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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Please see the Auditor General's report on CAS:
http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en06/302en06.pdf

Very easy to read and understand... very disturbing!!

Also, I posted an excerpt from my proposal below, please let me know what you think.

Amanda

390 comments:

1 – 200 of 390   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

It is easy to read, and very disturbing - especially not doing police checks on those who foster, and then become those "forever safe, forever families", that the CAS boasts about in adoption.

Are they sending other people's children to meth addicted people, pimps, bikers, sadists, pedophiles, drunks, domestic abusers, prostitutes, fraud artists, and criminals? Well with no check who bloody knows?

Yet this was found after Jeffrey Baldwin died, they are not doing police checks even after Jeffrey?

It should be enough to keep people awake at night, the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

If schools and daycares did not do police checks they would be shut down, but not CAS, the untouchables that can do whatever they want to period!

Anonymous said...

And as they are not even doing police checks, then wake up people reading this blog and stop glorifying foster care and adoption, how do you know these people are not CRIMINALS.

Anonymous said...

Who are the people that have kept the alleged statistics about child abuse, who have done the alleged studies about it, who has started this industry, and who continues to perpetuate it? CAS of course, the audit should beg of people to ask some very deep questions here.

Are there that many cases of child abuse really? Is it child abuse or their "risk" model that is responsible for over 9,000 children in care? 9,000 children with no families at all?

No one at all, that cares for the child?

Anonymous said...

I hope that the crisis nursery also helps families, who have family that can help to connect with them. For those who do not, a good social worker can make all the difference in preventing a child from being sent to foster stranger/adoption danger care forever, or the child being raised with who they have the right and want to be raised with - their own families.

Anonymous said...

Proposed adoption law raises many questions
Family Practice
Written by By Carole Curtis
Sunday, 24 July 2005
The provincial government established a Child Welfare Secretariat in April 2004, and hired Bruce Rivers (then executive director of the Toronto Children's Aid Society, the largest CAS in Canada) to head up a law reform initiative. The initiative had many goals, but was intended, in part, to evaluate the changes made to the Child and Family Services Act in 2000, following the report of the panel of experts chaired by Justice Mary Jane Hatton. The Child Welfare Secretariat prepared a report with 40 recommendations, which was submitted to the government, but has not been made public.

Bill 210, Child and Family Services Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005, was introduced on June 6. The bill amends the act to (among other things) permit courts to make openness orders for Crown wards who are the subject of a plan for adoption.

The number of children in the care of children's aid societies in Ontario has gone from 10,000 to about 19,000 in the last five years (these statistics may be slightly out of date, but are not exaggerated).

In Ontario, there are roughly 9,000 children (called Crown wards) in the permanent care of a children's aid society. Seventy five per cent of them can't be adopted because their family has a court order for access. The government says that majority of those access orders are not used by the parents (i.e., the parents do not see the children). One of the problems in this area is the lack of reliable data about the children in the government's care.

Crown wards with access live in foster and group homes. On average, children in foster or group care are moved every two years. That means a child moves her belongings, leaves her friends, changes schools, lives in a new house, and lives with a new family, facing different rules and new expectations. No one doubts this kind of instability permeates and affects all aspects of the child's life and well-being.

Children's aid societies' budgets went from $500 million to $1.1 billion in less than five years in Ontario. How-ever, currently, children's aid societies are carrying about a $70-million deficit.

Although I have acted and continue to act for all sides of the child protection equation (parents, children, and children's aid societies), my observations on this bill are from the perspective of parents' counsel. I refer to the parents as "the parents" and not as the "biological parents" or the "birth parents" as has become fashionable in this area of practice.

These amendments are a little complicated, and not intuitive. If you work in this area, you will need to read the bill closely.

In the bill, openness is not access. It may mean contact, communication, a card or letter, information, knowledge and for the child, may result in a greater sense of identity.

Before an adoption, only a children's aid society may apply to a court for an openness order (s. 145.1). The test applied is the best interests of the child. The order can only be made on consent of everyone, including the possible adoptive parents. The court can only change or terminate the order before an adoption, based on a material change in circumstances, applying the best interests test, and the children's aid society must agree.

After an adoption, the court can also change an openness order (s. 153). However, the child cannot apply for this change, and the parents cannot apply without leave. Openness can also be the subject of an agreement.

This law reform initiative raises mostly questions. Initially, there is a concern that the focus of law reform not be at the end of the process (at the Crown wardship/adoption stage) when it is too late to help this family stay together. Why isn't the energy and money being put into the front end of the process, in keeping families that need help together?

What is the philosophy behind this initiative? What is intended by this initiative? And for whose benefit? Is there any empirical data about this? Is this meant to benefit the parents? Is it meant to free up more kids for adoption? Who is the client here? (i.e., whom does the government identify as the client?).

Don't tell me the child is the client: that has never been the case. Parents and their lawyers will tell you that the government has always seen the adoptive parents as the real client.

What results are intended or expected? Is this meant to reduce the number of kids in care at the early stages? Is this meant to reduce the number of kids in long-term foster care (Crown ward with access, in foster care)? Will there be applications to court to terminate those several thousand access orders that are now not being exercised, and replace them with openness orders?

What is the structure really intended to be? What sort of contact is envisaged? Remember that the word used is "openness," not access or contact. What rights accrue to these children during minority and at age 18 — are there any different rights than now? Is the contact envisaged by the parents different from the contact envisaged by the adoptive parents?

Why does the government cling to the use of the term "adoption?" What about permanent placement? Adoption itself is not a panacea, particularly in an evolving multi-cultural society. Like fostering, adoption is a concept quite foreign to some cultures.

What will the court order look like? What will the "usual" terms be? Will any retroactive orders be permitted? Who are the parties to these orders?

What about enforceability? Who will these orders bind? Who are the parties to these orders? What, if any, is the continuing role for children's aid societies after adoption? Who will enforce these orders?

And finally, from the parent's perspective, what do parents think this means? Do they think it means access? Will parents think this a better solution? What is really being offered to parents here? Will this make settlement of Crown wardship cases easier?

There are many bad names one can call a woman in our society, but there is nothing as horrible to a woman as calling her a bad mother. This is really what these cases are about. Losing your child forever is the worst thing that could possibly happen to a parent. A Crown wardship case is the capital punishment of family law.

While there may be research which supports the validity of reform in this area, it has not been made available. It is a great skill that lawyers are taught, to take something nearly everyone thinks is a good idea and pick it apart until almost nobody thinks it is. There is much in this bill to consider.

Carole Curtis is a family law lawyer in a three-lawyer firm in Toronto. She can be reached at carolecurtis@carolecurtis.com

Anonymous said...

Because the CAS has sent children, innocent children to - addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, pedophiles, domestic abusers, fraud artists and criminals BEFORE. They are still doing it if they are not even doing a police check on the "forever safe" people that they recruit daily to take other people's children.

Anonymous said...

And they have sent children to child abusers for decades in both foster care, and adoption. They are still doing it!

Anonymous said...

Society is letting them do it, politicians are letting them do it, all walks of life are letting them do it.

CAS might as well be the mafia, the mafia of child abuse.

They are not responsible what so ever. They never have been, which is exactly why they are still doing it. They are not accountable to anyone ever!

Anonymous said...

Because these bastards are not even doing police checks... DO NOT GLORIFY those who foster and adopt. Look a little closer here, and don't let these child abusing fucks get away with it any longer.

CAS has said to the whole world that they are "forever safe". They are NOT.

Anonymous said...

Look at their own workers for God sake, one man who molested children in his direct care, and now Paola Queen another predator.

Toronto CCAS is evil to the core.

Anonymous said...

One wonders how many families these pedophile fucks have destroyed? They have been given a license to be "child protection" workers.

It is disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

I would like to share some of the achievements which have resulted from your provincial government’s commitment to improving education:

Reduced Primary Class Size: Currently, about two-thirds (64%) of Ontario’s primary classes have 20 students or fewer, compared to only 31% in 2002-2003.
Improved Literacy and Numeracy: Nearly 900 schools had at least 75% of students achieving the provincial standard in Grade 6 reading in 2005-06, compared to fewer than 450 schools in 2002-03.
Increased Graduation Rate: 6,000 more students are graduating each year, up from 68% in 2003-04 to 71% in 2004-05. Students taking co-operative education rose by 22%, which is an increase of more than 15,000 students, from 2003-04 to 2004-05.
Increased Respect for Educators: There have been no significant labour disruptions (strike or work-to-rule) since 2003, compared to a total of 26.5 million lost school days during 1995-2003.
If you think I can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact my Community Office, at 4630 Kingston Road, Unit 20, Scarborough ON M1E 4Z4, by phone at 416-281-2787, by fax 416-281-2360, or by e-mail at machambers.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Anonymous said...

And if the CAS is NOT DOING POLICE CHECKS on those who foster, and worse adopt, are they even doing police checks on their own employees?

Scary as hell, and very dangerous.

They answer to no one, they do what they want. Not only should people stop glofiying those that foster and adopt, stop glorifying CAS - how do you know that their own workers are not pedophiles. After all two of them obviously are, from what has been reported beyond the shield of secrecy that those agencies have in place!

Amanda I hope that you can help families and children, as no child should be in the care of CAS when they are not doing police checks, and where their own workers are pedophiles. Toronto CCAS is the worst of all of them, they always have been!

Anonymous said...

Posted on Fri, Mar. 19, 2004

ST. PAUL: Father charged in baby's death

Man recounts frustrations with sick son

BY MARA H. GOTTFRIED
Pioneer Press

A St. Paul man charged Thursday with murder in the death of his 6-month-old son
told investigators he "freaked out" and intentionally dropped the child after
the infant soiled himself, a towel and the floor.

When Steven D. Showcatally brought Gustavo Adolpho Hunt, whom he and his wife
adopted from Guatemala in November, to St. Paul Children's Hospital on Tuesday,
the baby had multiple skull fractures and died less than three hours later,
according to the Ramsey County attorney's office complaint charging Showcatally
with second-degree unintentional murder.

The complaint gave this account:

Showcatally, 34, said he picked up Gustavo from day care after 3 p.m. Tuesday.
The day-care staff gave Showcatally a bag of Gustavo's soiled clothes because,
as Showcatally told investigators, the boy had "messed his outfit with diarrhea
again."

At the family home at 2023 Grand Ave., Showcatally noticed Gustavo had soiled
himself again and the fecal material was all over his back.

Showcatally bathed Gustavo and wrapped him in a towel, but the baby had a bowel
movement on the towel. Showcatally put Gustavo on a bedroom floor and while he
went to get a clean towel, the baby had another bowel movement on the floor.

"I freaked out, well, I didn't freak out," Showcatally told officers,
explaining that he threw the towel.

Showcatally prepared to give Gustavo another bath and held the boy's buttocks
under the faucet, "hosing him down." He said he then accidentally dropped
Gustavo, whose head hit the bottom of the tub.

At about 5 p.m., Showcatally called his wife, Gail Hunt, and told her there had
been an accident in the bathtub, that Gustavo's head was swelling and that she
needed to come home .

Hunt told Showcatally to take Gustavo to the hospital and said she would meet
him there. Showcatally kept telling Hunt he was sorry, she told investigators.

After arriving at the hospital with Gustavo at about 5:20 p.m., the boy was
taken to the operating room at 6:35 p.m., but he died shortly before 8 p.m.

A scan of Gustavo's head showed severe head injuries that were inconsistent
with Showcatally's explanation of the injuries and St. Paul police were called
to the hospital.

In addition to skull fractures, an autopsy found multiple subgaleal
hemorrhages, which is blood between the scalp and skull. The Ramsey County
medical examiner's office determined the cause of death to be craniocerebral
injuries — traumatic injuries that can involve the brain, cranial nerves and
other structures — and the manner of death to be homicide.

Showcatally and Hunt volunteered to go with police to give statements.
Showcatally described his work situation as troubled.

When investigators told him that doctors said the severity of Gustavo's
injuries was inconsistent with being dropped four or five feet, "he hung his
head and nodded. He said he was sure what the doctors said was true. He said he
killed Gustavo."

Showcatally told investigators that he dropped Gustavo accidentally, but then
twice more intentionally. Afterward, he said he noticed the baby's eyes were
twitching and rolling back in his head and he called his wife.

Showcatally is being held in the Ramsey County jail. His first court appearance
is scheduled for today.

Showcatally and Hunt had been trying to adopt a child for four years when they
brought Gustavo home.

Help available for stressed parents

For parents who feel overwhelmed with their children, a University of Minnesota
professor says, "it's important to recognize you're frustrated and recognize
you're not alone."

Try to "recognize you're having difficulty handling the strains and stresses
that parenthood inevitably brings with it," said Susan J. Wells, the University
of Minnesota's Gamble-Skogmo Professor in Child Welfare. "If you recognize it,
you can get help and training, you can take a break while someone watches the
child, you can take a mental break if you can't remove yourself from the
situation. It's the old count-to-10 method."

Commenting on the allegations in this week's child death in St. Paul, Wells
said, "It's not unusual that you would get this kind of description where a
parent just loses it due to mounting frustrations that they can't handle."

Help can be found through the United Way's First Call for Help by calling
651-291-0211. To locate a parent support group, call Prevent Child Abuse
Minnesota at 651-523-0099. Resources for parents by county can be found at
www.familysupport.org/programs.cfm/map.cfm.

— Mara H. Gottfried


Mara H. Gottfried can be reached at mgottfried@pioneerpress.com or
651-228-5262.

Anonymous said...

Foster father charged with aggravated sexual assault of a childABC13 Eyewitness News(8/03/05 - HOUSTON) - Officials with Child Protective Services are questioning a longtime foster father after a young family member accused him of sexual abuse.

Gerard Demilia was charged over the weekend with aggravated sexual assault of a child. The family member made the claims on Friday. Demilia has been a state-approved foster father since 1995. Since then, he and his wife have fostered 18 children and have passed numerous background checks.
"We've never had any concerns, abuse or neglect reported," said Estella Olguin with Children's Protective Services.

Since the allegation, CPS has removed a four-month-old foster child from the home. Officials will also talk with his former foster children to see if there are any other possible victims.

Demilia is due back in court next month.
(Copyright © 2005, KTRK-TV)

Anonymous said...

http://www.calgaryschild.com/content/view/72/22/

Kinship Care Program
Written by Kristen Enevold
Sunday, 06 August 2006
For Linda Bateman, it’s hard to imagine life without her son’s children. Her goals for retirement may have to wait a while longer, but she is enjoying a much closer relationship with her grandkids because she has been raising them in her home for almost a year.



Linda, whose name has been changed to protect the identity of the children, is a client of a program called Kinship Care, an alternative to placing children in the foster care system.

When receiving a new child welfare case, social workers with Calgary Rocky View Child and Family Services try to identify the child’s blood relatives to see if the child may be placed there instead. “This program strengthens family connections by offering a proper family role model,” said Diane Charlebois, the program’s team leader.

“It also offers the child a sense of belonging and minimizes the impact of an out-of-home placement. The children, in turn, know there is someone out there to whom they are related and have a connection to.” Diane said the principle behind Kinship Care is nothing new, “but it has never been specialized to the point of saying ‘we’re going to aggressively go out there and search for relatives, and reinforce it.’”

The program came about from a recommendation of the province’s Children’s Services ministry in 1998. It stated that regional childcare authorities should try different models on encouraging relatives to care for children who would otherwise be placed in foster care.

The idea was developed further last year by Calgary Rocky View Child and Family Services, the regional child welfare authority serving Calgary and the Municipal District of Rocky View. Last year, 65 children were placed with relatives, and over half of them have remained there or are currently living with their parents in a more stable environment. The goal this year is to successfully place 80 more children in Kinship Care.

It is true the program’s success can be measured in numbers, but the most important indicator is an improvement in the welfare of the children. Linda’s story is proof that children placed with a relative benefit from the arrangement.

Before the children were placed in her home last July, there were a number of concerns she had with her grandchildren’s situation. “I was taking them back to foster care after a weekend visit, the little one was crying and said ‘Grandma, what did I do so bad that they took my mommy and daddy away?” I remember that’s one thing that crushed me the most.”

“The children were also in several different schools, so there was no continuity with their education, and I was very concerned about that,” she added. It was her son who gave Linda a contact number for the Kinship Care program. She went through a screening process, and the children were then placed in her care. “It’s been an adjustment,” she said. “It was hard because before I was Grandma and we’d do fun things, and now I’ve got to see if homework has been done, do the disciplining, those kinds of things. The adjustment has been hard on the kids, but I’m strong willed. In this situation, something had to be done.”

Linda, a nurse for the past 41 years, has attended parenting courses provided through the program. “It was wonderful because we were in contact with other people in the same situation. There were Grandparents, siblings raising nieces and nephews, and we developed a peer group that was supportive. That was very rewarding.”

Although the children are still working on issues as a result of their early years, Linda said she has noticed they are happier and are performing better in school. Both are enrolled in recreational programs, which have raised their self-esteem. She said a huge part of this comes from the stability and support of a relative. “When I look back, many of my values and goals I not only learned from my parents, but from my extended family – my aunts, uncles and cousins.”

“When my granddaughter asked how she would be able to afford post-secondary education, I realized I never had to ask that question because I could see my relatives achieving their goals. Now I can relate this to real people for her. It is a relative she can now identify with, and it’s not just a story she may hear indirectly.” Linda admits her life now was not how she envisioned it, but she can’t imagine things being any different.

“I believe this is my mission, to see that these children get a fair shake in life. So, for as long as the parents allow this arrangement, I will do the best I can for the children.” Linda said the significance of this arrangement comes when she tucks the children into bed at night. “When they say ‘Grandma I love you,’ that’s my reward.”


For more information on this program, please contact Calgary Rockyview Child and Family Services at 297-5957

Anonymous said...

National Coalition for Child Protection Reform / 53 Skyhill Road (Suite 202) / Alexandria, Va., 22314 / info@nccpr.org / www.nccpr.org

FAMILY PRESERVATION AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

They may be the parents most of us would most like to punish. Mothers who seem to care so little for their children that they'd rather get high than take care of them. Mothers who can't or won't kick their habit even while they're pregnant.

No one really knows how many there are. The huge numbers bandied about by child savers are guesses, and the child savers have a vested interest in guessing high. Furthermore, guesses about the extent of "substance abuse" by parents lump together everything from the parent who sells her child for crack to the parent who had her child taken for a week at birth because she smoked one marijuana cigarette to ease the pain of labor. [1]

Myths about those who abuse drugs -- and their children – die hard. Even though the apocalyptic claims about children born with cocaine in their systems – and their mothers – proved to be false, the same false claims are being made now in connection with another drug: methamphetamine.

But the problem cannot be minimized either. The problem of drug abuse, like the problem of child abuse, is serious and real. And there is an enormous temptation to punish addicted parents. But do we want to punish their children?

We favor providing Intensive Family Preservation Services and other help to some families with substance abuse problems. But not because it's another chance for the parent. We favor such programs because they may be the only chance for the child.

Consider the case of Alice Porter (not her real name) of Newark, New Jersey.

She was a drug-addicted single mother with a 12-year-old boy. The boy was angry, unruly, defiant, and hitting his mother. She was too overwhelmed by addiction to give him the order and stability he needed. One option would be to take the boy away because his mother doesn't "deserve" another chance.

But what would happen to an angry "acting out" 12-year-old in foster care? Probably foster home after foster home, as foster parents found they could not cope with him. Then group home after group home. The odds that he would have been adopted are slim. The odds that he would have been abused in foster care are excellent, (See Issue Paper 1). And the odds that he would emerge unable to love or trust anyone after all those placements are overwhelming.

But none of that happened. Alice Porter's family was referred to a family preservation program in Newark. The mother became active in Narcotics Anonymous. She built her skills, getting the education she needs to find employment. Her son joined Al-Ateen and did well in school. Because he stayed at home, he saw his mother fight -- and win -- her battle with addiction. "That's one less negative role model in his life," says family preservation worker Marcello Gomez. "He's learning he can have a positive lifestyle, drug free."[2]

But what about infants? Would they do better taken from parents who have abused drugs? Often, the answer there too, is no. After examining what really happens to such babies Time Magazine concluded: "Staying at home with an addicted mother who is actively participating in a rehabilitation program can, in many cases, be the more promising and safer route for the child [Emphasis added]."[3]

In a University of Florida study of children born with cocaine in their systems – children often stigmatized with the label “crack babies” -- one group was placed in foster care, another group with birth mothers able to care for them. After one year, the babies were tested using all the usual measures of infant development: rolling over, sitting up, reaching out. Consistently, the children placed with their birth mothers did better. For the foster children, the separation from their mothers was more toxic than the cocaine [4]. Why help addicted mothers? Because it is extremely difficult to take a swing at "bad mothers" without the blow landing on their children. And if we really believe all the rhetoric about putting the children’s needs first, then those needs must come before everything, including how we may feel about their parents.

That doesn’t mean we can simply leave children with addicted parents. It does mean that drug treatment for the parents, including inpatient programs where parents can live with their children, are almost always a better first choice than foster care for the children.

Not all cases work out like the case of Alice Porter. In some cases, a parent's addiction and lack of interest in treatment combine to create a situation that requires immediate removal of the child. But Intensive Family Preservation programs have developed their impressive record of safety while working with drug addicted parents. Michigan's program, for example, has an exemplary safety record, (See Issue Paper 1) even though 58 percent of the families it works with in Detroit have substance abuse problems. In the Newark program, 75 percent of families stayed together one year after the intervention. The fact that 25 percent did not indicates the care with which such families are approached and the willingness of family preservation workers to recommend removal of children when necessary.

An exhaustive 1999 report on child welfare and drug abuse found that, again contrary to the stereotype, "national treatment outcome studies clearly show that treatment can be effective."[5] [Emphasis added]. A federal report concluded that one-third of addicts recover on their first attempt and another third recover "after brief periods" of relapse.[6] And family preservation can increase the chances that treatment will work. And another federal study found that the chances of success increase dramatically when parents are allowed to keep their young children with them during inpatient treatment.[7]

But what about “meth”?



When use of crack cocaine was at its worst, so was the hype about what it did to children, and their parents.



The claim that children born with cocaine in their systems were doomed to become, in the words of one hyperventilating columnist, “a biological underclass” [8] was false. The claim that crack cocaine destroyed all maternal instincts was false. And the claim that addition to crack cocaine could not be treated was false.



And yet, in 2005, the same false claims are being made about methamphetamine. In fact, methamphetamine addiction can be treated with just as much success and in the same time frame as addiction to crack cocaine and other substances.[9]



In part, there is a political motivation for the false claime about meth. The federal government wants to allow states to use billions of dollars now reserved for foster care for various prevention programs, including drug treatment. But the child savers want to hoard the money for foster care.

The child savers want us to believe that methamphetamine is virtually untreatable because they want us to believe the only option for their children is foster care. They want us to believe the only option is foster care in order to justify their demand that those billions of dollars be reserved for foster care, and nothing else.

Family preservation is not drug treatment. But Intensive Family Preservation Programs work with parents to determine which of the many forms of drug treatment is most likely to work, advocate to get them into treatment, and support them as they enter that treatment. They also prepare the family for the possibility of relapse, so even if that happens, the children remain safe. And perhaps most important, family preservation programs provide concrete services, so parents with substance abuse problems can marshal their energies and focus on freeing themselves from their addiction.

By providing such concrete help, Family Preservation programs provide something even more important: Hope. "A lot of our families are hopeless," Gomez says. "When you've been using for a long time, you think you'll never be able to get yourself together again." Often it is hopelessness that caused the addiction in the first place. "People get high for a lot of reasons," Gomez says. Sometimes, it may be a personal trauma. Often, it is the despair brought on by a life surrounded by seemingly intractable poverty.

Family preservation can't do it alone -- and the people who run such programs have never claimed that they can. There is an urgent need for a wide variety of substance abuse programs, particularly programs geared to the needs of mothers and children.

"They are doing [drugs] to anesthetize themselves," Gomez says. "They have a pain to deal with. We're always offering other options."

Updated, August 12, 2005


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Brief for Defendant Appellant and Brief for Petitioner-Respondent, Nassau County (N.Y.) Department of Social Services v. Theresa Back to Text.

2. Personal Communication with Marcello Gomez, Clinical Supervisor for Family Preservation Programs at The Bridge, Inc., Irvington, N.J. Back to Text.

3. James Willwerth, "Should We Take Away Their Kids? Often The Best Way to Save the Child is to Save the Mother as Well," Time, May 13, 1991, p.62. Back to Text.

4. Kathleen Wobie, Marylou Behnke et. al., To Have and To Hold: A Descriptive Study of Custody Status Following Prenatal Exposure to Cocaine, paper presented at joint annual meeting of the American Pediatric Society and the Society for Pediatric Research, May 3, 1998. Back to Text.

5. National Center On Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, No Safe Haven: Children of Substance-Abusing Parents (New York: January, 1999). Back to Text.

6. Department of Health and Human Services, Blending Perspectives and Building Common Ground: A Report to Congress on Substance Abuse and Child Protection (Washington, DC: April, 1999) p.14. Back to Text.

7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Benefits of Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for Pregnant and Parenting Women (Washington DC: September, 2001). Back to Text.

8. Mariah Blake: “The Damage Done: Crack Babies Talk Back,” Columbia Journalism Review, September/October 2004.





9. Richard A. Rawson, Ph.D, Challenges in Responding to the Spread of Methamphetamine Use in the US: Recommendations Concerning the Treatment of Individuals with Methamphetamine-Related Disorders (Los Angeles: UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, David Geffen School of Medicine). See also, Maia Szalavitz, The Media’s Meth Mania, (Aug. 4, 2005) and The Media Go Into ‘Crack Baby’ Mode Over Meth (August 10, 2005) both at www.stats.org.

Anonymous said...

Foster mother inflicted 20 years of sadistic abuse on three children


· Authorities admit mistakes were made
· Two girls and a boy were treated as slaves

Steven Morris
Wednesday March 21, 2007
The Guardian
London, UK

A "sadistic" foster mother was found guilty yesterday of subjecting three children in her care to a horrifying catalogue of physical and mental abuse over 20 years.
Eunice Spry, 62, beat the children with sticks and metal bars, scrubbed their skin with sandpaper and forced them to eat lard, bleach, vomit and even their own faeces.

She treated the children, two girls and a boy, as if they were her slaves, ordering one of them to stay in a wheelchair for four years even though she could walk so Spry could claim benefits for her.


Article continues

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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Spry, a Jehovah's Witness and a pillar of her local community, would punish the children because she thought they were possessed by the devil. Once she kept two of them imprisoned, naked and starving, in a room for a month.
She forced them to run up and down the stairs and "tortured" them by making them take part in the "invisible chair" game, squatting for hours on end until they collapsed - then they were beaten.

The abuse, which lasted from 1986 to 2005, was not spotted by the authorities and last night the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board (GSCB), the body now responsible for monitoring organisations in charge of children's welfare in the county, admitted mistakes were made.

GSCB chair Jo Grills said the children were seen by "many different people" but few were a "consistent presence".

The statement added that information was not shared, one of the failings which led to the death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbié.

Spry was convicted of 26 charges, including child cruelty, unlawful wounding, actual bodily harm, perverting the course of justice and witness intimidation. During the five-week trial she had denied any wrongdoing, insisting she had simply tried to instil Christian values into them.

Bristol crown court was told how the children, now young adults, were placed with Spry as infants by social services.

One of the young women, who came into her care aged five, told how the children were treated as "slaves", rarely allowed out of the house and told to lie about their bruises and scars.

Victim A, now 21, said: "We were regularly beaten. We were starved or made to eat blocks of lard, drowned in the bath and kicked down the stairs.

"Mum had an array of sticks and would beat us with them and kick us until we were bruised and collapsing with pain. If we screamed, she would push the sticks down our throats. The pain was unbearable."

She told the court her earliest memory was of Spry forcing her to eat a can of dog food as a punishment, and when she was sick, to eat the vomit.

Victim A was confined to a wheelchair following a car accident in 2000. She could have left the chair after six months but Spry kept her in it for four years so she could collect compensation.

The young woman said: "I knew I could walk, but she would have killed me. When I tried, she clobbered me and said I was being selfish."

One regular punishment was starvation. On one occasion Victims A and C, then 10 and eight, were locked naked in a bedroom for a month and denied food.

Victim C told the court: "If we wanted to go to the toilet we had to do it in the corner. I remember being made to eat my own excrement off the floor."

The abuse came to light in December 2004 when Victim A confided in a family friend, who took her to the police.

Kerry Barker, prosecuting, said: "What came out is a horrifying catalogue of cruel and sadistic treatment of these three children, both physical and psychological."

The family home was infested with rats and the children - who did not attend school - would often sleep on the floor without a mattress.

Spry, who had two children of her own, denied any abuse, telling the court: "I sweated blood for those children. These children came from not very good backgrounds and I wanted to bring them up like my own children. I didn't punish them physically but as a last resort I would smack a child's bottom.

Sentencing was adjourned for .reports

Anonymous said...

Another one bites the dust. What about the CAS now?


Fired lotto chief `in shock'
In an email, Brown defends his measures to correct the scandal-plagued system
March 24, 2007
Robert Benzie
Debra Black
Staff Reporters


The head of Ontario's Lottery and Gaming Corporation has been fired – a casualty in an ever-growing controversy at the lottery corporation involving allegations of theft and fraud.

Duncan Brown was told of his dismissal earlier this week and was asked to keep it quiet until Ontario's Ombudsman releases his report on the problems within the lottery corporation.

Sources at Queen's Park said last night that Public Infrastructure Minister David Caplan forced the move on Wednesday.

But Caplan wanted the news made public on Monday – after Ontario Ombudsman André Marin releases his report on the lottery situation.

"He wanted it to look like the government was being proactive," confided an insider.

In an email to OLG staff late last night after the news leaked out, Brown confirmed his departure, suggesting his severance has been settled.

"I would have preferred to do this in person but timing and logistics don't allow it," he wrote.


Friends said Brown, a career civil servant, "is in shock" because he had already begun planning to implement recommendations from Marin's review. Brown became chief executive officer of the lottery corporation in February 2004. His salary in 2005 was $354,460.


News of his dismissal also "shocked" many who worked with him. "The guy is such a first-class public servant," said Bill Rutsey, chief executive officer of the Canadian Gaming Association. "He's excellent. It really is a shame."

The controversy at the lottery corporation began last year when there were allegations that lottery insiders – ticket retailers – were winning a disproportionate number of jackpots.

The Ombudsman's probe was triggered by a CBC investigation into the allegations.

CBC's the fifth estate detailed the case of cancer survivor Bob Edmonds, 83, who was scammed out of a winning $250,000 ticket by a convenience store clerk. Adding fuel to the lottery controversy was a decision last week by the OLG to pull more than a million scratch cards of Super Bingo from retail outlets after a customer complained buyers could see if the card was a winner without even scratching the card.

Brown defended the measures he had put in place surrounding "the retail validation of winning tickets" since the lotto controversy broke.

"We have put in place literally the toughest measures that any lottery organization has to ensure the integrity of our system and to streamline and strengthen the complaints process. We have been – and ought to be – held up to public scrutiny," he wrote in the internal email.

"The Ombudsman's report... will provide an opportunity for the board and the minister to implement further oversight and accountability measures to build on those reform initiatives which we have undertaken," he said.

"In order to provide the board of directors and the minister a free hand to move forward with the recommendations, and to build on the fine work of the entire corporation without any distractions, I have stepped down and have so informed the board and government," he concluded.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is a provincial agency that handles lotteries, casinos and slot machines, generating $6 billion in revenue annually. It was created in 2000 by merging the Ontario Casino Corp. and the Ontario Lottery Corp.

Anonymous said...

A good question, about CAS. Why are lottery tickets more important then children? Why is the mess and scandal of the CAS not important enough to have the Ontario Ombudsman in there now. A list of dead children who were all under CAS care, SUV's being bought by senior managers, horrifying headlines about their failures, numerous groups asking for oversight - yet no Ombudsman at all in this total disaster called child welfare?

I hope that one of the activists wins a lottery, hires a law firm and sues them all on mass in a class action. Maybe if the government had to actually address CAS in court they would actually do something about them.

Anonymous said...

Read this article - maybe the mafia is a bit closer to truth then people think. Who else would want to silence the child advocate?

Ontario child advocate sees threat to office

The Globe and Mail, (Canada's largest national newspaper ), By MARGARET PHILP, Thursday, Jun. 26, 2003

Sugar has been poured into her gas tank and dead squirrels left on her porch. Her windows have been smashed and hubcaps stripped. A stalker who knew her bra size and favourite food harassed her for months.

Hers has been a career more befitting the politics of a corrupt dictatorship than a tame Ontario government where her job for the past 13 years has been to speak on behalf of the invisible children stuck in government-licensed group homes and correctional facilities.

But the toughest battle of Ontario chief child advocate Judy Finlay's career may still lie ahead.
The Ontario government wants to limit the powers of its child advocate in an apparent move to muzzle an office that routinely criticizes its treatment of the 23,000 troubled children in its care.
Fighting for the independence of her office, Ms. Finlay broke a self-imposed silence to reveal restrictions she says threaten her role as watchdog.

"I feel my job is at risk," she said in an interview. "The viability of the office as an independent voice for children in this province is at risk."

Ms. Finlay and the bureaucrats at the Ministry of Community, Family, and Children's Services to which she reports have locked horns over the future of the Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy since the government presented restrictions to her authority last fall.

The government, Ms. Finlay says, wants to vet the reports her office produces. Furthermore, it wants her to present a plan of the issues and projects she wants to tackle, and has demanded final say in possible investigations that could implicate the government. Any reports or press releases from her office would have to be signed off by government officials.

"They see me as a public servant, and want me to follow the conditions of being a public servant, even though historically I'm to be arm's length from the government," Ms. Finlay said.

She has drafted her own set of proposals, including angling for an independent review of the office, posters and pamphlets, a Web site, and money to publish an annual report.

Even as this bargaining continues, the advocate's office has been thrust from relative obscurity into the political limelight at Queen's Park in the past week.

A report by an organization called Defence for Children International lambasted the province for underfunding the advocacy office, neglecting to publish information posters and brochures for the child advocate to circulate to group homes and youth detention centres, and for a tarnished record of seven children dying in government-licensed care after nearly two decades of no deaths.
Community services minister Brenda Elliott has defended her government.

"Not one change has been made on this side of the House to the powers or the mandate of the child advocate, nor have we made any limitations to her authority."

But even a few months ago, Ms. Finlay was blocked from testifying in a court hearing over certification of a $700-million class-action lawsuit against the province by worn-out parents compelled to abandon their youngsters to the custody of children's aid societies to obtain services. Her investigation had uncovered the problem.

"We had wanted her to testify," said Laughlin Campbell, one of the lawyers representing the families, "and the government indicated it would go to whatever length necessary in court to oppose that. They said her testimony was obviously not relevant. It was so absurd, I couldn't begin to guess why they would say that."

Over the years, Ms. Finlay has been a thorn in the government's side. Her office has produced dozens of reports on dubious practices at provincial facilities and some of her investigations have triggered embarrassing lawsuits against the province.

She has paid a steep personal price for being candid, although she can't pinpoint exactly who is behind the harassment that besets her.

She has moved several times in the past 13 years. After one move, thousands of pieces of garbage were strewn across her front lawn, a message that she could not escape whoever was watching.
The police have not managed to trace her high-tech stalkers, although their file on her is several centimetres thick. The government has hired security guards to protect her. She laughs when she recalls pulling her grandchildren in a wagon with a security guard a few steps behind.

"I've been frustrated and irritated by it," the diminutive advocate said, "but I wasn't afraid. They're just bullies. They're not courageous."

Anonymous said...

Child protection?


Father and son charged in slaying of teenager
RCMP ask for help tracing truckers that had 'relationships' with young runaways

Glenn Bohn, with files from Chad Skelton
Vancouver Sun


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

CREDIT: Vancouver Sun

CREDIT: Ian Smith, Vancouver Sun
Insp. Wayne Rideout displays photos of the two men charged with the murder of Chelsey Acorn.

A father and son who both call themselves Blue have been charged with the murder of 14-year-old Chelsey Acorn, a runaway whose body was discovered in a shallow grave near a Coquihalla Highway exit north of Hope almost one year ago.

Police alleged Monday the 54-year-old father and his 22-year-old-son sought out and befriended troubled teens -- including Acorn, who went missing from a foster home in Abbotsford in June, 2005.

Insp. Wayne Rideout of the RCMP's Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said the two men are suspects only in Acorn's murder.

But Rideout made a public appeal for information on the movements and activities of the father and son during the past several years.

