a two-syllable trill.

Meet Theresa Kennedy -- aka T.K.

"She's the mayor of Wortley Village," says Grace Flesher, a nearby resident who says she always lines up at Kennedy's till, even when the other cashiers aren't busy. "She's our bellwether. We know Wortley Village is OK because she's always here and happy."

Happy may be an understatement.

Kennedy turns the simplest statement of cost or change into singsong ("That's three forty-two just for you!"). And she regularly refers to shoppers with endearing terms such as lovey, ducky and little trout. (As in, "Oh little trout, little trout, little trout.")

"You always know when T.K.'s in the store because there's a lot of laughter at the front end," says Harriet Bens, who operates the store with her husband, John. "She's very fun-loving."

It wasn't always this way, though.

Originally from the tiny town of Holyrood, Nfld., Kennedy has been working at the old south Valu-mart for about five years -- a number she quickly puts into perspective with the admission that she's been sober for almost 12 years.

"We lost our parents when we were small . . . and we grew up in a real bad foster home," she says, adding she was the youngest of seven children. "A lot of stuff happened that shouldn't have happened, including abuse.

"So unfortunately, I spent a lot of years drinking and drugging, trying to bury it," she says. It was, as she puts it in her lilting Newfie brogue, "a bit of a rough go. I never want to go back to where I was. Never, never. It (the drinking) just made everything worse, like adding fuel to the fire."

Kennedy, who moved to London about 20 years ago, says her dark days were filled with visits to psychiatric hospitals, bouts of manic depression and attempts at suicide. But with the help of family and friends, groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and a personal change in attitude, Kennedy was able to reclaim her life.

"I realized that my negative attitude had a lot to do with that stuff," she says. "You know, everything was 'poor me, poor me' and 'why did this have to happen.' And so I had to become my own best friend and make a life for myself and try to forget the past."

That was "real difficult," she says. "Because (I thought) I was a piece of dirt, I was garbage."

Kennedy says two things played a big role in her recovery. One was her 15-year-old pet cat, B.J.

"People said I needed something to love," she says, her eyes filling with tears. "And I firmly believe that cat helped me out a lot. Because when I was drinking and doing all that horrible, crazy stuff, he was the only thing that got looked after.

"I had to work at it," she says. "It was very dark, and now it's very light."

Kennedy also gives credit to a AA technique -- taking one day at a time. "I don't focus on yesterday and I don't focus on tomorrow. I try and stay in the day and do what's in front of me -- I try to stay where my hands are."

A single woman (her only daughter lives in Calgary), 50-year-old Kennedy says she always tries to wring a smile or a laugh from customers.

"I pray every morning: 'God, please give me a good day, let me be a help to somebody today,' " she says. "I try to look at the positive, instead of the negative side of things. No matter how negative it may be, there has to be some good in there, somewhere. There has to be."


Anonymous said...

The numbers of children in care and the rise in children in care where CAS has went after former wards is staggering. And if former wards have problems after being in CAS care - they are themselves further abused by them. In the Risk Assessment Model that is used by all 54 CAS agencies - being in care as a child is considered to place the parent at "risk" of abusing their own children.

What does that say about the CAS itself? And furthermore what does that say about the system overall.

In the story about Davina and her mother one can only imagine the "care" that was provided to this mother as she was a former ward to begin with?

Anonymous said...

In the case of in the hell can being sent to nine foster homes in six months, and being abused along the way be "in the best interests of the child"? Parents who would move to that degree would have their children taken by CAS to begin with.

Here is hoping that Jeffrey's siblings are not being carted around the countryside in this manner. The Ontario Ombudsman should have oversight of the CCAS and all other agencies to for one ensure that Jeffrey's siblings are actually in a safe and decent place.

Anonymous said...

This is a must read about kids in care.............

Voices From Within: Youth in Care in Ontario Speak Out

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...


I would like to hear a little more about the programming being set up.

There is a long standing problem with foster care and one of the central focuses for me is the reason to apprehend children which is ECONOMIC disadvantage or welfare reform amongst a host of reasons and probabilities.

Women are oppressed and not necessarily always dealing with depression.

Harris set up the foster care rules shortly after WELFARE reform and the 70 percent apprehension isn't just a coincidence since 1995.

Welfare reform is the key issue and has been the long standing issue.


Anonymous said...

Obese boy could be taken away from his family
CBC news
By Andrew Jackson
Published: 26 February 2007
The mother of an eight-year-old boy who may be taken into care tomorrow because of his excessive weight has condemned her local health authority for threatening the drastic measure without offering enough support to deal with her son's weight problem.

Experts fear the only way to prevent Connor McCreaddie, who weighs 150 pounds, from developing life-threatening diabetes or heart problems, may be to remove him from his family.

The classification of child obesity as a form of child abuse would mark a watershed in social policy, providing a justification for state intervention.

The boy's mother, Nicola McKeown, who has suffered from depression, said her family would be devastated if Connor was taken away. She accused the authorities in Wallsend, near Newcastle upon Tyne, where she lives in a council home with Connor and his sister, of failing to support her.

Speaking to the Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme, which has been following Connor's case for a month, she said: "I was given a diet sheet when he was five-years-old, stuck to it for a whole year. There was supposed to be a follow-up appointment, nothing. Carried on, stuck with it as long as I could and for the amount he was eating, I felt sorry for him.

"He lost a stone in a year and for the amount he was living on at the time, it should have been a drastic weight loss, not just a stone." She added: "The worst case would be Connor getting taken into care. He is well cared for, well looked after between the family.

"It is just the fact that he has totally demented me wanting feeding constantly. It is so hard."

Connor has reportedly broken four beds and five bicycles. He has difficulty walking, washing and dressing himself, and often has to miss school because of health problems.

His grandmother Barbara Bake said: "He is walking pretty bad at the moment because the strain is all on the knees.

"[I'm] extremely worried because if he ever gets taken into care, I think that would be the finish of me seriously. I love that little boy so much really. I would give my life for him, willingly."

The family has been summoned to a child protection conference tomorrow to discuss his future. The conference, which will be attended by two specialist obesity nurses, among other professionals, could result in his being placed on the child protection register, or the less serious, children-in-need register, and lead to him being taken into care.

Obesity experts believe the intervention is justified. Dr Michael Markiewicz, a consultant paediatrician, said: "I think we are looking at a child who is going to be exceedingly unhappy, exceedingly unhealthy and probably will face an early death. They love him but they actually love him to death, literally ... through the way they are treating him and feeding him, they are slowly killing him.

"As far as I'm concerned this is a form of child abuse. Not done intentionally, but the result is child abuse."

Dr Colin Waine, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, which campaigns to raise awareness of the impact of obesity on the NHS, said in extreme cases removing a child from his or her family would be justified. "The long-term impacts of this child's gross obesity are frightening," he said. "He has great risk of diabetes and coronary illness. His life expectancy is severely prejudiced. So action is required if his health is to be safeguarded."

Ms McKeown maintains she should have been helped earlier. "I don't see how they can say we are not doing enough," she said.

"We have all got Connor in our best interests. These are people that have never helped us before now. I asked to have a social worker to help me and this is what it has come to."

A spokeswoman for North Tyneside Council and North Tyneside Primary Care Trust said: "[We]have been working with the family over a prolonged period of time and will continue to do so. The child's interests are paramount."

Anonymous said...

He's actually 218 pounds! Holy baloney batman! There's a picture at! What a porker!

Overweight 8-Year-Old May Be Taken Into Protective Custody in U.K.
Monday, February 26, 2007

Connor McCreaddie and his mother Nicola McKeown.
Connor McCreaddie and his mother Nicola McKeown.

LONDON — British authorities may take an 8-year-old boy weighing 218 pounds into protective custody unless his mother improves his diet, officials said Monday.

Social service officials will meet family members Tuesday to discuss the health of Connor McCreaddie, who weighs more than three times the average for his age.

"The worst case would be Connor getting taken into care. He is well cared for," the boy's mother, Nicola McKeown, told ITV television.

A spokeswoman for health officials in Wallsend, North Tyneside, 300 miles north of London, said Tuesday's hearing was part of a process that could eventually lead to Connor being taken into protective care. She declined to comment further.

The health agencies organizing Tuesday's meeting issued a statement saying they "have been working with the family over a prolonged period of time and will continue to do so."

An unnamed health official was quoted as telling The Sunday Times that taking custody of Connor would be a last resort, but said the family had repeatedly failed to attend appointments with nurses, nutritionists and social workers.

Anonymous said...

Karen - the program will give a mother who is struggling a mentor who has insight and a person who can relate to the mother and the child to help them. Instead of just shipping the child out, it will work on addressing the possible issues that the family is facing. It may well be poverty, it may or may not be depression, it may be finding housing, finding a means of going back to school, finding appropriate child care etc..

I would think that welfare rates have something to do with the increase in CAS care - but other factors may come into play with this. All CAS agencies get paid per child that they apprehend which gives the incentive to apprehend, rather then to address what may or may not even be a problem. And it gives them incentive to take children as they get paid well for doing so, keeping them full tilt in business.

CAS operates in secrecy so God only knows what the real reason is for the increase - it may be a variety of factors; including welfare, going after former wards, funding lawsuits, finding children for their clients who want them for adoption, young social workers with silver spoons in their mouths just taking from text book theories, and heaven only knows what else.

CAS has always went after those on welfare, or those who may be in the position of having to use welfare. In some ways this was a cost saving measure by governments to allow CAS to have done what they have done in taking massive amounts of children.

But what has been so ridiculous is that those who foster are being paid over families who love their children - but who are struggling in poverty. They have been paying strangers for decades over families that they could have helped.

The child has never been considered ever in this whole thing. But the system was never designed to address the child to start with.

While this new program is good, and gives a bit of hope there are issues.

1) It still involves CAS and in fact it should not what so ever.

2) CAS is still not accountable to anyone, and they may well use this as a guise to carry on with what they do.

3) Those who have been in CAS care are not likely to trust either CAS, or those adjoined with them.

4) It is not known if fathers will be supported in this program, or other family members that could help the child.

This program would be better without CAS involved with it. But the fact that someone is even attempting to break this cycle of abuse is good.

If Amanda can get a crisis nursery without CAS being in there it would be absolutely fantastic. And I suspect that she would be quite willing to be responsible, and accountable if such a venture was to happen as well. CAS is still refusing Ombudsman oversight.

It is a good start, but many are leery not of the other participants in this venture, but of CAS being involved.

Anonymous said...

Harris I agree really did a huge number on people and he has destroyed many good things. But other issues with CAS is that they always focus on those living in poverty. Middle class families, and those with higher incomes have problems and issues as well, but CAS has one bull's eye - poverty, being young, being on welfare.

Those who are poor cannot afford lawyers to fight against them, those who are not as educated do not understand how they operate. They go after the vulnerable, they always have.

It would be truly wonderful if this program succeeds, and here is hoping that it does, as the system has to change. With the other participants it is quite likely to be a lot better overall.

Anonymous said...

There would be no doubt that former wards suffer from depression in many cases, but it is incredible that to them no one else does, or has any other issues.

Anonymous said...

For the UK story maybe the social worker is driving around in a fat-ass SUV doing nothing, instead of helping the family - or the family has no clue how to help the boy, and has not been doing anything about it.

Either way, I hope they get help. He is likely to have more issues then obesity if he is taken into care.

Jeffrey's Law said...

RE: The Crisis Nursery

The point of the nursery is to provide parents (both mothers and fathers) the opportunity to get the help they need to overcome a life crisis while their children are being cared for in a safe, healthy environment. A crisis nursery means the parent is in crisis (i.e they are experiencing such a high stress level that they may hurt their child) and the child may be in danger. By helping the parent without them having the added stress of their child being taken away from them, (by the CAS)they will be more able to overcome and resolve the loss of employment, loss of housing or other emergency they are experiencing.

It isn't a band aid solution, which many social services currently are. By helping and educating the parents, by taking some strain off them, you are creating a ripple effect. The parent is happy and healthy; the child is able to flourish. CAS is an absolute LAST resort. I wish the organization could be revamped, but I don't expect that to happen in the near future because of what else? Money, politics and friends in high places.

Jeffrey's Place will hopefully; more than likely, reduce child abuse and neglect AS WELL AS reduce the intervention of CAS.

These are the two goals of Jeffrey's Place. Everyone needs help, asking for it is a sign of strength and parents should NOT be punished by the CAS for asking for help.

I will be writing to Andre Marin, the Ombudsman of Ontario ASKING for his oversight. I have nothing to hide; I don't want to get rich, I don't want a $6,000.00 gym memebership or a $60,000.00 SUV. I want to help children. I want kids to be kids. I want every child to know love and self worth as I did growing up. I have the best parents in the world and for any child to be denied what I had in excess is wrong and says something about our society.

I hope this explains my intentions.
Keep the questions coming, I am clear in my mind why I am doing this and why I will fight until it becomes a reality.

One day, you will drive past Jeffrey's Place and hear kids laughing so hard it will make you smile.


Anonymous said...

2.11 There is also some evidence that abuse (but not specific to child sexual abuse) is more prevalent in foster care than the general population. A Canadian study of the abuse of children in foster care estimates that proportionately children in care are more susceptible to being abused (Dawson, 1989, cited in Waller and Lindsay, 1990). In New York a report from the central registry suggests that fatalities in foster care due to abuse and neglect, although small in absolute numbers,may appear at two to three times the frequency of the general population (New York State Department of Social Services, 1980, cited in Nunno and Motz, 1988). While it is difficult to ascertain the exact scale of sexual abuse in foster care, it cannot be disputed that it occurs and with a frequency which makes surprising thelack of detailed study.

Anonymous said...

Cruel foster care couple jailed
A foster carer has been jailed for four years for beating girls she looked after and her husband has been given a three-year jail term for sexual abuse.
Betty Roe, 64, of Hall Road, Norwich, who cared for about 280 children in the 1970s and 80s, denied cruelty charges.

Walter Roe, 64, admitted four counts of indecent assault and was put on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

The jury at Norwich Crown Court heard girls had been beaten with sticks, a slipper and a broom.

'Virtual slaves'

Stephen Spence, prosecuting, said Betty Roe had portrayed herself as a God-fearing, respectable figure.

But, he said, behind closed doors she was deliberately cruel to the children, regularly beating them with anything that came to hand.

The court heard that the catalogue of abuse included keeping the children short of food, making them "virtual slaves" by performing household chores and starving them of affection.

These days, potential foster carers are subject to much more stringent checking before being appointed
Lisa Christensen, Norfolk children's services

Judge Paul Downes said: "Foster parents are unsung heroes of the system and take on difficult children from deprived backgrounds and no-one would want to take away their achievements.

"What you have done is besmirch that reputation. You looked after vulnerable children and what you did seriously breached that trust.

"The worst part of this case is the fact that these young people had to go through the business of explaining in some detail in a court full of strangers the humiliation and the beatings that they suffered."

Judge Downes said the victims had described their plight as a "living nightmare".

Norfolk County Council, which employed the Roes, welcomed the sentences and said the Roes were guilty of a serious abuse of trust.

Lisa Christensen, director of children's services, said: "Both Mr and Mrs Roe were subject to appropriate checks required at the time - more than 30 years ago - before being allowed to become foster carers by then Norwich County Borough Council in early 1973.

"Nothing arose from those checks to have debarred the Roes.

"These days, potential foster carers are subject to much more stringent checking before being appointed and their behaviour is carefully monitored and subject to an annual review once they are approved."

It has also emerged that, at the height of their abuse, the couple were put forward by Norfolk Social Services for a newspaper article which dubbed them model foster parents.

The article, published in 1989, bore the headline "Betty's a mother to hundreds".

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/02/06 16:03:36 GMT


Anonymous said...

The Canadian study cited on this blog - here is a point, if foster care has more abuse on average, then so does adoption as it is done by the same agencies - the only difference is that it is permanent "care", rather then temporary.

Anonymous said...

I think Jeffrey's Place and the crisis nursery is fantastic. I hope that it does reduce child abuse, and that it helps overall. And having Ombudsman oversight from Amanda does not surprise me and speaks to her integrity and care about this!

Anonymous said...

The other excellent factor about having a crisis nursery, such as the one that Amanda is working on is that the nursery will be based on social solutions, in contrast to the social cleansing model of CAS.

Big differences overall.

Anonymous said...

"Judge Paul Downes said: "Foster parents are unsung heroes of the system and take on difficult children from deprived backgrounds and no-one would want to take away their achievements."

The above statement from the UK article is quite telling. Foster parents, and those who adopt are see as being heroes, and due to that factor no one is looking for child abuse - hence the end result of how they do it, and how they get away with it.

Not all are abusive, but those who are can easily do it with the unsung hero support of those who relish it beyond seeing any reality.

The system has elevated these people to superhuman levels, while at the same time carving families apart creating hatred, fear and oppression.

Rosie Dimanno from the Toronto Star suggested that CAS agencies have been under a shield of immunity, and she is quite right. So have those who have taken other people's children - CAS has taught people that those who foster and adopt are "forever" shielded from anything period, including abuse.

And this perception has allowed countless people to abuse children, all under the guise of safety.

An open, transparent, accountable crisis nursery makes more sense, then a system that has not been accountable for 100 years, and that is secretive, closeted, and totally unwilling to address anything.

Anonymous said...

Parents should not be punished for asking for help without question.

And CAS better start looking at THEIR foster and adoptive homes a little more closely, instead of prowling the streets for those on welfare. If they want to find child abuse they can start with who they recruit to be "better and safer".

Anonymous said...

Ont. crime compensation board 'colossal failure,' ombudsman says
Last Updated: Tuesday, February 27, 2007 | 1:55 PM ET
CBC News
Ontario's board responsible for compensating victims of crime is in "deplorable shape," suffers from a "document fetish" and forces people through a gruelling bureaucratic process, the province's ombudsman said.

"The board has become so dysfunctional that it often causes more frustration and hurt to crime victims than it relieves," Andre Marin said in his report "Adding Insult to Injury," released Tuesday.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board is an arm of the provincial attorney general's office charged with assisting crime victims.

"With its rule-obsessed, paper-shuffling culture, its pace is glacial," Marin said. "Far from serving as the comfort to victims it was intended to be, it denies them closure through cruel delays."

It takes three years for a person to get compensation, Marin said, and victims must go through a "gruelling process" that "greets victims of crime with bureaucratic indifference and suspicion.

"It is one of those organizations that craves officialdom and relishes red tape," he said.

"As a result, instead of providing relief, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board too often adds insult to injury."

Marin blames the "colossal failure" of the board on successive Ontario governments, which, he claims, have broken the law by not providing proper funding.

Marin accused the governments of "posing as victims rights advocates, [and] watching the process harm the very people it was meant to help."

He said governments have known about the problems for years but have consistently refused to act.

Marin lists 'appalling stories'

As for the board itself, they have no special training in how to deal with traumatized people and are instead obsessed with the proper procedures for filling out forms, Marin said.

"The board appears to suffer from an official document fetish."

He lists the "appalling stories" of victims who have had to deal with the board, which include:

A man whose five-year-old daughter was raped and murdered who was treated as though he was trying to scam the board of money to pay for her funeral.
A mother of a murder victim "berated" for forgetting her file number.
A blind retiree who had to chose between buying food and burying her murdered daughter.
Marin launched an investigation after an increasing number of complaints to the ombudsman's office by people who felt they were revictimized by the board's actions.

He called on the Ministry of the Attorney General to immediately provide more resources to the board.

The board must "replace a culture of survival with one of support and caring, lest it continue to do more harm than good," Marin said.

Anonymous said...


Progressive Conservative Party Leader John Tory today issued the following statement regarding the report of the Ombudsman on the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board.

“The Ombudsman has uncovered a situation that is absolutely disgraceful. People who are already victims of crime are being victimized again – this time by the McGuinty Liberals. They have interfered with the criminal injuries compensation board for the sole purpose of saving money on the backs of victims.”