"We are aware that both men have been in contact with youth at risk in the past and have engaged in relationships with young women, runaways, street persons," Rideout said Monday during a news conference in Surrey. "It's very critical to our investigation that we get a further understanding of the scope of that contact."

To that end, police took the unusual step of making public photographs of the two accused -- Jessie Blue West, 54, and his son Dustin Moir, 22, who also uses the name Blue.

They were arrested together in North Vancouver Friday afternoon and are charged with first-degree murder.

West last lived in Victoria and his son last lived in Whistler, but Rideout said they moved around a lot and also lived in Surrey and Abbotsford during the past year.

Rideout said another reason police decided to release photographs is that West used so many aliases. Those false names include: Garry Wayne Vance, Jesse Blue Bizuk, Michael Harrison, John Angus Cameron, Richard Ciouata, Ben Jansen, Alan King and John Ford.

West's last trucking job was with Can-Am West Carriers in Abbotsford, which refused to comment.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, a murder becomes a first-degree murder if it is "planned and deliberate," but someone can also be convicted of first-degree murder if they kill someone during a sexual assault or a sexual assault with a weapon.

Court records indicate West has been before the courts several times over the past few years.

Last year, West was charged in Surrey with sexual assault and touching a young person for a sexual purpose. West has also been charged three times over the past five years with criminal harassment, more commonly known as stalking. In all three cases, West was fined and released on a peace bond.

West was also convicted in March 2006 of uttering threats, for which he received a suspended sentence and six months probation.

Moir was charged with sexual assault in Abbotsford in 2004 but was acquitted at trial in January 2006.

Two hikers found Acorn's body on April 8, 2006 near the Carolin Mines exit of the Coquihalla.

Through forensic examination, police estimated Acorn's body was put there sometime in the fall of 2005. Police haven't revealed how Acorn died or whether she was sexually assaulted.

Rideout said police would like to talk to others who knew the father and son so they can develop a timeline or history of where they went and who they had relationships with.

"We are interested in any information -- any personal contacts, any personal involvement -- these two individuals had with any person, for any reason," Rideout said.

Anyone with information is asked to call their local police, the IHIT tip line, at 1-866-373-7886, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 if they want to remain anonymous.

Rideout said 16 investigators have been working on the case for the past year and it took that long to gather the evidence needed to lay charges.

West and Moir made their first court appearance on the murder charge on Monday at Provincial Court in Chilliwack. They remain behind bars. They next appear in court March 26.

gbohn@png.canwest.com

Anonymous said...

Independent lottery czar urged for Ontario
KAREN HOWLETT
Globe and Mail Update
The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. has “turned a blind eye” to crime and cheated money from the pockets of ordinary Canadians for years, says Ontario Ombudsman André Marin.

In his report tabled Monday, Mr. Marin calls for an independent regulator to oversee the province's lottery corporation in the wake of “theft and fraud” by ticket retailers.

In just 90 days, the Ombudsman's office uncovered instances where about $15-million in lottery winnings was paid to “internal fraudsters,” Mr. Marin said.

“I think the system has been cheated, charities have been cheated, hospitals have been cheated,” Mr. Marin said at a news conference on Monday.

Related to this article


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Ontario Ombudsman André Marin has urged an independent regulator for the province's lotteries. (CP)
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The report says OLG must no longer be responsible for the oversight of lotteries because its “touchy-feely” relationship with the retailers who sell tickets makes the organization incapable of holding retailers to account.

The lottery corporation has “coddled” retailers even in suspicious circumstances, including paying out millions of dollars in questionable prize claims. By contrast, the report says, customers who complained were rarely taken seriously by an organization that kept poor records and conducted “spotty” investigations.

“The OLG has become fixated on profit rather than public service,” the report says. “It had come to define itself by its role as a cash cow.”

Under the current regime, the lottery corporation oversees and disciplines the very retailers it depends on for its profits. An independent regulator would better protect the public by removing this inherent conflict, the report says.

“Let [the corporation] sell lottery tickets because it does it so well, but get it out of the fraud prevention business at which it has proved itself so inept,” the report concludes.

Mr. Marin said the lottery corporation has introduced some measures to better protect consumers since his office launched an investigation last October, following a CBC television program that alleged that more than 200 ticket retailers or clerks won prizes of more than $50,000 in the past seven years. But well before the fifth estate program, the corporation was only too aware that it was easy for its retailers to steal winning tickets, the report says.

The report says the lottery corporation's efforts to crack down on illegal activity are hampered by a corporate culture that places profits before responsibility. This culture is best summed up by an internal e-mail written by former chief executive officer Duncan Brown in response to concerns about suspicious wins by retailers. “Sometimes you hold your nose,” the email says.

Mr. Brown was forced to resign last week by the government in an effort to diffuse the controversy swirling around the lottery corporation.

In addition to independent oversight of the lottery corporation, Mr. Marin says retailers should be required to face criminal background checks when they apply for lottery terminals. He stopped short, however, of calling for a ban on retailers playing the lotteries, saying such a measure would be unworkable and unfair.

The report, titled A Game of Trust, makes 23 recommendations, including introducing a zero-tolerance policy for dishonesty by retailers, setting up an adjudicative process to deal with disputed prize claims and using secret shoppers to test the lottery corporation's compliance with such measures. The government has agreed to adopt all of the Ombudsman's recommendations, including independent oversight of the agency.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission in Ontario regulates the lottery corporation's casino and racetrack operations but not its lotteries. The commission has the power to refuse to register gaming vendors and freeze assets.

The report says the government has become “addicted” to gambling revenues to help fund health care and other programs. Last year, lottery sales grossed almost $2.4-billion.

But the revelations of a suspicious number of insider wins raised serious questions about whether the system could be trusted, the report says.

“Lotteries are a game of trust and without trust, players will simply take their marbles and go home, depriving the province of important revenue,” the report says.

The report recounts the sorry tale of senior citizen Bob Edmonds, who was cheated of his winnings by a lottery ticket retailer and waged a three-year battle with the lottery corporation after he revealed this wrong. The corporation responded to Mr. Edmonds by freezing him out, the report says. It spent $3.5-million in legal fees fighting him in court and trying to keep him quiet. The fifth estate told Mr. Edmonds's story last fall.

“This compelling story, pitting an elderly David against a clumsy and unfeeling Goliath of a corporation, captured public attention – including my own,” Mr. Marin says.

“It made us all wonder if the corporation was not living up to its core values of ‘integrity, respect and accountability' and operating a system that could not be trusted.”

Anonymous said...

This is unbelievable, the Toronto CCAS gets away with the murder of a child, and then the bastards are portrayed as being one of the best employers in Canada?

Catholic Children's Aid among nation's top employers

BY MICHAEL SWAN
The Catholic Register
TORONTO

They're getting used to high praise at the human resources department of the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto.





For the third year in a row the Catholic agency with almost 600 employees has been chosen one of Maclean's magazine's top 100 employers in Canada, and one of the top 10 employers on the Today's Parent magazine list of family friendly employers. For two years the Canadian Workplace Institute has named Toronto's CCAS as one of the best employers for workers over 50. This year the society was also included in The Toronto Star's inaugural list of top 50 employers in the Greater Toronto Area.

The honours don't have much to do with money, because stressful work with neglected and abused children doesn't pay all that well, according to human resources manager Terry Daly. A child protection worker with a Master of Social Work degree makes between $56,000 and $69,000, about 25 per cent less than nurses, police and firefighters with similar qualifications.

With that money comes a lot of stress, Daly told The Catholic Register. A University of Toronto study found that child protection workers are at a higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder than police or firefighters.

Instead of dollars, CCAS staff get time. They start with four weeks of vacation time per year. Add onto that sick days and an allotment of eight paid days a year for family emergencies, doctor's appointments, day care, elder care and the like. For employees expecting a baby there are 26 weeks of parental leave with 70 per cent of salary, and then the new parents can apply for an additional two-year leave of absence following maternity or adoption leave.

This doesn't mean that Toronto's Catholic child protection workers have anything less than a full commitment to hard work, said Daly.

"Our staff are very, very committed to the work that we do. One of the dangers was the high burnout rate in this kind of work. People work extraordinary hours," she said.

One of Daly's biggest challenges is getting employees to take all of their leave time. On average, employees only use 2.5 of the eight paid family days they could claim in a year.

When the Toronto CCAS started expanding vacation and leave time in the 1980s it may have been thought of as a substitute for better pay, but now it's an essential element in the agency's attempts to recruit and retain employees.

The agency's attempts to maintain the mental health of staff go beyond just giving them days off work. The agency also runs an extensive program of counselling and support for employees facing stress at work or at home.

It's all about getting new graduates through their first three years on the job, said Daly. Child protection agencies "eat new workers up and spit them out," she said.

What more could CCAS do for its employees? Daly is already thinking as she goes into union negotiations in 2007.

"More and more of our employees are going to be dealing with elder care responsibilities," she said. "We have policies for compassionate care. I think in some of those we could use improvement."

Anonymous said...

No - from the article I think they spit out children and chew them up not their workers!

Anonymous said...

Teacher accused of sex with student

Paola Queen, a teacher at Nelson A. Boylen Collegiate Institute, has been charged with sexual exploitation after police received a tip about an alleged inappropriate relationship.

Woman is pregnant after alleged relationship and teen has left high school, police say

SOURCE: TORONTO STAR NEWSPAPER
Mar 10, 2007
Betsy Powell
Kristin Rushowy
Staff Reporters

She was a child protection worker who taught family studies and now she's a high school teacher accused of having sex with one of her teenage students.

Toronto police have charged Paola Queen, a 35-year-old teacher at Nelson A. Boylen Collegiate Institute, with one count of sexual exploitation after they received a Crime Stoppers tip earlier this month about an alleged inappropriate relationship between a high school teacher and a student.

She is pregnant and is at a "substantial stage" into the nine-month term, Det. Peter Duncan said yesterday.

The student, who has left the north Toronto school on Falstaff Ave. near Jane St., is believed to be 17 and cannot be identified by law.

"This was a very good student, someone who has since left school" and the reasons, while not conclusively known, are "directly related to that pregnancy," Duncan said.

Police allege Queen began a romantic and sexual relationship with the teen not long after she started teaching at the school in September 2005, "one that has continued, to our knowledge, to the present time," said Duncan, of 31 Division. Both speak Spanish, a source said.

A student in Queen's parenting class said she often saw the teacher and two brothers in a car together. "She would let them drive," said the 15-year-old who asked not to be identified.

Queen was obviously pregnant and recently told students not to give her grief in class because of her condition, the student said.

Family members on both sides were also aware of the relationship and the pregnancy, police said.

"From our investigation it appears that both relatives of the accused lady and the victimized youth knew of this relationship and had for some time, several months at least," Duncan said.

Police exercised two search warrants and they found photographs showing the pair with other family members.

The teacher had been living with the student "for short periods at least before she was arrested."

Queen was arrested on Tuesday night.

Under the Criminal Code, no one is allowed to have a sexual relationship with anyone under 18 years old if they are in a position of trust or authority "and certainly any teacher would follow under that description," said Duncan.

A young person at that age is "at an obvious stage in their emotional development" where they would be vulnerable to "friendly behaviour and given a degree of affection would fall into a position where they would develop an emotional attachment with a teacher as somebody in a position of authority."

While he doesn't now appear to be traumatized, "this could be a young man who could take years to fully understand the impact on his life," he said. "I think this is something, morally, is going to disgust some people."

Supt. Roy Pilkington, who runs 31 Division, said it's not uncommon for men in positions of authority to victimize young females, but added: "It's very rare – I've been a police officer for some 34 years – and this is the first case I can recall in Toronto ... where we've had this reverse situation."

Queen has been released with conditions not to attend the school in question. She is to appear in court April 17. She has no children of her own and is not currently married but may be separated or divorced.

She is also to have no contact with the youth. Duncan admitted this could prove to be problematic if he is indeed the father of the baby. "That's another sad dimension."

Queen is a former child protection worker with Toronto's Catholic Children's Aid Society.

The family studies teacher is now on home assignment, which means she's on leave with pay until the matter has been resolved in the courts.

"That's normally the case when a teacher has been charged with a criminal offence," said board counsel Grant Bowers.

"That's normally their status until the matter has been disposed of by the courts."

If found guilty, she'll be fired; if she's acquitted or the charges are withdrawn, the board will still conduct its own investigation before deciding if she's allowed to return to work, added Bowers.

In a letter sent home with students yesterday, principal Linda Curtis said it's alleged that Queen began an inappropriate relationship "soon after she started as a teacher" at the school in September 2005.

Queen became a teacher in June 2005 after obtaining a bachelor's degree in education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. According to the Ontario College of Teachers, her qualifications are in the areas of family studies, individual and society, and visual arts.

She also has two undergraduate degrees – in arts and social work – from York University, dating back to 1995.

The Toronto District School Board first heard of the allegations from police, Bowers said. He could not say if the school had previously received any complaints about Queen.

The student is not currently attending Nelson A. Boylen, although sources said he has not been transferred to another school.

Even though the charges were laid just days before March Break, the Toronto board has arranged for counselling during the holidays should students or staff request it. A meeting will be scheduled following the break for parents to air any concerns or to seek advice on how to discuss the issue at home.

"Our primary goal is to make sure that the students aren't upset, and to provide any counselling that students may need," said Bowers. "When a person in authority in a school community is charged with anything, it can cause ripples in the school community."

Bowers said the Toronto board has one of the toughest policies regarding relationships. No employee – teacher or any other staff member – is allowed to have sexual relations with a student.

"Any teacher or other employee found guilty (by the courts), or found by us on the balance of probability to have abused a child in any way, is terminated immediately," he said.

"If these allegations are true, and that's a big if, it's extremely regretful and another example of how we have to be vigilant and protect our kids."

The Ontario College of Teachers, the profession's governing body, says if the board alters Queen's terms of employment "if it restricts her teaching duties or terminates her, they must let us know," said communications officer Brian Jamieson.

After receiving the complaint in writing, the college will investigate, and information would be forwarded to an investigation committee to decide if an official disciplinary hearing is warranted. The college's investigation is separate from that of the police.

In cases where teachers are found guilty of professional misconduct for having sexual relations with students, they stand to lose their licence – and, if that happens, it's almost always permanent, said Jamieson.

Bowers said he will notify the college on Monday.

When asked if the boy's family could sue the board, Bowers said that Canada is "rather unique because since the year 2000, the Supreme Court has held school boards and other institutions vicariously liable" for the inappropriate actions of teachers and other caregivers of children.

Anonymous said...

The government has "coddled" the Children's Aid Societies in comparing the OLG and them.

And who needs trust more then the children in the care of the CAS? Who deserves accountability more then children in the CAS? Adults can buy lottery tickets, adults have a choice. Children do not have a choice of being in CAS - and their workers, those agencies and that system are responsible to them!

If the OLG is out of control and wasting money, no surprise and why not have an inquiry, but over children and CAS being of less importance is absolutely ridiculous.

Where is the outrage from politicians about CAS? Why are they not demanding an inquiry into them, why are they not demanding Ombudsman oversight?

Why is the Ombudsman not having oversight considering the disaster of the CAS, the child advocate report, the auditor general report, the coroner, Mike Davis and others asking for a public inquiry into Jeffrey, the list of dead children, and the previous holocaust of victims all speaking out about them?

Anonymous said...

Published on Ontario New Democratic Party (//ontariondp.com)

CAS SCANDAL -- MONEY FOR KIDS WASTED ON PRICEY PR
location: Queen's Park
date: December 1, 2006 - 2:00pm

Today, the day after stunning revelations about massive misspending by Ontario children’s aid society executives, NDP Critic for Children and Youth Services Andrea Horwath wants to know if the McGuinty Liberals approve of the latest round of waste – public money wasted on a pricey public relations firm.

CBC Radio reports the Ontario Association of Children Aids Societies (OACAS) has hired a public relations firm to respond to the Auditor General’s damaging report of misspent public money.

“Dalton McGuinty has a responsibility to make sure public money earmarked for vulnerable kids is spent on vulnerable kids – not on $50,000 SUVs, exotic vacations and now, we learn, high-priced PR firms,” Horwath said.

“I call on the premier to tell Ontarians if he supports children’s aid executives wasting public money on PR and damage control. If the answer is no, the premier needs to explain what exactly he’s going to do about it,” Horwath said.

On Thursday, media reports revealed stunning evidence of improper spending at four of Ontario’s biggest Children's Aid Societies - Toronto, York, Peel and Thunder Bay - where public money was spend on luxury cars, personal trainers, expensive restaurant meals and exotic trips instead of helping at-risk children.

Front-line workers and foster parents are shocked to hear this money is being spent on PR instead of helping them in their daily work of protecting children at risk.

“Hiring a public relations firm to do damage control is indicative of a McGuinty government that is more interested in media spin than protecting our most vulnerable children. This is reckless, wasteful spending of Ontario’s public money that should be going to protecting our at-risk children,” said Horwath.

“This is adding insult to injury to vulnerable children and families who have been left languishing. This is about the accountability of a premier and a minister and the failure of the McGuinty Liberals to protect vulnerable children,” said Horwath.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Source URL:
//ontariondp.com//ontariondp.com/cas-scandal-money-kids-wasted-pricey-pr

Anonymous said...

With the OLG retailers should not have the chance to buy lottery tickets, and more then CAS employees buying children via CAS, or being baby brokers while working for them at the same time? Bit of a conflict I would think - and another area that needs to be investigated by the Ontario Ombudsman should the government ever wake up, and want to take responsibility for them!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a lottery ticket buyer because the odds of winning are so low that I feel like it's throwing my money away. I'm such a non-player that I didn't know until recently that one could even check the winning numbers at the retailer's. I always thought one checked them in the paper or on Citytv. But as skeptical as I am over the worth of playing the lottery, it never occurred to me that retailers would steal lottery winners' money, even less that the fraud and theft would be so enormous.

As I listened to Andre Marin's revelations on the news, I started to think this is Ontario's sponsorship scandal. The amounts are in the tens of millions of dollars, OLG let this happen under their nose and are alleged to be complicit, the fraud is so extensive that all sorts of companies and individuals have been adversely affected, and the paper trail is weak and apparently has disappeared now (wonder why), with the result that the thieves will be able to keep their money even though the ombudsman has referred this to the OPP.

The Board Chair talks about trust and how OLG is trustworthy. The resignation of the CEO and the wholehearted acceptance of Marin's recommendations are apparently proof, but if OLG is so trustworthy why when the elderly man who started this investigative ball rolling did the Board Chair not order a full investigation? Why if trust is so important to OLG did he not immediately take steps to prevent theft, not take so long to introduce some measures that are, IMHO, not fullproof? I posit that it isn't trust that's motivating the Chair and Minister now, it's public exposure. Frankly, I think the entire Board ought to be fired as it was under their purview that this widespread thieving took place, as well as all the senior, middle, and lower managers who had responsibility for regulating the retailers. The rot is deep as evidenced by the staggering dollar amount. And if trust is really to be restored, retailers and anyone employed by or associated with OLG should not be allowed to play the lottery, thus we will know for sure that anyone involved in running the lottery cannot steal from the legit players.

Anonymous said...

Foster Dad faces child pornography charges

Last Updated: Thursday, May 11, 2000 | 7:50 AM ET
SOURCE: CBC News

A man facing child pornography charges was a foster parent.
Howard Krupp, a computer programmer who lives on Montreal's West Island, has been charged with possession, production and distribution of child pornography.

Krupp was a foster parent for Batshaw Youth and family services, and there was a foster child under his care when police started investigating him.

Krupp was checked out

Krupp and his wife were screened by Bathshaw, and nothing unusual turned up. A ten-year-old boy was placed in their care, and lived with them until October, 1999, when Batshaw took him out of the Krupp's home, and closed it to foster care.

The head of Batshaw won't say why, but it came on the heels of Howard Krupp's legal troubles.

Last September, a police officer working in New Hampshire, specializing in tracking child pornography tracked 12,000 files to Krupp's computer. The files contained pornographic images of three young boys.

The American officer contacted Montreal police, and after a six month investigation, Krupp was arrested. He appeared in court on Monday.

Organization received no complaints

Batshaw stands by its screening process, saying it never received complaints by the foster child in his care. It says police haven't advised the organization if any of the pornographic pictures found on Krupp's computer were of his foster son.

Anonymous said...

Pleas for help fell on deaf CCAS ears Despite caseworkers' frequent visits, horrific abuse continued for almost 20 years

By SAM PAZZANO April 9, 2006 - TORONTO SUN

Pauline" abandoned her children, beat one until she was deaf in one ear, tied her children to bed and confined them to their room for days and rubbed one's nose in feces. All of these nightmares -- spanning from1967 to 1983 -- occurred while Pauline and her tormented children were under the watchful eyes of Toronto Catholic Children's Aid Society, whose workers, along with those fromthe CAS, paid frequent visits. The children -- who are now adults -- still bear the physical scars of abuse and psychological scars of a childhood marked by sexual terror and torture. Pauline faced justice only once when she pleaded guilty in 2001 to three counts of failing to provide the necessaries of life. "It was typical for the children, in particular the complainants, to be left with other adults, both men and women," Justice David Watt said at sentencing. "Judging by their abilities and inclinations, these surrogates took a back seat to no one when it came to physical and sexual abuse." 'VIOLENT ABUSERS' "Pauline's life partners, sanctioned by law or otherwise, were manipulative, domineering, violent abusers. They spared neither Pauline nor her children. "No disposition (sentence) that I imposewill ever repay to the (victims) what was sowrongly taken from them. Sentences in criminal cases are simply incapable of rising to that task." Justice Watt sentenced Pauline to what Crown attorney Maggie Lazaridis and defence counsel Ted Kelly both called for: A six-month conditional sentence and three years probation -- and abstinence from alcohol and illicit drugs. The guilty plea -- before the same judge who on Friday found Jeffrey Baldwin'sgrandparents guilty of second-degree murder -- touched only the surface of this horrific case of child abuse.Pauline wasn't sentenced for the appallingsexual or physical abuse her children suffered, only for her criminal breach and appalling failure as a parent. The allegations of a $1.4-million lawsuit -- settled and now covered by a confidentialityagreement -- outline both horrific abuse and mind-boggling supervision by the watchdog agencies protecting children. The settlement was reached without any agreement on legal liability by the CCAS or a Toronto school board also named in the suit. "Some of my clients say that a child like Jeffrey Baldwin (who was starved to death) isthe lucky one because he died in care," said lawyer Simona Jellinek, who represented the children in this case and specializes in child abuse civil lawsuits. "Their suffering is over. The abused children become tormented adults who suffer alcoholism, drug abuse, relationship problems,
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Page 2
Please for help fell on deaf CCAS ears Page 2 of 3under- education, under-employment and psychiatric ailments. Their lives are ruined." The Sun is not naming the plaintiffs ortheir mother because of privacy reasons. They declined to be interviewed. SUICIDAL Pauline, now 56, was herself a Crown ward until she married "Garr" at age 16 and theyhad four children by her 20th birthday. By March 18, 1970, the CCAS were under a court order to supervise the mother and her children. Seven months earlier, a CCAS caseworker requested service because of a myriad problems in the house, including the fact the father was "immature, violent and not supporting the family," the suit alleged.Garr reported to a CCAS worker inAugust, 1969, that Pauline was an irresponsible mother and was suicidal. Garr arrived home one night from work to discover one child unconscious having consumed many sleepingpills. Pauline was "aware of the child's state but hadn't taken the child to the hospital. Garrimmediately took the child to hospital," the suit alleged. "Notwithstanding the information receivedby the CCAS from the father of the mother'sneglect, indifference and irresponsibility towards her children, Kay and Bob, the CCAS failed to follow up on the mother's conduct towards her children," the suit alleged. On Nov. 14, 1969, Pauline again abandoned the children. Their maternal grandmother brought them to the CCAS for care because she couldn't locate Pauline and they had been left on their own. "At some point, when Pauline finally didreturn home, she claimed she had been partying, ran out of money and couldn't get home," the suit alleged."The grandmother told the CCAS that she believed that Pauline was using drugs again and had admitted to using drugs in the past. (Despite this) the CCAS didn't conduct a followup in the matter." Two days later, the grandmother phoned CCAS as Pauline had "again disappeared." The next day, Pauline signed the forms enabling her children to be placed in foster homes. Kay, who was then 18 months old, was "undersized and underweight," a doctor indicated. A month later, another doctor noted Kay should be watched closely "because of her supposed self-mutilation habit of violentlypulling her hair. Kay states her hair loss was aresult of Pauline dragging Kay by her hair." For the next four months, the children remained in foster care and rarely saw their mother. But after a pre-return visit with her children, Pauline "refused to return the childrento the CCAS or co-operate with the CCAS." The children remained in Pauline'scustody -- despite the abandonment episodes, neglect and drug use -- under CCAS loose supervision, the suit alleged. In the early 1970s, the sexual abuse started. "Kay recalls physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her mother, Garr and numerousother pedophiles (who were invited into thehouse) consistently and an appalling number of occasions lasted until Kay ran away from home in 1983 at age 15," the suit alleged. The following are some of the most startling allegations -- contained in the children's lawsuit -- of abuse inflicted upon them: BRUISED, BLOODIED A pedophile "Donnie" punched, violently choked, whipped with a coat hanger and cut the girls whom he sexually assaulted. The girls were bruised, bloodied and had trouble walking from the pain between their legs. On one occasion, Donnie knocked out many of Tammy's baby teeth. When Tammy tried to protect her sister by hiding her, Pauline "backhanded" Tammy in the head. Tammy's deafness in one ear resultedfrom Pauline bashing her child's head into a sink and walls, the suit alleged. Kay was beaten and raped so viciously that she had difficulty walking to school and required her sister Tammy's help. No teacher or
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Page 3
Please for help fell on deaf CCAS ears Page 3 of 3principal asked her about her physical injuries, the suit alleged. Once Kay told a visiting nurse -- who wasn't a school board employee -- about the domestic abuse. The nurse contacted both the CCAS and Pauline, who said the children wereinvolved in a car accident. The suit alleged "no follow-up to thisincident was ever done by either the CCAS orthe teachers or principals of the school board." The children attended school "with visible cuts, bruises and other physical injuries." The children also came to school so hungry that they stole other kids' food. The CCAS discontinued its support services in August 1973. Almost two years later, Pauline told the CCAS she had tied her two sons to the bed. Despite this admission, the CCAS didn't follow up and didn't talk to the children about it, the suit alleged. In February 1975, Bob, then 6, was again placed in a foster home, underweight and withbruises and flea bites. "Bob manifested violence towards his mother and when there was any violence on TV, he would get upset, jump up and wave his handsfretfully," the suit alleged. "He also self-inflicted pain, often banging his head on the floor, pulling his hair and scratching his face." Pauline admitted to the CCAS that Bob was "very close to being a battered child" and she often severely beat him."Although the CCAS caseworkers' notes state that Bob was psychologically abused by the mother and despite her own admission of violence towards Bob, the CCAS didn'tinvestigate how the other children, Tammy and Kay, were treated by their mother. The CCAS didn't question the other children or order that they undergo medical or psychological examinations," the claim alleges. REJECTED SON "After Bob was admitted to foster care,the mother rejected Bob, refusing to see him or speak to him. She also forbade the other children from talking about him or mentioning his name. If they mentioned his name, they would be beaten by their mother." The CCAS ordered she undergo psychiatric therapy and arranged an appointment for her. She didn't show up and CCAS failed to follow up, the suit alleged. In July 1975, Pauline attempted suicideafter a common-law relationship ended. Pauline was hospitalized at CentenaryHospital, but the CCAS failed to investigatehow her children, who remained in her care, were being cared for, the suit claimed. Bob became a Crown ward in 1976. In 1978, the CCAS discontinued service to Pauline's family. In 1983, Kay remembered the horrifying last episode of physical abuse by Pauline when she backed her into a steaming kettle. The next day, Kay phoned from a friend's to see if she could stay late and her mother said: "Get home now, and when you get here, I'mgoing to kill you," the suit alleged. Kay never came home. She was 15 years old. Jellinek, the children's lawyer, said Bob, now 38 and battling cancer, was a former gang member. Kay, 37, is a single mom who has never reached her work potential and Tammy, 34, is an under-employed housewife of three, Jellinek said. "The extent of the abuse, physical and sexual, and the length is so horrific, yet no one noticed or cared enough to remove children from a situation that cried out for it," saidJellinek. CCAS lawyer Barry Marta declinedcomment. "I have a privileged relationship with myclient and I don't have the authority to discuss lawsuits, whether resolved or pending," Martasaid. She invited pedophiles into her home to molest her children. Her two daughters, Kay and Tammy, and son, Bob, were paraded naked in front of the deviants. The kids were forced to perform sex acts on each other and sometimesthe perpetrators made pornographic films.

Anonymous said...

March 16, 2007

Foster home arrests go higher
Official demands to know why kids placed there

BY SHARON COOLIDGE SCOOLIDGE@ENQUIRER.COM

Another 30 Hamilton County foster parents or other adults in foster homes have past arrests, officials discovered Thursday .

One man who lived in the home with a foster child had to be hospitalized for mental illness in January after being arrested for menacing by stalking, according to records from the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Office.

Of the 30, three have been convicted of domestic violence, records show. Domestic violence convictions automatically exclude people from being foster parents, according to state law. It is unclear whether the three people are foster parents or just live in homes with foster children.

That means 57 of 517 Hamilton County foster parents checked - 11 percent - have criminal histories.

Of the 27 Hamilton County foster parents checked earlier this month, the county Department of Job and Family Services has sought to move two children, one from a man who has been convicted of child endangering, department spokesman Brian Gregg said.

The most recent checks include foster parents licensed through private agencies and parents licensed through the county.

At least another 233 foster parents licensed in Hamilton County have not been checked, but the department has pledged to make sure all foster parents are entered into a daily criminal background check by April 4.

There are 750 children in Hamilton County foster care. Two Hamilton County children have died in foster care in the last seven years.

"This problem is significant," said county Clerk of Courts Greg Hartmann, whose office did the background checks.

He demanded that the department explain to the public its decision to place children with these parents.

"You wonder if the bureaucrats who gave children to these people would allow them to care for their own children," said county Commissioner Pat DeWine, who created the background check program with Hartmann.

"It shows we need background checks done on the rest of the foster parents immediately."

Said Gregg: "We'll take a deeper look at each one. We'll do it as quickly as possible. We want to make sure kids are as safe as they can be."

The records show the 57 parents were charged with assault, domestic violence, receiving stolen property, menacing and welfare fraud among other things. In most cases, the charges were tossed out or reduced to lesser charges. Minor charges would allow them to continue to be foster parents.

The man arrested of menacing by stalking has a lengthy criminal record dating to 1986. He has been convicted of resisting arrest, domestic violation, disorderly conduct and assault.

The man was found incompetent to go to trial Jan. 12. The criminal case was dismissed, but he was found mentally ill in Hamilton County Probate Court and sent to a state mental hospital. He has since been released, Hartmann said.

JFS officials could not say whether the man is back in the house with the child.

DeWine and Hartmann teamed up last fall to create the instant notification system after 3-year-old Marcus Fiesel died in foster care in Clermont County. Marcus' foster father had been arrested for domestic violence, a charge never seen by foster-care case workers because background checks were done only sporadically.

Anonymous said...

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/219171_foster07.html

Study on foster care 'alumni' troubling
Rates of poverty, mental illness significantly higher

Thursday, April 7, 2005

By CLAUDIA ROWE
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

Before he was 14, Adam Cornell had been in and out of a dozen schools and six foster homes. Even as an adult, he still replays the day his mother gave him up to the state for good.

Shay Randolph sank into a depression so deep at the prospect of growing up and out of foster care that during her final year of high school, she could hardly rouse herself from bed.


Karen Ducey / P-I
Shay Randolph, now 21, sank into a deep depression at the prospect of leaving foster care.
The term is emancipation -- the moment when foster children turn 18 and are severed from the child welfare bureaucracy.

But the reality is more like a free fall, according to findings from a study released yesterday by Casey Family Programs, a Seattle-based foundation that aims to improve foster care.

After reviewing records for 659 Washington and Oregon youths who had lived at least one year in foster care, the authors conducted exhaustive interviews and found that a vast majority spent their early adulthood struggling with poverty, homelessness and bouts of major depression far exceeding rates for the general population.

Specifically, one-third of the foster care alumni, who were between 20 and 33 when the study was conducted, had incomes at or below the federal poverty level; one-third were without health insurance and nearly a quarter had experienced homelessness. Perhaps most striking, the rate of post-traumatic stress disorder was almost twice that afflicting U.S. war veterans.



"Sitting in a room with your mother when you're 8 years old and listening to her tell you that she's giving you up is brutal," said Cornell, now 32 and a deputy prosecutor for Snohomish County. "It was just horrifying."

Cornell's career trajectory was an anomaly among foster care alumni in the study, only 3 percent of whom held bachelor's degrees. But his emotional trauma was on par. By the time Cornell's mother, a drug addict, abandoned her children to foster care, they already had been taken from and reunited with her three times.

"You think everything's going to be all right and then you're removed again," he said. "You never knew when you were going to lose your mother. It's like you're experiencing death over and over and over again."

The Casey researchers presented their "Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study" -- prepared by researchers from Harvard Medical School, the University of Michigan and the University of Washington -- at a Congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. To prevent bias in their interviewing, the academics who contracted with Casey were not told of the study's premise.

Ronald Kessler, a professor of health care policy at Harvard who analyzed the mental health data, called the findings striking, troubling and "extraordinarily important."

Among the most arresting results, Kessler noted, was the rate of drug dependence among foster care alumni. "The scars of those experiences stay with these people throughout their lives," he said. "The results are really quite sobering."

Randolph, now 21 and struggling to live on her own in a Seattle apartment subsidized by the YMCA Transitions program, still reels at the memory of her first foster home, where she said she was physically abused.

"I'm really quite shocked whenever I revisit this," Randolph said. "I can't believe I went through with that."

Worse, she said, was the state's attitude toward her 18th birthday. A social worker advised her new, beloved foster family that they had no more obligation and could cut her off.

"The state really wanted me to leave them, saying, 'She's grown now,' " Randolph said. "But there was no way they were just going to let that happen."

Kessler and the Casey researchers are using their study as leverage to lobby for more attention and federal dollars aimed at foster kids who need college scholarships, mental health coverage and training in basic life skills.

But such efforts are not new. In 1999, Congress passed the Chaffee Act in an attempt to do just that.

"This is a very, very serious problem and it has been recognized at the federal level," said John O'Toole, director of the National Center for Youth Law in Oakland, Calif. "On paper, Chaffee has some very good provisions, but it's underfunded and it hasn't been implemented fully almost anywhere."

The Casey findings, he added, were consistent with the reality for former foster kids in a dozen states where the youth law center works. One young man was so bruised by his foster-care experience he became a lawyer in O'Toole's office solely to redress it.

"On his 18th birthday, this boy's foster family actually had a cake for him that said. 'Happy birthday, you're homeless.' After the party, they helped him pack up everything he had in a black plastic garbage bag, and that was it," O'Toole said. "The study shows how badly broken the child welfare system is in this country. It doesn't serve the needs of the kids who are dependent on it at all."

Uma Ahluwalia, assistant secretary at the state Children's Administration, was surprised by Casey's findings on post-traumatic stress disorder, but she said the study as a whole -- which used data from her office, as well as that from the Oregon Department of Human Services -- validated her plans to step up mental health for the 10,000 children funneling through Washington's foster care system.

The state already spends $169 million a year on therapy for children, most of them foster kids, she said, but the need to better support the transition to adulthood is obvious.

"Kids from non-foster care households aren't ready to go out on their own at 18," Ahluwalia said. "What makes us think that children in foster care can do it?"

Beyond sounding a grim alarm about the costly implications of cutting off foster kids -- some 48 percent of the Casey subjects had used public assistance, for example -- the study's authors identified several concrete changes they say would make measurable improvements.

Chief among them is stabilizing foster care placements. Using statistical simulations, researchers forecast that by better training foster parents and improving initial family matches, negative mental health outcomes for alumni would decrease by 22 percent.

Steve Gordon, chief operating officer at Casey, said a Texas study had arrived at similar conclusions. The national practice of making 18 the child welfare cutoff point is unrealistic and antiquated, he said, adding that the very mission of foster care needs to be reconceived.

"OK, so you keep these kids until they're 18 and then you launch them and say, 'Well, we did our job.' But did you really? What happens afterward?"



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

P-I reporter Claudia Rowe can be reached at 206-448-8320 or claudiarowe@seattlepi.com

© 1998-2007 Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Anonymous said...

CAS Oversight around the corner?