“For some time the PC Caucus has been asking questions about this government’s treatment of victims of crime. We find out today that Dalton McGuinty’s government has completely misled the public. This is disrespect for victims, disrespect for the law once again, and complete incompetence by this government. The McGuinty Liberals had literally take money they could have paid to victims of crime and use it to finance self-promotional ad campaigns.”

“This happened on the Attorney General’s watch. Ministerial accountability doesn’t mean much to the McGuinty government but if Michael Bryant were an honourable man he would apologize to the victims of crime and tender his resignation. Mr. Bryant hired a Chief Administrative Officer to cut costs and issued a directive to limit the number of payouts being made. The Ombudsman himself states that the Ministry of the Attorney General has acted contrary to the law. This is a serious and often fatal conclusion for any Minister but must be taken even more seriously when it is the Ministry presided over by the Chief Law office of the Crown. He has overseen this situation, defended it and done nothing about it until exposed by the Ombudsman and must now go in order for it to be fixed. To do anything less would be more disrespect to the victims of crime in Ontario.”

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the current government and others with the exception of the NDP - do not realize that those who have been in CAS care, and those who have had to deal with them are in many cases, also victims of crime.

Either that or they are so aware of that they do not want the Ombudsman to touch CAS with a ten foot pole.

It is quite telling that Amanda is willing to go as far as asking the Ombudsman for oversight - she is obviously not hiding anything here..... but CAS on the other hand do not want Ombudsman oversight.

If the system is operating as it alleges, why the fear of oversight so much?

Anonymous said...

And if given the chance, chances are the Ombudsman would say about CAS precisely what he is saying about victims compensation, and that system as well.

Perhaps it mirrors a little to closely the truth of the CAS system. And if it does it should prompt people to get Bill 88 passed for Ombudsman oversight.

Certainly victims of criminal injuries deserve compensation, as important as children and families deserving accountability from all CAS agencies.

Anonymous said...

John Tory and his entire party have done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT CAS AND ACCOUNTABILITY. They have used this issue as a political football, kicking it around Queen's Park with no regard to the issues at hand what so ever.

Where is John Tory and co., on Bill 88 and Ombudsman oversight - NO WHERE, they don't care.

And the commercials with Tory in regards to autistic children of late are sickening. CAS forced children who were autistic into CAS care the end result - a huge class action suit. If Tory cares about autistic children, then HOW DARE HE IGNORE CAS - the one's who forced these parents to relinquish parental rights, to have their children in CAS care!

Why were parents forced to give their children to CAS, while totally taking away their rights in the process?

If Tory cares about autistic children, or any for that matter, he will also fight for Ombudsman oversight of the CAS!

Anonymous said...

Child abuse is NOT and should NOT be a political issue, it should be a social issue that concerns all of us. All the more reason to have the Ombudsman have oversight of CAS. An Ombudsman is not a representative of political games, he is for the people! And surely the most vulnerable deserve this above all.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, if you knew Jeffrey I cannot imagine how difficult this must be for you. The poem really does attest to true child abuse.

Let's hope that less child abuse happens in the future.

Anonymous said...


Victims violated: Marin
System 'adds insult to injury'


Joe Wamback speaks to Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin after Marin's highly critical report on the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board was released yesterday. (Michael Peake, Sun Media)
Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin has stripped away the bureaucratic curtains of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) to reveal a heartless system he says violates victims' legal rights and leaves them further traumatized.

The provincial watchdog's report -- Adding Insult To Injury -- says the ministry of the attorney general is breaking its own law in its efforts to curb CICB payouts to crime victims.

"The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board has been for the last decade government's dirty little secret," Marin said yesterday. "It's not been doing its job; it's put victims through the wringer."

The agency is mandated by law to provide compensation to victims of violent crime and their families, but only 2.5% of claimants get any funds.

London, Ont., parent Aurelio Almeida, whose 5-year-old daughter Naiomi was raped and murdered in 2001, was challenged by the CICB to explain what his injuries were.

"My son and I still suffer each day, and they ask me, they say how are you a victim," Almeida said yesterday. "My 5-year-old daughter was just raped and murdered and yet how am I a victim ... they said if my daughter would have survived, we would have been granted more money."

The mother of a woman who was decapitated had to provide a form in which a medical practitioner had drawn the location of the injuries on a diagram of a body.

Marin said the stalling and nitpicking was a deliberate attempt by the agency over the last decade to discourage claimants and stay within its budget as required by the ministry of the attorney general.

Attorney General Michael Bryant said he accepts the findings of the ombudsman and promises to reform the CICB by the end of his government's mandate in October.

Anonymous said...

Ontario Ombudsman slams criminal injury compensation board as 'colossal failure'

Chronically underfunded, absurdly bureaucratic, Ontario's Criminal Injuries Compensation Board is a "colossal failure" that treats people "like rats in a cage," the provincial Ombudsman said yesterday in a blistering indictment of the board and it's overseer, the Ministry of the Attorney-General.

Soon after Ombudsman André Marin's critique landed, Premier Dalton McGuinty promised that the province will implement its recommendations.

"I accept the report as delivered, I thank him for his advice, and we are going to act on it," Mr. McGuinty told reporters.

There looks to be nowhere to go but up. Mr. Marin's withering rebuke of the backlog-choked CICB, titled Adding Insult to Injury, highlights cases that in places seem plucked from unfunny Monty Python episodes.


It cites the father whose five-year-old daughter was raped and murdered and "was treated as though he was trying to scam the board out of a few thousand dollars to pay for her funeral."

Another claimant's bid for compensation was rejected in part because she had forgotten to dot one of the i's in her name. In a third case, the victim died before any money was paid out.

It was largely because of the system's shortcomings, and its $25,000 lump-sum ceiling per individual, that lawyers for North York shooting victim Louise Russo last year successfully negotiated a controversial $2-million package for her, paid with criminal underworld funds.

On average, Mr. Marin found, it takes three years to process a crime victim's compensation claim in Ontario. That compares with two months in Quebec and six months in British Columbia, both of which in 2004-5 processed many more claims than Ontario's total of 2,654.

From 1998 to 2004, claims in the province soared by 148 per cent, producing 4,000 to 5,000 completed applications each year.

The board's budget, however, rose just 2.5 per cent over that same period.

"The root of the problem is that the CICB has been starved of resources," Mr. Marin said yesterday.

"It's operating a $40-million operation on a $20-million budget," deploying an "official document fetish" reinforced by "an unwritten code of underground practices, delays, and bureaucracy."

In particular, the Ombudsman criticized the practice of withholding compensation until criminal charges have been dealt with in court, which can take years.

That's inexcusable, he said, because common sense is often sufficient to determine whether a person's injuries stem from crime.

"If someone shows up at the hospital . . . and there's a police report, you've got it all documented."

Moreover, by refusing to compensate crime victims with money from the province's Victims of Justice Fund (which funds programs and services and currently has an $80-million surplus), the ministry is violating the legislation that governs the CICB, Mr. Marin said.

The outspoken Ombudsman weighed into the 36-year-old system because of the growing number of complaints his office was fielding from victims who felt that, far from being eased, their injuries were exacerbated by the board.

"It's remarkable, what we've been saying for seven years is now validated," said Joe Wamback of Newmarket, whose son, Jonathan, was beaten into a coma in 1999 when he was 15, sustaining long-term physical and mental damage.

Founders of the Canadian Crime Victims Foundation, Mr. Wamback and his wife, Lozanne, spent years trying to secure some interim compensation from the CICB before abandoning their efforts in 2005. Other crime victims "don't even have the courage and strength to fill out the forms and we don't blame them," Mr. Wamback said, citing the board's "total lack of compassion and understanding."

London truck driver Aurelio Almeida, whose five-year-old daughter Naiomi was raped and murdered in 2001, concurred. Efforts to secure reimbursement for funeral costs and lost wages, initially denied, dragged on for years before he and his nine-year-old son were finally awarded $7,000 apiece for nervous shock. The family also got $6,000 for Naiomi's funeral -- four years after the event.

"My son and I still suffer each day," Mr. Almeida said, citing financial losses that exceed $20,000. "And then they ask me, 'How are you a victim?' What kind of a question is that?"

CICB chair Marsha Greenfield wrote to Mr. Marin last week expressing broad agreement with much of his critique, listing new initiatives under way, and promising to file "a detailed plan of action" by the end of next month. She did not respond yesterday to messages seeking comment.

Ms. Greenfield was first appointed to the board by the Progressive Conservative government in 1996, was appointed chair in 1998 and reappointed with all-party support in 2005 through to July, 2008.

Mr. Marin's key recommendations:

Make more money available immediately to clear up the backlog of claims and process new ones.

The Attorney-General's Ministry must acknowledge in writing that the CICB is an independent, quasi-judicial body and not a ministry program.

The ministry must cease pressing the board to delay or reduce awards.

Anonymous said...

Treating victims like criminals is something that the CAS has down to a fine art overall.

Anonymous said...

Good going Mary Ann! Maybe just blame the parents for having children!

Feud over cash leaves soldiers' children waiting for special care Petawawa families coping with stress, anxiety disorders as Ottawa, Ontario squabble over who's responsible for bill
The Globe and Mail
Thu 01 Mar 2007
Page: A1
Section: National News
Byline: Alex Dobrota
Dateline: Ottawa ONT
ALEX DOBROTA OTTAWA More than 40 children of soldiers serving in Afghanistan who suffered mental trauma in their parents' absence are being denied therapists as the provincial and federal governments squabble over who should pay.

The children must wait as long as four months to receive care for conditions ranging from attention deficit disorder to anxiety and suicidal thoughts, Ontario mental health professionals said yesterday at a news conference.

"I see them as invisible children," said Greg Lubimiv, a therapist and the executive director of the Phoenix Centre for Children and Families, which serves Renfrew County, including CFB Petawawa.

"They're invisible to politicians, they're invisible to the bureaucrats and they're invisible to the community."

Since last year, when Canadian soldiers started fighting and dying in the southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan, about 90 military families sought help at the Phoenix Centre, up from 10 in 2005.