When Ontario ombudsman shines spotlight, change soon follows
CanWest News Service
Wed 28 Mar 2007
Byline: April Lindgren
Dateline: TORONTO
Source: CanWest News Service
TORONTO - Andre Marin has forged a career out of making the powerful squirm. But as Ontario's fiery ombudsman approaches his second anniversary in office, the former Crown prosecutor turned public crusader has become a formidable force for change in Canada's most populous province.

Just ask the folks at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

The government agency's credibility is in shreds and its president is history this week after a Marin investigation found lottery ticket vendors have fraudulently "won" tens of millions of dollars in recent years while OLG officials turned a blind eye.

But the much-publicized lottery investigation is just the latest of Marin's causes. During just two years in office, the 42-year-old father of three has also compelled the Liberal government of Premier Dalton McGuinty to rewrite the widely reviled property assessment system, fought and won better treatment for many of Ontario's most vulnerable citizens and generally turned the ombudsman's office from a sleepy hollow on the cusp of being disbanded into a force to be reckoned with.

In the process Marin has become a favourite of reporters and opposition politicians for reports that bristle with killer details and colourful descriptions of government inadequacies. Victims of crime, he charged in February, are being treated like "rats in a maze" by the very bureaucracy established to help them. Last year, he judged the province's property assessment regime "unreasonable, unjust, oppressive and wrong."

"While in a short-term perspective, he can present us with some real challenges, the fact of the matter is this stuff needs to be brought into the light of the day," McGuinty said Tuesday in Peterborough, Ont., when asked about the barrage of damaging investigations that began flowing from Marin's office less than two months after he started work on April 1, 2005.

Noting that Marin grew up 16 houses away from the McGuinty family on the same street in Ottawa's Alta Vista neighborhood, the premier said "it's great to have a guy like this who is nipping at our heels on a regular basis.

"He forces us to move. I think that serves the public interest."

Other Liberals, worried about the constant pummeling in the run up to the Oct. 10 provincial election, are less sanguine.

"From time to time he actually does something helpful to push us to do something. Other times he's more of an ambulance chaser more interested in media coverage than in getting things done," sniffed one senior Grit, citing Marin's recent decision to probe inadequate funding of mental health services for the children of military families at CFB Petawawa.

Although the Phoenix Centre is designed to serve all of Renfrew County, the Ontario government has argued the federal government should foot the bill for the increased case load at the facility.

Marin was approved by the legislature after he responded to a newspaper advertisement for the job and was selected by an all-party committee.

"My only tools are moral suasion," he said Tuesday in an interview. "I have tremendous powers to recover information and analyse it, but I can't force (anyone) to move in any direction so I have to be able to put a public spotlight on an issue and say 'hey look, everybody, this is wrong.'"

Marin, who applied for the Ontario job after six years spent bedeviling Canada's military establishment in his role as ombudsman for the Defence department and Canadian Forces, also rejects suggestions he's positioning himself for a political career.

The same accusation has surfaced repeatedly since 1996, he says, when at age 31 he was appointed director of the Ontario government's special investigations unit responsible for examining cases where a civilian is killed or injured by police.

"My job is to help the little guy access the corridors of power. It's an extremely important function. I'm not looking for another job. I have no political aspirations."

Marin said his current assignment is the first time he has had real powers to instigate change.

"In the last job, as ombudsman reporting to the defence minister without a statute (laying out what powers the office had), to do anything was like pulling hair. And before that in my prior job as director of the SIU, I was hobbled in 1996 by an ineffective, no-teeth mandate. I was trying to do lots with nothing."

Ontario's ombudsman can subpoena witnesses, compel testimony and exercise the powers of entry, search and seizure without a warrant. While Marin says he has yet to resort to any of those measures "it's having them in your arsenal of tools that leads to exemplary co-operation" from deputy ministers and other bureaucrats who occasionally resist attending interviews until they are threatened with subpoenas.

One of Marin's early moves was to set up special investigations teams using money that became available after he told the Ministry of Correctional Services to deal with the hundreds of complaints from prisoners that flooded the ombudsman's office each year.

"We had 15 people - I kid you not - whose jobs were to take prisoners' complaints ranging from 'I don't like my shampoo to my toast is too brown.' The office was crumbling under the weight of piddly, insignificant gripes."

To date, Marin's office has issued eight reports that have affected the lives of thousands of Ontarians.

"We think very highly of him," says Henry Aukema, whose 19-year-old daughter had to wait eight months to qualify for adult disability payments although she has severe mental and physical disabilities. After Marin attacked such delays in one of his special reports, the government moved to address the problem and cancelled a policy that limited retroactive payments of benefits to four months.

"I know that in our case, there was $25 million that went out to thousands of people," Aukema said. "That's got to be a huge benefit to those people. Andre Marin takes the job seriously and he's prepared to do what's right even if he has to step on toes to do it."

Marin, who has been pressing the government to expand the ombudsman's jurisdiction to allow investigations at hospitals, school boards and children's aid societies, acknowledges that he worries about making a mistake during special investigations that last either 30, 60 or 90 days depending on the complexity of the issue.

"There's no room for error in our business because credibility is all we're about," he says, noting that he runs and weight trains every day so that such worries won't "eat away" at him. "We are 94 people keeping an eye on millions of services, people, processes. Every single recommendation we've made (arising out of a special investigation) has been adopted by government. That's because they've had no choice because our findings are irrefutable, ou

Anonymous said...

Looking for Amanda Reed. Please email me at lamimi_francaise@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Toronto Sun March 31

INVESTIGATE CAS

The Ontario Ombudsman is doing a fantastic job of investigating various types of mismanagement in Ontario. It is long overdue that his office have the investigative oversight of the Children's Aid Societies of Ontario. Numerous groups and individuals support this important measure. The NDP have tabled Bill 88 for this very purpose. Children and families dealing with the CAS deserve to have an independent investigative oversight office to ensure responsibility and accountability. Children's lives cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

Anne Patterson

London, Ont.

(That makes sense)

Anonymous said...

The bureaucrat who roared; Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin is a watchdog with sharp teeth. And he's not afraid to use them.
The Ottawa Citizen
Sat 31 Mar 2007
Page: B1 / Front
Section: Saturday Observer
Byline: April Lindgren
Dateline: TORONTO
Source: The Ottawa Citizen with files from Lee Greenberg
Andre Marin has forged a career out of making the powerful squirm. But as Ontario's fiery ombudsman approaches his second anniversary in office, the former Crown prosecutor turned public crusader has become a formidable force for change in Canada's most populous province.

Just ask the folks at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation.

The government agency's credibility is in shreds and its president is history this week after a Marin investigation found lottery ticket vendors have fraudulently "won" tens of millions of dollars in recent years while OLG officials turned a blind eye.

But the much-publicized lottery investigation is just the latest of Mr. Marin's causes. During just two years in office, the Ottawa-raised, 42-year-old father of three has also compelled the Liberal government of Premier Dalton McGuinty to rewrite the widely reviled property assessment system, fought and won better treatment for many of Ontario's most vulnerable citizens and generally turned the ombudsman's office from a sleepy hollow on the cusp of being disbanded into a force to be reckoned with.

In the process, Mr. Marin has become a favourite of reporters and opposition politicians for his reports that bristle with killer details and colourful descriptions of government inadequacies. Victims of crime, he charged in February, are being treated like "rats in a maze" by the very bureaucracy established to help them.

Last year, he judged the province's property assessment regime "unreasonable, unjust, oppressive and wrong."

"While in a short-term perspective, he can present us with some real challenges, the fact of the matter is this stuff needs to be brought into the light of the day," Mr. McGuinty said this week, when asked about the barrage of damaging investigations that began flowing from Mr. Marin's office less than two months after he started work on April 1, 2005.

Noting that Mr. Marin grew up 16 houses away from the McGuinty family on the same street in Alta Vista, the premier said "it's great to have a guy like this who is nipping at our heels on a regular basis.

"He forces us to move. I think that serves the public interest."

Other Liberals, worried about the constant pummeling in the run up to the Oct. 10 provincial election, are less sanguine.

"From time to time he actually does something helpful to push us to do something. Other times he's more of an ambulance chaser more interested in media coverage than in getting things done," sniffed one senior Grit, citing Mr. Marin's recent decision to probe inadequate funding of mental health services for the children of military families at CFB Petawawa.

Although the Phoenix Centre is designed to serve all of Renfrew County, the Ontario government has argued the federal government should foot the bill for the increased case load at the facility.

Mr. Marin was approved by the legislature after he responded to a newspaper advertisement for the job and was selected by an all-party committee.

"My only tools are moral suasion," he said in an interview. "I have tremendous powers to recover information and analyse it, but I can't force (anyone) to move in any direction so I have to be able to put a public spotlight on an issue and say 'hey look, everybody, this is wrong'."

Mr. Marin, who applied for the Ontario job after six years spent bedeviling Canada's military establishment in his role as ombudsman for the Defence Department and Canadian Forces, rejects suggestions he's positioning himself for a political career.

The same accusation has surfaced repeatedly since 1996, he says, when at age 31 he was appointed director of the Ontario government's special investigations unit responsible for examining cases where a civilian is killed or injured by police.

"My job is to help the little guy access the corridors of power. It's an extremely important function. I'm not looking for another job. I have no political aspirations."

Mr. Marin said his current assignment is the first time he has had real powers to instigate change.

"In the last job, as ombudsman reporting to the defence minister without a statute (laying out what powers the office had), to do anything was like pulling hair. And, before that, in my prior job as director of the SIU, I was hobbled in 1996 by an ineffective, no-teeth mandate. I was trying to do lots with nothing."

Ontario's ombudsman can subpoena witnesses, compel testimony and exercise the powers of entry, search and seizure without a warrant. While Mr. Marin says he has yet to resort to any of those measures "it's having them in your arsenal of tools that leads to exemplary co-operation" from deputy ministers and other bureaucrats who occasionally resist attending interviews until they are threatened with subpoenas.

One of Mr. Marin's early moves was to set up special investigations teams using money that became available after he told the Ministry of Correctional Services to deal with the hundreds of complaints from prisoners that flooded the ombudsman's office each year.

"We had 15 people -- I kid you not -- whose jobs were to take prisoners' complaints ranging from 'I don't like my shampoo' to 'my toast is too brown.' The office was crumbling under the weight of piddly, insignificant gripes."

To date, Mr. Marin's office has issued eight reports that have affected the lives of thousands of Ontarians.

"We think very highly of him," says Henry Aukema, whose 19-year-old daughter had to wait eight months to qualify for adult disability payments although she has severe mental and physical disabilities. After Mr. Marin attacked such delays in one of his special reports, the government moved to address the problem and cancelled a policy that limited retroactive payments of benefits to four months.

"I know that in our case, there was $25 million that went out to thousands of people," Mr. Aukema said. "That's got to be a huge benefit to those people. Andre Marin takes the job seriously and he's prepared to do what's right even if he has to step on toes to do it."

Mr. Marin, who has been pressing the government to expand the ombudsman's jurisdiction to allow investigations at hospitals, school boards and children's aid societies, acknowledges that he worries about making a mistake during special investigations that last either 30, 60 or 90 days depending on the complexity of the issue.

"There's no room for error in our business because credibility is all we're about," he says, noting that he runs and weight trains every day so that such worries won't "eat away" at him. "We are 94 people keeping an eye on millions of services, people, processes. Every single recommendation we've made (arising out of a special investigation) has been adopted by government. That's because they've had no choice because our findings are irrefutable, our evidence is strong, our analysis is sound."





Illustration:
• Colour Photo: Bruno Schlumberger, The Ottawa Citizen / Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin has tabled a number of reports -- the latest on lotteries -- that have forced change in the province.
• Photo: Ashley Fraser, the Ottawa Citizen / The CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation resigned just days before ombudsman Andre Marin found vendors have fraudulently won tens of millions of dollars while the agency turned a blind eye.

Edition: Final
Story Type: News
Length: 1133 words

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be nice if Minister Chambers was disgusted by the sale of babies? But no so - instead she is actively working with a baby broker in Ontario. Guard your children, the vultures are coming!

Friday, 19 January, 2001, 12:05 GMT
Judge 'disgusted' by baby sale


A senior judge in Arkansas, the US state which approved Judith and Alan Kilshaw's adoption of twins Beverley and Kimberley, has said she is "disgusted" by the idea of selling babies.
In an interview with BBC Radio 5, Judge Ellen Brantley, also suggested there may be legal action over the babies in the US courts which could render the adoption invalid.

She said it was possible that the babies' birth-mother, Tranda Wecker, would be prosecuted for perjury if she returned to Arkansas to seek the return of her children.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From what I have read about this case, it makes me uncomfortable on a number of different levels, professionally as well as personally
Judge Ellen Brantley

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ms Wecker has told a British tabloid newspaper that she had not been resident in the state for the required 30 days but had lied to the court.
Judge Brantley said: "That perhaps would give grounds to have the adoption set aside".

"I think the courts in Arkansas will take appropriate action if some kind of proceeding is instigated, and it seems to me that that is likely, but not absolutely certain."

'Villains'

But she added that the case would have to rest on stronger evidence than newspaper reports.


The judge, one of only six who deals with adoption in Arkansas, did not preside over the Kilshaws' case.

She told the BBC: "I think that selling of children is, in the words of your Prime Minister, disgusting, and from what I have read about this case, it makes me uncomfortable on a number of different levels, professionally as well as personally.

"The big issue is that the children, if they are to be adopted, are adopted by parents who can give them a loving and stable home, and I think that ought to be regardless of the monetary amounts that anybody is able to provide.

"It would appear in this case that there are a number of villains and, thus far, no heroes that I have seen."

Checks on couple

Judge Brantley denied that Arkansas - where an adoption can be carried out within 10 days - was a soft touch compared with elsewhere in the US.


State law requires a "thorough" study of the home and prospective parents, carried out by a social worker and usually involving several visits, she said.

"It includes descriptions of the home, health checks on the couple, interviews with people who have known them, checks on their criminal records."

In the Kilshaws' case, the judge in charge of proceedings would have required a similar study carried out by social services in the UK, she added.

Judge Brantley confirmed that she had been contacted by a social worker from North Wales, where the twins have been taken into care, about aspects of the case.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anonymous said...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Twin girls suffered 'horrific' abuse

Authorities say Warren case ranks among worst they've seen; adoptive mom charged, could get life.

Christina Stolarz and George Hunter / The Detroit News

David Guralnick / The Detroit News


WARREN -- The bruises, welts and cigarette burns covering the bodies of twin 8-year-old girls made even veteran investigators cringe.

"It's horrific," Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said. "The girls were beaten with a foot-long spring that's used for exercise, and you can clearly see the spring marks on their bodies. There are fresh bruises and spots where the girls were burned several times by cigarettes."

The girls, who were adopted in 2005 by Tamika Williams, are living in a foster home after Williams was charged with what local authorities say is one of the worst cases of child abuse they've seen.

"The girls feel like they've been rescued," Smith said. "But they're understandably a little scared still. Apparently, the woman told the girls, 'If you ever tell anyone what I've done to you, I'll hunt you down at your new home and kill you.' "

Child welfare advocates say the case is an example of a problem in the state's foster care and adoption system. According to relatives, Williams adopted the girls while they were in foster care at a home in Southfield.

"How many more children have to suffer this way before Michigan gets the message?" said Richard Wexler, director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform in Alexandria, Va.

"Over and over and over again, Michigan takes away children (from their birth parents), often needlessly, only to have them severely harmed or killed in substitute care."

Michigan's child welfare system was thrust into the national spotlight recently when 7-year-old Ricky Holland was killed by his adopted mother, Lisa Holland. She was sentenced this week to life in prison.

State officials removed the Williams girls from Warrendale Elementary School on Nov. 16, the day after teachers first reported seeing the girls' injuries.

Williams, 30, was arrested Nov. 22, and is in Macomb County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond. She was charged Wednesday with child abuse and torture.

Williams is the second person in Michigan to be charged under a torture law that went into effect in May, Smith said.

"Without that statute, we would have had to charge her with child abuse," Smith said. "But child abuse doesn't encompass what this woman did."

Child abuse is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If Williams is convicted of torture, she could spend the rest of her life behind bars.

State officials should be more careful about who they allow to foster or adopt children, Wexler said.

Michigan Department of Human Services spokeswoman Maureen Sorbet said she could not comment about the twins.

Liz Boyd, spokeswoman for Gov. Jennifer Granholm, said she was unfamiliar with details in the Williams case and declined to discuss any similarities with the Ricky Holland case.

Smith said Williams punished the girls because they took food home from school.

"They looked emaciated," Smith said. "They looked extremely underweight. People at the school told us they noticed the girls hoarding food at lunch, putting it in their pockets to take home with them. That's one of the things that led them to call child protective services."

But Williams' family members and friends on Thursday defended Williams, and they blamed the children for much of the abuse.

Shavon Hamilton, Williams' friend, said the girls often would "beat each other like they were enemies. They are abusive kids toward each other."

The twins had been abused prior to living with Williams, according to Williams' cousin, Linda Taylor.

"The girls had permanent scars before coming into Tamika's care," Taylor said.

Smith rejected the claim that all the girls' wounds were sustained prior to them moving in with Williams.

"These are fresh bruises," Smith said. "They can try to deny it all they want, but nobody can deny those bruises."

East Detroit Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Lois Johnson agreed the girls' injuries were "pretty serious."

"The teachers did their job," Johnson said. "We're just saddened that something like this happens with children. That's why teachers have to be so aware."

The third-graders were enrolled in the East Detroit school district in February, and Johnson said there was no indication of abuse prior to the teachers' first report on Nov. 15.

But Smith said the abuse has been going on since Williams adopted the girls.

Neighbors said the girls never played outside. "I'm sick to my stomach over this," said Jennifer Heckmann, who lives two houses from Williams.

You can reach Christina Stolarz at (586) 468-0343 or cstolarz@detnews.com.

Anonymous said...

Schaumburg woman charged with killing adoptive son, 6December 22, 2003 (SCHAUMBURG, Ill.) - Schaumburg police have charged a 32-year-old woman with two counts of first-degree murder in the death of the 6-year-old son she and her husband adopted in Russia only last month.

Irma Pavlis admitted that she struck her son, Alex, on several occasions, said police Lt. Dennis Carroll.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office said Sunday that Alex died of blunt head trauma.

Carroll said Pavlis called 911 early Thursday afternoon to report that the boy was not breathing, and that when firefighters arrived they saw possible signs of abuse and called police. Alex was taken to Alexian Brothers Medical Center and later airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he died Friday evening.

Authorities said Pavlis and her husband, Dino Pavlis, adopted Alex and a 5-year-old girl in the same Russian town early last month and brought them home to Schaumburg on Nov. 5. The girl has been placed in the protective custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Police said there were no signs that the girl had been harmed.

DCFS spokesman Jill Manuel said the couple had arranged the adoptions privately and did not use an agency. She said they did go to a private agency to obtain the home study that is required by state agencies and immigration authorities for international adoption. Manuel said the home study revealed no criminal background for either parent and no connection with either child abuse or neglect.

Police said Dino Pavlis was at work at the time of the alleged abuse and there was no evidence that he was involved.

The father's employer, Grant DeNormandie, said the couple had been excited about the prospect of becoming parents.

"This is something they've been looking forward to for a year," DeNormandie said. "Dino's wife spent over a year learning Russian so she could try and talk to them."

DeNormandie said the Pavlises had to travel to Russia three times to complete the adoptions.

Irma Pavlis was in police custody and was scheduled for a bond hearing Monday.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Anonymous said...

Yes, and in Ontario is ALSO A STORK MARKET, when the government is working with baby brokers!

The STORK MARKET:
America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry

by Mirah Riben

Foreword by Evelyn Robinson

Projected Release Date: Feb 15, 2007

ORDER YOURS NOW!

www.AdvocatePublications.com



Stork mar·ket. (stôrk märkt) n. 1. an in-depth exposé of the corruption in the adoption industry; the fine line between black and gray market adoption; scams, coercion and exploitation. 2. an in-depth report on the international market where children are the commodity being bought and sold to the highest bidders including pedophiles with prices based on quality (i.e. age, skin color) of the merchandise and set as high as ‘desperate’ consumers continue to be willing to pay. 3. an examination of the myths of adoption that put the needs of adults, and those who profit from their desperation, before the needs of children who need homes. 4. an extensively researched and documented book that asks if adoption can be fixed—the money aspect removed and government controls and regulations put in place—or abolished in favor of permanent guardianship, or informal adoption sans the issuance of falsified birth certificates. 5. goes further than Riben’s groundbreaking, award-winning “shedding light on…The Dark Side of Adoption” (1988) which was excerpted in Social Issues Review Series, Utne Reader and Microcosm USA. 7. reveals, for the first time in print, Riben’s role in the notorious Joel Steinberg murder case.

_________________________________________________

“Riben has done it again. Once again, as in Dark Side, she has pulled back the covers and exposed the unpleasant truths and problems that need to be addressed in American adoption practices. While difficult, when we remove the rose-colored glasses many view adoption through, the conclusions that Riben comes to are inarguable. Most impressive on every count….well researched and thought out.” Annette Baran, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., co-author The Adoption Triangle

Mirah Riben writes that she refuses to give up. This book—a wonderful and well-integrated mix of approaches—part analysis, part case studies from the front lines, part handbook, part up-to-date law and policy review—is a testament to Riben's powerful and enduring commitment to the rights and needs of vulnerable women and their children. Riben's book is a clear, bright blueprint for change. Rickie Solinger, historian and author of Pregnancy and Power: A Short History of Reproductive Politics in America

“Combines the historical and legal perspective with really hard hitting journalism.” Maureen Flatley, political consultant and media advisor specializing in child welfare and adoption

ISBN: 1-4276-0895-4 Library of Congress Control Number: 2006939682

Cover by: Tony Caruso

Anonymous said...

Ode to Bill 210

Look at me oh golly gee; I’m a forever family,

I bought the child from a mean old hag.

Gave her $10,000 for her purse bag.

I can do no wrong you see; I’m an angel a brokers dream.

About the age of 47, my tubes are shot, adoption is heaven.

I was infertile, and passed the test.

It isn’t hard to buy a child in the Ontario mess.

Look at me, oh golly gee, I’m a forever family.

I’m a gay man with lots of issues, but as I’m gay there are no hitches.

I want a child though you see, so I went to the baby broker Bee.

I bought the child from a mean old hag.

Gave her $10,000 for her purse bag.

I can do no wrong you see; I’m an angel, a brokers dream.

About the age of 47, I don’t like women, adoption is heaven.

I am gay, and passed the test.

It ain’t hard to buy a child in the Ontario mess.

I’m a convicted criminal thief, a mean old guy a real grief.

CAS ain’t doing a test, maybe I’ll buy a child that I can mess.

But no one will ever look at me; I’m a forever safe family.

I can do absolutely no harm, adoption is forever safe, don’t be alarmed.

Don’t look for the bruises or scars on the child, hell I’m a saint isn’t it wild!

Adoption is the cure of all time, only if you are blood will you ever be fined.

Fathers are sperm donors in the Ontario nest, mother’s just incubators for others to mess.

Holy Cow, oh golly gee, if you buy a child you’re a family.

You can buy a child from a mean old hag.

Give her $10,000 for her purse bag.

Look at me oh golly gee, I’m an infertile man therefore you see…

I’m entitled to a child in the Ontario mess; I’m an angel they all profess.

About the age of 47, I can’t produce, adoption is heaven.

I bought the child from a mean old hag.

Gave her $10,000 for her purse bag.

Break out the violins for me, the red carpet for the world to see.

I bought a child in the Ontario mess; I’m a saint they do profess.

Adoption is the price of a car, and they’ll sell you a child near and far.

Even if you’re a mean old thief, you can get a child without any grief.

There is only one hope in the Ontario nest, the Ontario Ombudsman to sort out the mess.

So pass Bill 88 before it's too late, and thousands of children are used as the bait!

Anonymous said...

Most vulnerable deserve better

The Toronto Star
Tue 03 Apr 2007
Page: A19
Section: Letter

Setting a standard for long-term care
Editorial, April 2.

Kudos to the Star for pointing out that seniors deserve care and dignity. At
the same time, let's not forget that everyone, including those with a
developmental disability, young and old alike, deserve care and dignity, as
conveyed in Trish Crawford's hard-hitting article Nowhere else to go
(Feb. 16), which generated dozens of letters from families "telling the Star
loud and clear that nursing homes are not the answer for young adults with
developmental disabilities."

It is now known that a huge number of people with developmental disabilities
under 65, some as young as 18, are being warehoused in Ontario nursing
homes.

It's time to stop using long-term care facilities as dumping grounds for
those who do not belong there.

The public has repeatedly voiced the need for the government to make greater
investments in direct funding and more humane living options, such as
supportive housing. Families were looking forward to the recent provincial
budget to provide for this but, unfortunately, the budget was not clear in
this regard.

Above all, it's about time that the Ontario ombudsman's mandate be expanded
to include the power to investigate long-term care. Bill 92, which
has passed its first reading in the Legislature, is intended to amend the
Ombudsman Act with respect to hospitals and long-term care facilities.

MPPs need to continue to hear from the voters that Bill 92 must become law
(along with Bill 90 that would give the ombudsman the power to investigate
school boards).

Our most vulnerable deserve no less.

Janis Jaffe-White, Co-ordinator,
Toronto Family Network

(c) 2007 Torstar Corporation

Anonymous said...

Forever safe, forever family?

Title: Send abusive mother to jail
by Jake Rupert
The Ottawa Citizen
Friday, October 25, 2002

An adoptive mother who abused a toddler, causing six bone fractures and injuries, should go to jail, a court heard yesterday.

Calling the abuse Louise Lavergne, 43, inflicted upon the child inexcusable, assistant Crown attorney Brian Holowka told Justice Lynn Ratushny society demanded denunciation of the crime.

"The community entrusted the care of that child to Ms. Lavergne, and that trust was violated," he said. "This is not an incident that happened once. ... These injuries happened on at least three occasions."

Earlier this week, Ms. Lavergne pleaded guilty to one count of assault causing bodily harm, which covered her actions between March 2000, when she adopted the 10-month-old girl, and September 2000, when doctors detected the abuse on a trip to CHEO.

She initially denied the allegations and claimed the injuries were the result of accidents.

She later admitted to police she caused the injuries in various ways, including pushing the child into the table while the child was in a high chair, banging the child's elbows into the floor and swinging the child into the side of a bathtub.

In his submissions to the judge, Mr. Holowka said an 18-month jail sentence, followed by two years' probation, would adequately reflect society's abhorrence of the crime.

Earlier, Ms. Lavergne's lawyer, Joe Burke, introduced evidence showing Ms. Lavergne will never have custody of children again, has true remorse for the crime, is taking counselling and has changed.

He suggested a conditional sentence, which would spare his client time in jail, was an appropriate sentence in the circumstances.

Judge Ratushny will sentence Ms. Lavergne in two weeks.

© Copyright 2002 The Ottawa Citizen

Anonymous said...

But what about CAS oversight by Ombudsman Mary Ann??

Children's Aid overhaul designed to end abuses
April 05, 2007
Moira Welsh
Staff Reporter
Sweeping changes are being proposed for Ontario's Children's Aid Societies, four months after the provincial auditor's report condemned the agencies.

The report highlighted slow response times by social workers for at-risk children, along with the lavish spending of public money by agency executives. The reported failures are the latest for agencies that already have a long history of failing to protect children.

Yesterday, the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, which represents the province's 53 societies, released its responses to the auditor's recommendations.

Among the plans for change:



A new computer program that rates a child's risk of being abused to help track the needs of, and intervention for, vulnerable children who in some cases were left for weeks, or months, without follow-up.




A proposal from the association that the Ontario government create a new agency to monitor the care of children living in Ontario group homes, so they would no longer be responsible for their annual reviews.




A new expense policy that will limit CAS overspending on luxury vehicles, travel and dinners.


Last December, Ontario Auditor General Jim McCarter released his first report and slammed the agencies for leaving at-risk children in abusive or neglectful homes, sometimes for months, without social workers following up within proper time frames. The report also found lavish spending by executives on leased SUVs, dinners and travel.

Stories of Ontario's most vulnerable being abused and dying under society's watch have been documented in detail for years.

Jordan Heikamp starved to death in 1997, skin wasted to the bone, under the watch of the Toronto Catholic Children's Aid Society.

Six-year old Sara Podnowicz's 1994 autopsy showed she suffered numerous broken bones while the Toronto Catholic Children's Aid Society left her with her abusive parents.

Jennifer Kovalsky was 6 in 1996 when her mother's boyfriend stabbed her to death during a schizophrenic hallucination. He had received custody of the bright, artistic child in part because Toronto CAS thought it would be good for his confidence.

These deaths, and several others, resulted several inquests held by Deputy Coroner Jim Cairns in the late 1990s. Each time, the societies and their governing association promised the system had been fixed.

"The children's aid societies are prepared to be transparent about these matters," association executive director Jeanette Lewis said yesterday. "These are public dollars and they realize that."

Mary Anne Chambers, Minister of Family and Children's Services, said her office has been working with the 53 individual societies on their responses since the auditor completed his report.

"When we get involved in these children's lives they are supposed to be better off," Chambers said yesterday. "We are constantly looking at ways to strengthen the system."

Most of the proposals – with the exception of the new agency to monitor group homes – are the result of pressure from the Ministry of Family and Children's Services, Chambers said.

Changes in the Child and Family Services Act allowed McCarter to scrutinize the books of agencies in Toronto, York, Peel and Thunder Bay. His report recommended the government put strict controls on all agencies, noting that monitoring of the agencies is so lax there is no way to ensure that children are actually getting the services they need.

When the auditor's report was released, deputy coroner Cairns expressed shock over the delays in follow-up visits for children deemed at risk.

A new computer program, called a "risk-assessment tool" by social workers, was introduced in 1998, giving children's aid societies a standardized means of collecting information to analyze the risks faced by each child. At the time, it was held up as a significant solution for the inadequate care highlighted by the coroner's inquests.

But in one-third of the auditor-reviewed files, children were not seen within the required 12 hours or seven days – time limits for those deemed at risk of abuse. A new "risk-assessment" program is replacing the old, a move that was underway before the auditor's report highlighted the problems.

Yesterday, Cairns said he believes some systemic change toward openness is underway.

Cairns heads up the provincial pediatric death review committee and said that the reports on child deaths while in care are now getting a better reception from individual societies.

"They are now starting to understand, in my opinion, the need to review the problems and that you learn more from your mistakes," Cairns said. "There was great resistance to that initially. It wasn't in the culture."

The auditor found a culture of excess as well. At one society, the auditor found that two executives drove leased vehicles that cost $53,000 and $59,000, significantly higher than the public service guidelines that allow a deputy minister to drive a $30,000 car. At least one of those vehicles in question – an SUV – is still in use.

Marcelo Gomez-Wiuckstern, spokesperson for the OACAS, said that the SUV highlighted in the report will be returned when its lease is up at the end of September. The cost of breaking the lease was too high, Gomez-Wiuckstern said.

Anonymous said...

Very good letter in the Star. Is that where autistic children end up after their parents have lost custody to CAS agencies? Very sickening.

When all of these autistic kids suddenly turned up in the system anyone with a brain wondered why? Did that many parents want to surrender their children to the CAS? Why were they even in the CAS - suddenly a massive amount of children in the system who were all autistic.

What did the government do? Nothing! Parents wanted help for their children, and the CAS merely took them and shipped them out like cattle all over the Province. But worse, the Adoption Council of Ontario, and the baby broker who runs that outfit thought of this as neverland for desperate infertile couples. Even going as far as to get a grant from Trillium to "match" these children with those prowling for someone else's child.

Meanwhile the parents continued to fight against CAS, finally ending up in a class action lawsuit.

It was a lie that the children had parents that did not care, it was a lie that the parents did not want custody, it was a lie that they wanted to terminate their parental rights, the whole thing was a lie. They wanted help for their children and CAS took them - and did so once again FOR OTHER PEOPLE.

Anonymous said...

Children's Aid Societies, and others would have made the public believe that the parents of the autistic and the true parents of them had simply abandoned them? They didn't care about their children at all, or the kids were abused, or the parents were unfit, or variations of the same LIES that CAS engages in continually.

The Ombudsman certainly discovered that this was not the case, he discovered that the parents both loved and cared for their children, and he also discovered that they were in his own terms BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.

Yet these parents no doubt were seen as total villians in this. It is a good example of why we need Ombudsman oversight of the CAS, so that other people's children cannot be used as a commodity for other people for any reason!

There are cases of child abuse, and cases where children need to be protected, but not what the CAS makes it out to be, and not the numbers of those in "care" either.

Child protection is a business to these agencies, with the darker underlines of child trafficking!

Anonymous said...

There are over 8000 people alleged to be "waiting" to adopt on lists at various CAS agencies. Let's not pretend for one second that children are the clients of these agencies, they never have been the actual clients.

Anonymous said...

It would be ever so splendid if Minister Chambers banned private baby brokering here, instead of adopting a mandate of adoption is wonderful, and anyone that comes along should have a child!


Controversy rages over the twins sold to highest bidder


Tania Branigan and Helen Carter
Wednesday January 17, 2001
SocietyGuardian.co.uk


The government will examine the case of a British couple who bought American baby twins over the internet, the home secretary Jack Straw promised last night as he condemned the "revolting" international trade in children.
Alan and Judith Kilshaw, from Buckley, north Wales, are at the centre of a transatlantic row after adopting six-month-old twins via a baby broker who had already placed the girls with a couple in California.

They paid £8,200 to an agency not realising that the other couple had already given over £4,000 for the same babies. The Kilshaws are now applying for British citizenship for Belinda and Kimberley, who have a six month tourist visa.

"It's a matter of huge concern, I share that concern as a parent as much as a senior minister in this government," Mr Straw told Channel 4 news. "It is illegal, completely illegal, in this country for people to buy and sell babies or children, and that is entirely as it should be, because it is frankly a revolting idea."

He added: "We shall be looking at precisely what happened in these circumstances and I will be consulting colleagues. Obviously, what happened, happened in other jurisdictions in the US, but nonetheless we need to look at the circumstances."

Mr Straw signalled that the Home Office would have to consider the immigration issues since the children were brought in as visitors. Flintshire social services, which has responsibility for Buckley, is already looking into the adoption.

Keith McDonogh, director of education and children's services, said: "We are continuing to make inquiries and have asked for assistance from the national assembly to establish the status of these children. The welfare of the children in this family will remain [paramount]."

Adoption experts also expressed concern about the case. Felicity Collier, chief ex ecutive of British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering, said: "This case demonstrates why private adoption is illegal in the UK. We often hear criticisms by prospective adopters about the checks which are carried out before adoptive parents are considered suitable and comparisons are made far too often with the ease with which people can adopt in the US.

"Children have a right to live in secure and loving families. Adults do not have an automatic right to adopt. It is totally unacceptable to BAAF that children are sold to the highest bid der and it is vital that people who wish to adopt from overseas take proper advice."

Michelle Elliot, director of the children's charity Kidscape, said: "This trade is immoral and should be illegal."

Mr Kilshaw, 45, a solicitor, and his wife Judith, 47, bought the twins after IVF treatment failed and attempts to find a surrogate mother were unsuccessful. They believed British adoption procedures were "over-regulated". They have two sons, aged four and seven, and Mrs Kilshaw has a daughter from a previous marriage, but they wanted another girl to complete the family. They paid baby broker Tina Johnson, of the Caring Hearts Agency in California, £8,200 to arrange the adoption, unaware that Richard and Vickie Allen had paid her £4,000 for the twins. They were already raising the girls and were going through adoption proceedings.

When they discovered this, the Kilshaws fled with the babies and birth mother Tranda Wecker on a 2,000-mile drive across the US to complete fast-track adoption proceedings in Arkansas before bringing the babies to their farmhouse in Buckley. The couple are unrepentant and insist they were right to take the babies. Holed up with a Sun journalist at the Crabwall Manor hotel, near Chester, they gave brief interviews from their luxury room. "We have nothing to be ashamed about," Mrs Kilshaw said.

Her husband added: "It was not up to us whom those children ended up with. It was up to their birth mother and she changed her mind about the Allens and decided she wanted them to live with us.

"We haven't done anything immoral or unethical. We have given two children who would not have a home a good home."

Asked about the moral implication of buying children on the internet, Mr Kilshaw said: "We haven't bought them. We have paid a fee for a service - it is like a dating agency really. They have put people in touch with each other, but it is not as if we picked a child from a catalogue."

The Allens have vowed to fight for the return for the twins and have asked the FBI to investigate. Mr Kilshaw said he would be happy to speak to the US police.

Anonymous said...