The surge has stretched the resources of the already underfinanced centre and has increased the average wait to see a therapist to about four months, Mr. Lubimiv said.

He said he petitioned both Queen's Park and Ottawa for more funds. But so far, his requests have fallen on deaf ears, as the two governments are pointing at each other.

The Department of National Defence looks after the mental and physical health care of soldiers only, said Lieutenant-Colonel Dave Rundle, commander of CFB Petawawa.

"There's no mandate to provide these services to the family members," Col. Rundle said.

Mary Anne Chambers, Ontario's Minister of Children and Youth Services, said she is not willing to clean up the damage wrought by a federal venture. "It's a direct consequence of federal government initiatives," she said.

Ms. Chambers said she raised the budget for children's mental health care to $467-million, a $38-million increase since 2004, when the Liberal government came into office in Ontario.

But Mr. Lubimiv said this translated into only a 3-per-cent increase in his centre's $1.5-million budget, not nearly enough to cover the surge in demands for assistance since last year.

"If they want to squabble, give the money and then fight with the [federal] government if you want to get it back," Mr. Lubimiv said. "The children have been politicized in this and, in the end, they're not getting the service that they need."

A spokesperson for federal Health Minister Tony Clement said he is ready to talk to his provincial counterpart, but reiterated that mental health care is a provincial responsibility.

With no resolution in sight and with more than 500 soldiers from Petawawa set to deploy in Afghanistan soon, parents on the base are starting to lose patience.

"We're being told to wait, but with the wait there are more problems," said Cindy Patry, who lives on the base with her eight-year-old daughter and her six-year-old twins.

Ms. Patry decided to seek psychological help for her son, Daniel, as she tucked him into bed last January, days after her husband returned to Afghanistan to complete his tour of duty.

That night, in a rare moment of respite from the daily bouts of screaming and crying that had turned the family home into a battlefield during his father's absence, Daniel looked at his mother and quietly said: "Mommy, I don't want Daddy to die."

Within weeks, Ms. Patry was talking to a therapist at the Phoenix Centre. Her case was judged a "crisis" and was treated faster than most, as Daniel's aggressiveness and mood swings had reached a point of no return.

"I didn't know where to go any more," the mother said.

Frank Patry, a corporal with Petawawa's 2 Service Battalion, had left for Afghanistan in August and served there when Canadian troops attacked the Taliban in Operation Medusa, suffering heavy casualties.

Talk of death and injury trickled into Daniel's classroom. And Cpl. Patry, who finished his tour of duty unharmed, returned home last Thursday to discover the damage the war had wrought on his family.

"It's kind of frustrating," he said yesterday. "I get all the help I need and it seems that you have to fight to get help for your family, which is not right."

Anonymous said...

Pembroke probe
Children of military familes lacking help; Ombudsman to find out why

Andrew Thomson
Ottawa Citizen

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Ontario’s ombudsman plans to investigate complaints that the provincial government is failing to adequately fund children’s mental health services for military families in the Ottawa Valley.

Andr Marin announced the inquiry one day after mental health advocates and staff at the Phoenix Centre for Children and Families in Pembroke held a press conference to publicize their stretched resources since CFB Petawawa began deploying large contingents to Afghanistan.

“While our soldiers are serving our country overseas, we want to swiftly investigate these allegations to ensure that their families here in Ontario are receiving the support they they deserve,” he said in a statement Thursday.

Mr. Marin, an independent officer of the provincial government, reports directly to the Ontario legislature.

His office gave notice of the investigation Thursday to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, which is responsible for children’s mental health care.

The Phoenix Centre, which services children in Renfrew County, has seen its caseload from military families connected to CFB Petawawa has jumped more than eight-fold since November 2005.
Two requests for $220,000 in short-term additional funding were denied last fall, which would have enhanced the centre’s $1.5 million annual budget.

Mary Anne Chambers, the minister of children and youth services, said Wednesday that the federal government should pay for extra staff at the Phoenix Centre.

She said that Ottawa was responsible for sending troops abroad on a dangerous mission to southern Afghanistan and needed to spend more on the home front.

Ms. Chambers added the province had no money to spare without cutting from other children’s agencies across Ontario.

The centre’s caseload from military families connected to CFB Petawawa has jumped more than eight-fold since November 2005.

Anonymous said...

Already here we go! Woo hoo!

Ontario commits $20M to clear criminal injuries backlog
Last Updated: Friday, March 2, 2007 | 5:12 PM ET
The Canadian Press
Ontario's Criminal Injuries Compensation Board will receive $20 million — a doubling of its budget — to clear a backlog of cases and provide new services to victims, the province announced Friday on the heels of a blistering report from the ombudsman.

The Liberals also asked Ontario Chief Justice Roy McMurtry to come up with a new framework for victim support and compensation after holding public consultations.

"I can't think of a more suitable leader to help us overhaul the compensation system to improve victims' services," Attorney General Michael Bryant said in a release.

Ombudsman André Marin's report Tuesday said the agency entrusted to compensate crime victims is a "colossal failure" that hurts those it's supposed to help by treating them "like rats in a maze."

Marin said Friday the government has changed from "a poser for victims' rights to a doer" by providing extra funding and appointing McMurtry, but he warned the government not to let the review of the system turn into an excuse for inaction.

"What I didn't want is one of these typical government stalling tactics by producing a long-winded white paper," Marin said in an interview.

"I recommended a productive, swift consultation period, and I have confidence that with the chief justice in charge of it, that's what's going to happen."

Opposition wants action

Ontario's opposition parties said Friday there would be no need to have McMurtry study the issue if the government simply started processing victims' claims faster, and with a little more compassion.

"This is the McGuinty government trying to do damage control, an attempt now —seven months before an election — to cover up their tracks," said NDP Leader Howard Hampton.

"The ombudsman laid it out pretty clearly: the board needs to uncomplicate its procedures, and the government needs to start using the $80 million in the Victims' Justice Fund to compensate victims."

Conservative justice critic Christine Elliott said the government doesn't spend enough time in public consultations and should "just get on with it" and make improvements to help crime victims.

"Enough study. We know where the problems are," she said.

"I think we need to make sure people are dealt with in a timely and compassionate manner."

It takes an average of three years to process a crime victim's compensation claim in Ontario, compared with two months in Quebec and up to six months in British Columbia — both of which process many more claims than Ontario.

Anonymous said...

Harper and Co., are just as guilty if not more so. And they should be funding support for military families, as well as all others families as well.

Jay Hill one of their esteemed members has given a $10,000 tax break to those who buy other people's children.

But no money for the military or anyone else?

And in Ontario they have given themselves a 25% raise. There is a good reason why most politicians are lawyers, as what governments do overall cannot easily be defended.

Anonymous said...

Parents forced to 'abandon' son
CAS involvement was the family's only option to get help for their troubled son.
JOE MATYAS, Free Press Reporter 2005-03-21 02:08:51

Today, London mother Cynthia (Cyndi) Cameron is doing the once unthinkable. She's telling other Londoners publicly that one of her sons is a temporary ward of the Children's Aid Society.

She was once loath to discuss it beyond her family and friends because of the public stigma often associated with the mere mention of involvement with the CAS.

"To be painted with that brush is painful and hurtful," says Cameron, "but the harsh reality is we were left no choice but to enter a temporary care agreement with the child protection agency. It was the only way we could get the special services we needed for our son."

Jesse, now 14, is a young man with complex problems, including autism and behaviour and attention problems associated with a cyst on his brain.

A natural mimic, Jesse could always make the whole family laugh. But he could also fly into rages, injuring himself and breaking objects in his wake as he flailed his arms and legs and head-butted walls and people. He gave himself a concussion and his mother whiplash from doing that on two occasions.

After Jesse had problems at school, Cameron and her husband, Alex Glinka, sought special services for Jesse.

Their son was deemed to be a priority case about three years ago by regional social services administrators.

After waiting in vain for services for two years, Cameron voiced her frustration to a London doctor about a year ago.

She cried all the way home from the doctor's office after he suggested the CAS as the way to get the services for Jesse.

Today, thanks to an agreement with the CAS, Jesse is in a group home in Barrie.

But Cameron is afraid she'll be forced to give up custody of her 14-year-old son permanently this summer to keep the placement.

Tina Grignard of St. Thomas sympathizes with Cameron.

She and her husband Paul were in exactly the same situation recently with respect to their 11-year-old son, Jordan, one month away from having to give up their parental rights permanently to keep him in a Guelph group home under a placement arranged by the CAS.

Officially, Jordan was under the "protection" of the CAS and the Grignards had "abandoned" their son.

In fact, they had voluntarily entered into an agreement with the CAS to get services for Jordan and were visiting him regularly in Guelph and bringing him home for weekends and special occasions.

"We never abandoned Jordan," says Tina Grignard, "but the only way we could get the services he needed was through the CAS."

The Grignards were granted services for Jordan as parents this month after a three-year battle.

She and Cameron have been told that there are about 50 special needs kids in Southwestern Ontario on waiting lists for services and placements.

Some of their parents, like Cameron, are thinking of joining a $500-million class action lawsuit launched in 2001 by Anne Larcade of Huntsville and her son Alexandre Larcade against the Ontario government, on behalf of families with special needs children.

Larcade's lawyers contend such children have been denied services which they're entitled to by provincial law because of inadequate government funding.

And they say that some parents have been advised that the only way they could obtain funding for their special needs child was to relinquish custody to the Children's Aid Society.

Copyright © The London Free Press

Anonymous said...

Province-approved foster father admits sex abuse
Wed Feb 28, 1:45 PM

SOURCE: CBC website

NEW BRUNSWICK (CBC) - The province is defending its foster family screening practices after a Greater Saint John man, approved to be a foster parent, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a girl in his care.

The identity of the girl, placed in the home in 1999, is protected by a publication ban.

Crown prosecutor Catherine McNally said Tuesday the acts began the year the girl arrived in the home, at the age of 10. It started as inappropriate touching and progressed to intercourse by the time she was 12, McNally said.

Provincial court Judge Alfred Brien remanded the man to jail to await sentencing on March 20.

Lori-Jean Johnson, spokeswoman for the Department of Family and Community Services, said potential foster parents have always undergone health and criminal record checks.

In the year 2000, she said, the province began a 27-hour program for those families, carried out over nine weeks.

"It covers a number of competencies that we feel families need to have, from how to care for children, discipline philosophies, things along that nature," Johnson said Tuesday.

During that process, she said, social workers are "able to gauge whether there's any concerns or perhaps views that may be of a concern or may not be best when fostering children."

Johnson says the program has made the process of screening foster families more rigorous

Anonymous said...


$45 million claim filed against state over foster dad charged with abuse
Thursday, February 1, 2007


Three daughters of a foster father charged with child sexual abuse have filed a $45 million claim against Washington state, accusing authorities of negligently letting the man be a foster parent, despite a criminal record and numerous complaints against him.

For nearly a decade -- between 1997 and 2006 -- the state Department of Social and Health Services received 28 allegations that Enrique Fabregas was abusing his daughters or violating licensing rules. None of the abuse charges was ever substantiated.

Despite the pattern of complaints, state authorities granted the sometime waiter four separate foster licenses. They also overlooked his long history of drug use and other crimes when they gave him his first license in 1998.

By the time Fabregas was arrested in June, police found hundreds of pornographic videos and pictures in his Redmond home.

According to court documents, some depicted two of his daughters in sexual acts and poses. Others showed Fabregas dressed in false breasts and women's underwear.

The oldest daughter told investigators that Fabregas began behaving sexually toward her when she 13 or 14 and giving her cocaine and having sex with her by the time she was 17.

King County prosecutors charged Fabregas with one count of possessing child porn and three counts of sexually exploiting a minor. They have not been able to file child rape charges, because of the statute of limitations and the difficulty in pinpointing exactly when Fabregas had sex with her.

"DSHS licensed, relicensed and continued to support a sexual predator for almost a decade," said the daughters' attorney, David Moody. "It is difficult to imagine a more bungled case."

A state spokeswoman for the agency said she cannot comment on pending litigation.

The daughters are now 14, 18 and 21. Fabregas began caring for the youngest daughter in 1996, after meeting her mother in a drug-treatment program.

The complaints began soon after, when the girl, then 3, told day care workers about her father's "bad touch." He later legally adopted the girl.

In 1997, Fabregas began fostering two other girls, sisters Ruth and Estera Tamas, who moved into Fabregas' home in 2001, when Ruth was 13 and Estera was 14. The Seattle P-I normally does not identify victims of sexual assault, but the sisters told their story publicly last year.

While Ruth and Estera lived with Fabregas, child-welfare workers received eight sexual-abuse complaints against him. None of the claims was sustained, mainly because the sisters repeatedly recanted, a DSHS spokeswoman said last year.

In 2004, DSHS revoked Fabregas' license, after he refused to undergo sexual-deviancy evaluation. The same year, the Tamas sisters also moved elsewhere. But state social workers allowed the youngest girl to remain in the house.

The claims, typically a precursor to a lawsuit, are asking that the state pay $20 million for the youngest girl, $15 million for Estera and $10 million for Ruth.

"These girls are scarred for life," Moody said. "DSHS never believed these children, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of abuse."


P-I reporter Vanessa Ho can be reached at 206-448-8003 or

© 1998-2007 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Anonymous said...

Gallant looking forward to Ombudsman's report
Pembroke Daily Observer (ON)
Tue 06 Mar 2007
Page: 5
Section: Opinion
Editor's note: the following is a copy of a letter sent to Andre Marin, Ombudsman of Ontario, from MP Cheryl Gallant.

Dear Mr. Marin:

On behalf of the women and men of Canada's Armed Forces from CFB Petawawa, please accept our appreciation for your decision to investigate the plight of military dependents who are being treated like second-class citizens by the provincial government.

Your reputation as a true advocate for service personnel in your previous role of Military Ombudsman provides you with insight to the special problems of serving soldiers as well as inspiring confidence that something will be done.

As part of your inquiry, I am requesting that you investigate why members of Canada's Armed Forces are required to pay the Ontario premium tax when the Canada Health Act specifically excludes forces members from being enrolled in provincial healthcare plans.

As you may be aware, in the other provinces that bill for healthcare services, British Columbia and Alberta, soldiers are specifically exempted from paying premiums.

In the province of Ontario, soldiers collectively pay more than 30 million dollars in annual premiums while being prohibited by law from being a member of the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).

When questioned about this above noted anomaly, the minister of finance justified the tax grab by stating in the Legislature that the premiums collected paid for services to dependents for those military members with dependents.

On that basis I reject the argument by Ontario's minister of Children and Youth Mary Ann Chambers that the funds are not available. I look forward to the findings of your investigators.

Yours truly,

Cheryl Gallant, MP

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Anonymous said...

Kids see group homes as 'gateways to jail': child advocate

Wednesday, March 7, 2007
CBC News

Almost half of Ontario's young offenders in detention for minor crimes came through the child welfare system, a report from the Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy shows.

The trend is a concern for child advocates across the country and Ontario Child Advocate Judy Finlay said many of the province's young people are beginning to think of group homes as "gateways to jail."

"We're taking them out of very difficult family circumstances, bringing them into state care and then we're charging them for their behaviour. It's very concerning to me," Finlay said.

The report, which was obtained by CBC News, lays much of the blame on group homes that rely too heavily on police to resolve problems that could be handled by staff.

Kids have been charged for everything from refusing to read a book or hitting someone with a tea towel, Finlay said.

One group home in Ontario called police 400 times in a single year.

Ontario is not the only province that needs to fix the system, the report says. A sampling of facilities across Canada found that 57 per cent of young offenders had a connection to the child welfare system, the report said. In British Columbia, a recent study put that number at 73 per cent.

While some teens acknowledge the more serious charges may be warranted, they complain that too often, staff lack the training to deal with troubled kids and resort to calling police.

One teen, who can't be named under federal law, said workers would often provoke him. After he was charged, group home workers had an easy way to threaten him by suggesting a breach of his bail or probation conditions would mean a return to a young offenders facility.

"They threaten you and say you better read that book or you're going back to jail. Come on, what kind of system is this?" the teen said.

Finlay is calling on the province to collect data on police calls from group homes and the charges that result. She also wants to see a mental health worker attached to each group home and higher standards for an industry that costs taxpayers more than $200 million a year.

Anonymous said...

In the group homes and those who are in these homes, not only have the children been in foster care before arriving, they have also been the victims of failed adoptions. Pinhead social workers give children to so called "forever safe, forever families", and expect children to behave as "if born to", and act and identify with total strangers. And they wonder why it does not work?

And not only this but children in group homes have also very often been abused in foster stranger danger care, and adoption stranger danger care as well.

But that issue is one that CAS NEVER WANTS TO DEAL WITH. It is only natural families that abuse, not anyone else.

Anonymous said...

The poem of Chris can apply just as much to foster and adoptive fathers as it can to any other father as well. As contrary to the pomp and bull of the CAS, strangers are just as capable if not MORE SO, of abuse.

Anonymous said...

Child abusers like CAS, and child welfare, as it gives them other people's children to abuse. It gives them a social license to do it, and it gives society a blind eye of safety in the meantime. After all if these people are "screened" they can do no wrong. They are "forever safe, forever families".

Tea and cookies with CAS, a few assessments if any done at all, and away we go with someone else's child. All done in secrecy, all done in "private arrangements".

From paid child abusers in foster care, to permanent "care" and the ever glorious care in adoption.

Society needs to stop believing the pomp and bull of CAS, and come to terms with the reality of child abuse. It cannot be restricted to one group of people.

But who has taught everyone that it can be ONLY restricted to ONE group of people. The Children's Aid Society has of course!

Amanda you may not find as much research about the truth of foster care and adoption out there. If you do it is likely the same pomp and bull that CAS spews. Written by baby brokers, and those affiliated with them, CAS board members and others connected with them.

It is the great taboo of child welfare, the abuse that none want to speak of, or ever address. And none of them ever want it to be exposed, for it was those agencies that has allowed, and that still does the abuse to continue.

Strangers are forever safe as CAS screens them, and families forever unsafe as CAS has persecuted them. It is a system from hell.

Anonymous said...

And maybe a good person like Judy Finlay can delve into the abuse more, and actually research what has happened to the kids in group homes, and who has actually abused them along the way.

Anonymous said...

Kids locked up in prison like homes, with nutbar fruitcake workers who call police as a child has hit someone with a tea towel. No wonder these kids are having trouble?

What lovely workers the CAS employs to take care of other people's children. Read a book or else?

Maybe these idiots can read some books as well, about how to talk to troubled teens and how to help them. And many are angry as hell because the CAS took them from their families, and sent them to paid child abusers.

Anonymous said...

The last poster brings up some unfortunate and distgusting points...It seems as though society has put abused and needy children on the lowest end of the priority list with incompetent, useless, and more often than not, criminal people working and running the organizations created to help these kids. The only solution is for the government to grow some balls, blow up all these organizations, fire all the fuckups (put some in jail) and start from scratch.

Anonymous said...

Nova Scotia abuse victims want answers
Last Updated: Friday, November 10, 2000 | 11:53 PM ET
CBC News

In Nova Scotia, some men who were sexually abused as boys by their probation officer are having to come to grips with new information.
A CBC Radio news investigation has found the government had warnings of problems with Cezar Lalo, but did not stop him.

A paper trail of memos, e-mails and scrawled notes shows there was no system to catch the signals.

Even after a mentally disabled boy complained to police, the department allowed Lalo to continue working alone with children.

Lalo has since been convicted of seven sex-crime charges and faces 135 more.

That mentally disabled boy who first went to the police is nearly 40 now. When he was a foster child, Cesar Lalo was his social worker.

Police believe Lalo abused him from the time the boy was 12 until he was 22. They never laid charges because they didn't think the boy would be a good witness.