A proposal from the association that the Ontario government create a new agency to monitor the care of children living in Ontario group homes, so they would no longer be responsible for their annual reviews.

UNBELIEVABLE from the article. The OACAS wants to farm thousands of children into group homes, where they are not being treated well, where they are locked in prison like environments, where they are sexually assaulted, have no rights, and are treated like future criminals. And now the ever glorious OACAS the head of the mob, does not want to even be responsible for the reporting of this?

The OACAS should be totally dismantled. They claim in the deaths of children to not be responsible for the agencies themselves, yet continue to be the "voice" for all 53 agencies in Ontario.

If you want to find the real Don like mobsters look no further then OACAS Amanda. The kings and queens of child welfare all living high on the hog, surrounded by ancient rhetoric, and darting reality at every chance they get.

They have a one for all, and all for one platitude, but when a disaster happens, wash their hands of the blood.

Anonymous said...

Also most directors of CAS, come from the OACAS.

They are all in one cushy little bed together. A wild orgy of social workers, all stroking each others ego's, with none ever being accountable.

Anonymous said...

And they've nicely drawn the sheets back to have Minister Chambers frolic with them as well. And she has climbed into bed with them willingly.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if CAS directors were not so eager to provide a child for their real clients on their waiting lists, they would not have been using funds to travel to other countries. Hmmmmmmm why did they go to other countries. Might it be that they were further looking into how to broker babies and children from other countries to suit and satisfy their real clients, rather then focus on protecting children in their care?

Just add a few babes from other areas to their child trafficking business.

Anonymous said...

And fathers in Ontario I would suggest immediately joining a men's right's group, immediately suggest understanding the laws, and immediately educate yourselves. Yes the CAS hates men, so do the brokers. You are all just sperm donars men.

You are also totally unfit as parents, unless you happen to be a gay man, or an infertile man that for some reason will now have the right to your child over you.

Dad means nothing in Bill 210, just sperm donars to be exploited for the corrupt, putrid and evil adoption industry.

Anonymous said...

Women same thing, educate yourselves, study the laws, and join groups to support you. You are all child abusers, whores and anything they can come up with - oh unless you happen to be an infertile stranger. Now that in Bill 210 is like winning the 649.

Anonymous said...

And all parents in Ontario are at "risk" UNLESS they want to get someone else's child. They who want children, won't be at risk.

Glowing reports and magical home studies will be written by the army of brokers and CAS workers out there just for you.

Only if you are blood related in Ontario are you the enemy of the CAS.

Anonymous said...

It's business baby, always has been. Children given to anyone that moves, shipped over the borders illegally, sent to anyone that wants a child, and agencies being paid to traffic them by the Ontario government.

It is a system from hell. Meanwhile actual cases of child abuse fall through the cracks like the horrifying case of the people abused in the story from the Toronto Sun. 20 years of torture and another case that actually without question warranted the children being removed from their abuser.

And as such horrific cases exist, it has given CAS the power to apprehend thousands of children NOT IN NEED OF PROTECTION.

Stories are written, babies are brokered, systems get fat off the lies, no one answers to anything.

Anonymous said...

Freedom of Speech - Should Adoption and Foster Care be Excluded?


When children’s welfare is at stake and tax dollars are being spent, the media must ignore “experts” that attempt to silence or slant the news.

Marion, IA (PRWEB) October 4, 2004 -- Following the tragic Jackson family story out of New Jersey, Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, wrote that media coverage of stories involving adopters who adopt as a source of income and then neglect and abuse the children blurs the “success” of the foster care and adoption system.

Perhaps the most fundamental right we have in United States is the right to freedom of speech. Without this right our other rights will soon crumble. In the area of foster care and adoption, far more news coverage is desirable, not less. Not only does adoption and foster care represent a significant chunk of our tax dollars but children’s welfare is at stake. Like any business, the people running the “system” try to grow their business every year, processing more and more children. What a strange objective for a country that is so wealthy and supposedly free - to get as many children out of their homes as possible, targeting citizens who are less affluent and less able to defend themselves.

The truth about the outcome of foster care and adoption is hidden by various means. Statistics lump adopter abuse with other parental abuse, making it appear that it is only natural parents who abuse. The media, cautioned not to “stigmatize” adopters, misleads readers by reporting that it was “parents” rather than “adopters” that neglected or abused a child. Social workers have immunity from prosecution for their errors.

Maddeningly, when the media does report a story of horrendous abuse by foster or adoptive caregivers, those in the “system” insist that the problem is a lack of resources, using their own incompetence as the basis for a request for even more of our tax dollars. Thus the only accountability is to be rewarded with additional funding. If you were the child that was removed from your family, given to strangers and then starved, beaten, molested or tied up in a basement how would you feel about this? How would you feel if you were the parent and had been trying for years to find a way to get your child back?

Whenever a child is neglected or abused while she is in the system or adopted, the media should assess the circumstances from which a child was taken against the outcome of succeeding “placements” - and interview the natural family and others rather than trust exclusively the cleverly worded accusations of social workers and others in the system. If the original problem was poverty, the media should assess the economic impact to the community of keeping the child in her own family compared with foster and/or adoptive situations.

People are horrified when they see news footage of children taken from “the only ‘parents’ they’ve ever known” to be returned to their parents following a prolonged court battle. Yet social workers remove children suddenly and traumatically from their true parents every day. Then they continue to move them from placement to placement, increasing the trauma and the likelihood of abuse. Even if the foster caregivers are kind and decent people, they may be raising other children who are hurting, jealous and cruel. How many fostered kids recount how quickly they learned not to cry?

If a child is being very badly abused in his own home then intervention is warranted. But social workers now take children from their homes on the basis of reports of mild abuse, mild neglect or even just the “threat of harm” meaning absolutely no abuse or neglect is even alleged. Children may be removed from their homes or taken directly from school without parents knowledge.

The reports of abuse or neglect do not have to be substantiated in advance and the means of substantiating them may be questionable. The use of leading questions and other means to get a child to describe abuse that never took place is one method of “substantiating” abuse. Another method is denying a parent any contact with her child unless she signs some paperwork. Pitting one parent against another in a divorce situation or just using the divorce situation itself as a reason for child removal may occur. If a child has been abused while in custody of one parent, just at a moment when the child most needs comfort and security of the remaining parent, she is torn away and given to strangers.

Social workers it seems have no other tools to handle a situation other than removal of a child. Perhaps even worse, when they make the same accusations against every parent, making every case appear equally dangerous, they may contribute to judges sending children back to parents who are truly unfit.

When a law sounds innocuous like the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 does, it may be the opposite - unsafe for families and even worse, unsafe for children. The constant promotion of adoption benefits promoters but it is not being done for children.

Now that we have federal adoption bonuses for the adoption of children in foster care, have the children originally in the system gotten adopted? Has the overall number of children in the system gone down? How often is the youngest “adoptable” child taken from her home while social workers show little interest in the older children? Now that courts can sever parental rights for no reason after a child has been kept in the system for a relatively short time, how frequently are court proceedings delayed by lawyers and others? When enough time has passed a parent may be proven innocent of child abuse and drug abuse yet her parental rights will be terminated anyway.

When those in the system claim they either try to reunite families or get the kids adopted, this does not mean that they try to reunite families. Few cute little “adoptable” children are given the hope of reunification with their own family although some more difficult children may be permitted to go home. As with many situations where no real choice is presented, children may find their only chance at permanency is adoption with complete separation from siblings, grandparents and parents.

The media should investigate whether legislators and others they are interviewing about adoption and foster care will profit from the removal or adoption of children or whether they have ties to the system.

When the press is advised by “experts” to suppress or slant a news story, when officials say they want to protect the “system” instead of the children, that is the time for the media to move in for a closer investigation. What citizens don’t know affects children in a significant way. What they don’t know costs them billions in misspent tax dollars. What they don’t know may prevent them from making any decisions for their own children ever again.

Contact Information:
Laurie Frisch
(319) 373-7479
www.geocities.com/counting_to_ten/articles.html
e-mail protected from spam bots

Anonymous said...

$30,000, but four kids went without food
DYFS: Stipend for adoptive parents came with no strings or oversight attached
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
BY JOHN P. MARTIN
STAR-LEDGER STAFF

For Raymond and Vanessa Jackson, New Jersey's child welfare system was both an adoption pipeline and a paycheck.

Officials said yesterday that the Collingswood couple collected more than $30,000 from the state last year to help care for the four adopted boys they have since been accused of starving.

The stipend was the couple's sole source of income. The Jacksons were not required to explain how they spent it.

"There is no audit or review," said Joe Delmar, a spokesman for the Division of Youth and Family Services. "They get a check."

The disclosure came as state officials opened disciplinary hearings yesterday against workers who said they visited the home dozens of times but never noticed the starving boys.

Nine employees have been fired, and a 10th resigned since the agency's latest child-neglect scandal broke last weekend. Several had ties to a Voorhees-based DYFS office that has been cited more than a half-dozen times for violating state adoption regulations in the past two years.

Meanwhile last night, Camden County investigators searched the Jacksons' Victorian-style home in Collingswood, a working class suburb of Philadelphia.

The four Jackson boys, ages 9 to 19, each weighed less than 50 pounds and looked like famine victims when police found them there almost three weeks ago. An officer discovered the oldest, Bruce Jackson, scrounging for food in a neighbor's garbage can at 2 a.m.

The boys told investigators their parents locked the kitchen and limited them to sparse meals of oatmeal or pancake batter. They said they were so hungry sometimes that they ate pieces of the wall, insulation or windowsill.

Vanessa Jackson, 48, and Raymond Jackson, 50, remained in the Camden County jail on assault and endangerment charges yesterday, unable to post their $100,000 bail.

Friends and supporters, including their pastor, have defended the couple as caring and conscientious parents. They say the boys suffered from eating disorders that left them severely underdeveloped, a claim state officials dispute.

The Jacksons also were parents to two adopted girls and a female foster child, but investigators say the girls showed no signs of neglect. Ana Williams, a family friend, said yesterday that one of the girls told her the siblings were never mistreated.

"You can't believe what they are saying," 12-year-old Keziah Jackson said in a phone conversation on Sunday, according to Williams. "My mom and dad would never hurt us."

The Jackson case is the latest in a recent parade of high-profile abuse and neglect cases under DYFS' watch and comes as the agency has pledged to reform. A day before the Jacksons were arrested, DYFS officials announced they had reviewed the safety of nearly 14,000 children under their care, found just 31 in jeopardy, and rescued them.

But this week, officials said they would re-evaluate as many as 5,000 of those safety assessments.

Unlike some of the other notorious cases, the Jacksons' is the first to call into question DYFS adoption services. The first Jackson boy was adopted in 1995, with others following in 1996, 1997 and 2000. Two adopted girls also lived in the house, and the couple was finalizing its adoption of a third girl who had been their foster child.

Under state adoption law, caseworkers must interview every household member before approving a family for adoption. Each person must also have a medical exam.

DYFS officials acknowledged that neither occurred in the Jacksons' case.

"It raises serious concerns regarding the following of adoption regulations," Delmar said.

Special Deputy Human Services Commissioner Colleen Maguire also said her office is weighing a new policy that would require an annual medical exam of all children placed in adoptive homes.

It's also not clear to what extent the agency considered the Jacksons' financial ability to care for the children.

Raymond Jackson has been described by friends and officials as an insurance salesman and financial adviser who had trouble finding work. In recent months, the family fell behind on its electricity bill and owed more than $9,000 in back rent.

The Rev. Harry Thomas of Come Alive New Testament Church in Medford said the church gave Jackson $2,400 to help with costs.

That amount mirrored the amount the Jacksons received each month in state subsidies to cover basic needs such as food, housing and transportation for their children.

For each of their five adopted and foster children, the Jacksons collected an amount ranging from $374 to $473, based on the child's age. The family also received a separate clothing allowance that amounted to several thousand dollars, officials said. All told, the Jacksons collected more than $30,810 in adoption and foster care aid for the fiscal year ending June 30.

But Delmar would not say if investigators believed the Jacksons were abusing the adoption system for financial reasons.

"It's always a major concern to us when their only source of income is for the care of the foster children," he said. "On the surface, it appears that some of these people do it specifically for the money."

His comments came as several of the fired DYFS workers were called to a closed-door hearing in Trenton to answer the negligence charges against them.

Most of the workers were employed by the Southern Adoption Resource Center in Voorhees, one of six similar centers run statewide by DYFS.

The centers place roughly 800 children each year into adoptive families and are required to conduct thorough examinations of the households both before and after the placement. Most of the clients are people who lack the tens of thousands of dollars required for private adoptions. The children they adopt often tend to be of school-age, or with disabilities or other health problems.

Pat Bennett, a DYFS advisory board member and director at Concerned Persons for Adoption, said the DYFS-run centers have earned a mixed reputation among those who follow the field. Some employ dedicated, talented caseworkers, she said.

In others, "the support that is really, really needed to make that work is not always there."

The Voorhees-based center, which supervises placements in six South Jersey counties, was faulted twice in the past two years in internal DYFS reports for improperly supervising children it had placed.

In February 2002, DYFS licensing officials cited six violations against the Voorhees adoption center but let it continue operating under a temporary certificate. The reports said the office failed to document that it had completed interviews with all household members in an adoptive family; failed to conduct mandated visits to an adopting family; and failed to document it had privately interviewed children considered for adoption.

The violations were corrected last fall, but the office was cited again this year for failing to document family interviews.

Delmar, the DYFS spokesman, said none of the infractions appeared to involve the Jackson family but that officials were still examining the records.

Margaret Rovner, who managed the office, was among those workers who were fired in the wake of the case, sources said. Rovner hung up when called by a reporter yesterday.


Staff writers Susan K. Livio and Judith Lucas contributed to this report. John P. Martin can be reached at 973-622-3405 or at jmartin@starledger.com.

Anonymous said...

In 60% of the audit children were not seen in the 90 day mandate. That means that a child, a real child is in care with a total stranger - the child could be being beaten, raped, used for child pornography, the child could be being tortured.

Anonymous said...

The children in this foster care situation did not feel forever safe, or in a forever family while they were subjected to a serial killer pedophile under the watch of the Peel Children's Aid Society!

Parole Board called sex offender 'a role model'
Updated Thu. Apr. 15 2004 6:50 AM ET
CTV NEWS SITE
CTV.ca News Staff

New questions are being raised about why a convicted sex offender suspected of three murders was not more closely monitored after being released from jail.

Douglas Moore is considered the prime suspect in the deaths of Rene Charlebois and Robert Grewal. He is also a suspect in the presumed death of Giuseppe (Joseph) Manchisi, who disappeared with Grewal but whose body has never been found.

Moore died in prison earlier this month, apparently of suicide, shortly after being questioned in Charlebois's murder.

Moore had a lengthy record of sexual offences involving boys and young men that dated back two decades.

In 1996, his application for release after serving two-thirds of an eight-year sentence was rejected. The National Parole Board said Moore was an unrepentant pervert "with a pattern of persistent sexual deviance involving young boys." he was assessed by psychologists as "likely to reoffend... to commit an offence that will cause death or serious harm to another person."

Just 18 months later, in June of 1997, Moore was released on parole with six months remaining in his eight-year sentence. The Parole Board's reasoning included his "positive performance" in a sex offender program. They even called him a positive role model for the other prisoners in the program.

Sex offender specialist Karl Hanson finds that kind of transformation hard to believe.

"It's scientifically and medically impossible for someone to go from being a dangerous psychopathic sex offender to being a role model after 18 months. I don't believe it," says Hanson.

Manchisi's father is furious when is hears the argument that Moore was entitled to be released since he had served his time.

"What are you talking about 'his time'? There is no time," says Giuseppe Manchisi Sr. "This shouldn't have ever happened."

Before he died, Moore has been arrested again for sexually assaulting three children in foster care. The Peel Regional Children's Aid Society says it takes responsibility for those assaults.

"The children that are in the papers that we're all reading about were children in our care and they were harmed while they were in our care. We feel profoundly responsible," says the CAS's Paul Zarnke.

Many say others should share the blame as well. Moore was never classified as a dangerous offender and was released four years before the sex offender registry that would have tracked him even existed. But Hanson says more could have been done.

"I would ask the question why didn't anyone apply for an order under section 8.10 of the Criminal Code, which means he would have the equivalent of being on parole or bail, for a period of time and then renewed," he wonders.

"As long as he was a danger to public safety he would have been under these controls for the rest of his life."

Anonymous said...

Carolyn Buck the director of the Toronto CAS makes the salary
of $154,635.00 yearly! Yet this director had the NERVE to buy a SUV out of the CAS pockets. Not ONLY has this director NOT been fired, she had the audacity to write to the Globe and Mail bragging about kinship care placements. Bullshit Buckaroo - CAS operates to provide other people with other people's children. It does not focus on kinship care.

No CAS agency has EVER had a focus on kinship care. And if as according to her letter they did - then why is the Family Networks program in London, being called a first of its kind? Which is it?

Anonymous said...

Even more interesting is that the death of Jeffrey is of no concern to them at all?

Could it be that this was planned, to get funding, and for this child to be the poster boy for child apprehensions?

Anonymous said...

A case that would horrify the public (which it has) so much that they would BLINDLY support CAS "care"?

A bad blood theory done on purpose ...........

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Bill 210 hell, a massive child brokering business that will go on and on and on........ with no solid checks.

Anonymous said...

Today in Detroit, Michigan lies a little boy who was so badly beaten in foster stranger danger care, by the paid child abusers that he was given to, that he may die from it. If he does not die from it, he will be permanently bruised for the rest of his life. No one will be responsible for it either - as in the people who placed him with the monsters, and sadists that did this to him.

Yet the industry continues to promote foster stranger danger care as being a "cure" for child abuse, when it is in fact a "recipe".

Anonymous said...

If the little boy dies he can be remembered at Suncana in Memory - a website dedicated for the deceased children who all died at the hands of abusers, while various child protection agencies totally failed them.

Jeffrey Baldwin is on this sad website, in memory as well.

Anonymous said...

Military children to get help coping
Kingston Whig-Standard (ON)
Sat 14 Apr 2007
Page: B1
Section: National/World
Byline: John Ward
Source: CP
Ontario and the federal government have ended a jurisdictional squabble, banding together to help children from Canadian Forces Base Petawawa who have become "collateral damage" of the war in Afghanistan.

A potentially shaming report from the Ontario ombudsman defused the bureaucratic spat and won new money for a mental-health centre that's helping the children of soldiers deployed in Afghanistan cope with the stress of the war.

Ombudsman Andre Marin said Ontario and the federal government were bickering over "a tempest in a teapot," an extra $230,000 this year for the Phoenix Centre for Children and Families, which treats children from CFB Petawawa.

He said the province cannot shirk its clear responsibility for such services, while Ottawa carries a moral responsibility to support the families of its soldiers. In the end, the province agreed to spend more money and Ottawa offered a one-time $100,000.

Marin said children at the base are suffering fallout from the war. Since last summer, the base has had 16 soldiers killed. During one stretch, the flags flew at half-mast for 49 straight days.

Children fear for the safety of parents overseas, Marin said, and struggle to adapt once parents come home, laden with the emotional baggage of combat.

Some children have lost parents, or have seen them come home gravely wounded. They have seen the grief on the faces of neighbours and school chums. Anxiety builds each day the deployments go on.

Marin told of one girl who collapsed in school when she was asked to go to the principal's office.

"She was sure the principal was about to tell her father was dead, " Marin said.

"She and others like her are suffering because of the war and they need help."

Other children are suffering from attention deficits, some cannot play with others, some want to stay home to be close to the returned parent, others become aggressive or withdrawn. Some contemplate suicide.

Greg Lubimiv, executive director of the Phoenix Centre, told of one child who was "afraid to be happy" while her father was away.

Marin said he never bothered writing a formal report because he didn't want to be polishing prose while children entertained thoughts of suicide.

The treatment centre, facing a rising caseload and growing wait lists, asked the province last fall for about $500,000 over two years to hire more staff. They were rebuffed by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

Marin said Toronto took the position that it was short of money and the problem was caused by Ottawa's military deployment, so the feds should pay. Ottawa said flatly that mental-health services for children are purely a provincial responsibility.

There things stood until Marin opened an investigation March 1.

He blamed the intransigence on "political underlings" on both sides, saying that things moved fast once Premier Dalton McGuinty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper got involved.

The premier admitted yesterday that the political spat was a mistake.

"I'm a little bit sheepish that we got into a fight with the federal government as to who was going to go first when it comes to helping out kids, who have been traumatized by the fact their moms and dads are over fighting in Afghanistan," he said.

The province will work out some kind of the cost arrangement with the federal government, McGuinty said.

Marin was careful to praise both governments for their response.

"Both levels of government have shown a new sense of collaboration and enterprise in seeking a long-term resolution that will put the interests of the children in Petawawa ahead of the narrowly defined, technical arguments about whose role it is to respond to the cries of soldiers' children in need."

Lubimiv said the settlement is very welcome.

"It's a tremendous relief not to have to put energy into advocacy."

He said the centre will be able to hire two new therapists, just in time for what he feels will be a new surge of troubled children.

Problems can peak two or three months after parents return from overseas as they try to readjust to home life while bearing their personal memories of combat.

About 1,500 soldiers returned to Petawawa in February after a six- month Afghan tour.

"We are expecting another bubble of referrals," Lubimiv said.

Marin said the Petawawa base, about a two-hour drive from Ottawa, is exceptional among military bases because of its relative distance from a major urban centre, and thus deserves special consideration for things such as mental-health care.

In contrast, the big base at Gagetown, N.B., which has also sent soldiers to Afghanistan, is close to Fredericton.

© 2007 Osprey Media Group Inc. All rights reserved.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why Mary Ann Chambers for weeks said that this was a federal issue and refused to give the kids one cent? Does anyone recall her passing the buck or am I confusing this with something else? Tell me I'm wrong!

Anonymous said...

This article mentions lawyer Jeffrey Wilson. It is good that someone is teaching these kids about their rights. Mr. Wilson was the lawyer for Alexandra Austin - a girl from Romania who had been adopted. Her adopters dumped her on a plane, and sent the child alone back to her country. She was young as in around age nine or so. It ruined her life, being adopted then dumped by them. She was left alone to fly back to her country -very dangerous, no adults to help her at all. She had her entire identity totally screwed up after the adopters abandoned her, and was prevented from going to school, obtaining proper documents etc.. she was involved with a law suit about this a few years ago. Many wanted the adopters to go to prison. If it was a natural family and they dumped a child on a plane they would be charged.

The forever safe, forever family did not work for Alexandra Austin -being dumped as she was not "perfect" for the infertile couple.

Not only should lawyers start teaching kids about their rights, but police forces should help kids to know how to report sexual abuse. It is a huge problem in foster care, and adoption.

The young man at the course - the father of a baby that was mentioned, glad that his parents have the baby, and that she is not in foster stranger danger care.

Article
SOURCE: TORONTO STAR NEWSPAPER
Courting their legal rights and wrongs


Youths sign up for a crash course on the justice system

Apr 17, 2007 10:52 AM
Michele Henry
Staff Reporter

"So how DO you fire a lawyer?" Victoria Starr, a lawyer herself, asks a small group of young adults gathered at a Church St. law firm.

This was the question they were itching to hear.

"I might be like Donald Trump and say `you're fired'," says Chris, 17, who sports a baseball cap and scruffy beard on his boyish face.

Laughter erupts in the boardroom of family law firm Wilson Christen LLP. It's Wednesday night and for four weeks barristers have volunteered to educate young people – displaced, troubled and "in the system" – about their legal rights.

While the youths, 14 to 24 years old, already have more than a basic knowledge of legalese, they don't know much about the legal process – or how to survive it with dignity.

These kids have grown up in foster homes, have been Children's Aid Society wards, and left abusive situations. Terms such as affidavit, party status and custody battle are entrenched in their vocabulary.

This program, a first of its kind, provides them valuable tips such as what to wear to court, how to approach a judge, how to find a lawyer and even how to chuck a bad one.

When the laughter dies down in the boardroom, Starr says that standing up in court, a bit more sheepishly than Chris suggests, is one way to ditch poor representation.

A better way, she says, is to write a letter to the lawyer.

"Then fax it to them," she says. "And keep a copy for yourself. Always keep a copy."

Like all the teens present, Chris, who did not want to give his last name, had no idea he could take control of a situation that seemingly screamed "adults only." With a custody battle of his own coming up in May – he's trying to keep his ex-girlfriend away from their 11-month-old daughter – he's learning a lot at these three-hour seminars.

"It's fascinating, some of the rights I have," says Chris, who lives in transitional housing for youth while his parents care for his daughter. "I didn't know."

That's exactly why Jeffrey Wilson created this crash course, called The Law and Youth, that began a few weeks ago.

A family lawyer with 30 years' experience advocating for children and youth, Wilson hopes to empower those most vulnerable in the legal system.

"I want them to know that they can speak up and how they (can) speak up, "Wilson says.

"One way to do that is through knowledge. My goal is that they can take ownership of their lives."

The law views those under 18 as "incompetent" individuals who need others to act in their "best interest," Wilson says. He wants youths to know they don't have to live with that.

"If they understand how the law works it may make a difference in their lives."

Wilson advertised the free program earlier this year in 700 youth-dense locations, such as transitional homes, shelters, libraries, YMCAs and foster homes. He and his firm have spent $10,000 on this pilot project with the hope it can expand. They received 135 applications for the four-class course that has room for 35 individuals.

After a brief introduction, participants broke into small groups led by lawyers to discuss how to handle different scenarios.

Jeffrey Wredu, 16, was shocked to discover his parents shouldn't be privy to information discussed between him and his lawyer. Until this seminar, the concept of client-confidentiality was foreign to him.

A ward of the Children's Aid Society when he was younger, Wredu never knew it was wrong for the person representing him to "take his parents' side."

"I'm really finding out that the law isn't just black and white," he says. "It's really controversial and there are many ways you can handle things."

Gloria, 21, who didn't want her last name used, listened carefully, trying to absorb the entire session. She's been in and out of foster homes and shelters, and is interested in learning about her rights.

"I've never had to deal with this before," she says. "I try to stay out of trouble."

Anonymous said...

It is also very commendable for Jeffrey Wilson to be doing this as a volunteer. Foster kids haven't a dime between groups of 40 or more -let alone getting a good lawyer to discern the truth, and their rights for them.

It should also be their right to go home when they are saying that they are not being abused, and furthermore their right to ask to stay with a relative if they cannot be with their parents, or someone that they know and trust.

Anonymous said...

This is what happened to Alexandra Austin in her "forever safe, forever family".
I hope Jeffrey Wilson sues the adopters for every dime they have!

Sent back after 5 months, adopted Romanian sues

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 | 9:50 AM ET
CBC News

A 22-year-old Romanian woman is suing a well-off couple and the Canadian and Ontario governments over a botched 1991 adoption.
"They stole my childhood," said Alexandra Austin, who is now a single mother living in Bucharest. "They stole my future. They stole my life."

Austin was nine years old when heart surgeon Joseph Austin and his wife Silvana Marisa Di Giacomo convinced her mother to let them adopt the girl and take her to Canada, her lawsuit claims.

The couple, who at the time lived in Ancaster, Ont., already had four sons but wanted a daughter.

All the paperwork was done and the Austins were legally her parents when they decided to send her back to Romania five months later, the suit says.

That was two days after they adopted a baby girl, Austin said at a news conference in Toronto Tuesday.

When she arrived back in Romania, Austin says, she was denied access to schooling and health care because she was no longer considered a citizen of that country. The Canadian government didn't consider her a citizen either, though, so she was stateless.

Her widowed mother had seven other children and couldn't pay for private education. To this day, Austin has only a Grade 3 education.

"I lost not one or two years; I lost 14 years," she said.

The lawsuit says the Canadian and Ontario governments should never have allowed the original adoption, since Alexandra was being well taken care of in Romania despite her family's poverty.

It also names the airline that transported Austin back to Romania, saying it should not have accepted the distressed nine-year-old as a passenger travelling alone.

Joseph Austin now works at a hospital in Washington state, and is divorced from Di Giacomo, who lives somewhere in Italy.

His office said he had no comment to make on the lawsuit, which has been filed in Ontario Superior Court.

A Passionate Eye documentary about the adoption case, called Return to Sender, aired on CBC Monday night and will be rebroadcast on CBC Newsworld Wednesday night.

For her story please see the
Passionate Eye documentary: Return to Sender

Anonymous said...

CAS does not listen to parents, and they need to. While Jeffrey Wilson advocates for kids in care, which is good, not all parents are abusive that CAS goes after. This is why we need accountability and the Ombudsman. Some are set up, in fact many are. Lies are spewed, babies are brokered - no one answers to anything.

Kids need a voice, and so do parents when it comes to CAS.

Anonymous said...

Such a mess, such a disaster, a secret system that does what it does, ancient, archaic.........

Parents and kids dealing with CAS BOTH need to know about their rights. In actual cases of child abuse one's parental right should never supersede a child and their right to safety, which no one should argue with - but the lines are always fine with CAS. As it is secret and answers to no one thousands are taken needlessly.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey Wilson should also help foster kids to write formal complaints, and legal documents where it comes to CAS. The Toronto Star said the kids came from abusive homes type of thing - really, well who knows with CAS?

Some perhaps, all not likely. And many have been abused in foster stranger danger/adoption care and group homes.

Jeffrey Wilson and lawyers, need to help kids to deal with that. Many should sue, not only the abusers, but the agencies who placed them with their abusers.

Anonymous said...

And CAS, and their trumped up charges, to broker babies and children need to be reined in - if they are actually honest? Why are they fighting against the Ombudsman?

Anonymous said...

In the CAS system guess who has rights and all of them - CAS workers, those that foster, and those that adopt.

A bit loaded don't you think?

Very convenient for child brokering!

Do the kids have any rights, or INNOCENT parents who are being assaulted by CAS?

Anonymous said...

How nice that this sick, putrid couple who shipped an innocent child on a plane, after coercing her mother to let them take her to Canada, was the awarded with another baby?

Happens all the time in adoption - anyone that moves gets a child. Nutbars, pedophiles, the mentally ill.

Anonymous said...

Crazy, sick people that think someone else's child "will be their child, forever more".

Forever more, is a sign of ownership, abuse and control.

Yet the system has paved the red carpet out for it.

Anonymous said...

One wonders if Minister Chambers wants to be sold online - to a total stranger in a foreign country?

Anonymous said...

And for that matter, who else wants to be sold online - to a total stranger?

That is what adoption is now, brokering kids via the government and the CAS.

If we want to talk about the rights of children, the very least should be that they not be sold for profit.

Anonymous said...

And it is not about the kids, it is about them - the clients of the CAS, the infertile; the gay couples, the people that want to add "additional children to their family".

It is all about them, always has been!

Anonymous said...

A system where children have no right to their family, and strangers have a right to them?

Totally nuts, totally bonkers. It is a system from hell!

Anonymous said...

Child protection in Ontario ignores the child's needs
St. Catharines Standard (ON)
Fri 20 Apr 2007
Page: A6
Section: Viewpoint
The problems with the Children's Aid Society and their association would have been fixed at least a decade ago if the responsible ministers had upheld the requirements of the Child and Family Services Act as they have committed to do.

There have been many opportunities for various ministers to step in and do the right thing. For example, the present minister has refused to appoint a judge and undertake a review of Section 67 of the Child and Family Services Act that our audits show has seen two little girls isolated from their family in Brantford since 2001, at public expense with not one scrap of evidence that these children are in need of protection from their family members.

Audit results in the hands of our politicians show judges, lawyers (both private and legal aid) and CAS workers have all ignored best interests, legislation and a responsibility to uphold the law as set out in the Child and Family Services Act. Isolation is abuse. NDP MPP Andrea Horwath and the ombudsman are both well informed on the situation, yet I hear nothing of their efforts to force the government's hand and have the review which would show the CAS is using our child protection dollars improperly - and certainly not in the best interests of our children.

Our position is they are all afraid that such review would be the first domino that would see the end of child protection being used as a means to an end that has nothing to do with best interests of children.

Anne Marsden

Ghent Avenue

Burlington

Anonymous said...

The rot is deep isn't it. Anne Marsden needs to be heard, the documents need to be disclosed, the evidence presented, and the cover-ups disclosed.

Good for her, that she is advocating for people who are dealing with the CAS.

We need a full legal inquiry into them. Ombudsman oversight, and an end to the destruction of lives, families and children - all at the behest of the CAS!

Anonymous said...

The damage of CAS goes back decades, and decades ago. Yet various people have attempted to go after the beast.

Child abuse is a horrible, dreadful, ugly, wicked, evil realm of horror. No one should ever harm children, not ever.

BUT

CAS, should not have the power to apprehend thousands of children not in need of protection, while ignoring actual cases of child abuse.

Protect children in cases of actual child abuse, hands down. But not what this system has been or is.

Anonymous said...

Andrea Horwath and the Ombudsman have attempted to do something about CAS. Both need to get a lot louder though about it.

Bill 88, has not been tabled for second reading, and it needs to be tabled immediately.

Anonymous said...

Politicians have always passed the buck, when it comes to the CAS. Various Ministers yes, could have done something. Baird didn't do a thing.

Politicians have been told about CAS, by credible sources for years now.

Rein them in, rein them in now!

Anonymous said...

Not social cleansing, not going after the poor, not going after people for their marital status, not taking thousands for "at risk" theories, and not because they can.

But REAL child abuse, cases like the Toronto Sun horror story - cases like the Toronto CCAS failing to protect Jeffrey Baldwin's older siblings decades ago!

Anonymous said...

James Earl Bradley Jr. died. He died after having his head literally smashed in by paid child abusers, who were awarded this little boy. He died after being beaten to death by the sadists, and monsters that did this to him.

His name will be added to Suncana in Memory.

He died in foster stranger danger care, beaten to death by paid CHILD ABUSERS.

It goes on and on and on, the abuse of innocent children in foster stranger danger care.

Anonymous said...

He was not an orphan, he had family YET the system had only one focus - providing total strangers with someone else's child.

Providing them with a child, to suit them, it is all about them - strangers.

http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070417/NEWS01/70417001/1001/NEWS



Published April 17, 2007
[ From LSJ.com ]

Third child in eight months to die in foster care
Midday update

Associated Press


VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP - A 3-year-old boy has died of trauma at a state-licensed foster home, officials said.

James Earl Bradley Jr., of Detroit, was the third child in eight months to die in a Wayne County foster home. He suffered seizures and a possible head injury at a home in Van Buren Township on April 8, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday.

The child remained on life support at Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor until he died Friday, township Police Detective Bob Greene said Monday.

Greene said results from an autopsy in Washtenaw County were not yet available, though doctors think James might have been shaken, received a blunt-force injury to the head or both.

"We know that something happened to him, but we don't know what yet," Greene said.

The foster parents, identified through court records as Christine Woodward and Lasana Karva, were questioned after Woodward reported that she and her 15-year-old daughter found James in distress, officials said.

Woodward was licensed to have as many as four children in day care and two foster children at a time, state records say. The state summarily suspended Woodward's day-care license and the couple's foster-care provider license, the Department of Human Services said in a news release.

Two other young foster children have been killed in licensed foster homes in recent months. Isaac Lethbridge, 2, of Westland was fatally beaten in a Detroit foster home on Aug. 16, 2006. His foster mother is charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse.

Allison Newman, also 2, died Sept. 22 after being injured in the Canton Township home of her foster mother, who is jailed on charges of first-degree murder and child abuse.

Anonymous said...

He has a name, he had a life, he had the right to be protected, not given to monsters that beat him to death. He had the right to his own family who were not abusive!

At least his name has been disclosed with the Edmonton case -the paid "experts" refuse to disclose the name of the little boy also beaten to death by a sadistic, vile monster - in foster stranger danger care!

Anonymous said...

The government has been told about foster stranger danger care, it has been told about the realm of abuse in adoption, it has been told about the lies. YET MINISTER CHAMBERS chooses to work with a baby broker, with dollar signs attached to claim that "infertile strangers, gay strangers, and anyone that wants a child" is forever safe?

They are more dangerous, they are the real child abusers, and they are the one's that need to be investigated!

Anonymous said...

For anyone that has a relative in foster stranger danger care - get them out, and get them out now!

Meet them in 30 years from now, and it is a given that they have been abused.

Take care of your family, help each other, don't let your children go to foster stranger danger care. To be shuttled to 19 or more foster homes, beaten, raped and tortured, or adopted/bought by a child abuser in permanent care!

If you have a genuine concern about someone in your family abusing a child then act on it, but don't let your relative be in CAS "care". Take them in yourself and do whatever it takes to do so.

Report real child abuse, when necessary always. Don't let your relatives grow up to be strangers though - don't allow CAS to broker them to total strangers.

Get them out of care, get them out now!

Anonymous said...

The abuse was bad enough in the past - now the paid child abusers in foster stranger danger care are killing the children.

Anonymous said...

And take a good look at the people who have children in foster stranger/adoption stranger care. Look a little closer here - don't elevate them to super hero "forever safe" status.

Take a good look at them and be aware. You want to find child abuse, look no further then them!

Anonymous said...

They have the perfect guise, the strangers that foster and adopt - they are forever safe, forever families.

Priests are not forever safe, are they now? Such super heroes to society that no one ever looks at them.

They are glorious, forever safe, super human, superior, untouchable.

Real families aren't safe though, they are bad, forever unsafe, because the CAS "said so".

Agencies that have not been accountable since their inception!

Anonymous said...

STANDING COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE POLICY

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

COMMITTEE ROOM 228

AGENDA

Bill 165, An Act to establish and provide for the office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth

9:00 a.m.
Sub-Committee Report dated April 11, 12 and 20, 2007


9:00 a.m.
Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy

Judy Finlay


9:15 a.m.
Les Horne


9:30 a.m.
Canadian Hearing Society, Toronto

Gary Malkowski, Special Advisor to the President, Public Affairs


9:45 a.m.
To be confirmed


10:00 a.m.
Dr. Patricia Spindel


10:15 a.m.
Justice For Children and Youth

Cheryl Milne


10:30 a.m.
Pro Bono Law Ontario, Child Advocacy Project

Wendy Miller, Children’s Project Manager


10:45 a.m.
Anne Marsden


11:00 a.m.
Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office

David Simpson, Acting Director






11:15 a.m.
Children’s Mental Health Ontario / Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy

Cathy Dyer, Coordinator, Youth Engagement, CMHO

Irwin Elman, Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy


11:30 a.m.
Michael Cochrane


11:45 a.m.
Toronto Parent Network

Cassie Bell, Coordinator


12:00 p.m.
RECESS / ADJOURNMENT TO ROOM 151


3:30 p.m.
ASL for Deaf Children in Ontario

Chris Kenopic


3:45 p.m.
Sandra Tanny


4:00 p.m.
Lawrence Kong (Teleconference)


4:15 p.m.
To be confirmed


4:30 p.m.
Residential Placement Advisory Committee, Family Service Windsor Essex (Teleconference)

Paul Daignault, Coordinator


4:45 p.m.
To be confirmed


5:00 p.m.
To be confirmed


5:15 p.m.
Ontario First Nations Young Peoples Council


5:30 p.m.
Chiefs of Ontario Youth Group


5:45 p.m.
To be confirmed

Anonymous said...

Child Advocate is no Substitute for Ombudsman
CCNMatthews
Tue 24 Apr 2007
Dateline: TORONTO, ONTARIO
Time: 15:49 PM
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 24, 2007) -

ATTENTION NEWS EDITORS:

Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin today praised the province's proposed new Child Advocate legislation but cautioned that it will still leave a dangerous gap in the system that is supposed to protect vulnerable children.

Bill 165, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, takes only "baby steps" toward an effective system of child protection, Mr. Marin says in his submission to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, which is holding hearings on the bill this week. The Advocate may speak for children but, unlike an ombudsman, will have no investigative powers: "An advocate is as much an ombudsman as an apple is an orange."

Yet Ontario's Ombudsman is unable to investigate the hundreds of complaints to his office about children's aid societies each year (more than 600 in 2006-07), because they remain outside of his jurisdiction. Cases that should be investigated are effectively thrown away, Mr. Marin says: "Despite all the government rhetoric that 'children are our future,' we in Ontario are choosing to rid ourselves of hundreds of these serious allegations every year by taking a trip to the dumpster and looking the other way." Ontario is the only province in Canada where children's aid societies escape such scrutiny, he notes. "However you slice, chop or spin it, there is no contest as to which province finishes dead last in investigating children's complaints. Ontario does."

Mr. Marin's submission calls on the government to act, in addition to establishing the Provincial Advocate, to amend the Ombudsman Act to include jurisdiction over children's aid societies. Unlike the provincial coroner and other bodies, the Ombudsman can investigate complaints by parents and children "before tragedy strikes," he points out.

Mr. Marin has advocated for the Ombudsman's mandate to be modernized to allow for oversight of such bodies as children's aid societies since his appointment in April 2005 - following a quest begun by Ontario's first Ombudsman, Arthur Maloney, in 1975.

Aussi disponible en francais

Read the full submission under What's New at www.ombudsman.on.ca

-30-

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: For more information or to arrange interviews with the Ombudsman contact: Linda Williamson, Communications and Media Relations Manager (416) 586-3426 Email: lwilliamson@ombudsman.on.ca Website: www.ombudsman.on.ca

Anonymous said...

Bill 165: Apples and Oranges –
an Advocate is not an Ombudsman



Submission to the
Standing Committee on Justice Policy
respecting Bill 165,
Provincial Advocate for Children
and Youth Act, 2007




André Marin
Ombudsman of Ontario



Toronto, Ontario
April 24, 2007



2
Bill 165’s proposed creation of an independent Provincial Advocate for Children and
Youth, as an Officer of the Legislative Assembly, is a positive step forward for the
province. It is, however, only a very small part of what is needed to ensure an effective
system of protection for Ontario’s children. Until a proper, independent oversight
foundation is laid for the child protection system in Ontario, we will continue to lag
embarrassingly behind every other province in Canada in truly caring for children.
An advocate is as much an ombudsman as an apple is an orange. Child advocates, by
definition, are biased. They are there to take on the voice of children who need to be
heard. In contrast, an ombudsman is an independent, impartial investigator of “things
gone wrong.” In Ontario, the Ombudsman has strong investigative and reporting tools to
galvanize the government into action, while the Child Advocate can only articulate a
point of view. While their function and organization are markedly different, in many
jurisdictions in the world, both advocates and ombudsmen work in tandem,
complementing each other’s role.
In Ontario, 53 independent, non-profit children’s aid societies carry out the vital role of
child protection. While the Provincial Advocate will be able to represent the interests of
children seeking or receiving child protective services, the Advocate will have no
investigative powers. In fact, if the Provincial Advocate felt that a thorough investigation
of a complaint were necessary, he or she would have to refer the matter to the
Ombudsman. Unfortunately, if a complaint relates to child protection matters involving a
children’s aid society, there is nothing the Ombudsman can do.
Year after year, the Ombudsman’s office is forced to abandon hundreds of serious
complaints against Ontario children’s aid societies because our hands are legally tied. In
the past fiscal year alone, we received more than 600 such calls and complaints. These
are allegations of child neglect caused by the provincially funded child protection system
– yet instead of being investigated, they are effectively thrown out. Despite all the
government rhetoric that “children are our future,” we in Ontario are choosing to rid
ourselves of hundreds of these serious allegations every year by taking a trip to the
dumpster and looking the other way.
Bill 210, the Child and Family Services Statute Law Amendment Act, which received
Royal Assent March 28, 2006, could well be renamed “The Lost Opportunity Act.”
When the government decided to take a crack at improving the functioning of our child
protection system, it had a golden opportunity to raise the scrutiny of our children’s aid
societies to the same level of scrutiny applied in other provinces. Instead, the
government waffled and the window of progress that was opened by the Bill was
promptly slammed shut.



3
Instead of extending oversight of children’s aid societies to the Ombudsman, the
government chose to adopt an adjudicative model which for the most part covers only
complaints relating to procedural matters, not the hard-core issues that are complained
about in the hundreds every year to the Ombudsman’s Office. The Child and Family
Services Review Board does not have the power to investigate substantive complaints
about the services sought or received from children’s aid societies, and neither will the
newly-created Advocate, who has no investigative authority.
As a result, complaints about the actions of Ontario’s 53 children’s aid societies remain
beyond the reach of independent investigative scrutiny. Although the Auditor General
can investigate and report on instances of financial mismanagement by children’s aid
societies, those who wish to have the Ombudsman investigate complaints of unfair
treatment of children and parents by children’s aid societies are left with no recourse.
While there is no question that the children of this province deserve a strong advocate,
such an office must go hand in hand with a strong watchdog to safeguard the interests of
children and their families. Unlike coroner’s inquests, police investigations, and
Pediatric Death Review Committee inquiries, the Ombudsman can investigate complaints
about child protection services before tragedy strikes. The Ombudsman of Ontario is
uniquely placed to deal with individual complaints as well as systemic issues and has
broad investigative powers as well the scope to make effective recommendations for
improvement.
As noted at the outset, Bill 165, which entrenches the independence of the Provincial
Advocate for Children and Youth, is a good small step forward. Before we shower
ourselves with praise over baby steps, however, we need to cut through the rhetoric and
recognize that we have miles left to go. Vulnerable children in need should be able to
access a venue where their complaints can be investigated and resolved. Right now, they
are falling through the cracks, but not accidentally.
Until we in Ontario stop looking the other way, government rhetoric about giant leaps in
progress in how children’s complaints are treated will be empty fluff. However you slice,
chop or spin it, there is no contest as to which province finishes dead last in investigating
children’s complaints. Ontario does. Along with this Bill, what is needed now is a
corresponding amendment to the Ombudsman Act ensuring that Ontario children and
their families will finally have the right to bring their complaints about children’s aid
societies to the Ombudsman for independent investigation.

Anonymous said...

FYI, the Ombudsman of Ontario has just issued the following press release re Bill 165:

ATTN. NEWS EDITORS: For Immediate Release

Child Advocate is no substitute for Ombudsman

TORONTO (April 24, 2007) – Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today praised the province’s proposed new Child Advocate legislation but cautioned that it will still leave a dangerous gap in the system that is supposed to protect vulnerable children.

Bill 165, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, takes only “baby steps” toward an effective system of child protection, Mr. Marin says in his submission to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, which is holding hearings on the bill this week. The Advocate may speak for children but, unlike an ombudsman, will have no investigative powers: “An advocate is as much an ombudsman as an apple is an orange.”

Yet Ontario’s Ombudsman is unable to investigate the hundreds of complaints to his office about children’s aid societies each year (more than 600 in 2006-07), because they remain outside of his jurisdiction. Cases that should be investigated are effectively thrown away, Mr. Marin says: “Despite all the government rhetoric that ‘children are our future,’ we in Ontario are choosing to rid ourselves of hundreds of these serious allegations every year by taking a trip to the dumpster and looking the other way.” Ontario is the only province in Canada where children’s aid societies escape such scrutiny, he notes. “However you slice, chop or spin it, there is no contest as to which province finishes dead last in investigating children’s complaints. Ontario does.”

Mr. Marin’s submission calls on the government to act, in addition to establishing the Provincial Advocate, to amend the Ombudsman Act to include jurisdiction over children’s aid societies. Unlike the provincial coroner and other bodies, the Ombudsman can investigate complaints by parents and children “before tragedy strikes,” he points out.

Mr. Marin has advocated for the Ombudsman’s mandate to be modernized to allow for oversight of such bodies as children’s aid societies since his appointment in April 2005 – following a quest begun by Ontario’s first Ombudsman, Arthur Maloney, in 1975.

-30-
Aussi disponible en français

Read the full submission under What’s New at www.ombudsman.on.ca

Anonymous said...

FYI, the Ombudsman of Ontario has just issued the following press release re Bill 165:

ATTN. NEWS EDITORS: For Immediate Release

Child Advocate is no substitute for Ombudsman

TORONTO (April 24, 2007) – Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today praised the province’s proposed new Child Advocate legislation but cautioned that it will still leave a dangerous gap in the system that is supposed to protect vulnerable children.

Bill 165, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, takes only “baby steps” toward an effective system of child protection, Mr. Marin says in his submission to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, which is holding hearings on the bill this week. The Advocate may speak for children but, unlike an ombudsman, will have no investigative powers: “An advocate is as much an ombudsman as an apple is an orange.”

Yet Ontario’s Ombudsman is unable to investigate the hundreds of complaints to his office about children’s aid societies each year (more than 600 in 2006-07), because they remain outside of his jurisdiction. Cases that should be investigated are effectively thrown away, Mr. Marin says: “Despite all the government rhetoric that ‘children are our future,’ we in Ontario are choosing to rid ourselves of hundreds of these serious allegations every year by taking a trip to the dumpster and looking the other way.” Ontario is the only province in Canada where children’s aid societies escape such scrutiny, he notes. “However you slice, chop or spin it, there is no contest as to which province finishes dead last in investigating children’s complaints. Ontario does.”

Mr. Marin’s submission calls on the government to act, in addition to establishing the Provincial Advocate, to amend the Ombudsman Act to include jurisdiction over children’s aid societies. Unlike the provincial coroner and other bodies, the Ombudsman can investigate complaints by parents and children “before tragedy strikes,” he points out.

Mr. Marin has advocated for the Ombudsman’s mandate to be modernized to allow for oversight of such bodies as children’s aid societies since his appointment in April 2005 – following a quest begun by Ontario’s first Ombudsman, Arthur Maloney, in 1975.

-30-
Aussi disponible en français

Read the full submission under What’s New at www.ombudsman.on.ca

Anonymous said...

Child Abduction Society CAS.

Anonymous said...

Deaths spur dad to action; Daughters died after children's aid society downplayed pleas; now father backs ombudsman in bid for powers to investigate
The Toronto Star
Wed 25 Apr 2007
Page: B02
Section: Gta
Byline: Moira Welsh
Source: Toronto Star
Every time he sees a child on a swing, Leo Campione thinks of his dead little girls.

Every minute of every day, there is something that reminds him of 3-year-old Serena and 1-year-old Sophia, tousle-haired and grinning.

They were found drowned in their mother's Barrie apartment in October 2006.

Despite numerous red flags and several occasions where the Simcoe County Children's Aid Society removed the children from her care, social workers downplayed his pleas for intervention until it was too late.

"If I am in a mall and there are other children running and I hear a baby call out 'Daddy,' it is just a torment to my heart," Campione said yesterday. "It is indescribable. This happened to me. I am going to do everything possible to make sure it doesn't happen to anybody else."

To that end, Campione, 35, who works with the Universal Workers Union, Local 183, is now publicly supporting the efforts of Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin, who wants the government to give him the power to investigate the province's 53 children's aid societies.

"I have already lost all that is most precious and valuable to me. I really don't have anything to gain, except that their deaths were not in vain," Campione said.

"My greatest resolve now is that this does not happen to any other children. It is what gives me the strength to keep going."

Marin has sent a written submission to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy at Queen's Park asking for investigative powers for the ombudsman's office. The committee is holding hearings this week on Bill 165, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, which will give greater independence to Ontario's child advocate, Judy Finlay.

But Marin says that an advocate cannot investigate the way an ombudsman can - a power to scrutinize that he says is enshrined in all other provinces.

"The system is virtually entirely funded by the government to a tune of $1.4 billion a year," Marin said. "But it is a system without checks and balances, where people who have issues about the children's aid have no place to turn unless there is a dead body, in which case the coroner can get involved."

The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies says there's no need for Marin's oversight. Spokesperson Marcelo Gomez-Wiuckstern said the agencies are subject to numerous accountability reviews. The Child and Family Services Review Board, created last year, already hears complaints from families, he said.

But Marin, who said his office received over 600 complaints on the societies last year, contends the board does not have strong investigative powers.

Campione lost custody of his daughters after his estranged wife, Frances, accused him of assaulting her and their eldest daughter, Serena.

He was allowed supervised access to his daughters from the Simcoe County Children's Aid Society, and records showed that social workers gave him positive reviews - an issue that angered his wife, who railed against his access.

In January, a judge stayed the assault charges against Campione because the Crown's chief witness against him was his wife. She now faces a trial, after being charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

After their deaths, a family court file was made public. It detailed years of family troubles. It contained a sworn statement from her father-in-law, saying she appeared at their home unexpectedly, behaving in an erratic manner, asking that they care for the girls because someone wanted to kill her.

There were numerous warnings that her mental health was deteriorating. She was hospitalized for her mental instability, losing care of her children each time, although they were always returned.

Despite this, and repeated warnings from Campione that the girls were in danger, the social workers said that the mother was best suited to provide their care.

"It was extremely frustrating," he said.

"I felt like my hands were tied at all times. I felt the children's aid society was an organization that ran independently, that their actions or inactions or whatever decision they made, was unilateral.

"I just felt like David and Goliath."

The Simcoe children's aid society said last fall it was going to conduct an internal review of the decisions leading up to Serena and Sophia's deaths.

So far, says Campione, those investigators have yet to call him.

Anonymous said...

The plot thickens, now with the Charles Smith fiasco.

SOURCE: Canwest news

Ont. calls public inquiry into pathologist's work

April Lindgren
CanWest News Service


Tuesday, April 24, 2007



CREDIT: Canadian Press
Toronto pediatric pathologist Dr. Charles Smith.

TORONTO - Ontario will hold a full public inquiry into how and why faulty evidence provided by pathologist Dr. Charles Smith in cases involving child deaths came to be used in the possible wrongful convictions of 13 or more innocent people.

Confirmation of the inquiry came the same day lawyers for a Belleville, Ont. woman accused Crown attorneys of stonewalling attempts to clear her name of an infanticide conviction although at least two expert reviews and an exhumation of her son's body recently concluded there was no sign of violence in the child's death.

Sherry Sherret served one year in jail for infanticide in the death 11 years ago of her son Joshua.

"What (Attorney General Michael Bryant) said was that he was very troubled by the potential for all the miscarriages of justice that may have taken place as a result of Dr. Smith's work and that he would personally see to it that if there was a miscarriage of justice it would be dealt with quickly, efficiently and with humanity," lawyer James Lockyer of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC) told a press conference.

"To date they have refused to do anything."

Lockyer said Crown attorneys do not accept that Sherret, whose second child was taken from her after Joshua's death and put up for adoption, was wrongfully convicted.

Rather than agree that Sherret's case should be heard in an appeal, he said, the Crown is opposing the initiative. That means defence lawyers will have to spend months drawing up full arguments in favour of her case being reviewed by the higher court.

"They won't even let us get it (to appeal) without us having to engage in some enormous fight that will take months and months and months to put together."

Officials in Bryant's office refused to answer questions about why the attorney general is refusing to expedite Sherret's appeal.

Sherret went to AIDWYC for help about a year ago after child welfare authorities in Belleville moved to take her third child, a four-month old girl, away from her.

That move led to reviews that discredited Smith's work.

The initial review in May 2006 by top provincial forensic pathologist Michael Pollanen concluded that Sherret's child did not have a skull fracture as reported by Smith.

Pollanen also said that marks on the child's neck were caused during Smith's autopsy and not by his mother. The results were confirmed when Joshua's body was exhumed and further supported by a recent review of 45 cases between 1991 and 2001 where Smith was an expert witness.

"She's lost one baby, then she lost her other baby, then they tried to take away her third baby," said Lockyer, who said they decided to go public with Sherret's case after getting nowhere with the Crown. "She spent a year in jail for something that never happened. She's lived with the aura of being a killer of her own child for all those years.

"For God's sake, Michael Bryant, do something about it today."

Lockyer welcomed Byrant's decision to hold a full inquiry but said that delving into how and why Smith thrived in the system is only one aspect of the tragedy.

"The other side of it is the individuals, the human beings. Their cases should be dealt with immediately. In Sherry's case, it could be over right now, it should have been dealt with last year, her name should be cleared."

Sherret, 31, said the label "baby killer" haunts her still.

"I lost two children because of Dr. Smith's findings. I lost my freedom. I lost many of my friends," she said tearfully. "I'd like to see Dr. Smith under oath, explaining why he did the things he did not only to myself but to others ... I no longer have to account for anything at all, but Dr. Smith does.

"Like any person that does something wrong, they need to accept what they did. They need to admit it and at this point, he's not doing that. It would be nice to her that finally, because so many people have been hurt, so many people have had their lives taken from them."

Smith's forensic pathology work in Ontario came to a halt in 2001 after several cases he was involved with fell apart over questions were raised about the quality of his work.

The former chief of pediatric pathology at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto eventually left in 2005 to work in Western Canada.

Ontario's chief coroner said last week that a review of 45 cases involving expert testimony by Smith suggested as many as 13 people may have been wrongfully convicted between 1991 and 2001 based on the questionable evidence he provided.

Sherret and William Mullins Johnson, who spent 12 years in jail for the murder of his four-year-old niece before being released in 2005 pending a review of his case by the federal justice minister, are two of nine cases where AIDWYC believes an injustice occurred.

The lawyers' group says at least two cases that Smith work on prior to 1991 may also have resulted in wrongful convictions.

A review of the pathologist's cases between 1981 and 1991 is now being undertaken by the coroner's office.

Mullins-Johnson was released last year following the discovery of evidence that indicated Smith had lost tissue samples capable of showing the child died of natural causes.

"Something has to be done. This guy (Smith) has to be held accountable," Mullins-Johnson said Monday at the press conference, where he sat beside Sherret. "People still look at us as child killers."

Lockyer said that by the late 1990s, when Sherret's son died, Smith was "habitually presenting himself as the leading pediatric pathologist in the country and really, implying he may be the leading pediatric pathologist on the continent.

"Having read many, many transcripts of his evidence, I will say that he was an extremely adept witness and a very convincing witness. He didn't just convince juries ... a lot of defence lawyers caved into his opinions and allowed or indeed advised their clients to very often accept guilty pleas to less serious crimes than those they were charged with.

CanWest News

http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=15449f30-fa79-42c6-ae31-c59341ea7392&k=93530

Anonymous said...

With the tragic Campione case, the CAS is doing an internal investigation? What will they suggest? Likely more money to be given to them. Glad that the girls father is joining efforts to get the Ombudsman in power over the CAS! If this man's tragedy can get others to ask for the same thing, at least a small mercy in the nightmare that he is living, might save others from the same hellish fate.

Anonymous said...

The Charles Smith inquiry - did he have some type of "secret" deal with the CAS here?

Anonymous said...

If the Ombudsman was in charge it would help people complaining about the CAS before a death happens. Say for instance Jeffrey Baldwins other grandmother had of been able to get the Ombudsman to intervene - Jeffrey would be alive today. Same for little Matthew Reid where complaints had went unnoticed, and totally ignored. He was killed as well. And the Campione case - maybe the Dad could have had the Ombudsman to intervene as well.

These are all very tragic stories, all involving CAS as well.

CAS has proven that they are not capable of making judge judgements in a number of cases. The above are just some examples of this. Ombudsman oversight is needed immediately!

Anonymous said...

good judgements, not judge..

Anonymous said...

Yesterday in the Globe and Mail was the harrowing account of the residential schools, now it has emerged that kids were dying of TB, with not a thing being done.

Guess who took the kids to the residential schools in the first place? CAS of course, just part of the litany of horrors that have transpired involving these agencies!

Anonymous said...

Women claim abuses occurred while they were under Child and family services care


Wawatay News June 01, 2006

Joyce Hunter joyceh@wawatay.on.ca

Three women who claim they were abused both sexually and physically while under child and family services care have come forward declaring the system failed them.

Sherri-Lynne McQueen, Diane Ogima Moir and Debi O'Kane are also claiming today's child-care system remains a failure.



On May 19 the trio walked approximately five kilometers from Children's Aid Society of the District of Thunder Bay to the offices of Liberal MP Joe Comuzzi and Liberal MPP Michael Gravelle to raise awareness about their concerns.



"I was raped and beaten while I was a Crown ward," McQueen told Comuzzi and Gravelle. Ogima Moir said she was raped by a foster parent while in care. O'Kane said her foster father prostituted her to his friends during drunken parties.


Rob Richardson, executive director of Thunder Bay Children's Aid Society, the agency that had care of the women when they were children, said the issue of abuse is something the agency takes very seriously. "It goes against everything we stand for," he said. "The cases (from the women) go back as far as 40 years." Richardson said children's aid programming has changed dramatically in the last 40 years.



"Forty years ago, the sexual abuse of children wasn't talked about," he said. "Today we take the issue of child abuse more seriously. We have better screening and better training. If someone came forward with allegations today, it would be thoroughly investigated."



Richardson met with the women prior to their walk to hear their stories. "How do we bring closure to these women?" he said afterward. "That is a big question. I've spoken with the organizers of the walk and we've agreed that we will talk." Richardson said the CAS welcomes the opportunity to sort out the women's issues.



Upon arriving at Gravelle and Comuzzi's offices, McQueen read a prepared statement to them. McQueen said she was so negatively affected by the system she never recovered from it. Her own children were taken by Children's Aid in 2003, she added. "This is a disease that affects one generation and is carried down to the next either indirectly or directly."



After years spent being abused sexually, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually, McQueen said she had no meaning left in her life. "I used alcohol and drugs so I wouldn't have to face the truth," she said. McQueen's drug and alcohol use led to her separation from her five children. Three of them were adopted out. The other two are

still in care but McQueen is not allowed to visit with them. "My children will grow up without a sense of identity," she said. "They will know they don't belong where they are today."



McQueen said she would like to see a "family preservation program" become part of the Child Welfare Act, noting that parents need to be able to spend enough time with their children in care to bond with them. McQueen also said she would like to see programs specially designed for foster children who are survivors of sexually, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse.

"I would also like to see people who encountered this failure by the system to work in these programs," she said. "It is hard sitting in front of a counselor who has never experienced anything like this and hear them say 'I know what you mean' when they really have no clue how it feels to be left to struggle through life alone without an identity."

Had the child-care welfare system been better organized and structured, McQueen said she, and others like her, would ot have had to go through what they did. "Since I came back (from Winnipeg) a lot of the people I grew up with in foster care have died as a result of drug and alcohol abuse and suicide," she said. "I'm here today on behalf of the people who cannot speak for themselves because they have not yet found the strength to do it and for the people who cannot because they have died."

McQueen wants an inquiry called to define how pervasive the issue of abused foster children is. Because child-care is provincially legislated and administered, Gravelle said he would take McQueen's recommendations to Mary-Anne Chambers, Minister of Children and Youth Services, and to Premier Dalton McGuinty on behalf of the women who came to him for answers.

"They deserve to be heard," Gravelle said. "And beyond that, they deserve answers and solutions."

Anonymous said...

And children today in CAS, above all deserve to not go through the same thing as the people from the Thunder Bay article - but kids today are still going through it as the system is NOT about children - it is for adults.

Anonymous said...

It is quite obvious that the Thunder Bay CAS does NOT CARE about the past at all, the people in the article about the abuse they experienced or any of this. After all they were one of the 4 in the audit, and after reading it isn't it even more incredible as to their total disregard - kids not being seen at all in some cases, days late in seeing some, no police checks being done at all?

Anonymous said...

2nd Annual Walk for Survivors Of
Foster Care Abuse
“SAIFC Manitoba and Ontario”
When: Wednesday May 16, 2007 Thunder Bay

We will gather at the Children’s Aid Office at 1110 Jade Court @ 11am and walk to the Offices Michael Gravelle and Joe Commuzi to get answers to our questions and concerns.