The man finally told a neighbour about the sexual abuse. That neighbour took him to police. In February, 1989 the RCMP told a senior official in the department of community services about the investigation.

An internal memo reveals that official didn't tell anyone else in the department for four months. It took another two months before Lalo was moved to a job that didn't involve children.

During those 6 months Lalo kept meeting with his clients, often behind a locked office door.

There is proof he was sexually abusing at least one boy during those months.

Lalo has pleaded guilty to that.

This was not the first time officials in the department had heard concerns about him.

CBC Radio news has found documents from a decade earlier. There's a record that senior officials spoke to Lalo after a mother complained Lalo had put his hand down her son's pants.

Other complaints are not as specific. There were calls from parents upset that Lalo talked to their son about how male prostitutes make money, or taking their son for drives alone at night.

But Lalo's job evaluations don't reflect those concerns. There's one glowing rating after another.

It doesn't appear that the department had a system to track the complaints.

Kevin Stacey says if there had been his life might have been different.

In 1981 he was sent to Lalo for counselling.

There is evidence the department had received at least five complaints by then. "I feel robbed of my youth over something that could've been avoided. He took part of my life away and the fact that could've been avoided offends me. Isn't government here to help us?"

Lalo has been convicted of forcing Stacey to perform oral sex.

Lawyer John McKeigan represents several men who have laid criminal charges against Lalo and have civil suits against the province. Those suits say the government should have known something was going on.

McKeigan says the evidence of complaints over almost 15 years shows the system failed. "What kind of record keeping did the department have? Was there a file for complaints, allegations? Was it simply a trash bin they went into?" McKeigan says any evidence officials were warned means the government is as responsible as Lalo for the damage done to alleged victims.

Thirty-three are suing for compensation.

Anonymous said...

'Beyond Abuse; It Was Torture'

Authorities say Christopher Forder's body was bruised when he was found dead on his bedroom floor.
By Derek Sheppard,

August 29, 2006


As 8-year-old Christopher Forder lay on his bedroom floor, stricken with pneumonia, heavily bruised and nearing death, his father called a family meeting.

Inside the family’s Seabeck-area home, the father, Robert, told his seven children they had a choice: They could bury their brother in the backyard, or call 911 and risk having the state snatch all of the children away because of Christopher’s obvious bruising.

Later that night, Nov. 24, 2002, the parents tried unsuccessfully to revive Christopher with CPR, and a son called 911.

The account of Christopher’s last moments is contained in court documents alleging that his mother, 44-year-old Kimberly Forder, abused and neglected her son to the point of death, never seeking outside medical help as his pneumonia grew worse.

Shortly after Christopher’s death, Kitsap County authorities grew suspicious, but for nearly four years, couldn’t get enough people to talk. There wasn’t enough cause to make an arrest — until now.

Forder is in Kitsap County jail, with her bail set at $1 million. She is charged in Kitsap County Superior Court with homicide by abuse and first-degree manslaughter. While court records reveal a disturbing pattern of abuse and a family suspicious of outside authority, the Forder Web site portrays a happy, religious family that moved to Africa to pursue Christian missionary work.

On Monday, clad in a red jail jumpsuit, her head hung low, Forder spoke softly. She pleaded innocent to the charges.

Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer likened Christopher’s abuse to the pain suffered by prisoners of war.

"A young boy died at the hands of those whom society had entrusted with his care," Boyer said. "It went beyond abuse; it was torture."

During a Monday afternoon press conference, Boyer noted that there were some things authorities couldn’t address yet.

When asked if more charges could be coming, Boyer said it was "highly possible."

"The investigation continues as to other suspects," he said.

The night Christopher died, Detective Lori Blankenship walked into his bedroom where she saw a bruised and battered little boy partially covered with a blanket lying on the floor.

"It appeared to be a case of abuse," she said. "This is a case that has stuck with me all these years."

Dr. Emanuel Lacsina, the Kitsap County Coroner’s Office pathologist, determined that Christopher died of severe pneumonia, but he ruled the manner, which explains whether the death was natural or not, was "undetermined," leaving the case open.

At the time, the parents said the bruising was from "reactive detachment disorder," which caused Christopher to scratch and pick at his skin and throw himself into walls.

Blankenship said the family consulted a doctor who said the disorder was a possibility, but it was never diagnosed.

The Kitsap Sun was unable to contact family members on Monday.

Robert and seven of the couple’s children are now in Liberia, Africa, acting as Christian missionaries independent of an established church or aid organization. When they lived in Seabeck, they were believed to have home-schooled the kids. Kimberly was a stay-at-home mom and Robert was a journeyman painter.

The Forders have adopted eight children, including Christopher, and have three now-grown biological children.

The break in the case came after police began an investigation against one of their biological children.

Their son, Michael V. Forder, 23, is also in Kitsap County jail, charged with second-degree rape of an adult family member.

During the investigation of that case, detectives learned that the Forder parents had moved to Africa, though they don’t believe it was in order to flee prosecution.

Shortly thereafter, the sheriff’s office received a report from Children Protective Services in Oregon outlining allegations of abuse that preceded Christopher’s 2002 death. The allegations came from one of the family members. It’s the only known CPS report filed about the family.

Detectives then started interviewing some of the children.

Court documents outline conversations detectives had with three children that detail a pattern of abuse against the family, especially Christopher.

One child told detectives that Christopher was beaten an average of six times a day. It was alleged Kimberly Forder was the primary disciplinarian.

If he didn’t chew his food correctly, his mother would take away his food, sometimes for days at a time, documents allege.

The boy resorted to stealing scraps from a compost heap, and eating dog food.

If the boy soiled himself, he was forced to wear the dirty diaper, sometimes on his head.

If he didn’t wash his clothes correctly in a 5-gallon bucket, his parents were accused of dunking his head in the dirty water "until he stopped struggling," court documents said.

Christopher had been with the Forder family four years after his adoption. Daily beatings were the norm, family members alleged in court documents.

Michael Forder told detectives that his parents started treating the children better after Christopher’s death.

The alleged pattern of abuse comes in stark contrast to the cheerful, healthy picture of the family on the Forders’ Web log.

Many of the posts document the months before the family’s July 11 departure to serve as missionaries in Liberia. The couple sold their home, packed their belongings and moved with the seven youngest children to Liberia.

Children are smiling in the photographs, and the couple writes often about blessings from God.

"We hope to have a home, with a farm for children, and a school with a small medical clinic," they wrote.

When Kimberly returned from Africa to Oregon earlier this month to treat an infection, detectives went down to meet her. She voluntarily returned to Kitsap County, where she was booked into jail on Saturday.

The cheerful family picture online follows what authorities said appeared to be a healthy family to those on the outside.

When they lived here, if someone visited they would see "a perfect, happy family," Blankenship, the detective, said.

"They always seemed to be playing in good spirits over there," said neighbor Dennis Hughes. "I never heard any hard discipline going on."

Secrecy, Sheriff Boyer said, kept much of the abuse hidden, and detectives are still learning more and hope to hear from anyone who knows anything else.

"A young boy died needlessly and without much notice four years ago," he said. "As a community we didn’t know what went on in the Forder residence, until now."

Help Needed

Anyone with information about the Forder case is asked to call (360) 377-7101.

Anonymous said...

Couple charged with abusing adopted children


Sunday, March 14, 1999
By Carla Crowder
News Staff Writer

BRUSH -- David and Marie Reeder worried about the little girl long before police and child-welfare workers knocked on the door at 520 Carson St. in Brush.

The couple had spent six months and $20,000 trying to persuade Arapahoe County to let them adopt the girl.

She's not safe at the home on Carson Street, they had told Judge Kenneth Stuart and the army of social workers bent on placing the child with the Brush family.

The Reeders lost the court fight and the little girl who had been their foster daughter in 1996.

Last week they got a jolting update on her life since then.

Now 3, the girl and her siblings were hustled out of their adoptive home in Brush amid allegations of abuse. The four children were gaunt, bloated with malnutrition and shaking. The oldest boy, 9, had to be hospitalized for more than a week.

Three of the four told police of being beaten with boards, locked in a basement without food and doused with cold water as punishment.

The adoptive parents, Roberto "Butch" Acosta, 48, and Shirley Carroll Acosta, 45, face felony child-abuse charges in Morgan County.

"It was known long ago that they shouldn't have been placed there," Marie Reeder said. "This is our worst nightmare of what would happen."

The Reeders' story is one of a frustrating battle with social workers and county bureaucracies. These agencies have complete control over the most fragile lives -- babies born with cocaine and alcohol running through their veins, abused and abandoned kids, disabled foster children.

The Reeders live in rural El Paso County. He's a phone-systems manager for Lucent Technologies. She home-schools their five children, including an adopted son.

In 1995 they were licensed foster parents living in Douglas County. An infant girl born to a drug-addicted mother needed a foster home.

"We got her when she was 24 hours old," Marie Reeder said. "We've got her baby pictures, her tag that was on her at University Hospital."

The baby had three siblings -- a sister just under a year old, a brother 2 years old and a brother 10 or 11. He was living in a group home in Brush.

Social workers placed the 1-year-old sister and 2-year-old brother with the Acostas in Brush, partly so they would be close to the oldest boy. He never lived with the Acostas.

The Acostas initially took the 1-year-old and 2-year-old in as foster children. But their mother's condition deteriorated and she ran into trouble with the law and made little effort to get her children back, according to court records. The Acostas adopted them. They joined another adopted son, who is now 9. He suffered the worst abuse, police say.

The Arapahoe County Department of Social Services was the main agency overseeing the children because their birth mother lived in Arapahoe County.

Meanwhile, the youngest girl learned to walk and talk in the Reeders' home. They made a videotape of her first birthday party and planned to adopt her as soon as Arapahoe County cut off ties with the birth mother.

Social workers occasionally took the baby to visit her siblings at the Acostas' home.

The Reeders worried about whether she was safe there.

Once, "she came home so sick our pediatrician wanted to put her in the hospital," Marie Reeder said.

Repeatedly, the baby was returned dehydrated and with severe diaper rash, they said.