Why this walk is necessary?
To raise awareness that Physical, Sexual, Emotional, Spiritual, Intellectual, Cultural Deprivation and even Murder happens under the Child and Family Services and in their paid Foster Homes. The impacts of these abuses are great and many and still continue to be destructive today!
````Bring your Posters, Signs and Stories!
It is time to Speak Out and have our Voices heard even more today than ever.

“It is in our children’s best interest” and
In Society’s best interest as well”

Let’s Break this Cycle of Violence and Silence Together!


For more information please call

Sherri McQueen @ 204-589-5211 or dengawai@mts.net

Anonymous said...

OACAS says they do not need Mr. Marin's oversight? Really? Then why does this man, and his investigative team at the Ontario Ombudsman's office, constantly receive complaints about CAS from people asking that something be done?

600 complaints? How long can they deny the problems here?

Anonymous said...

The family of Jeffrey complained about his murderers - CCAS response, no problem, look at the outcome!

The family of Matthew Reid complained - CAS no problem - look at the outcome.

Mr. Campione complained - another tragedy.

No problems though OACAS? If they do not consider the children who have been killed under the watch of CAS to not merit the Ombudsman having oversight then it is a neon sign that part of the problem is their total arrogance to start with.

Problems cannot be fixed when such denial is the constant solution to them.

Anonymous said...

Is the child advocate asking for Ombudsman oversight? If she is not
WHY?

Anonymous said...

Excerpt from article below..... child welfare thought that shipping and brokering aboriginal children all over the globe was "help". The people in Thunder Bay who are going to march about foster care did not feel like they were in "forever safe, forever families" either!

http://www.ajic.mb.ca/volumel/chapter14.html#6

The “Sixties Scoop”

Before the mid-1960s, there was no organized way to provide child welfare services to Aboriginal peoples in Manitoba living on reserves. Then, in 1966 the federal government and the government of Manitoba entered into an agreement that provided for the existing Children’s Aid Societies of Central, Eastern and Western Manitoba to deliver child welfare services to 14 bands in southern Manitoba. Three-quarters of the bands in Manitoba were not covered by this arrangement. As in the past, the northern bands continued to receive some services from the Department of Indian Affairs, but provincial child welfare authorities would intervene only in emergency or “life and death” situations.

This expansion of child welfare services to Aboriginal communities, which took place across Canada at this time, left a profound and negative impact on these communities. As the Canadian Council on Social Development documented:

In 1955, there were 3,433 children in the care of B.C.’s child welfare branch. Of that number it was estimated that 29 children, or less than 1 percent of the total, were of Indian ancestry. By 1964, however, 1,446 children in care in B.C. were of Indian extraction. That number represented 34.2 percent of all children in care. Within ten years, in other words, the representation of Native children in B.C.’s child welfare system had jumped from almost nil to a third. It was a pattern being repeated in other parts of Canada as well. 24

In most provinces, these child welfare services were never provided in any kind of meaningful or culturally appropriate way. Instead of the counselling of families, or consultation with the community about alternatives to apprehending the child, the apprehension of Aboriginal children became the standard operating procedure with child welfare authorities in most provinces.

In Manitoba, the child welfare system “protected” many Aboriginal children by taking them away from their families and placing them for adoption with non-Aboriginal families. This came to be known as the “Sixties Scoop,” but it continued into the 1980s. Although the flaws in this approach would only become evident to most of society later, Aboriginal people immediately condemned the practice. As Anthony Wood of God’s River told our Inquiry:

There was no publicity for years and years about the brutalization of our families and children by the larger Canadian society. Kidnapping was called placement in foster homes. Exporting Aboriginal children to the U.S. was called preparing Indian children for the future. Parents who were heartbroken by the destruction of their families were written off as incompetent people.

The child welfare system was doing essentially the same thing with Aboriginal children that the residential schools had done. It removed Aboriginal children from their families, communities and cultures, and placed them in mainstream society. Child welfare workers removed Aboriginal children from their families and communities because they felt the best homes for the children were not Aboriginal homes. The ideal home would instil the values and lifestyles with which the child welfare workers themselves were familiar: white, middle-class homes in white, middle-class neighbourhoods. Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal parents and families were deemed to be “unfit.” As a result, between 1971 and 1981 alone, over 3,400 Aboriginal children were shipped away to adoptive parents in other societies, and sometimes in other countries.25

Gradually, as education ceased to function as the institutional agent of colonization, the child welfare system took its place. It could continue to remove Native children from their parents, devalue Native custom and traditions in the process, but still act “in the best interests of the child.” Those who hold to this view argue that the Sixties Scoop was not coincidental; it was a consequence of fewer Indian children being sent to residential school and of the child welfare system emerging as the new method of colonization.26

As part of its comprehensive survey of Aboriginal child welfare policies and procedures, in 1983 the Canadian Council on Social Development compiled a statistical overview of Aboriginal children in the care of child welfare authorities across Canada. The director of the project, Patrick Johnston, found that Aboriginal children were highly over-represented in the child welfare system. They represented 40–50% of children in care in the province of Alberta, 60–70% of children in care in Saskatchewan and some 50–60% of children in care in Manitoba. Johnston estimated that, across Canada, Aboriginal children were 4.5 times more likely than non-Aboriginal children to be in the care of child welfare authorities. Similar findings have been reported by other experts.

What began in the 1960s, with very few exceptions, carried on through the 1970s and 1980s. Patrick Johnston, in examining the history of Aboriginal children’s involvement with the child welfare system, wrote:

In retrospect, the wholesale apprehension of Native children during the Sixties Scoop appears to have been a terrible mistake. While some individual children may have benefitted, many did not. Nor did their families. And Native culture suffered one more of many severe blows. Unfortunately, the damage is still being done. While attitudes may have changed to some extent since the Sixties, Native children continue to be represented in the child welfare system at a much greater rate than non-native children.27

These unprecedented levels of apprehensions led Aboriginal communities in the 1970s to put intense pressure on government to stop what, in their view, amounted to cultural genocide. TOP

http://www.ajic.mb.ca/volumel/chapter14.html#6

Anonymous said...

CAS mantra "take the kids, take the kids, take the kids".

How about try and fix the problems?

For starters the lack of accountability!

Anonymous said...

If the media was to interview aboriginal people, who were in the "care" of the CAS in foster care and adoption, the outcome would be very enlightening.

Who was not abused would be the question, rather then who was?

Anonymous said...

And all too often when CAS victims/survivors approach these agencies for answers they are further treated like criminals when they have been victimized.

Never their fault.......... at some point mistakes need to be addressed so that they do not continue for decades in the future.

Anonymous said...

Yet HOW CAN ANYTHING EVER BE SOLVED - when OACAS does not think there is a problem?

I would think that 600 complaints to the Ontario Ombudsman's office would certainly suggest that there are HUGE problems!

How can the people creating the problems fix them?

Can they fix them? Or could the Ombudsman actually help in this mess?

Indeed and surely they could.

Anonymous said...

He and they could help. But to OACAS everything is going just fine?

A list of dead children all monitored in their care, an audit disclosing the sheer sense of entitlement, disregard, and ineptitude, various reports, various voices.

All is fine and well is it? Has it EVER BEEN?

Anonymous said...

Even the church has tried to address the nightmare of the pedophile priests to some degree.

Has CAS ever addressed their victims?

Any apologies, any inquiries? Any research into the outcome of their experiments?

Most research done (biased), only supports the experiments being continued!

Anonymous said...

When victims approach them they get "we can't tell you that", "it is confidential", "we lost your file", "we have no file"......... and it was for your own good so shut up and go away.

David and Goliath you bet!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Goliath has met a formidable opponent with Mr. Marin?

Small stones don't seem to be slaying the beast - maybe a bigger, solid, boulder like force such as the Ombudsman could actually really help here!

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of David like people going after Goliath these days.

Anonymous said...

Top court considers whether parents can sue child welfare officials

Janice Tibbetts
CanWest News Service


Wednesday, April 25, 2007


OTTAWA — As a troubled 14-year-old, R.D. wrote a short story at school about her parents sexually and physically abusing her that caused child-welfare authorities to apprehend her from her home.

Sixteen years later, the family's sad saga reaches the Supreme Court of Canada as it considers Thursday whether child welfare agencies and social workers, whose responsibility is to protect their young charges, also have a duty of care to their parents.

The court will determine whether R.D.'s mother, father, siblings and grandparents can sue child-welfare workers for bad faith and negligence for their dealings with the family.

The parents contend the short story was false and the state deprived them of a relationship with their daughter.

R.D., who is now 28 years old, never returned to live with her family after she ceased being a ward of the state on her 18th birthday.

The Halton Regional Police, in southern Ontario, investigated R.D.'s allegations of abuse, but no charges were ever laid and no court has ever found the parents abused their daughter.

There is a publication ban on the names of the young woman and her family.

Ten months after the Halton Region Children's Aid Society apprehended R.D. in 1995, she was placed in the Syl Apps Secure Treatment Centre, an Oakville, Ont., facility for mentally disturbed teens, after a judge decided she was in need of protection from herself.

The family alleges, in an unproven statement of claim, the Syl Apps centre and social worker Douglas Baptiste were negligent in their care of R.D. for, among other things, failing to take steps to reintegrate the teen into her family while she was a ward of the state and treating her as a sex-abuse victim when she was not.

Syl Apps's bid to have the suit thrown out of court was quashed in 2006 by the Ontario Court of Appeal, prompting the treatment centre and Baptiste to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

"We should never be too quick to conclude that a service provider and its employees can never owe a duty of care to the family of a child in need of protection," Justice John Laskin wrote in the January, 2006, ruling. "I do not think that it is plain and obvious that the plaintiffs' claim will fail."

The family's lawyer, Matthew Wilton, says in a written court submission child-protection legislation in each province contains provisions asserting any decisions concerning the best interests of the child must recognize "that the family's well-being be supported and preserved."

The Ontario Court of Appeal concluded the state may owe a duty of care to the family that is different than the care owed to R.D. and the two do not necessarily conflict.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Robert Sharpe warned it would be dangerous to "saddle" child-welfare authorities with a responsibility to parents.

"The imposition of an additional duty of care to R.D.'s parents, from whose care she had been removed, and the consequent threat of a civil action, would conflict with the respondent’s primary duty toward the child," Sharpe wrote.

The family also took legal action against the Halton Children's Aid Society and its employees, according to the Ontario Court of Appeal ruling.

But that suit is not at issue in the case before the Supreme Court of Canada and only Syl Apps and Baptiste are trying to dismiss the claims against them.

lisa burns said...

The storybooks are sitting on the shelves. The ballet leotard is still in her dance class bag, next to the little girl's bed, which is covered with her favorite stuffed animals. The Calgary mother who cared for the five-year-old child like a daughter stands in the empty bedroom -- heartbroken and trying to hold back her tears.


Kathy Tomlinson


"I love her with all my heart. I just view her as a beautiful gift," the foster mom told CTV News. "I feel like I am her mom in every sense. I physically ache for her and I think about her constantly and wonder what she is doing."

"Susan" told CTV News she welcomed the child into her home two years ago, after the little girl and her slightly older brother were apprehended by Alberta Children's Services, because they had been abused at home. Susan is divorced, has one son of her own, and wanted to adopt a sibling for him. CTV News is not using her real name, to protect the identity of the children involved.

Susan is an engineer, with strong ties to her church and community. She applied to the Alberta government to become an adoptive parent, and, after a rigorous assessment, was approved. When a social worker then called to say a little girl and her brother needed a home right way, she was thrilled. She took both children in, with only the clothes on their backs.

"I really wanted to grow my family and I believe that we are a good family," Susan said, referring to her and her biological son.

From the start, though, the single mother had serious difficulties controlling the little boy. She told CTV News he was angry and physically abusive without remorse, especially to his younger sister.

"He would have rages and those rages would last 45 minutes, up to an hour -- where he would just be completely out of control," Susan said. "He locked her in her room. I couldn't get in there and he took scissors and he cut her hair. He bit her. He bit the skin off of her. I had to take her to the doctor to get her treated. He pushed her down the stairs. He would throw things at her. He hit her with toys," she said.

"I couldn't leave him and his sister alone. I was constantly watching."

After months of trying everything she could think of, Susan made what she calls an agonizing decision -- to ask Alberta Children's Services to find another home for the boy. She felt, for the safety of the other children, she had no choice. In the months after her brother left, she said, the little girl blossomed.

"There was no more fear and tension," Susan said. "She is now this little piece of fluff as we call her and she fills a room with her personality. This little girl wants to be a doctor, a veterinarian or an astronaut -- and she actually could be."

Susan fully expected an adoption would be finalized and she would continue to raise her as her own. She enrolled the little girl in the same private school her biological son attends. Then suddenly, last month, government workers showed up at the school and told the little girl they were taking her away.

"They took her out of her class. They took her away in front of her friends. Her friends were concerned, crying and upset -- and she was crying and upset because she didn't know what was going on," Susan said.

The little girl's teacher later described the scene, in a letter written in support of the mother: "I was in shock and could not understand why they were doing that to that poor child who was in a loving and caring family," the teacher wrote. "She was asking to say goodbye to her (foster) brother, but she was not allowed. She was asking to say goodbye to her friends, but she was not allowed. It was horrible to see her in that big of a distress."

The teacher's letter concludes, "I deeply believe she was with a family who loved, cherished and cared for her."

The school principal told CTV News, "This is a loving, caring family. To witness what happened to this little girl, as an adult, rips your heart out."

From what she's gleaned from meetings with government workers, Susan believes Alberta Children's Services is trying to adhere to an informal department policy -- to keep siblings together. She is convinced the little girl was taken primarily because a social worker -- who had just taken over the file -- didn't approve of Susan's choice not to adopt the little girl's older brother.

"Somebody is adhering to the policy and they're getting their file done and they are ignoring the individual whose life is affected by that," Susan said. "And that is this little girl."

Susan is appealing the decision -- which will take months. Meantime, she told CTV News she spends each day and night worrying about the effect all of this is having on a little girl who'd already had a rough start.

"I can't imagine the deep betrayal of trust. I think about how she will never heal," Susan said, choking back tears. "We've been treated terribly. We've been treated like we did something wrong and we didn't. We spent two years learning and loving and becoming a family."

"It must have just shattered her world to lose everything."

"I'm not surprised," said Andree Cazabon, spokesperson for the National Youth in Care Network, which advocates for children in the system. "It is a culture that is drowning in policies and procedures and liability issues and risk factors for the agency."

Cazabon told CTV News the effort to keep siblings together is well meaning, but said it's become a national "trend" -- applied too rigidly by child welfare agencies, even when the siblings would be better off apart.

"This is not something that is particular to Alberta. This is something that is going on at large and people don't know this," Cazabon said. "I think the Canadian child welfare system has a lot to of learn from child welfare systems in other countries that have fewer blackberries, less files and less protocols."

CTV News asked Blair Riddle, spokesperson for Alberta Children's Services, for an explanation.

Riddle said he could disclose very little because the law doesn't allow him to comment on individual cases.

"And so it wouldn't be appropriate for me to stand here now and to comment specifically about this case either. I guess all we can say is that we have to look at the needs of the child first and foremost and certainly we would want to find and keep homes if they are the best placement for a child. The thing that would determine that we would move the child, would be determination that the child would be at risk emotionally, physically or otherwise -- and there is always more to the story that certainly we can describe in public," Riddle said.

"We make the best possible decision for the children based on the best information available and if information changes over the course of being involved with that child and that family then we have to do what's best for the child."

Susan also challenged the agency for an explanation - and said she was eventually told the little girl was "at risk" in her home. When she pressed them to say what that risk could possibly be, she said they didn't give an explanation.

"There was no answer. And that makes me furious. If you are going to say something like that you need to have facts and evidence. It has to be substantiated."

Susan told CTV News she would not give up fighting to get the little girl back, even if she has to take the case all the way through the courts. She's put up a website about the case and is speaking publicly, because she wants to pressure the Alberta government to look into how files like hers are being handled.

"Everyone (in the community) is just scratching their heads, saying why? Why?" she said, "Why take this child from her family?"

what happened to the rights of Jeffreys siblings? Why are they apart?

Anonymous said...

Where is the family of these children? Are they ALL abusive - or were they shipped to the system so that someone could "build" their forever family? Do they have aunts, uncles, grandparents? Do they have OTHER relatives? Were they taken for actual abuse, or was this "risk"?

Foster families have too many rights to start with, let alone getting more. If the brother was abusive who was helping him? No one - adoption and foster care is a magical cure isn't it though? When things get rough return the child, return to sender, return policies for the child not being their perfect child, in their "forever safe, forever family".

Was she abusing the boy after he was abused?

Not told about the "risk", maybe she can understand how thousands of parents feel who have their children taken for people like her in the first place, under bogus risk crap models, small indifferences, and trite concerns.

Maybe she was not the all loving foster mother to the brother, favoured the girl, and he acted out.

It happens.....
and if an abusive sibling is acting this way, wouldn't it be the responsibility of the system to get the boy help - but no foster care and adoption is so magical the act of doing either is a total cure?

Maybe he did not like her? Maybe he did not feel like he was in a "forever safe, forever family", but had a lot of fears, and feelings that were not ever addressed, as he was supposed to be the magical, perfect child, the perfect playmate for her son?

Who knows - and maybe it justified a reprieve of some sort, but keeping one, and dumping another so they can not see each other for the next 40 years, is not about the children, it is about the foster mother and her desires.

Interesting that the foster mother considers the child to have the right to her foster brother, but not her own brother?

Interesting that she rejected him, and sent him back. How does he feel being sent away from his sister?

Was he really that abusive - or did she not like him? And he resented it and was the rebel in this?

Who knows, secret systems, secrets and lies.

Alberta and their system operates the same way as they do here - it is for those who want to adopt not children!

I wonder if the foster mother ever thinks of how this brother feels? I wonder how she thinks it is okay to just send him back.

And she adopted to provide a playmate for her son?

And she thinks she will raise a child as HER OWN. Wow - she sounds totally out to lunch here. Hello how about genetics?

But the way the girl was taken is not fair to the child either. But that is what happens all the time in foster care. And in some cases kids are taken from those who foster for bad reasons too, however, most are taken from their entire families for poor reasons more so.

And with this perspective adopter PAP if the girl grew up to not be the "perfect" angel, and not just like the adopter, would she have sent her back as well? Maybe the social worker questioned that, and it is a good question as well?

Karen the foster mother of Jeffrey's siblings did not just dump his older brother, as she was having challenges. She really tried from what has been said about this case.

But even in looking at that, why are the relatives of Jeffrey's siblings (not involved with the murder) not being allowed to see these children? And if the kids really loved her and her family as well, they should be able to see her as well.

Could it be that the children in this case above, have relatives who also love them, and who are prepared to take both the brother and sister - or will they both be farmed out to 19 or more foster homes along the way, to be further abused - if they actually were abused in the first place?

No one ever knows, in secret systems, full of secrets and lies!

I recall a friend where her son was really acting up (not abused) and he also tried to push a sibling down the stairs. His parents were not allowed to just dump him into the CAS, nor did they wish to, after all he was THEIR son.

Foster care is NOT the same as having your own children, sounds like this foster mother thinks it is?

Anonymous said...

Or will the kids in the situation be farmed into another potential "forever safe, forever family", where they are expected to just blend in and become just like the people who are raising them?

And if they were actually abused - does the act of being adopted, magically take the trauma away?

Anonymous said...

Before Alberta DARES to get into files of how foster parents are supposedly having "their children taken", they can start with why these children are being taken from their entire actual families!

Anonymous said...

Foster-care abuse costs - $3.5 million in 13 months
By Mareva Brown
Bee Staff Writer
(Published Nov. 14, 1999)


In the last 13 months, the state of California has settled or paid claims of more than $3.5 million on behalf of children harmed or killed by their foster parents, state documents show.
At least 26 settled claims on file with the state Department of Social Services paint a picture of children abused by people who promised to provide them sanctuary from abusive homes. The children were sexually abused, died from medical neglect -- often involving complications of already identified conditions -- or harmed in household accidents.

"One claim is too many," said Robert Fellmeth, executive director of the San Diego-based Children's Advocacy Institute. "These kids are helpless. They've already been hurt badly; that's why they're in foster care."

In one case on file, a girl was repeatedly raped by her foster parents' son for years. Yet, despite two abortions and the birth of a baby by her abuser, the girl was allowed to remain with her foster family. The son subsequently pleaded guilty to criminal sexual abuse and his mother to child endangerment, according to the settled claim.

Ultimately, the girl was paid $1 million by the state's Foster Family Home and Small Family Home Insurance Fund. The fund was established in 1986 to provide liability coverage for foster families so that more adults would become foster parents.

Critics of the system, such as Fellmeth, say the volume of settled claims for child abuse or negligence -- 26 cases in 13 months -- suggests that California's grossly overcrowded foster care system is re-victimizing society's most vulnerable children. In fiscal year 1996, for example, the fund only paid out $468,000.

Those who oversee the system say that while tragic, some abuses are to be expected in a system dealing with 100,000 foster children, and argue that the settlements are a relatively small number and do not necessarily indicate poor quality of care.

"Logically, there's going to be an increase in all things related to foster care because there are more kids in the system," said state Department of Social Services spokeswoman Sidonie Squier. The claims, which were obtained by The Bee after a public records act request for documents in October 1998, range in severity from an 8-year-old boy whose elbow was severely broken and permanently damaged to a 41/2-year-old girl who died three days after incurring blunt force head and body injuries. The foster mother claimed the girl had fallen from a bunk bed. State officials have refused to publicly identify the mother or say whether she was held criminally accountable.

The Bee filed a lawsuit against the state Social Services Department seeking the identities of the foster parents involved in the settled claims, but last week Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly ruled that state law prohibits such disclosure.

The claims encompass:


Seven deaths, including a 9-month-old girl who suffocated on a plastic bag in a crib and a 2-year-old who drowned in a toilet.
Nine sexual abuse cases, including a 3-year-old boy who was molested, burned on his leg and buttocks and suffered from malnutrition.
Additionally, eight non-fatal accidents, including
A 12-month-old who choked on a cheese sandwich and remains in a vegetative state,
A 9-year-old who was severely bitten on the face by her foster mother's German shepherd, and
A 4-month-old baby who suffered a fractured skull when he was shoved out of a crib by a 2-year-old.
In each of the cases, the state Social Services Department refused to identify the foster parents involved or provide documents indicating whether criminal charges were pursued against them. Because these foster parents were shielded, it is also unclear whether they continue to care for foster children. State officials said that under state law they could not release the identities.

The two remaining incidents involve

A 7-year-old boy who was assaulted by other youths at a foster home and
A family whose three children were placed in foster care without notifying family members of the allegations against them. Those children were returned to their parents after five months.
Fellmeth, of the Children's Advocacy Institute, said the liability fund initially was set up to protect foster parents in the event foster children might be harmed by other foster children in their homes. He finds it ironic that only one of the cases claimed abuse by others within the home. Yet he doesn't foresee a remedy.

"We have such a tremendous undersupply of foster parents," he said, estimating that there are twice as many children needing homes as a decade ago with roughly the same number of available foster homes.

He believes the claims indicate a foster system in trouble, where there is such demand for homes for displaced, abused and neglected children that social workers often ignore warning signs.

Squier, the social services spokeswoman, disagreed that the system is breaking down. "I don't think it's a fair leap to say foster parents aren't as good as they were 10 years ago," she said. "If anything, the rules have tightened. The training has tightened. The screening has tightened."

Still, attorney James McElroy, who sued the fund for several victims, said in many instances there are "red flags" that are ignored by social workers and others within the system.

One case on file involves children who were repeatedly molested by their foster father. McElroy said the father had been given supervision of the kids, even though there were previous allegations of sexual misconduct against the foster family. McElroy brought claims against the system on behalf of five of the seven children in that foster home.

"There was a big report about it," he said. "The social worker knew it. It should have been a red flag."

Another girl was raped repeatedly during the eight years she lived with her foster father and his adult son. Although the foster mother discovered the girl's diary, which detailed the son's abuse, the foster mother told social workers that the girl had denied it when confronted. The son was later sentenced to a prison term for the sexual abuse.




Mareva Brown has been a reporter at The Bee since 1992. She has covered crime and social services and was one of five reporters who spent last year tracking the impact of family violence. She has bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwestern University.

Anonymous said...

the abuse in adoption is just as bad, the only difference is that it is permanent...........


A Critical Look At The Foster Care System:
How Widespread a Problem?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


HOW WIDESPREAD A PROBLEM?
One of the most comprehensive surveys of abuse in foster care was conducted in conjunction with a Baltimore lawsuit. Trudy Festinger, head of the Department of Research at the New York University School of Social Work, determined that over 28 per cent of the children in state care had been abused while in the system.

Reviewed cases depicted "a pattern of physical, sexual and emotional abuses" inflicted upon children in the custody of the Baltimore Department.

Cases reviewed as the trial progressed revealed children who had suffered continuous sexual and physical abuse or neglect in foster homes known to be inadequate by the Department. Cases included that of sexual abuse of young girls by their foster fathers, and that of a young girl who contracted gonorrhea of the throat as a result of sexual abuse in an unlicenced foster home.[1]

In Louisiana, a study conducted in conjunction with a civil suit found that 21 percent of abuse or neglect cases involved foster homes.[2]

In another Louisiana case, one in which thousands of pages of evidence were reviewed, and extensive testimony and depositions were taken, it was discovered that hundreds of foster children had been shipped out of the state to Texas.

Stephen Berzon of the Children's Defense Fund explained the shocking findings of the court before a Congressional subcommitte, saying: "children were physically abused, handcuffed, beaten, chained, and tied up, kept in cages, and overdrugged with psychotropic medication for institutional convenience."[3]

In Missouri, a 1981 study found that 57 percent of the sample children were placed in foster care settings that put them "at the very least at a high risk of abuse or neglect."[4]

A later report issued in 1987 found that 25 percent of the children in the Missouri sample group had been victims of "abuse or inappropriate punishment."

Children's Rights Project attorney Marcia Robinson Lowry described the findings of the Missouri review before the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families:

The most troubling result of the Kansas City review was the level of abuse, undetected or unreported, in foster homes. 25% of the children in the sample were the subject of abuse or inappropriate punishment. 88% of those reports were not properly investigated.[5]

SEXUAL ABUSE
A recent class action lawsuit filed on behalf of foster children in the State of Arizona serves well to indicate the extent of sexual abuse of children in state care.

The suit alleges that over 500 of an estimated 4,000 foster children, a figure representing at least 12.5 percent of the state's foster care population, have been sexually abused while in state care.

The action also charged that "the acts and omissions of Defendants were done in bad faith, with malice, intent or deliberate indifference to and/or reckless disregard for the health, safety and rights of the Plaintiffs."[6]

But the problems associated with foster placements in Arizona are not limited to sexual abuse. During a recent two year period, one foster child died on average every seven and a half weeks in the state of Arizona. Four of them were reported as having been "viciously beaten to death" by their foster parents.[7]

The sexual abuse of children in government custody would appear to be a particularly widespread problem.

In Maryland, a 1992 study found that substantiated allegations of sexual abuse in foster care are four times higher than that found among the general population.[8]

In Kentucky, sex abuse in foster care was "all over the newspapers," according to department head Larry Michalczyk.

The former Commissioner explained that within a few years of time, his state saw a child die while in residential placement, a lawsuit filed against a DSS staff member on behalf of a foster child, and legislative inquiries into its child protection system.[9]

Kentucky would prove to be a problematic state, as case reviewers would find that only 55 percent of the children in the state's care had the legally mandated case plans.[10]

Perhaps the most significant indicator of the true extent of sexual abuse in foster care was a survey of alumni of what was described as an "exemplary" and "model" program in the Pacific Northwest, argues University professor Richard Wexler.

"In this lavishly-funded program caseloads were kept low and both workers and foster parents got special training. This was not ordinary foster care, this was Cadillac Foster Care," he explained.

In this "exemplary" program, 24 percent of the girls responding to a survey said they were victims of actual or attempted sexual abuse in the one home in which they had stayed the longest. Significantly, they were not even asked about the other foster homes in which they had stayed.[11]

The Children's Rights Project has initiated a number of successful civil suits against foster care and child welfare systems. One such landmark suit was brought against the Illinois foster care system. Attorney Benjamin Wolf instituted the legal action after concluding that the states foster care system functioned as "a laboratory experiment to produce the sexual abuse of children."[12]

Yet by many accounts, the sexual abuse of children in the state's care has increased along with the increase in placements, successful lawsuits notwithstanding. Even Patrick Murphy, the outspoken Cook County Public Guardian, admits that sexual abuse of children in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has probably increased.[13]


SYSTEMWIDE ABUSES
According to an Associated Press investigation, in nearly half the states, cases take years to come to completion as agencies repeatedly fail to investigate abuse reports in a timely fashion, find permanent homes for children, or even keep track of those children under their care and custody.[14]

For various reasons, ranging from failure to provide adequate supervision and oversight of workers, to failure to provide safe child care facilities, 22 states and the District of Columbia have been ruled inadequate by the courts and now operate under some form of judicial supervision.[15]

But the reader should not be reassured that such problems are isolated only to those states which have been successfully litigated against. As Children's Rights Project attorney Marcia Robinson Lowry explained to a Congressional subcommittee: "We have turned down requests from a number of other states to institute additional lawsuits, solely because of a lack of resources."[16]

A 1986 survey conducted by the National Foster Care Education Project found that foster children were 10 times more likely to be abused than children among the general population. A follow-up study in 1990 by the same group produced similar results.[17]

The American Civil Liberties Union's Children's Rights Project similarly estimates that a child in the care of the state is ten times more likely to be abused than one in the care of his parents.[18]

In a legal action brought by the Children's Rights Project against the District of Columbia child welfare system, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that:

because of the appalling manner in which the system is managed, children remain subject to continuing abuse and neglect at the hands of heartless parents and guardians, even after the DHS has received reports of their predicaments. The court also found that youngsters who have been taken into the custody of the District's foster-care system languish in inappropriate placements, with scarce hope of returning to their families or being adopted.
The Court also found that the agency entrusted with the care of children "has consistently evaded numerous responsibilities placed on it by local and federal statutes." Among the deficiencies cited was "failure to provide services to families to prevent the placement of children in foster care."[19]

Frustrated by the lack of progress after years of litigation, child advocates succeeded in placing the District of Columbia child welfare system into full receivership in 1995, making it the first such system in the nation to come under the direct control of the Court.[20]

In a Pennsylvania case, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit wrote in a 1994 decision: "It is a matter of common knowledge (and it is not disputed here) that in recent years the system run by DHS and overseen by DPW has repeatedly failed to fulfill its mandates, and unfortunately has often jeopardized the welfare of the children in its care."

The original complaint, filed by the Children's Rights Project on April 4, 1990, alleged that systemic deficiencies prevent the Pennsylvania department from performing needed services, and that it consistently violates the due process rights of both parents and children:

Specifically, plaintiffs claim that these amendments confer the right not to be deprived of a family relationship; the right not to be harmed while in state custody; the right to placement in the least restrictive, most appropriate placement; the right to medical and psychiatric treatment; the right to care consistent with competent professional judgment; and the right not to be deprived of liberty or property interests without due process of law.[21]
One of the plaintiffs in the Pennsylvania suit was "Tara M." on whose behalf the ACLU charged the city of Philadelphia with neglect. Human Services Commissioner Joan Reeves guaranteed the young girl an adoptive home with specially trained parents.

In August of 1996, Tara M. would make the headlines once again, as her new foster parents were sentenced for "one of the most appalling cases of child abuse" Common Pleas Court Judge Carolyn E. Temin said she had ever heard.

Nine-year-old Tara has had three skin grafts and wears a protective stocking in recovery from burns over more than half her body. Police said the foster parents punished the girl by stripping her, forcing her into the bathtub and dousing her with buckets of scalding water. This was the very best of care the city could provide for Tara, a girl who had already endured years of physical and sexual abuse in the several foster homes into which she had been placed over the years.[22]

The Children's Rights Project has also been involved in suits against child welfare systems in the states of Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana and New Mexico, and the cities of Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Milwaukee, and New York City.[23]

Says Children's Rights Project attorney Marcia Robinson Lowry: "There are a lot of injuries, a lot of abuse. The most significant thing is the psychological death of so many of these kids. Kids are being destroyed every day, destroyed by a government-funded system set out to help them."[24]

In California, as of 1989 Los Angeles County alone had paid $18 million in settlements to children who had been abused while in its custody.

One such case involved a nine-year-old boy who weighed only 28 lbs., and who could hardly speak after the suicides of his parents. County social workers failed to visit him in his foster home for four months.

During that time, he was beaten, sodomized, burned on his genitals and nearly drowned by his foster parents. He became a spastic paraplegic. By 1990 the state was threatening to take over Los Angeles County's child welfare system.[25]

The California-based Little Hoover Commission, in examining the functioning of the foster care system determined: "That children can come to harm--and even die--while supposedly under the protection of foster care is not in dispute." Some cases cited by the Commission included:

A foster mother arrested in Los Angeles on charges of beating to death her 23-month-old foster son, allegedly over toilet training problems.
A Los Angeles woman arrested for the attempted murder of a 19-month-old foster child who she said fell from a jungle gym. Doctors believed the severe head injuries, which may result in blindness, could only have come from abuse.
A Sacramento woman who was injured in a car accident who voluntarily placed her daughter in a foster care facility. During a tantrum by the child, an employee of the facility wrapped her in a blanket and squatted on her. She was later discovered dead.[26]

MINIMIZING THE ABUSES
Child welfare departments are rarely forthcoming with information about the actual extent of harm that comes to children in their care. It is largely through audits and casereadings associated with legal actions that the actual extent of abuses in the foster care system come to light.

The reasons for this may not be as complex as they are often made to appear.

Child welfare officials who have managed to entrench themselves in lifetime civil service positions in the more desirable nooks and crannies of the child welfare system have a vested interest to protect, and those who run public bureaucracies have devised their own "rationalized myths" to protect their interests, argues sociologist John Hagedorn.

The myths of "doing good" benefit those who are advantaged by existing institutional arrangements. Even as politicians are constantly criticizing "bureaucracy" and "bureaucrats," they approve millions of dollars worth of public funds to keep the bureaucracies running. As Hagedorn succinctly explains:

It's simply too risky for bureaucrats to admit that their agency may not be "doing good." The erosion of that myth may lead someone to investigate them or even propose cutting their budgets.[27]
But if there is one thing that is riskier for bureaucrats than admitting that their system may not be doing good, it is that it is doing far more harm than good.

Thus we find situations such as that in which the California Department's legal division discovered a "secret room" in the Los Angeles Department containing 15 filing cabinets holding approximately 3,000 case files on foster care facilities that had problems which were not reported to the state.

In one case, ten foster children slept on the floor of a garage, while ten more were crammed into an upstairs bedroom. Three had been abused, one with a fractured skull and two broken limbs. Yet the home was not closed until months after the conditions were discovered.[28]

Thus we find caseworkers in a Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services office running files relating to a botched investigation through a paper-shredder.[29]

Thus we find a New York City caseworker indicating as "unfounded" the repeated rapes of a young girl in institutional care, notwithstanding the testimony of credible witnesses.[30]

Thus we find an agency administrator in Oklahoma quietly dismissing two agency employees accused of the sexual abuse of foster children without so much as a blot on their records.[31]

Thus we find what was described as a "whitewash of wrongdoing" in an edited audit of a child welfare office in Utah, and death threats made against the rare brave legislator who dared to push for the public release of the unexpurgated document.[32]

Thus we find a report of system-wide abuses at the Columbus-Maryville "shelter" in Illinois suppressed by Cook County Public Guardian Patrick Murphy.[33]


THE QUIET ABUSES
With the high rate of multiple placements that most foster children endure, the possibility that they may experience overt physical or sexual abuse becomes an increasing certainty with each move. Yet even those children who are not subjected to overt physical or sexual abuse in state care often endure conditions tantamount to abuse.

Due to the overuse of foster care, the high number of children in custody often results in children being placed on a bed-available basis.[34]

The number of conventional foster homes in the public sector has dropped from 125,000 in 1988 to 100,000 today--and the "exodus continues," says Gordon Evans, information director for the National Foster Parent Association in Houston.

Evans notes that the average number of children per home is 3.7--up from about 1.4 in 1983--and he estimates that "tens of thousands" care for six, seven, and eight youngsters at a time.[35]

Because of the shortage of conventional foster homes, and due in no small measure to the unwillingness of child welfare agencies to provide meaningful services to families, children continue to be shuttled off to institutional or residential placements on a bed-available basis.

Julie and her twin brother Juan were two such children. They were placed with their grandmother who tried to obtain needed services for them. The agency neglected to provide services, instead shuttling them in and out of five placements in which they often failed to receive proper medical care for their health problems.

The agency then sent Julie and Juan, at the age of two, to an institution for adolescent boys. When their grandmother visited them she discovered that Julie had been physically abused. The twins were then placed with a foster mother who again abused them, while failing to provide proper medical care.

Juan, after suffering a great deal of pain, died at age 3 before he could be returned to his grandmother. Julie's condition worsened after her brother's death, and she died at age four. The advocacy group Children's Rights sued the city of New York for damages, and a jury awarded $87,500 to Julie's estate. Her surviving sister plans to use the money to attend college.[36]

Julie and Juan's story is in many respects typical. Because of the shortage of conventional foster homes due to the high number of children being unnecessarily placed in care, children often have labels assigned arbitrarily for purposes of placement.

Children may end up in a place like the Hegeman Diagnostic Center in Brooklyn, where a twelve-year-old girl who had been raped in a foster home was brought--only to be sexually abused by other girls at the center.

"We believe that assaults, sexual and otherwise, occur daily at the center," said Karen Freedman of Lawyers for Children.[37]

Or they may wind up in a private residential treatment center like Indian Oaks in Manteno, Illinois, on the grounds of what used to be the state mental institution.

"Indian Oaks occupies one building, but the rest is desolate, empty, broken buildings," says Peter Schmiedel, supervising attorney of the Special Litigations Team in the Office of the Public Guardian. "It's something out of a bad, eerie movie."

Says Schmiedel: "If ever you want to see something terrible, go to the DCFS intake shelter at Columbus-Maryville. Go downstairs where they keep the teenagers. The place used to be a morgue. It's a room without windows, crowded, wall-to-wall beds."

These beds were created in response to DCFS saying they need more beds, adds Schmiedel. "It's market-driven forces, children as industry."

Part of Schmiedel's job is to go through unusual incident reports. "We must get two or three hundred a week," he says, some of which include serious reports of physical and sexual abuse in treatment centers and foster homes. "It's frightening--we don't know which cases are the most serious."

"You see what some parents do to their kids, but then you see what happens to kids who are removed from their homes and put into foster homes... I mean, the stories are grotesque."[38]

Or consider the plight of those foster wards locked in detention in the San Francisco Youth Guidance Center Facility--maintained in small locked cells alongside alleged juvenile offenders who are themselves awaiting adjudication of their cases. A grand jury found the conditions endured by these children to be far worse than that endured by adult criminals in the County prison.[39]


THE SILENT NEGLECT
Even for those fortunate enough not to find themselves warehoused in glorified prisons, mental hospitals or congregate care facilities, overcrowding, medical and educational neglect are still the norm for many of the nation's foster children.

A 1993 action filed in Utah is in many ways typical. The National Center for Youth Law filed the class-action on behalf of about 1,400 children in foster care and another 10,000 alleged to have been abused and neglected.

The action charged that the state failed to provide adequately trained caseworkers, medical treatment and education to children in its care, that it used unlicensed foster homes and homes that did not meet federal standards. It also alleged that children bounce around in the system and languish in foster care. A subsequent legislative audit largely confirmed the allegations.[40]

By 1994, the Utah legislature approved what the Governor called a "SWAT Team approach" to handling the system wide deficiencies in its foster care and child protective services programs.[41]

By 1995 it had established "Judicial M*A*S*H units," courtrooms with temporary judges to handle the backlog of hundreds of children waiting for rulings on their cases.[42]

Also typical of recent actions is a Youth Law Center suit in California which accused Eloise Anderson, director of the Department of Social Services, of refusing to carry out state and federal laws which require audits of county child welfare programs.

Among the deficiencies cited in the lawsuit: "children in California's child welfare system have been subjected to inadequate supervision, substandard conditions and inadequate health care and education."[43]

On a national level, the General Accounting Office recently examined the issue of whether the nation's foster children were being adequately serviced with respect to their health care needs. The GAO found that:

despite foster care agency regulations requiring comprehensive routine health care, an estimated 12 percent of young foster children receive no routine health care, 34 percent receive no immunizations, and 32 percent have some identified health needs that are not met
an estimated 78 percent of young foster children are at high risk for human immunodeficiency virus as a result of parental drug abuse, yet only about 9 percent of foster children are tested for HIV
young foster children placed with relatives receive fewer health-related services than children placed with nonrelative foster parents, possibly since relative caregivers receive less monitoring and assistance from caseworkers
that the Department of Health and Human Services has not designated any technical assistance to assist states with health-related programs for foster children and does not audit states' compliance with health-related safeguards for foster children.[44]
As for the educational needs of children in state care, the situation is equally as distressing.

Miami attorney Karen Gievers, former President of the Florida Bar Association, filed a lawsuit in 1996, alleging that while 73 percent of Florida children among the general population graduate from high school or get an equivalent diploma, less than half of the state's foster children do.[45]

In 1995, a suit was filed in Florida against its Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. The suit sought to shut down the Department, forcing HRS to stop taking children into foster care until it could better aid the 9,300 children already under its supervision. According to Howard Davidson, director of the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law:

You could carbon-copy the lawsuit filed in Florida in every state. . . We have a child welfare system that's near collapse.[46]
Even for those children who are not necessarily subjected to overt physical or sexual while in state care, life in state care often fails to provide them with permanence or stability.

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation reports that most foster care placements bear no resemblence to the ideal short term stay on the way to family reunification. Rather, "the devastating norm for foster children is multiple moves, extended stays, and no stable family ties."[47]

Or, as Bruce Boyer, supervising attorney for the Children and Family Justice Center of Northwestern Law School notes, "there are a set of harms that follow a kid in foster care even if they are treated as well as the foster care system is capable of treating children. For those kinds of harms there is no mechanism for holding decision makers accountable; the only one who suffers is the child."[48]

The most tragic aspect of all this is that most of the children subjected to the abuses of foster care don't need to be there. And, it is largely because the system is flooded with so many children that don't belong in care that these abuses continue to mount.

The situation is perhaps best summarized by a California based Santa Clara County Grand Jury report. "The Grand Jury did not see clear and convincing evidence that the foster care system operates with the best interest of the child in mind. It did find that the interest of the child often took a back seat to the interest of others.[49]

Anonymous said...

http://www.liftingtheveil.org/foster04.htm

site for above article

Anonymous said...

A group to expose the abuse in adoption and foster care...

http://fostercareabuse.ca/

Anonymous said...

Something that was never thought of in this - is the sister of Jeffrey, his older one, who was removed years ago, could she have helped them as well. Can she see the kids and help them get through this, she went through it herself.

And yes why were they taken from each other the siblings? They have a right to see each other, and if there are problems also have a right for someone to help them to love each other and get through this tragedy.

Anonymous said...

There is no abuse in foster care or adoption though to Minister Chambers as she is bedded down with a baby broker who sells babies for $10,000 a head!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the private broker, saves money from the government one? Just ship them out right, to anyone that moves, fovever safe, forever families?

Bury the truth, silence the victims, keep the wheels of hell in motion. Business baby.

Anonymous said...

and baby business!

Anonymous said...

Amanda said many postings ago on this/her blog that she too was disgusted by pedophiles. Want to find the worst of them - look no further then foster and adoption.

Anonymous said...

The forever safe, forever families take a good close look.

Anonymous said...

And especially look at those who want to keep the system closed, under the false pretenses that mothers do not want their children and that they are unfit/or that their "privacy" needs to be protected.

Men that hate these women are almost always themselves pedophiles. It is their secrets that they want to be protected, not anyone else.

Anonymous said...

If anyone EVER further harms the siblings of Jeffrey Baldwin, then I vote that people band together and send anyone who is harming them to prison to share a cell with Elva.

Who should rot in hell!

Anonymous said...

Printed from www.owensoundsuntimes.com web site Monday, April 30, 2007 - © 2007 Owen Sound Sun Times
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inquiry must stop future errors



Monday, April 30, 2007 - 08:00

Editorial - Thirteen people may have been wrongly convicted of criminal offences due to the faulty findings of former Toronto pediatric pathologist Dr. Charles Smith - and those are just the cases we know about.

The province's chief coroner released a report last week in which he found evidence of errors in 20 of 45 child autopsies performed by Smith over a 10-year period ending in 2002.

Due to these grievous errors, 12 cases resulted in criminal convictions and one in a finding of not criminally responsible, leaving a number of likely innocent people with the stigma of being labelled baby killers.

And while Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant has called for a full public inquiry into the work of Smith, it almost seems like too little too late.

Sherry Sherrett spent a year in jail convicted of murdering her four-month-old son Joshua because Smith concluded she fractured his skull. She also lost custody of her 18-month-old son. This week Bryant, citing a "process to be followed," gave Sherrett permission to take her case to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

After 11 years of living with the shame of being labelled a murderer, Sherrett went to the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted for help last year when the Children's Aid Society wanted her to give up her 19-month-old daughter, Madi, because they feared the child was in danger.

The association's legal advocates asked Ontario Chief Coroner Dr. Barry McLellan to review the case and, when Joshua's body was exhumed last May there was no evidence of violence; the child had died of natural causes.

Sherrett is not alone in this nightmare, however. Louise Reynolds spent two years in jail after being charged with killing her seven-year-old daughter Sharon. Smith had concluded she inflicted 82 wounds to the girl's body. She was released only after another expert concluded the girl had been killed by a pit bull.

And the list of Smith's child autopsy cases goes on.

A judicial inquiry will enable the province to learn why and how so many of Smith's cases were mishandled. The judge heading the probe will be able to subpoena documents and witnesses, including the beleaguered pathologist himself.

According to news reports, Smith has performed about 1,000 autopsies in his 20 years as a coroner. The initial Ontario coroner's office review of his cases, from 1992-2002, is to be extended to include all cases he managed between 1981 and 1991.

It is truly frightening to think about just how many of these old cases could also have been mishandled.

The inquiry is about more than bringing Smith's errors to light, however. It is also a way to keep such mistakes from happening again and to keep those without the necessary skills and abilities from doing such critical work. It is imperative that only the best be trusted with such important and delicate work.

It is unthinkable that anyone else should have to suffer these kinds of indignities.
ID- 507253
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
© 2007 , Osprey Media. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Anonymous said...

Foster Father Had Violent Outburst, Boy Says
13-Year-Old Recalls Days In Home Of Man Accused Of Sexual Crimes

This article was published on Saturday, April 21, 2007 8:54 PM CDT in News
By James Bowie
The Morning News
Related Photos Editor's note: Brian Bergthold, 45, of Bella Vista was arraigned Monday on two charges he sexually abused foster boys in his care and 19 child pornography charges. Since his arrest, police have conducted interviews with at least 17 of about 30 boys who stayed with Bergthold during his two years as a foster parent. Among them was a 13-year-old boy -- there just four days -- who joined a pair of foster boys in calling police to say Bergthold had been verbally abusive and thrown objects. The Morning News interviewed the boy and his mother several times about the boy's experience, including his being returned to Bergthold's home after a social worker couldn't place the boys overnight. The boy's account is augmented with information from police records and recollections of the neighbor who helped the three boys call police. The foster children's names have been changed.

BELLA VISTA -- Bobby was nervous as he sat on the neighbor's couch waiting for the sheriff's deputy. It was the 13-year-old's first time to call the police.

Beside him on the couch sat Ryan, 16, and in the entryway stood Scott, 14, two boys he'd known only for his four days in foster care.

When the deputy walked into the entry and asked, "Who called 911?" all three boys raised their hands.

Earlier that November evening, the boys agreed that they would call the police together, but only Scott's voice can be heard on the 911 recording saying the boys' foster father, Brian Bergthold, has abused him.

"I'm not being hit or threatened in any way right now, but the man I'm living with right now is throwing objects at me and walking through the house cussing," Scott said during the 911 call. "Not too long ago, when another foster kid got moved he chunked a suitcase at me and almost hit me in the face."

"There's two kids here with me that are also in the same boat and they also agree with me," Scott said.

The boys decided to go to the neighbor's to call police after trading stories about Bergthold while they raked leaves, Bobby said. It was getting dark and the boys knew Bergthold could not see them from the living room where he was watching television, he said. As the boys talked, their frustration grew.

Ryan said Bergthold yelled and cursed at him that day while Bobby and Scott were at school. Bergthold was angry because he missed a conference call and because coffee wasn't made, Ryan told them. A police report says the boys told officers that Bergthold in the past had thrown metal chairs, suitcases and hangers at them.

Scott told them Bergthold gave another boy vodka during a sleepover when some of Bergthold's former foster children came to spend the night one weekend.

But it was a story about a night of "camping" in Bergthold's living room that scared Bobby the most.

Scott told them their foster father set up a tent in the living room while he was the only foster child staying there, Bobby said. Once they were in the tent, Bergthold reached over and tried to touch the boy's genitals. Scott immediately got out of the tent and went to his room to sleep, Bobby said. "The tent really freaked me out," Bobby said.

Scott said he was tired of Bergthold's behavior, and they should tell the police, Bobby said. Scott, who said in the 911 call that he had lived in the home for a year, asked Bobby and Ryan to agree that it was not just him making the call. Scott said another foster boy had called police about Bergthold once before, but "it didn't work," Bobby said.

Bobby pondered whether Scott, a small, slight boy, might have felt braver with Bobby and Ryan alongside him. Bobby said he and Ryan were about a foot taller than Scott. Bobby is one of the biggest players on his football team at 6 feet tall and about 200 pounds, he said.

The deputy took the boys to the Bella Vista Sheriff's Office and a social worker, Laura Kiehlbauch, came in to talk to them. Police records show the boys only reported that Bergthold threw things and yelled.

Bobby said he told the social worker about the other boys telling him Bergthold gave a boy alcohol.

"I know she wrote it down," he said.

Bobby said the boys were interviewed separately, so he doesn't know if Scott told anyone about the "camping" incident.

Bobby said he was at a friend's house for a youth group when his mom called and told him about Bergthold's arrest. He said he was "freaked out" about the sexual abuse charges because all but one of the stories Scott and Ryan told him were about Bergthold's temper.

"I just couldn't believe it," he said.

Police arrested Bergthold on March 7, four months after the boys' complaint. On April 12, prosecutors filed 21 felony charges against him, including two counts of second-degree sexual assault, four counts of computer exploitation of a child, and 15 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child.

An investigation continues.

The three boys' complaints on Nov. 6 weren't the first against Bergthold, police records show, nor would they be the last.

Another foster boy, 16, told an investigator Feb. 9 that Bergthold gave him and two other boys Jack Daniels whiskey and asked two of the boys to sleep with him.

Police asked for a warrant to search Bergthold's home based on the boy's statements, noting Department of Health and Human Services and Arkansas State Police had taken other reports of children alleging physical and sexual abuse in the home. On the day police searched, Feb. 16, the Department of Health and Human Services removed three boys.

Police confiscated numerous videos. On Feb. 19, the lead investigator, Barb Shrum, began to go through them. The second video Shrum viewed included teenage boys drinking whiskey at Bergthold's home. The video also showed the boys flashing their genitals and making humping gestures while the words "I'm not gay.com" scrolled across the screen. When one of the boys covers his genitals, another boy says, "Don't worry, they don't want this on the porn site."

Shrum quickly asked for a second search warrant.

In the two searches, police seized more than 170 videotapes, 12 computers and hundreds of other media storage devices, such as external hard drives and CDs, inventories show. Shrum said many of the videos contained pornography.

On Feb. 26, a boy placed with Bergthold for six weeks told investigators Bergthold sexually abused him, according to the probable cause affidavit for Bergthold's arrest. During the interview, the boy said Bergthold spiked the children's hot chocolate with Kahlua, a coffee flavored liqueur, one evening. After the other children were asleep the boy said Bergthold showed the boy a Web site with nude women, set up a camcorder in his office and then filmed the boy masturbating, the affidavit said.

One of the videos confiscated from Bergthold's home corroborates the boy's story. The video shows the boy masturbating and Bergthold touching the boy's genitals, according to the arrest affidavit.

The revelations prompted police to issue a plea for parents to contact them if their children were ever placed with Bergthold or visited his home. Shrum said there are still a few children to interview. She continues to work with Arkansas State Police to conduct interviews and locate some of the boys.

Prosecutors have confirmed federal authorities are looking into the matter and Bergthold's attorney said during his arraignment he expects Bergthold to be indicted on federal charges.

Bobby said he did not see or experience any abuse firsthand but said he believes the stories the other boys told.

"It took me a while to understand what they were saying, but after a while I believed them," he said.

Through a spokesman, the Department of Health and Human Services has declined to answer questions about the three boys' complaint or other complaints. State law dictates the agency may not disclose information about foster children, foster parents or foster homes except to specific recipients, such as an investigative agency. Those recipients may not release information to the public, state law says.

Police and court records provide most of the information that's been made available about the case.

Bobby said Bergthold seemed like a "cool guy" when he arrived at his home Nov. 3.

Bobby was placed in temporary foster care after his mother complained the boys' father was beating Bobby and his two brothers, ages 10 and 12. His mother said she doesn't know why she wasn't immediately given custody of her boys, but she has had custody of all of them since Nov. 13.

The two younger children were placed in a Fayetteville foster home.

A social worker picked Bobby up at school and dropped him off at Bergthold's home that evening, he said. Bergthold shook his hand as he came in the door and told Scott to give him a tour.

Bobby said he liked the home because Bergthold had a lot of electronics, including a plasma TV and an X-Box, and Bergthold had a dog. He noticed there were security cameras in each room except the bathrooms, but he never asked about them.

Bobby said he slept on a small brown leather couch in the living room, while Scott and Ryan had their own bedrooms. He said he stared out a window past midnight the first night waiting for his mother to come take him home.

"The first night lasted forever," Bobby said.

Bobby said doors to Bergthold's office and bedroom were always locked, but Bergthold showed the boys both rooms one afternoon. Bergthold's bedroom was decorated with pictures and ticket stubs from the band Iron Maiden, he said. He said Bergthold told them he had a lot of memorabilia because he knew members of the band.

The office had several computers and TV monitors that were connected to the security cameras mounted around the house, Bobby said.

On the weekend Bobby was there, the boys spent much of their time playing video games and watching TV, and Bergthold would lead a Bible study before bed each night until about 10:30 or 11 p.m.

Bobby said he didn't spend a lot of time with his foster father because Bergthold was always busy working in his office. The first time Bobby would see Bergthold each day was at lunch, then he would go back into his office until dinner, he said.

A newsletter about foster parenting the University of Arkansas at Little Rock produces four times a year said in an article featuring Bergthold that he owned and operated a business called DocumentsOnline.com.

Bobby said he rode a bus to school on Nov. 6, a Monday, but found out he wasn't enrolled. A social worker picked him up from school and took him to get immunizations before she returned him to Bergthold's home early that afternoon.

When he went inside, Ryan told him about Bergthold's rage. Bobby said he doesn't know why Ryan wasn't in school that day. After Scott returned home from school, he told him, too.

After deciding to call police, the boys walked across the street to the home of Tamara and Kevin Schoenauer. Tamara greeted them and hugged Scott, Bobby said.

Tamara Schoenauer said Bergthold's foster children came to her house twice to complain about Bergthold, once in September and again when Bobby was part of the group in November. She and her husband called the Department of Health and Human Services on Sept. 27 when a foster boy told them he was afraid of Bergthold, she said.

She and her husband called the department office four or five times because the boy told her Bergthold physically threatened him. The boy also told a case worker over the phone that he thought Bergthold would hurt him and two other boys in the home, Schoenauer said.

A police report confirms a deputy went to the Schoenauers to pick up the boy. The boy was removed from Bergthold's home that night, but the two other boys stayed, Schoenauer said.

Because the Schoenauers were dissatisfied with the response they got from human services in September, they advised the boys Nov. 6 to call 911.

The Bella Vista sheriff's deputy who came to the Schoenauers' house had the three boys fill out written witness statements and then took the boys to the sheriff's office in the back of a squad car.

Kiehlbauch met them at the sheriff's office and she and a deputy interviewed them. When they were done, Kiehlbauch took the boys to the Benton County Department of Health and Human Services office to find a home for them to stay the night. Bobby said Kiehlbauch made phone calls for about 30 minutes searching for foster homes. When she couldn't find a place for the boys, Kiehlbauch decided to return the boys to Bergthold's, Bobby said.

She called Bergthold and the two argued on the phone for almost 10 minutes, Bobby said, because Bergthold wanted the boys to apologize for calling the police. Kiehlbauch drove the boys to Bergthold's home, arriving about 3 a.m., he said.

Bobby said Bergthold smiled and acted happy when he opened the door to greet them, but they could tell he was angry. Once inside, they stood together in the living room and apologized for calling the police.

After Kiehlbauch left, Bergthold made the boys call police and say they lied.

"We had to lie to police," Bobby said. "He said, 'The real godly thing to do now is to call the police and tell them you lied.'"

When the boys told the deputy they lied, he was angry, Bobby said.

"He got mad at us and told us it is against the law to lie to police," he said.

Bella Vista Deputy Jason Runions, who was dispatched to the Schoenauers', has confirmed the boys were returned to Bergthold's home that night and that they called later to recant.

When contacted at her office at the Benton County Department of Health and Human Services, Kiehlbauch said she cannot talk to the media.

Bobby said Scott was upset that he had to return to Bergthold's home and was afraid to be alone with him. He kept telling Kiehlbauch, "I better not go back to Brian's," Bobby said.

Bobby said he and Ryan slept in the living room on couches that night while Scott slept in his room.

The next morning Bobby was taken to Youth Bridge in Fayetteville, where he remained about a week until his mother was granted custody of him. He doesn't know what happened to the other boys.

Anonymous said...

Bravo to Anne Marsden for speaking out

ONTARIO HANSARD RE: CAS AND BILL 165

THE AUDITORS,
THE CANADIAN FAMILY WATCHDOG

The Vice-Chair: Okay. I'm going to invite the Auditors, the Canadian Family Watchdog group, to come forward. You will have up to 30 minutes, but it would be appreciated if you can spend 20 minutes on your deputation, leaving 10 minutes for members to ask questions or give comments. This is Anne Marsden. Welcome.

Ms. Anne Marsden: Thank you. First of all, I'd like to express my appreciation for those of you who believe it's necessary, when considering a bill like this, to go out to the people who have the experience that people who sit in ivory towers don't always have.

1600

As a way of introduction to let you know about my credentials and why I believe that you should be listening to me, I'd just like to give you some of my background. I've been involved in advocating for the best interests, protection and well-being of children in several Ontario jurisdictions since 1990. My advocacy has taken the form of auditing of child protection case court files and acting as a friend of the court and agent in several jurisdictions. I was very interested in a lot of the questions, and the obvious things that come out is you and other people don't often get an opportunity to actually see what is going on in the court that shouldn't be going on in the court. That's my role and that's what I do. I audit it and then I bring it to the attention of people when it's affecting the best interests and well-being of our children.

The organization that I co-founded -- and I'm now the audit manager -- is the Canadian Family Watchdog and its predecessors. We've been in existence since 1990. We do not accept donations. We do not charge for any of our services regardless of the financial status of those we serve, whether it be a government with its unlimited resources, whether it be a millionaire whom we've provided service for, or if it's a homeless person or whatever. All our funds come from my husband's paycheque, for which he goes out to work five days a week. He works very hard and he funds all the court, all our audits and everything else. So that's the nature of our work.

I've audited several cases -- I would say at least 20 -- where we were able to impact on the best interests, protection and well-being of children because the court agreed with us that the orders that we were seeking were in fact in the best interests of the child as opposed to the order that was being sought by the children's aid society.

Some of the cases have been in Halton, some of them have been in Durham, some of them have been in Toronto and probably one of the most famous of them, which made the national headlines in the Globe and Mail, was when a SWAT team was present on three occasions in the Halton Family Court before I became involved in the situation. This was a Muslim family. They had walked into court and found a fully armed SWAT team in Milton and Burlington family court. When I heard about it and was asked to help, immediately the SWAT team was disbanded and the girl was immediately returned home after she had been able to explain to the court that she came from a family who loved her unconditionally, and while she'd been in the foster home that she'd run away from, she'd been sexually assaulted.

I don't understand how these situations come to this degree of complexity, because by the time I go over the court files, I find it has either been -- this particular one with the SWAT team was all over a figure of speech. The people knew it and yet they were putting all those resources into protecting everybody and their aunt with a fully armed SWAT team and the child, who is the paramount objective of the Child and Family Services Act, still hasn't been protected; nor have the ones who followed her from that sexual assault, which she claims took place by a CAS worker who's still doing the same job. So I have a little bit of concern that somewhere our priorities are always in the wrong place.

I heard some questions posed while I sat there, and one of the questions was, are we covering off what we need to with Bill 89? I can tell you no, you're not. I can tell you from my audits that the Child and Family Services Act is very good at protecting our children. The problem is that nobody is abiding by it. All the court files that I have audited show a deliberate ignoring of our law. For example, the legislation states that there has to be a child protection hearing within 90 days of an apprehension. In the audit I'm presently working on, which has been submitted to the children's minister, the child has been apprehended since December 5, 2002, and there still has not been a protection hearing. There's supposed to be a temporary care hearing within 25 days of apprehension. In this particular case there has not yet been a temporary care hearing. There are orders which say, "On consent," but our audit shows there was no consent other than the lawyers in question who decided they would consent. So what we have is legislation that has been ignored, legislation whose paramount objective is the best interests, protection and well-being of our children.

We talk about access orders. Presently, one of the audits I'm doing in Brantford is for a baby that was born on July 7 this year and was apprehended, I believe, outside the rule of law. That's what my audit shows. There was an access order made giving the mother general and liberal access to maintain a healthy attachment to her child while this was sorted out before the courts. No other access order was issued. The father has not been allowed to access the child, the grandmother has not been allowed to access the child and the sibling has not been allowed to access the child. However, the supervised access centre, on the authority of the Brantford children's aid society, has given unlimited, unsupervised access to someone who isn't even related to the child. She takes the child home, there's nobody around there, and this person has a very, very serious emotional problem at the moment. You see, she lost her baby, so she's trying to use this baby to fulfill what she has lost. This is a very serious matter.

We've taken it before the courts. The CAS stepped in and the motion wasn't heard, because they put in wrong information, because they don't want this position to be exposed in the court. So we don't know what the truth is when access orders are made. There are a lot of things said in which, our audits have shown, there isn't one word of truth, and when you don't actually have a trial, which over and over again is what we've found, that the legislation is not complied with, what's the point?

I heard Mr. Jackson, my own MPP, bring up the issue of children's lawyers. Children's lawyers are very involved in the problem, very much a part of the problem. We had a case in the Durham jurisdiction where a child was being sexually assaulted. She had been a crown ward for six years. When I did the audit, there was no reason that that child should even have been in care, never mind being a crown ward for six years. We put her in a position where she was sexually assaulted in a foster home.

I received a call from this young girl asking me to help her, asking me to get her out of the children' aid and back to her parents. I asked her if she had a children's lawyer. She said yes and gave me the name. So I called the children's lawyer, put her in touch with her, told her what the situation was, and the children's lawyer refused to take the matter before the courts as a status review, which your legislation gave the right to. I had to pull all my resources together, drive up and down between Cobourg -- and I don't like driving to Toronto, never mind Cobourg -- and eventually, we got that child released back to her parents. I happened to switch on CBC the other night, and there was this beautiful young lady -- the sun seemed to shine out of her -- being interviewed. It was that young girl. But if I had not responded to that cry for help, if I'd acted like the children's lawyer acted, I wonder if she'd even be alive today.

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What I'm saying, or what I'm trying to say -- I don't know whether I'm expressing myself rightly -- is you can have all the legislation in the world, you can have all the bills in the world, but until you people decide you're going to take your responsibilities and act on evidence that our legislation is being ignored to the detriment of our children and our elderly and everything else, the most vulnerable -- I have submitted audits and evidence going back to before Tsubouchi's time, so you know how many children's ministers we've had, the last one being -- I can never pronounce it -- Bountrogianni and the present one. I have provided them with evidence that they should, at the very least, have a section 67 investigation, which is available to the minister. André Marin is saying right now there's not enough review. The executive director of Hamilton CAS, on a program with Ms. Horwath, said, "Oh, we're overregulated." Yes, they're overregulated. You know why? You're always overregulated if you don't take advantage of what is there to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

This bill is as useless as all the ones that have gone before them until the children's minister accepts her responsibility and takes the evidence that's presented to her by an impartial person who has credibility. I do have credibility in this area. I've been invited to speak at the ninth international conference of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology in Washington DC, to an audience of lawyers, psychiatrists and psychologists who are going to pay to hear me present. One of those issues is around how Ontario deals with the best interests, protection and well-being of its most vulnerable, or should I say, does not deal with it.

I am very concerned that I have been speaking into a vacuum over the last 15 years. My heart is broken -- it's broken many times over -- for what I see and where I see our child protections going. It's more than $1.2 billion that goes to the children's aid society; it's the billions that go into our court system, our police, our psychiatrists, our psychologists and all of those. All of it is inappropriately spent when it's spent outside the rule of law, and it is spent outside the rule of law in the 20 cases that I've looked at where the law has not been properly upheld.

Now then, one of the tools which I have used, one of the encouragements I have used was a ministry document put together in 1985. It says, "Whether children are living with their parents or with others in care, they have the right to expect that their safety will be ensured. While in either situation the parents have the moral and legal responsibility to protect the child's interests and rights, the children in care are unique in that they may have limited access to their parents."

I know we're not just talking about children in care; we're more talking about people who are outside care. However, all parents have a moral and legal responsibility to protect their children. But the number of parents whom I have tried to assist to exercise those legal rights are met with disdain: disdain by our children's minister, disdain by our politicians -- MPP Dave Levac has turned them away left, right and centre -- and disdain by our police, who force their way into a Brantford home and threaten a young mother with arrest if she does not hand her child over to the CAS, even though she has a court order saying she should be in her care and there's no other order that they have. When finally it gets before the court and I'm able to produce information, the judge agrees with me and sends the child straight home. Then we get a good lawyer, Ian Mang of Toronto, involved, and the case is closed, but there has been no accountability for the trauma that young three-year-old has been through. She's had to move out of the province to get away from the "bad ladies" and the police, and she really believes her mother gives her away to strangers.

I've been to the Brantford chief of police. I've been to the chairman of the board. I went to the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services, and nobody will hold those police officers accountable for what they did, which is, they took a three-year-old child out of the supervision of a parent without lawful justification. Check your Criminal Code. That is the Criminal Code offence of abduction, and it's happening over and over again. And when we go to the people to protect the children, to allow parents to protect their children, we're turned away.

I have two letters here. One is for the honourable children's minister and one is for André Marin. I'm going to be giving them to MPP Andrea Horwath, and ask that they be personally delivered to those two people. I'm asking for a section 67 investigation into these circumstances that see children not protected as our legislation has said they should be.

I will entertain any questions that you have of me. I just hope that this time, what I brought forward is listened to and we can start getting access, whatever it is that's causing these problems, back on track.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Ms. Marsden. Normally, deputants would file documents with the committee, but you have indicated that you would like to hand these to MPP Horwath. I don't know if she is willing to accept them.

Ms. Marsden: This is a personal delivery I'm asking you to take. I've tried faxing; I've tried sending them special delivery; I've tried everything else. But I believe that if I hand them to Andrea Horwath, MPP -- who, by the way, sat here only because she beat me out at a nomination meeting -- I'm sure that she will deliver these, ensure they are delivered, and I can be assured they will get the attention that they are supposed to get.

Ms. Horwath: I'll take them, Mr. Chair.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Ms. Horwath. Now, members, we have about 11 minutes left, so I will allocate four minutes to each party, and I will start with Ms. Horwath.

Ms. Horwath: Anne, I wanted to ask you about the comments you made about the children's lawyer failing children. Can you, maybe not with a specific case, describe where you see the pressure points of that failure, where the system is failing in regard specifically to the children's lawyer?

Ms. Marsden: From my perspective, I've always found, from the audits that I've done, that there's an incestuous relationship between the children's lawyer and the children's aid society. Whatever the children's aid society wants, the children's lawyer gives.

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We pay for children's lawyers to represent our children to ensure that the legislation is followed and they're properly protected, as people, in their wisdom, have set out in legislation and bills.

In the particular case where I said that after 90 days you're supposed to have a protection hearing, and it didn't happen in three and a half years, the children's lawyer was on the case. The children's lawyer knows it; I'm bringing it to her attention. I'm saying she has a conflict of interest for now representing the sibling in this matter -- no response. I called Clare Burns, the children's lawyer, and brought this information to her attention and asked her to respond -- nothing.

The children's lawyer has one purpose, and that's to properly represent those issues before the court that impact the best interests, protection and well-being of a child. I would believe that following the legislation, making sure the legislative process is followed, is something which a children's lawyer should uphold. I really believe they should be disbarred if they're not doing that.

Ms. Horwath: You've obviously been aware of some of the work that I'm trying to do to get Ombudsman oversight over children's aid societies, mostly because of these systemic problems that seem to keep coming up, certainly not in every single case, but in the cases that tend to be the troublesome ones and the ones that I'm sure you and others work on. There seem to be system problems that go without being fixed. Currently, the government has a different idea of how they're going to have accountability within the system of child protection. Do you know what the government's solution has been in terms of the direction they're going with children's aid societies?

Ms. Marsden: All I could say is that minister after minister after minister of governing party after governing party after governing party has ignored what is happening and the need for review. A section 67 review is there. It's a means for investigating concerns -- never used. I've gone to the court and tried to get the children's minister to use that. I'm not really sure that the Ombudsman's office can do it either. I don't think they can delve deeply enough into the court, but at least it would be better than it is now, because our children's minister, our politicians, are not responding. Our child protection dollars are being spent outside the rule of law and for criminal purposes.

The Vice-Chair: We'll turn to members on the government side. Mr. Levac.

Mr. Levac: An opinion has been expressed that I treat people with disdain, and I reject that. I want to make it perfectly clear. I was an educator for 25 years and an MPP since 1999. I do not treat people with disdain, and I want to make sure that's clear for the record. However, I will suggest to you that there have been differences of opinion as to how one proceeds with trying to find the right answer to serving the people and making sure that children are safe. I'll just leave it at that.

Ms. Marsden: Am I allowed to respond?

The Vice-Chair: He did not ask for a response, but if you like, you can respond briefly.

Ms. Marsden: I always steer the parents to their MPP. This was a very, very serious issue that had happened in Brantford. This parent went and was turned away. She's still waiting. She has had to take her child out of the province. She's still waiting for Mr. Levac to help find some means of putting right the situation which saw her child dragged out of her home, put in the police car and driven away, with absolutely no lawful reason or justification -- and the court agreed and returned her immediately.

The Vice-Chair: Are there any further comments from the government side? Mr. Ramal.

Mr. Khalil Ramal (London-Fanshawe): Thank you very much for your presentation. It's a very complex issue and you address it very well.

You mentioned that Bill 89 is not going to change the whole atmosphere. It's going to be one of the additional sections to the many different bills in the government.

You mentioned section 67, and you said that regulations and rules are already in place but are not being implemented. What do you mean about section 67 needing to be changed or to be strengthened?

Ms. Marsden: No, there's no need to change it or strengthen it; it just needs to be acted on by the children's minister. Section 67, the Child and Family Services Act, allows the minister -- it says "may": She "may" appoint a judge to investigate the circumstances of any child in care.

We have taken to her, over and over again, cases where they really should be investigated, not for that child but for all the thousands of children who follow down the same path.

When I said that Bill 89 won't fix the problems, what I'm saying is, until the legislation is enforced, no bill -- the Child and Family Services Act is useless if the protection hearing, all those things which are set out to protect the best interests and well-being of a child, are ignored.

If children are taken from their home, from their parents, and placed in a situation of sexual assault when they were in a perfectly normal, loving home to start with, and now they're in a position where they're being sexually assaulted -- as happened in Halton and has happened in Durham and in Toronto, and it has happened over and over and over and over again -- what's the point of having legislation? Section 67 is a very valuable tool that could have been used by our minister and is not being used.

I hope I answered your question, sir.

Mr. Ramal: Thank you very much for your answer.

The Vice-Chair: Mr. Jackson.

Mr. Jackson: Anne, I feel the same way about the section in the Coroners Act that gives the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services the right to call coroner's inquests. I understand why he doesn't wish to do that, but that's essentially why we're calling for this legislation: to add one additional mandatory provision along with the three that are currently in there. I hear your point very clearly, that there is legislation that doesn't seem to be used effectively or to the advantage of the vulnerable person.

Mr. Chairman, I have no questions but I do want to commend Ms. Marsden for her tenacity and her passion for advocacy and the work that she has done, and thank her for coming before the committee today.

Ms. Marsden: Thank you.

The Vice-Chair: Ms. Marsden, thank you for your deputation.

MINISTRY OF CHILDREN
AND YOUTH SERVICES

The Vice-Chair: We have the Ministry of Children and Youth Services now. I don't know if they have arrived.

Please come forward. You have up to 30 minutes for your deputation, and if there's time left for comments or questions from the members, that would be appreciated. Please identify yourself.

Ms. Trinela Cane: Thank you very much for the opportunity to appear before the committee.

My name is Trinela Cane and I'm the assistant deputy minister with responsibility for policy development and program design in the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. I am responsible for policy with respect to child welfare and child welfare transformation as well.

I was invited here today to provide an overview from the ministry's perspective with respect to child protection supervised access matters, and how the supervised access system works with respect to child welfare. I'm very prepared to do that and very happy to answer questions as well at the end of the presentation.

Can people hear me well enough?

The Vice-Chair: Yes.

Ms. Cane: Thank you.

As has been mentioned previously, and people around the committee table are well aware, we have 53 children's aid societies across Ontario, and they're responsible for carrying out child protection services under the jurisdiction of the Child and Family Services Act within their own designated geographic areas across the province. As you will know, the Child and Family Services Act gives agencies an exclusive mandate to protect children under the age of 16 from abuse and neglect, and to investigate situations where children under the age of 16 or in the society's care or supervision may be in need of protection. In addition, they provide residential services for children who are unable to remain in their family home. They also provide counselling and support to families in order to prevent circumstances requiring child protection and entry into the child protection system. They're also responsible for the provision of adoption services in the province.

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Supervised access is one part of this broader spectrum of child welfare and protection services across the province, and a very important component. In terms of what supervised access is in a child welfare context, as you know, access more generally refers to contact and visits between a designated child or children and another person. The other person could include siblings, a parent or a member of the child's extended family. In an aboriginal context, it could be a member of an Indian band or aboriginal community more generally.

Supervised access actually occurs when it's determined, most often by a court, that the child's contact with a specific person may represent a risk to that child's best interest and emotional or physical well-being. In these cases, another adult, or several adults, must be present during a specific visit to monitor the contact between the visitor and the child, and to intervene if necessary to protect the child or the child's interests. A children's aid society may also supervise access to evaluate a person's parenting capacity or the appropriateness of their relationship with the child, and to determine whether in the future that person should have unsupervised access or custody of the child or whether in fact there's information that could inform a plan of care that would govern that child into the future.

A society worker may supervise the child's care in the home of a parent, as I've indicated, or another person as part of ongoing supervision, or the child may be in the formal care of the society and reside in a foster home or a group home, as the case might be. In any of these situations, the society may also supervise the child's access. That would most often be a designated caseworker, as appropriate. In many of these cases, you will know by example from your own constituencies, a child may reside with one parent and the society may be responsible for supervising access with another parent under various circumstances.

In general terms, the children's aid society gets its authority and mandate to supervise the child's access through a court order made through the court by application, either by the society or an individual. There are various ways that court orders happen with respect to supervised access. As you may know, part III of the Child and Family Services Act permits any person, which could include a child, the child's band or other individuals, to apply to the court for access at any time during a child protection proceeding, with certain exceptions and limitations. For example, an access application can't be made when the child has been placed for adoption. That's one example of a limitation.

Societies may apply to a court for a supervised access order when they've applied for an order for a child's care or supervision -- so it's in that context -- because they believe the child is at risk of abuse or neglect, or otherwise at risk. They may identify that supervised access is required where there are concerns for a child's safety and well-being during contact with one or more family members.

When the society does apply for access, the society must provide notice of the application to specified parties that could include -- and you have a list before you -- the child, if they're age 12 or older; the child's parents; the child's caregiver; and the child's band, in the case of an aboriginal child.

When an application is made by anyone other than the society itself, that person must provide notice of the application to the society and the society is responsible for giving notice to the other parties that I have mentioned.

The court receives evidence from the applicant for the order in support of their application. Other parties may also provide responding or corroborating evidence or other information to the court. In many cases, the court will decide the issue based on written material. They may also, as you will know, hear oral evidence from various witnesses, as they see fit.

Usually, the children's aid society in most cases will provide the court with information related to and focused on the safety and well-being of the child. This information could include specific information about the child and their emotional, developmental and physical needs, and the appropriate care and requirements to meet those needs. It will provide information about the child's current relationship with the person seeking access and identify some information related to the previous history of the person or persons seeking access to the child. This could include information about the person's previous involvement with a children's aid society or the person's criminal record. The society usually provides the court with current information respecting any criminal charges or convictions related to the child or the child's parent as contemplated by Bill 89, if it is passed. This is very similar.

The court itself, then, must determine whether or not to grant the request for access in accordance with the child's best interests -- the best interests being paramount -- and the court can and may specify the frequency, location and level of supervision for the access. So they can actually designate terms and conditions with respect to that. If appropriate, the court can also order the society to determine the schedule and the conditions of the access. It depends on each individual situation.

It must be understood the court also has authority to change an access order if the court decides that the order is no longer in the child's best interests. Any person may make application to change a court order.

It is important to note that orders that are made with respect to a criminal proceeding, which may themselves prohibit or restrict access between a child and a specific person, must be complied with and they overrule any access order made under the Child and Family Services Act. So the Criminal Code matters would have paramountcy with respect to that area.

There are a number of arrangements that are made with respect to supervised access, and the arrangements really depend and vary according to the circumstances and needs of the child. Societies will arrange supervised access in compliance with a court order, so where terms and conditions are articulated they are to comply with the court order. Access visits may occur in the agency's office itself or in a community setting;thay may take place in a home or in a family member's home, or at other specific sites that may be designated or specified by the agency. In some cases, agencies operate their own supervised access sites, as you will know.

In terms of who provides the supervision for supervised access, that too may vary but it's generally staff from the children's aid society. Some staff who provide supervision are on contract with the agency. In addition, we have trained volunteers, and all staff involved in supervised access are trained in the issues that they may face and trained to perform the functions that they are performing. We know that in addition to volunteers, we have foster parents and grandparents who sometimes supervise the visits, and that can be determined based on the specifics of a case.

In terms of how supervised access is paid for with respect to the child protection system, children's aid societies pay for supervised access through their funding allocation for protection and children's services. It is included in their allocation. We recognize that there are often additional costs for maintaining facilities for access and providing transportation, and those are to be included in the operational budget of the agency. That is the intent and the focus. Agencies are required to provide this service.