The little girl was ready to be adopted in mid-1996. Both families wanted her. Arapahoe County Social Services decided to place her with the Acostas.

"We never understood why they pushed the Acostas so hard, why they wanted them to adopt all these kids," Marie Reeder said. "Arapahoe County said, 'We're just so proud of what the Acostas have done."'

The Reeders went to court.

A cardboard box filled with records of the court battle is locked in the shed outside their home. It includes records of an investigation into both homes conducted by Denver psychologist Carol Marfut.

Marfut repeatedly described incidents in which Carroll Acosta used bad judgment and poor parenting skills.

The psychologist doubted that Carroll Acosta could handle the adoptive children without help from her older biological children.

Another psychologist recommended that the Acostas adopt the little girl.

According to court records, social workers preferred the Acostas for two reasons: The child's brother and sister were there, and experts consider it better for foster children and adopted children to stay with their siblings.

Also, the children are black, and social workers wanted a "culturally diverse" setting.

The Acostas were considered more "multiracial" because she is American Indian and he is Hispanic.

Marie Reeder is half-Hispanic, as is their adopted son. David Reeder is Anglo, and all their biological children are fair-skinned.

In court, the Reeders argued that the little girl would get a better education and have greater cultural opportunities with them. Their children are skilled with computers and active in clubs and hobbies, they said.

But the judge decided to place the girl with the Acostas. The decision was a victory for Arapahoe County. At the time.

"Whatever their agenda was, they made a decision early on with very little investigation," David Reeder said. "All those people who didn't believe us along the way, I hope they are feeling bad now."

The Reeders say the Acostas were paid monthly subsidies to take care of the adopted children. Subsidized adoption is common, with parents typically getting $350 a month per child, more if the child is disabled.

Arapahoe County Social Services director Brian Field has refused to discuss the case, citing confidentiality rules designed to protect children. The Acostas also have declined to comment.

The Reeders say they would love to get this little girl back.

They've called Morgan County Social Services, which took custody of all four of the Acostas' adopted children after the arrest. Once again, confidentiality laws forbid officials there from giving any information about the children.

"She was our daughter. She was our daughter. We could be the chance for her to be restored to a normal life," Marie Reeder said.

© Copyright, Denver Publishing Co.

Anonymous said...

National Coalition for Child Protection Reform / 53 Skyhill Road (Suite 202) / Alexandria, Va., 22314 / /


At the heart of the criticism of family preservation is one overriding assumption: If you remove a child from the home, the child will be safe. If you leave a child at home the child is at risk. In fact, there is risk in either direction, but intensive family preservation programs have a better record of safety than foster care.

To understand why, one must first understand one fundamental fact about foster care: It's not safe. Here's how we know:

National data on child abuse fatalities show that a child is nearly twice as likely to die of abuse in foster care as in the general population. [1]

A study of reported abuse in Baltimore, found the rate of "substantiated" cases of sexual abuse in foster care more than four times higher than the rate in the general population.[2] Using the same methodology, an Indiana study found three times more physical abuse and twice the rate of sexual abuse in foster homes than in the general population. In group homes there was more than ten times the rate of physical abuse and more than 28 times the rate of sexual abuse as in the general population[2], in part because so many children in the homes abused each other.[3]

Those studies deal only with reported maltreatment. The actual amount of abuse in foster care is likely to be far higher, since agencies have a special incentive not to investigate such reports, since they are, in effect, investigating themselves.

· In a study of investigations of alleged abuse in New Jersey foster homes, the researchers found a lack of “anything approaching reasonable professional judgment” and concluded that “no assurances can be given” that any New Jersey foster child is safe.[4]

· A lawyer who represents children in Broward County, Florida, says in a sworn affidavit that over a period of just 18 months he was made personally aware of 50 instances of child-on-child sexual abuse involving more than 100 Broward County foster children. The official number during this same period: Seven - because until what the lawyer called "an epidemic of child-on-child sexual abuse" was exposed, the child abuse hotline didn't accept reports of such abuse.[5]

· Another Baltimore study, this one examining case records, found abuse in 28 percent of the foster homes studied -- more than one in four.[6]

· A study of cases in Fulton and DeKalb Counties in Georgia found that among children whose case goal was adoption, 34 percent had experienced abuse, neglect, or other harmful conditions. For those children who had recently entered the system, 15 percent had experienced abuse, neglect or other harmful conditions in just one year.[7]

· A study of foster children in Oregon and Washington State found that nearly one third reported being abused by a foster parent or another adult in a foster home.[8]

· Even what is said to be a model foster care program, where caseloads are kept low and workers and foster parents get special training, is not immune. When alumni of the Casey Family Program were interviewed, 24 percent of the girls said they were victims of actual or attempted sexual abuse in their foster homes. Furthermore, this study asked only about abuse in the one foster home the children had been in the longest. A child who had been moved from a foster home precisely because she had been abused there after only a short stay would not even be counted.[9] Officials at the program say they have since lowered the rate of all forms of abuse to "only" 12 percent, but this is based on an in-house survey of the program's own caseworkers, not outside interviews with the children themselves.[10]

This does not mean that all, or even many, foster parents are abusive. The overwhelming majority do the best they can for the children in their care -- like the overwhelming majority of parents, period. But the abusive minority is large enough to cause serious concern. And abuse in foster care does not always mean abuse by foster parents. As happened so often during the Illinois Foster Care Panic for example (see Issue Paper 2), and as the Indiana study shows, it can be caused by foster children abusing each other.

Compare the record of foster care to the record of family preservation.

The original Homebuilders program (See Issue Paper 10) has served 12,000 families since 1982. No child has ever died during a Homebuilders intervention, and only one child has ever died afterwards, more than a decade ago.[11]

Michigan has the nation's largest family preservation program. The program rigorously follows the Homebuilders model (see Issue Paper 10).

Since 1988, the Michigan family preservation program has served 90,000 children. During the first two years, two children died during the intervention. In the decade since, there has not been a single fatality.[12] In contrast, when Illinois effectively abandoned family preservation, there were five child abuse deaths in foster care in just one year. That’s one reason the state subsequently reversed course.

Several states and localities that have bucked the national trend and embraced safe, proven programs to keep families together also have improved child safety.

One state that is leading the nation in reforming child welfare is the last state many people might expect: Alabama.

But Alabama is implementing a consent decree (R.C. v. Hornsby) resulting from a federal lawsuit requiring it to reframe its whole approach to child welfare by following family preservation principles.

Even with an increase in removals in recent years due to methamphetamine, Alabama still removes children at one of the lowest rates in the nation.[13] But re-abuse of children left in their own homes has been cut by 60 percent – to less than half the national average.[14]

An independent, court-appointed monitor concluded that children in Alabama are safer now than before the system switched to a family preservation model. The monitor wrote that "the data strongly support the conclusion that children and families are safer in counties that have implemented the R.C. reforms."[15]

Another leader is the county-run system in Pittsburgh and surrounding Allegheny County, Pa.

In the mid-1990s, the child welfare system in Pittsburgh was typically mediocre, or worse. Foster care placements were soaring and those in charge insisted every one of those placements was necessary.

New leadership changed all that. Since 1997, the foster care population has been cut by 30 percent. When children must be placed, more than half of children placed in foster homes stay with relatives, and siblings are kept together 80 percent of the time.[16]

They’ve done it by tripling the budget for primary prevention, doubling the budget for family preservation, embracing innovations like the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Family to Family program, and adding elements of their own, such as housing counselors in every child welfare office, so families aren’t destroyed because of housing problems.

And, as in Alabama, children are safer. As the foster care population has fallen, re-abuse of children left in their own homes also has declined [17] and there has been a dramatic, sustained drop in child abuse fatalities.[18]

Illinois also has improved child safety, even as it dramatically reduced its foster care population. (See Issue Paper 2).

Why it works:

There are three primary reasons for the better safety record of communities that embrace safe, proven programs to keep families together:

· Most of the parents caught in the net of child protective services are not who most people think they are. (See Issue Paper 5).

· When child welfare systems take family preservation seriously, foster care populations stabilize or decline. Workers have more time to find the children who really do need to be placed in foster care. (See Issue Paper 8).

· Family preservation workers see families in many different settings for many hours at a time. Because of that, and because they are usually better trained than child protective workers they are far more likely than conventional child protective workers to know when a family can't be preserved -- and contrary to stereotype, they do place child safety first. (See Issue Paper 8)

Updated August 21, 2005


1. About 0.73 percent of American children are in foster care, but 1.22 percent of child abuse fatalities are in foster care. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families. Child Maltreatment 2002 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2001). See chart in Chapter Four, also available online Back to Text.

2. Mary I. Benedict and Susan Zuravin, Factors Associated With Child Maltreatment by Family Foster Care Providers (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, June 30, 1992) charts, pp. 28,30. Back to Text.

3. J William Spencer and Dean D. Kundsen, "Out of Home Maltreatment: An Analysis of Risk in Various Settings for Children," Children And Youth Services Review Vol. 14, pp. 485-492, 1992. Back to Text.

4. Leslie Kaufman and Richard Lezin Jones, “Report finds flaws in inquiries on foster abuse in New Jersey.” The New York Times, May 23, 2003. Back to Text.

5. Affidavit of David S. Bazerman, Esq, Ward v. Feaver, Case# 98-7137, United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Division, Dec. 16, 1998, p.4. Back to Text.

6. Children’s Rights, Inc., “Expert research report finds children still unsafe in Fulton and Dekalb foster care,” Press release, November 5, 2004.

7. Memorandum and Order of Judge Joseph G. Howard, L.J. v. Massinga, Civil No. JH-84-4409, United States District Court for the District of Maryland, July 27, 1987. Back to Text.

8. Peter Pecora, et. al., Improving Family Foster Care: Findings from the Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study (Seattle: Casey Family Programs, 2005).

9. David Fanshel, et. al., Foster Children in a Life Course Perspective (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), p. 90. Back to Text.

10. How Are The Children Doing? Assessing Youth Outcomes in Family Foster Care. (Seattle: Casey Family Program, 1998). Back to Text.

11. Personal communication from Charlotte Booth, Executive Director, Homebuilders. Even in the one case in which a child died after the intervention, in 1987, Homebuilders had warned that the child was in danger and been ignored. Back to Text.

12. Personal Communication, Susan Kelly, former director of family preservation services, Michigan Department of Social Services. Back to Text.

13. In 2003, the most recent year for which data are available, Alabama removed 13.5 children for every thousand impoverished children. The national average was 24.1. Back to Text.

14. Erik Eckholm , “Once Woeful, Alabama Is Model in Child Welfare,” The New York Times, August 20, 2005.

15. Ivor D. Groves, System of Care Implementation: Performance, Outcomes, and Compliance, March, 1996, Executive Summary, p.3. Back to Text.

16. Data from Allegheny County Department of Human Services, available online at

17. See the Annual Reports on Child Abuse, published by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, from 1996 through 2001, which have data on each year’s rate at which children are re-abused after being left in their own homes.

18. Barbara White Stack, “For first time in 15 years, no child abuse fatalities here,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 8, 2005.

Anonymous said...

As Minister of Children and Youth Services, Mrs. Chambers has increased the availability of licensed child care spaces and improved access to subsidies. She has overhauled Ontario’s child protection system, strengthening accountability, improving the complaints process, introducing higher standards of care, and eliminating the legal barriers which have made it difficult for children who have become wards of the crown, to grow up in caring, stable homes. Mrs. Chambers has also introduced legislation for the establishment of an Independent Child Advocate to provide additional oversight, protection and support for the children and youth of Ontario. Also in her capacity as Minister of Children and Youth Services, Mrs. Chambers has substantially increased funding and the capacity of the province to serve thousands more children with complex special needs including conditions such as autism. She has also implemented a comprehensive youth opportunities strategy to enable youth in underserved communities to access employment, programs and services that can help them to achieve their potential. She has also been instrumental in the provision of new programs to support rehabilitation and the reduction of recidivism amongst youth in the justice system.

Anonymous said...

Minister Chambers has failed in not allowing the Ontario Ombudsman to have investigative oversight of the CAS.

A point about this is this - recently Paola Queen has made headline news. A former Toronto Catholic Children's Aid worker who is now pregnant, after having an affair with one of her underage male students. The Minister should order a full investigation into anyone, and especially vulnerable children and teens who were in the care of this individual.

All too often nothing is ever done about anyone in the CAS, one only needs to read this blog to see that - look at what they did to Jeffrey Baldwin overall, and yet still it is alleged that the worker responsible is employed at CCAS!

If the Queen case was to be questioned - would the Minister order Toronto CCAS to FULLY COMPLY with the Toronto police? Would Mr. Bryant also ask that this be done, or would it be the same as what happened to Jeffrey, whereby Toronto CCAS refused to cooperate with police and got away with it?

Certain things that the Minister has done may be good, but not having the Ontario Ombudsman to have oversight of CAS, is not an overhaul of the system, it is regressive, and totally avoiding the system.

Bill 210 is going to give more power to the CAS to apprehend children for the adoption industry. CAS is not accountable.

If she wants credibility then get the Ombudsman to have investigative oversight. CAS has NEVER BEEN ACCOUNTABLE for past crimes, therefore it will just continue as it always has.

They clearly do NOT CARE. Considering that Peel and Toronto two of the agencies audited after Jeffrey Baldwin, and in the close jurisdiction of this tragedy it really says a lot. The nerve of them to spend money on SUV's, and other things after a case as horrific as this, and in their back yards speaks to the sheer arrogance, and total power trip these agencies hold themselves to. It is sickening.

Anonymous said...

Has Minister Chambers FIRED the people who bilked the tax payers? Has she FIRED the worker responsible for Jeffrey Baldwin? Has she FIRED the worker responsible for baby Jordan, and all others who have participated in all of the above?

But in all fairness to the Minister she is not solely responsible for this, they all are. And they need to fire these people to start any level of progress in this disaster.

Anonymous said...

Minister Chambers also needs to remove and overhaul the utterly stupid, and ridiculous "risk assessment crap", that CAS uses. CAS agencies hunting down former wards is despicable, and it again is another crime that those agencies commonly participate in.

Anonymous said...

Mother charged in baby stabbing

Hamilton agency was supervising visit with children

Mar 14, 2007 04:30 AM
Torstar news service

A Hamilton woman has been charged with trying to murder her 8-month-old daughter during a Children's Aid Society supervised visit.

A social worker and a Children's Aid volunteer had taken the baby and her 3-year-old brother to the mother's apartment for a supervised visit yesterday, says Dominic Verticchio, executive director of the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton.

During the visit, the baby was cut in the upper torso. The girl was rushed from an apartment on Sanford Ave. N. to hospital by ambulance and treated for a "superficial" wound, according to Verticchio. She was being kept under observation overnight and is expected to fully recover.

"We're shocked," Verticchio says. "It doesn't matter if it's a superficial wound or not."

CAS workers oversee about 10,000 supervised visits a year in Hamilton. Sometimes volunteers accompany the staff during the meetings. The worker is responsible for protecting the child during the visit.

Details of what happened changed rapidly yesterday and were still sketchy at the end of the day. The original 911 call, made at about 10:45 a.m., reported that a baby had been stabbed and was seriously injured. Later, police said the injury was minimal and may not even require stitches.

Nobody else was hurt.

Police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the attack, says Det. Dave Beech of the major crime unit. Detectives from the child abuse branch are also involved. The CAS says it is working with the police and will also conduct its own investigation.

"We will look at what happened. Could we have anticipated such a thing?" Verticchio says. "What I'm told about this parent is that this is totally out of character for her."

The 28-year-old woman was arrested at the scene and charged with assault. But that charge was later upgraded to attempted murder. Her name is not being released to protect the identity of her children. She will appear in court today.

Hamilton Spectator

With this case alone

1) how would someone be allowed to get a knife to stab an infant in a supervised visit? If a CAS worker was there, wouldn't they have a responsibility to call police before the alleged stabbing happened? how did it get that far?

2) they say it is fatal, then police say the baby did not need stitches? was it from a stabbing or another injury?

3) yet the mother is charged to first degree murder attempts in the same article?

4) so what gives with this, do supervised visits generally allow mothers to stab their children?

5) did the CAS worker stab the baby to peg it on the mother, and is that being investigated?

6) are police doing an investigation outside of the CAS and what they have said, as they lie all the time.

7) will the mother have any legal representation or will this be a well planned witch hunt

This would be a good one for the Ombudsman and police to investigate, but the Ombudsman cannot do anything. This story does not make sense, any of it..... nor do any of the media reports about it as all papers have different versions. The Sun is totally different from others.

should anyone condone a mother stabbing a baby, or attempting to - of course not, but this case has so many questions as to the reporting of it alone, that it is incredible.

and it boils down to CAS again and responsibility here. if a worker allowed a mother to stab her infant and did not respond in time where is the accountability from them? failing to protect the infant if the mother stabbed them is in dark contrast to their mandate, how did this situation evolve? what accountability will the worker have in this?

most normal people would be calling police if someone was agitated and holding knife near a vulnerable infant, or most people with any level of intelligence at all - one musn't be a CAS "protection" worker to get that!

and where is the father in this........... oh invisible forgot the CAS hates men.

so a mother is going to stab her baby while on a CAS supervised visit and my guess is everyone will assume the mother is totally guilty, this case is totally fishy.

if the mother did this on purpose though and the CAS worker let her, BOTH should go to jail!

Anonymous said...

During times of universal deceit telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. Orwell.

the talking heads, we vote for are not able to change a thing, look around, its 1984,
its not about child protection!
I wish it was so simple.
I WISH I WAS, or could still be,, the children in the education system are also at risk, dumbing them down, how many drugs does your child take before lunch? how many does the medical system kill, and say, oh well ,WE will learn from it, and never do.
in times of mass murder on other shores, when killing anothers children, family, talk about domestic violence!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Until recently, I didn't realize that it was the Peel Region CAS that was audited by the Auditor Genral. I am not surprised the CAS gets away with murder. Beside the fact the Society has almost zero dicernment when it comes to weeding out abusers, an employee...a supervisor with the Peel Region CAS no less...who by the way, sits on a committee that addresses gender based violence, has been battering a little girl for years. Child Protection and Family Court documents confirm that this supervisor with the Peel Region CAS has hit, pinched, pushed and dragged this little girl when this supervisor is angry. This child regularly disclosed to both Police and CAS over a period of years that this abusive woman has battered, humiliated, devalued, threatened and degraded her over and over again. Despite these disclosures to both Toronto Police and the York Region Children's Aid Society, this woman has yet to be charged with any offence. Even a private charge of assault that was laid has mysteriously gone "missing" from Newmarket Criminal Court files. Most likely because she's married to an abusive Police Officer who's more concerned about his wallet than his own daughter...What a disgrace!!!

The Liberator said...

Don`t know exactly how bad the CAS is as I`ve lived in Quebec almost all of my life, but here in our province we have the DPJ (Directeur de la Protection de la Jeunesse) and believe me they are the worst child molestors that any state ever created. They have killed many of our children already, and tens of thousands are being detained (after being falsely convicted by corrupted judges) in filthy, detention centers with no hope of ever being freed until their 18th birthday.

If you want to get some info about our shamefull legacy of child persecution in the province of Quebec, take a look at this site:

Good luck with your blog! The world has to be aware of that totalitarian regime that is killing our children in Canada.

Thanks For the Quilts said...

I grew up in foster care.
But i was lucky.
I found a family who loves me, who i would never would have found nor been given the same extraordinary experiences with if i hadn't been saved.
I am just finishing my first year of university at one of the best and highly regarded schools in the country.
A lot of the other foster kids i know use the system as an excuse or a crutch and therefore end up in the same misfortunate circumstances that they had just been taken out of. Although i do agree that the system is flawed, and that the homes for most of these kids could have been better chosen. We need more families who are committed and look at these children as their own and not just a job. That is what fixes the system.

Thank you for making this Blog about my little brother.