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In terms of Bill 89 and what it means with respect to supervised access and the current process that we follow, section 1 of Bill 89, if passed, would introduce a new section to the Child and Family Services Act, as you're well aware. This section creates a presumption of supervised access in specified circumstances related to family violence. So when a society applies for an access order to a parent charged with or convicted of such an act of violence, either against their child or in some cases against another parent of the child, the court must make a supervised access order unless the court determines that the order itself is inappropriate.

In general, our experience is that children's aid societies currently do seek a supervised access order in cases where parents have been charged with or convicted of a criminal offence either against the child or against a parent of the child or other person. The society would normally request a supervised access order until they're satisfied that that person or that parent no longer presents a risk to the child. What section 59.2 of Bill 89 would do would be to ensure that the practices now in the field are reflected in the child protection legislation, and the ministry is very supportive of that direction.

Another component of Bill 89 that I'd like to speak to includes a provision to the Child and Family Services Act related to the duty to report a child's death. It was our feeling that the committee could benefit from some new information related to child death reporting and review procedures that are in place at the direction of the Minister of Children and Youth Services for children's aid societies across Ontario. This is a component of the child welfare transformation, and it's part of an overall plan to strengthen accountability for child welfare and, in particular in this case, child death reporting.

What we've done is worked, as part of child welfare transformation, in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Coroner to develop what we call a joint directive on child death reporting and review. This directive came into effect on March 31, 2006. It replaces an earlier directive which didn't have as significant a level of accountability as the current directive, and it was made under section 20.1 of the Child and Family Services Act. All 53 children's aid societies are required to comply with this directive, and the ministry is monitoring their compliance. I have provided copies to the clerk of the committee of the joint directive for members' information.

The new directive sets out the procedures to be followed by children's aid societies, but not just children's aid societies alone; for the Office of the Chief Coroner and for ministry regional offices as well. The procedures themselves apply in two circumstances: when a child dies who was receiving services from a society at the time of his or her death or any time in the 12 months prior to the death. The directive supplements a new approach that the ministry has put in place early in this calendar year around serious occurrence reporting procedures, which have been strengthened and include the requirement to report to the ministry all deaths of clients -- including children -- who are receiving a service from the ministry. So this is a reporting requirement for all agencies providing service.

The directive that we've worked on with the Office of the Chief Coroner demonstrates what we consider to be a mutual commitment and a cross-sectoral commitment to collaboration and working together on very serious matters. The directive itself, which I'll speak to in a moment, reinforces clear roles and responsibilities for reporting a child's death in order to avoid duplication and confusion. In addition, it provides opportunity for analysis and lessons learned, as well as an annual report card, which I'll speak to in a moment.

The procedures to be followed under the new directive: When a child dies, the society must immediately notify the local coroner and the ministry. As I mentioned, it must complete a serious occurrence report that is sent to the ministry. It's also sent to the regional supervising coroner in the province of Ontario and the deputy chief coroner's office.

Within 14 days of learning of the death, the society must complete a child fatality case summary report, which is a standardized report across the province, and send that report to the ministry and the chair of the pediatric death review committee for review. As you may know, the pediatric death review committee is the committee which assists the coroner with complex medical cases, and all members are experts in pediatrics.

Within seven days of the committee receiving notice of the death of a child, the chair reviews the report provided by the agency and tells the agency whether they must conduct an internal child death review. So the decision-making with respect to whether an internal review will be undertaken is undertaken by the chair of the child death review committee.

Where the coroner directs -- and the deputy chief coroner of course is the chair of this committee -- the society itself must conduct a review and complete a written report within 90 days of the coroner's direction. So this provides very prescribed timelines and expectations.

The copies of the child death review report are sent to the ministry and to the chair of the committee itself, and based on the report the Office of the Chief Coroner will determine if the committee will conduct any further review, and that's a case-by-case review based on the report that's provided.

If a review is done by the pediatric death review committee, it is done within one year of the child's death. The PDRC itself may also make recommendations and these recommendations must be followed. The report of the pediatric death review committee is sent to the society and to the ministry. The society must consider the recommendations of the committee and implement, as appropriate, and provide progress reports to the ministry. The ministry will use this information both to inform ongoing operations and agency operations in that regard but also policy and practice at a more macro-corporate level, which is a very important piece if we're looking for systemic change.

Under this directive, the Office of the Chief Coroner has lead responsibility for the analysis of a child's death and the material that comes forward, the dissemination of findings and recommendations and the production of an annual report, which will be issued publicly, jointly with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the coroner's office.

Bill 89, if passed, would introduce a new section that requires a person or society to report a child's death in some very specific circumstances. As you are well aware, the society or person would be required to report the death to the Minister of Children and Youth Services as the legislation is currently drafted. The Minister of Children and Youth Services would be required to report the death to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. The Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services must then direct the coroner to hold an inquest.

Bill 89, in our view, builds very well upon our new child death reporting and review processes. It would expand the duty to report to include children who have received services of a children's aid society at any time, not just limited to the time frames I mentioned earlier, provided they meet the other requirements that are set out in the section.

The ministry supports the expanded duty to report, but would ask the committee to consider a more streamlined reporting process, more consistent perhaps with the existing joint child death reporting and review directive. We would suggest that if a death occurs in the specified circumstances that have been identified, that a person or society should report directly to the coroner. We feel that the process currently drafted in the bill is overly complex and may not be timely. That would be our advice on that matter.

I would like to thank the committee for the opportunity to present on the current approach with respect to supervised access in child protection matters, and I'd be happy to entertain questions you may have.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you, Ms. Cane. We have 11 minutes left. I will allocate about four minutes to each party, starting with Mr. Jackson -- sorry, it should be members for the government side. Mr. Levac.

Mr. Levac: Thank you, Trinela. There are two quick questions from me, and my colleagues have another one. One is, the process that you just went through, a relatively new process, indicated that the committee would make recommendations. Does it have the same authority as an inquiry would have in terms of calling witnesses and making recommendations that are to be listened to by the CASs and the ministries?

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Ms. Cane: My understanding is that that is subject to the discretion of the chair of the pediatric death review committee, but it doesn't, as I understand it, have the same stature as a public inquiry would.

Mr. Levac: Backing that up, if I'm not mistaken, it made it clear that it was mandatory in any child's death, or "under supervision"?

Ms. Cane: There are a number of circumstances where the coroner undertakes a child death review. Any death of a child in CAS care is subject to review by the committee. A report goes to the committee, and they make a determination as to whether internal review is required by the agency, and if so, whether they'll undertake further review at the committee level themselves.

Mr. Levac: If I heard correctly, you indicated that Bill 89 would go further.

Ms. Cane: In terms of the duty to report a death, our current requirements under our death review directive pertain to a child who is currently in children's aid society care or has been in the care of a children's aid society within the past 12 months. My understanding of this bill is that it would actually generalize to any child who has been in the care of the children's aid society and has been subject to a supervised access order.

Mr. Levac: Because we know, in some of the cases, that has not been the case. The question that I'm asking all of the people I've put this to is trying to capture as many people as possible who would not fall under some of the circumstances, and making sure that Bill 89 does that as well. Mr. Jackson made reference to a situation in his clarification that at any time there has been some kind of supervision, even an invited one -- but then, once that stops, does the continuation of that rule allow the coroner to declare that as mandatory under Bill 89?

Ms. Cane: I'm not sure if I understand the questions. I'm sorry.

Mr. Levac: I'm not clear either. I have it in here, but I'm trying to get it out here.

Mr. Jackson made reference to the fact that his attempt is not to make it as broad as possible, so you don't have inquiries all over the place, but to be specific --

Mr. Jackson: Inquests.

Mr. Levac: Inquests, yes -- choosing the words is important -- in an inquest situation, that is under the circumstances of supervision, and that would be broad enough to include that if the supervision is even voluntary, when two people agreed to do their own supervision at an access centre, not court-ordered. Then, as long as that took place, the coroner's inquest would take place?

Ms. Cane: I guess I would ask for clarification in terms of the intent of Bill 89.

Mr. Levac: Cam, is that where I'm coming from? Just quickly.

Mr. Jackson: I would ask your question this way: There are cases where a child will die, having been the subject of an access order, where the CAS has no jurisdiction, nor has ever met the child. Correct?

Ms. Cane: That's correct.

Mr. Jackson: And so therefore my bill is written in a way that it covers all children in the province. It does embrace CASs -- so for those children in care, it would speak to that -- but it doesn't limit it just to CAS care; it's all children who die in the hands of a parent having had any concern about access orders.

Ms. Cane: That's why I think, Mr. Jackson, the bill is actually considerably broader than just the child protection focus. It does focus on matters of supervised access and children who have been subject to that.

Mr. Jackson: Because we have two tracks.

Ms. Cane: That's correct.

Mr. Levac: I'll pass it quickly for --

The Vice-Chair: Quickly. Ms. Sandals?

Mrs. Sandals: Yes, just a quick question, because on page 4 of your presentation, Trinela, you verge into this business about criminal proceedings. A number of the deputants talked about unsupervised access being as a result of a criminal plea bargain. So where does the authority to do that derive from? Are we now into Criminal Code matters?

Ms. Cane: I've been passed a little note here. In response to your question, I think, as I mentioned, Criminal Code matters are paramount in these cases. For example, a probation order might indicate that a specific person is not to have contact with a child or a specific person designated, even if there was a supervised access order in play through the Child and Family Services Act. The actual Criminal Code requirement and the court order in that matter would take precedence.

Mrs. Sandals: Because what we seem to have been hearing about is where there was pre-existing supervised access and then the plea bargain has turned that into unsupervised access. I'm following some of the incidents that we've heard. It's like your system is looking for assistance to children but then the criminal system is overriding your rules, but you may not be even involved with the child at all --

Ms. Cane: But it would serve to undermine the intent of the Child and Family Services Act.

Mrs. Sandals: Yes, exactly. So that's the problem we seem to be running into to some degree: the conflict between criminal proceedings, which are ordering access, and family and children's services, which -- given your legislation, you're more concerned with the child.

Ms. Cane: Yes, but given the paramountcy rule, you're right that one could undermine the other.

Mrs. Sandals: But the criminal -- okay. Now I at least sort of understand what's going on, whether I like it or not.

Mr. Jackson: Just to follow on Ms. Sandals' point -- because that is the point -- that in a criminal case the two lawyers have to be satisfied in the eyes of the judge, and the child never really gets a say in court; this is why my legislation is so broadly based, in that all children in the province would be protected.

I want to put on the record that I support the increased reporting mechanisms that the government has brought in, in the shadow of the Jeffrey Baldwin death with Toronto CAS, with the death of Jared Osidacz and with the death of the three children outside of Orléans near Ottawa, all in the month of March.

I'm concerned that we do not get bogged down in a much more bureaucratic process. Your flow chart -- Hansard won't pick this up but I'm pointing to a seven-step box system, and I know Ms. Horwath will be raising the issue of, when does this process become transparent and when does this process become accountable? Why I recommend we jump in very small circumstances in this province -- we're probably looking at the deaths of fewer than 10 children a year, but probably four or five children a year who die in this province under these circumstances -- that they get an automatic coroner's inquest is so that all aspects are covered, but it's done in a transparent, open fashion.

A child has died; therefore, privacy issues are no longer an issue. When a person dies, their entire life history is an open book; it doesn't matter if you're an older person or a young person. My worry is that a good process of reporting and review, which I believe is still being done in-house, where the CAS is examining its conduct and its role -- and again, this came out of the Jeffrey Baldwin incident, which was not Ontario's finest hour when it came to CASs and their performance of their legislated duty.

So I guess, Trinela, my question to you is, do you clearly see the distinction between Bill 89 trying to protect all children versus the circumstances under which the CAS becomes involved? I would hope that the ministry sees a value in making sure all children are protected, regardless of whether they had ever been contacted by CAS, since they can't always participate in the process which I consider the most offensive of all, and that is the mediation in custody, support and divorce when there's violence involved. At the root of this problem is when mediation occurs and then they start horse-trading, the child gets caught in the middle and CAS never gets brought in to say, "Excuse us, but we personally feel this child is at risk and something should be done about it." Not enough of that is occurring in our province.

So if I could get you to respond to that, and I thank you for your positive comments in your presentation today with respect to Bill 89.

Ms. Cane: Certainly, Mr. Jackson, I appreciate the intent to cover a broader range of children who die as part of very unfortunate circumstances in the province. While our purview is within the context of the Child and Family Services Act, I share that view and that understanding of the importance of that.

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In terms of the actual child death review and directive, its timing seems to coincide with the Jeffrey Baldwin case, a very unfortunate case, and it does actually, in some ways, perhaps not address the specific issues of Jeffrey's circumstances. Rather, as part of that process, we've actually implemented what we call regulation with respect to kinship care that provides additional safeguards.

But we were concerned, in terms of the child death review process, separate from any one incident, that there wasn't sufficient independence in the oversight of the work that was being done at the agency level, and many agencies themselves raised this as a concern with us as well. That's why we have paid for an analyst to be placed in the Office of the Chief Coroner to actually undertake the case analysis and preparation for the child death review committee. It's precisely why we've asked the coroner to be the arbiter in determining under what circumstances -- and it's normally in cases of homicide, suicide or other suspicious deaths -- an agency must perform an internal review; it's not subject to an agency's discretion or the ministry's discretion, which is an important point.

In addition, it is up to the chief coroner on the review of the internal report, where they have additional questions or they feel that the report has missed the mark, to have further undertakings with respect to that. In addition, they are able to have a full and more in-depth review of the case as they require.

I think our intention has been to promote better accountability, to provide an opportunity for more public transparency and reporting, and to put a certain amount of the decision-making in the hands of the chief coroner of Ontario, an independent overseer of these types of things.

Mr. Jackson: In order to be abundantly clear here, my question also included, Trinela, at what point does the public have access to that information? The coroner reports in general terms. I've seen hundreds of reports and I've seen his annual report. But where does the public get to look at that report? At which stage in these seven boxes will Andrea Horwath or I or the families be able to look at that report to determine the recommendations? If they just sit as recommendations, you used the phrase -- Oh, Lord, where did I write it down? -- talking about the important part of the process, where you can look at providing additional improvements. That's code for regulatory changes. But how do we know that as the public or how do we know that as legislators, that we would have a serious problem here if the Jeffrey Baldwin case were about to repeat itself under these protocols? When would we find that out?

Ms. Cane: I guess in attempting to respond to your question, I'm not certain in the process at what point reports are divulged. But I'd be happy to get back to the committee, if I can provide some further clarification, Mr. Jackson.

Mr. Jackson: That is my concern. I don't see in this process where the public or the family who's lost a child or I, as an advocate for child safety, can read it. If it's not transparent, it can't inspire us to do better.

Ms. Cane: And you are correct, Mr. Jackson, that the annual report would summarize the work of the committee, as you point out, and would make recommendations for a more sweeping, systemic change that the ministry and others will be beholden to, but it may not address the specific needs of a specific family, as you indicate.

The Vice-Chair: Ms. Horwath.

Ms. Horwath: Thank you, Trinela, for being here for the ministry. The first things that struck me in your remarks were the issues around protecting a child from abuse and neglect. When I think about some of the cases that we've heard about today, I particularly recall the testimony of Ms. Craven, her experience with the children's aid society and how they failed her as a parent, failed to protect her child and in fact accused her of being the abuser. How does that happen? And further to that, the remarks that were made to her by staff of a CAS indicating that her estranged partner, the father of her child, was "driving a nice car"; in other words, reducing her concerns and comments and her ability to relate her concerns about her child, pretty much ignoring those and instead turning to the abuser as someone who was more credible: How does that happen and what is in place from the ministry's perspective to prevent those kinds of situations from occurring? What kinds of requirements exist? What kind of reporting exists? What kind of checks and balances exist to prevent that kind of situation?

Ms. Cane: I wish there was an easy answer to say how that might have happened. I'm not familiar with the specific circumstances of that case, but what I can tell you is each agency is mandated, as part of its own review of cases coming forward or children and parents coming forward to ask for assistance, to use one standardized tool, a risk assessment tool called the eligibility spectrum. The eligibility spectrum identifies various risks in quite a number of dimensions, and that actually leads to the decision on the part of the worker as to whether the child is deemed to be in need of protection. As you know, that is subject to a court decision within five days as to whether the decision by the agency would be supported by the court.

That is the process agencies are to follow. Each of them uses the same tool. As part of our child welfare transformation we've actually enhanced the tool and added more instruments that allow a worker who is trained in the use of the tool. We've really reinstated a very rigorous training program for this, as the legislation is hoped to be proclaimed in November and they are to administer this tool and the sets of supplementary tools that would allow them to delve more deeply into that matter and hopefully get to the crux of the issue. In this case that you mentioned -- and as I say, I don't know the details -- it sounds like there was information, potentially, that may not have been followed up on or not appropriately analyzed as part of that assessment. I think what we've tried to do is put a standardized assessment in place. Every worker will be trained in the use of the tool and every supervisor will be actively monitoring the decisions made by the individual workers.

Ms. Horwath: I appreciate that blunt response because it's important that you're aware that there is opportunity for failure of these systems. I guess that brings me back to -- and I'm glad Mr. Jackson raised it, because the government side raised an issue that I was going to ask as well, which was the unbelievable situation where if a criminal proceeding results in an order that is more lax than a child and family services order, it actually supersedes, and that's got to be changed. That's absolutely frightening.

Nonetheless, the concern that I have is, as we look through the ministry's flowchart of response to concerns about transparency and review of systems, again it seems as if the process for determining what went wrong or how, perhaps, there could have been different actions taken in a situation where there has been a death of a child, it always goes back to: The society will make the initial report. But nobody is checking to make sure that even the initial report is reflective of the experience of the people involved in the situation. That's where the whole thing falls apart from my perspective, and that's at step one or two. Certainly there has to be an acknowledgement that the society doesn't operate in isolation from all of the different people and systems that affect it. Having said that, if you're going to go through a whole process of review with the steps that are indicated in the flowchart but the very beginning inputs don't include all of the appropriate information or, at least don't include all of the information that could have a bearing on what comes out at the end, then you have a failed system from the get-go.

I just want you to take that back because I think that if there's one thing that we heard today strongly, loudly and clearly, it is that these women's voices were not being heard, through the whole process of their nightmare. Whether they weren't being heard by the CAS, whether they weren't being heard by the justice system, whether they weren't being heard by the police, their voices were not being heard. Now we have a new fix to the problem, or at least we have a new system of trying to understand what the problems were, where again those voices are still not going to be heard. They'll be heard from the perspective of how the CAS saw things go down, but from what I can see anyway, there's no direct voice of these women in this flowchart. I would just hope that you can take that back. Maybe with the horrors we went through with these women this morning, we can bring back the fact that their voices need to be heard in these processes and that the bureaucracy certainly needs to understand that that's important, and that will help us at the end of the day to come up with systems that will better protect women and children.

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Ms. Cane: What I can tell you in that regard is that as we obtain the advice of the deputy chief coroner, Jim Cairns, with respect to individual cases coming forward as part of the process, there is an opportunity and potentially advice that would be given by the chief coroner around the need to have an external consultant or external person or persons undertake the review, and our intention is to have an independent review as part of the process as that first step. But I can appreciate your concern that the appropriate views be taken into consideration.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much, Ms. Cane, for your deputation and answers.

Ms. Cane: Thank you very much. Good luck with the work.

The Vice-Chair: Members of the committee, those are all the deputations we have today. I'd like to draw your attention to the written submission provided by Margaret Patterson, who was originally scheduled to be here. She cannot make it because of health problems but has requested that her submission be read out in committee. I'm in your hands.

Mr. Jackson: I move that the matter be inserted into Hansard and we don't necessarily have to read it.

The Vice-Chair: Is this agreeable?

Mr. Levac: That's reasonable.

The Vice-Chair: Agreed.

sden for speaking out!

Anonymous said...

Anne Marsden testified before she recenty spoke about Bill 165, STANDING COMMITTEE ON REGULATIONS AND PRIVATE BILLS

The date: Tuesday 29 August 2006
Ontario Hansard

The Ministry was told about the illegal activities of CAS, was told about about the abusive foster homes last August, and still fights the Ombudsman?

Anonymous said...

Forever safe, forever family?

Police: 17-Year-Old Found Starved In Cage, Wearing Diaper
DCF 'Disgusted, Outraged' By Alleged Neglect

UPDATED: 11:47 am EST March 9, 2005


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Florida couple have been charged with child neglect after authorities discovered their 17-year-old adopted son, who weighed 49 pounds and was forced to sleep in a cage-like bed.

Wilson Sullivan


Child welfare workers in Jacksonville were called to Wilson and Brenda Sullivan's home in January. They say they found the boy wearing a diaper and that he appeared developmentally delayed.

Police Tuesday arrested the adoptive parents on charges of child neglect after a six-week investigation into the treatment of the boy, who officials say was grotesquely underweight.


The investigation into Brenda Sullivan, 48, and Wilson Sullivan, 55, began Jan. 10 after the Department of Children and Families hot line received an anonymous tip.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Chief Steve Weintraub said the teen was less than 4 feet 6 inches tall and weighed only 49 pounds and was kept in an enclosed crib "similar to a cage" that had a chain and padlock.


Brenda Sullivan

Police said the Sullivans have only told investigators they kept the teen inside the locked crib because he was gorging himself on food at night.

According to the police report, the 17-year-old was height of an average 9½-year-old and weight of an average 6½-year-old. The boy was wearing a diaper when found and appeared to be developmentally delayed.

"This child suffers from the result of psychosocial dwarfism and starvation," the report said.

Police said the Sullivans moved to Florida from Akron, Ohio, last October. The 17-year-old, who had been with the couple for 10 years, and two 10-year-olds were immediately removed from the home.

"We were disgusted and outraged by the condition of the children at that time," John Harrell, spokesman for the child welfare agency, said in statement. "DCF has been working with law enforcement on this tragic case. We are pleased to report that the children are now safe and improving."

The 17-year-old has put on almost 30 pounds since being removed from the home.

The Sullivans are being held under $200,003 bond and are scheduled to face a judge Wednesday. Child neglect is a second-degree felony that can carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
Distributed by Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

Anonymous said...

Police: Ohio Couple Put 2 Sons in Cage

By JOHN SEEWER
Associated Press Writer

May 3, 2007, 10:47 AM EDT

TOLEDO, Ohio -- Two brothers were locked up in a dog cage when their father used drugs and when they were being punished, and one had to wear a shock collar, authorities said.

The parents appeared briefly in court Thursday on charges of child endangerment and making or selling drugs in front of the children, ages 10 and 5.

Jessica Botzko, 28, and John Westover, 37, were arrested a day earlier, after the boys ran away from home and were found on a neighbor's porch.

The boys told officers that they had been abused and locked in a dog cage at their home, said police Capt. Ray Carroll. They also said their father put them in the cage when he was using drugs, according to Carroll.

Court documents say the 10-year-old boy was repeatedly shocked at the family's home through a remote-controlled collar meant as a training device for animals.

Police searched the family's mobile home and found it filled with garbage, Carroll said.

The couple's hearings were continued because neither had a lawyer and the parents remained in jail.

Another Ohio couple, Michael and Sharen Gravelle of Norwalk, were convicted in February of child abuse and endangerment for keeping some of their 11 special-needs adopted children in wire and wood enclosures.
Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.

Anonymous said...

Convicted baby killer freed

Thu, May 3, 2007

Marco Trotta get bail thanks to a disgraced pathologist who gave evidence against him.

By MICHELLE MANDEL, SUN MEDIA

TORONTO -- After almost a decade behind bars for killing his baby, Marco Trotta got bail yesterday thanks to a disgraced pathologist whose testimony helped convict him.

That's the double tragedy of discredited Dr. Charles Smith -- his alleged incompetence not only convicted the innocent, but may release the guilty.

Trotta's case is one of 13 convictions dating back to 1991 in which a panel of five experts found errors in Smith's evidence. After the shock findings were made public, the Ontario government agreed to hold an inquiry into Smith's work. They also agreed not to contest Trotta's bail as he awaits his October appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada.

After the posting of $100,000 surety, Trotta is set to be freed into the arms of his wife, Anisa, herself convicted of criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide life's necessities for eight-month-old Paolo. Her conviction also is being appealed.

"I'll have champagne waiting," Anisa Trotta said after a judge granted bail.

Lawyer Michael Lomer said Trotta, 38, has suffered and is anxious to be reunited with his wife. "He's very pleased to go home." Part of Trotta's bail conditions are he live with Anisa and not contact their surviving children, Marco Jr., 13, and Francesco, 12, in the custody of his in-laws.

These years of separation have been "torture," his wife said. "I've been blessed with a lot of strong friends who have helped us through this," said Anisa, paroled after one year of her five-year sentence. "They have been few and far between but I do have some."

Her family has not been among them -- it was her mother's testimony that helped seal the case against her husband. When Paolo died in May 1993, the original pathologist attributed his death to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). But a year later, the Trottas' latest baby was brought to the emergency room with a broken leg and bruises covering his body. Suspecting the baby's thigh had been twisted until it broke, doctors called police and Paolo's death was reopened.

His body was exhumed and Smith, Ontario's top pediatric pathologist, was called to conduct a second post-mortem. He testified he found evidence of a broken arm and three skull fractures -- one of which was recent and could have caused his death. The parents were arrested in 1996.

But Trotta's lawyer says Smith was mistaken: there was no fresh skull fracture, only the healed one. That error will no doubt be the basis of his appeal.

Even so, Trotta hardly appears to be a poster child for the wrongly convicted. During the trial, witnesses testified his son was battered and bitten, and siphoned what little nutrition he could from watered-down milk or formula. The star prosecution witness was the baby's maternal grandmother who said she was alarmed by bruises on Paolo's body.

She became more concerned when he was taken to Oshawa General Hospital in January 1993 with a fractured skull. Trotta claimed Paolo had fallen off a table while left alone in his baby carrier. The children's aid found nothing awry.

Not so, say neighbours, who testified to the baby's non-stop crying and shouts from his father to "shut the . . . kid up." Even more damaging was a home video of the Trottas' trip to Florida just two weeks before he died. Spectators were in tears watching the baby, covered in black and blue bruises, screeching in pain when his father appears to bite his nose.

Described as an arrogant sadist who used the family's money to buy pink windshield wipers instead of baby formula, Trotta was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life with no chance at parole for 15 years.

But now a discredited pathologist has given him hope.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the Trotta case putrid. It is said, that the couple is clinking champagne glasses together over this.

He may not have murdered the baby, but he abused the little sweetheart before this.

Cannot imagine anyone celebrating this release.

Anonymous said...

People that hurt babies are the scum of the earth.

The innocent people in the Charles Smith nightmare, are not of the same ilk as Trotta.

Anonymous said...

The one good thing about the Trotta nightmare, is that family members who are good, have the kids.

Anonymous said...

And I truly hope that anyone following the Smith nightmare, will not lump Trotta in with those who are innocent.

It degrades the innocent in this mess.

Anonymous said...

With Jeffrey at least, he had a decent coroner, and truthful people who handled this horrific case.

At least, be glad that Charles Smith did not handle this, as the thought of the putrid monsters being out in the publid.............well.

Anonymous said...

public

Anonymous said...

One has to wonder, what type of nutbar Smith was raised with as well, not to defend him but really?

Anonymous said...

Charles Smith, was running with scissors.

Anonymous said...

What about Anna Nicole Smith? Poor girl. Worst part is the world looses a great skank!

Anonymous said...

One of this weeks arrests in foster stranger danger care....

Rock Hill Foster Mother Charged With Neglecting Children

POSTED: 3:26 pm EDT May 3, 2007
UPDATED: 5:22 pm EDT May 3, 2007

ROCK HILL, S.C. -- A Rock Hill woman is charged with two counts of unlawful child neglect after neighbors called police. Sheila Hall, 34, of Rustic Ridge Court is currently out of jail on bond.

Hall was a foster parent for two boys, ages 17 and 15. Neighbors say the boys told them they were locked outside the house every day before and after school while Hall was at work.

They also told neighbors the refrigerator was locked with a chain, and they were only fed a few times a week and were always hungry.

Neighbors called police after seeing one of the boys drinking from a garden hose on Tuesday afternoon. Several neighbors had been caring for the boys for days, offering them food and water after school.

Helen Brown is one of them. She says the whole thing is sad.

"They should be able to go in that house, sit down, get a snack, do their homework. They're not able to do that," she said.

Police say they charged Hall after statements from neighbors and the two boys, and after talking with Hal,l who at the time didn't know where her foster sons were.

Det. Jerry Waldrop of the Rock Hill Police Department says it's a tragic case.

"These individuals were being left outside in the heat, no way to get in the house, for hours at a time," he said.

The Department of Social Services is investigating, along with Lutheran Family Services, a child placement agency that hired Hall.

Representatives told Eyewitness News that Hall had been a foster parent for four years, and they knew of no prior complaints against her.
Copyright 2007 by WSOCTV.com. All rights reserved.

Anonymous said...

Source: Connpost.com
Date: May 4, 2007

Belt abuse after failed test charged
Article Last Updated: 05/02/2007 11:59:40 PM EDT


A Bridgeport mother accused of beating her 10-year-old foster son with a belt for failing a vocabulary test was arrested Wednesday.
Veronica Johnson, 39, of East Pasadena Place, was charged in a warrant with second-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor.

Social workers from the state Department of Children and Families responded Dec. 15 to a child abuse complaint at a city school, according to police.

Police said the school nurse showed them large bruises across the boy's back and arms.

The boy claimed Johnson beat him with a belt the previous night after she got a note from his teacher saying he had failed the test, police said.

Police said the boy had been placed with Johnson in March 2005 through the state's foster care program. She denied hitting the boy with a belt, police added.

The boy, who received treatment for the injuries, was assigned to a new foster home.

Following her arrest at home by members of the U.S. Marshal Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force, Johnson was released on a promise to appear May 17 in Bridgeport Superior Court.

Anonymous said...

Power to probe hospitals urged
Ombudsman calls for accountability
May 06, 2007
Rob Cribb
Tanya Talaga
STAFF REPORTERs
Ontario is the only Canadian province where hospitals aren't subject to the scrutiny of an ombudsman – an "extremely alarming" oversight that compromises public safety, according to Ontario Ombudsman André Marin.

Marin said he has lobbied top government officials to close the "gap" by making hospitals, one of the province's most vital and costly public sectors, more accountable. For 32 years, successive ombudsmen have pushed to move their investigative teams into hospitals.

"Ontario is the poor cousin in Canada," Marin said in an interview with the Star. "Right now, we have zero oversight of hospitals. The fact that there is no oversight in an area that takes huge amount of public funds is shocking to me."

It's the latest call for greater transparency around the province's medical system that has come from senior provincial officials in recent weeks.

Yesterday, the Saturday Star reported unprecedented new disclosure rules in Ontario that will end secrecy around malpractice records, criminal convictions and limits on the licences of all health care professionals. The governing Liberals said they will also introduce new regulations requiring hospitals to "inform patients when errors occur" and compel hospitals to report critical patient safety measures to the public. The move came in response to a six-month Star investigation into medical secrecy, officials said.

The government hopes to have the new information on a government website within a year.

Giving the ombudsman's office power to act as independent investigators is all about accountability. If an institution is getting public funds to perform a public duty, they should be subjected to checks and balances, he said. Besides hospitals, Marin also wants oversight powers in long-term care facilities, nursing homes and child protection services.

Marin said that having the power to investigate hospitals would allow him to monitor hiring practices of medical professionals, ensure personnel are qualified and review communications between hospitals and patients – all areas that are beyond independent review now.

"I (would) go in, take a complaint, apply reasonable common sense, use the resources of my offices and make recommendations," he said. "The government talks a storm about oversights, supports, checks and balances and so on. But, considering Ontario, especially Toronto, is the economic heart of the country, this is a thriving province, we pride ourselves on setting standards for the country. We do very poorly in independent oversight."

But the Ontario Hospital Association, the organization representing 159 health systems, said the province should wait before granting power to the ombudsman's office to see how the new public reporting of critical adverse events plays out.

Ontario's hospitals are national leaders when it comes to accountability to patients and taxpayers, said Anthony Dale, vice-president of policy and public affairs for the OHA.

"We've just announced, really (yesterday) through your newspaper, that mandatory adverse events reporting is coming to Ontario," he said. "That is why I'm suggesting it's simply just too premature at this stage to say one way or the other what role the ombudsman might have. We have to get the adverse events reporting system right in the first place."

Marin said he's made repeated requests to Premier Dalton McGuinty and the province's top bureaucrats for the right to investigate public complaints, decisions and quality of care issues in hospitals – powers enjoyed by ombudsmen in the nine other provinces.

David Spencer, government spokesperson on the issue, said there are no immediate plans to empower the ombudsman to investigate hospitals.

"It's something we are aware of, but it's not in the immediate offing," Spencer said.

But provincial Conservative Leader John Tory said it's time to review the Ombudsman Act. "The public needs to know there is someone they can go to if they aren't getting a proper response," he said.

Marin asked: "Why would a government not want to bring scrutiny in an area costing the provincial purse tens of billions of dollars? The short answer is if you can do your work without someone looking over your shoulder, why would you want to have someone look over your shoulder? They are doing it without oversight because they can. It is as simple as that."

In Ontario now, patients with complaints about a hospital have no independent agency able to probe their grievances. While the courts are an option for some patients with the money to launch a legal action, it's hardly a solution for most, said Marin, a former assistant Crown prosecutor who was also director of the special investigations unit of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.

"To throw citizens to the mercy of an overburdened, expensive, litigious adversarial legal system is cruel."

In areas where it has investigative authority, Ontario's ombudsman can subpoena witnesses, compel testimony and exercise the powers of entry, search and seizure without a warrant.

Marin points to a 2005 investigation his office conducted into newborn screening as an example of how such oversight powers can prompt life-saving public policy changes.

"We discovered in Ontario, every year, there were 25 baby deaths – or 25 severely disabled babies entering the system – as a direct result of our not testing for more than two newborn diseases. The international standard (of prenatal tests) was 29. We were the last of any province," he says.

"Everybody in the ministry knew about it. The coroner knew about it. Nobody wanted to do anything about it. It took the pressure of this office to censure the ministry."

The report prompted Ontario to expand the number of tests for rare conditions.

Marin denies arguments that Ontario can't afford a beefed-up ombudsman's office.

"Newfoundland can afford it and we can't? Our work saves the government at the end of the day," he said.

"This is about political backbone and priorities."

Anonymous said...

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
There's a poll about granting the oversight of hospitals to the Ombudsman - GO VOTE AT THE STAR.COM

Anonymous said...

Lack of oversight must be wiped out

The Toronto Star
Mon 07 May 2007
Page: A15
Section: Letter

Power to probe hospitals urged, May 6.

The Ontario ombudsman is absolutely right to press for independent oversight
of hospitals, long-term care facilities and - in the event that the
government fails to give the Child Advocate true independence and an
investigative role - the child-welfare system. He might add school boards to
the list as well. All are big-ticket items when it comes to the provincial
budget, yet this government has failed to provide adequate checks and
balances to ensure public accountability.

As taxpayers and citizens, we deserve more. Ontario has become a backwoods
of public accountability in Canada. Most provinces currently have better
oversight of these institutions. Certainly the families of Keith Croteau and
Philip Paznar, two residents of long-term care facilities who were killed
there, would probably have appreciated more checks and balances to ensure
that their relatives were, at the very least, safe.

Tragic failures in the protection of children, widely documented in the
media in recent years, also point to the need for significant changes in the
child-welfare system. Problems with medical errors,
infection control, waiting lists and emergency wards in hospitals also
demand independent oversight. And still the government balks. Citizens are
unable to obtain access to government records without huge hassles and deep
pockets to pay for the fees to access information that should be publicly
available.

The government likes to talk about transparency and accountability, but to
date the public has seen little action. Why is it that the McGuinty
government is only too happy to use our tax dollars to fund these sectors,
but continues to be resistant when it comes to the people who pay the tab
getting more than a glimpse of how that money is being spent?

Proper oversight and accountability, allowing the light of day into
facilities in order to end the secrecy
and protection of vested interests, is long overdue. Why should powerful
interests representing hospitals, nursing homes and the child-welfare system
continue to protect their turfs at the expense of the public's right to
know?

Thanks to Ombudsman Andre Marin for reminding the public and politicians
that it is the people who
should be in charge in a democracy, not the other way around - as this
government and the vested
interests who support it appear to believe.

Patricia Spindel, Toronto

Anonymous said...

Great letters lately about the Ombudsman, how long can they deny what so many people want on all fronts - accountability!

Toronto Star Newspaper - Letter to the Editor

May 6th, 2007

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin isn't the only person wanting independent investigative oversight of hospitals and health-care facilities. My private member's bill, Bill 92, proposes to give new powers to the provincial ombudsman to probe health-care concerns. It is part of a package of bills introduced by Ontario's New Democratic Party on April 5, 2006, to expand the mandate of Ontario's ombudsman.

My Bill 88 would widen the ombudsman's scope to include the power to investigate child-welfare and protection issues. My colleague, Trinity-Spadina MPP Rosario Marchese, introduced Bill 90 to extend ombudsman oversight to school boards.

To date, the Liberal government of Premier Dalton McGuinty has shown no interest in broadening the scope of the ombudsman's independence, which causes one to question its commitment to openness, transparency and accountability from the systems that most deeply touch people's lives.

Ontario families would benefit if the Liberals would pass the existing NDP bills into law.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Andrea Horwath, Ontario NDP Critic for Children and Youth Services, Toronto

Anonymous said...

Printed from www.niagarafallsreview.ca web site Tuesday, May 08, 2007 - © 2007 Niagara Falls Review
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Openness more than releasing a list of salaries

The Review

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - 02:00

Editorial & Opinion - By now we've all had the chance to read and digest the so-called Sunshine List, the annual compendium of people making more than $100,000 at taxpayers' expense.

The legislation was passed in 1996 by the former Conservative government headed by Mike Harris. The idea was to promote openness and accountability among public institutions, giving all of us an idea of how some of our money is being spent.

We're all for this. But we still can't help but wonder how really committed governments are to the concept of transparency, the Sunshine List notwithstanding.

Provincial governments in Ontario now bask in a self-generated glow of responsibility each April when the names and figures are released. And boy do they ever bask. But truly, what does it all mean? What are governments actually doing for its citizens with this exercise?

Opposition politicians spend 48 hours or so unleashing their predictable rants, all in defence of the common working man. We get to satisfy our voyeuristic tendencies by gawking into the private world of public people, clucking at how so-and-so is overpaid and under worked.

But does any of this demonstrate real, sincere, ongoing commitment to responsible and open government?

Not by a long shot. We suspect the motivation behind the Tory legislation was less about taking a moral stand and more about taking heat off politicians, whose own pay packets have long subject to public scrutiny.

Don't get us wrong. We think the Sunshine List contains valuable information that belongs in the public realm. And no doubt it has exposed some gross abuses at the civic trough. But there are many other matters which deserve and need exposure. Matters which can be argued are of equal if not greater importance than cranking out a list of salaries every 365 days, then going back to business as usual.

We've said it before and we will no doubt say it again: Bill 142, also known as the Transparency in Public Matters Act, ought to have support and passage.

If enacted, the law would force numerous government agencies, such as the Niagara Parks Commission, to open their meetings to the public, provide timely minutes and create a complaints procedure for those who may feel a decision was made behind closed doors when it shouldn't have been.

We can't understand why such important legislation is left to the vagaries of the private members' system.

Bill 142, sponsored by Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor, should be government policy, plain and simple. Premier Dalton McGuinty could make it happen any time he wants. Yet he has steadfastly refused to go this route. Moreover, when asked about Craitor's bill, McGuinty hides behind procedural mumbo-jumbo and launches into a display of fancy footwork that would almost certainly bring him victory on Dancing With The Stars.

We don't get it. A government can't be for transparency and against Craitor's bill.

Craitor makes excellent points when he refers to the most recent Ontario auditor-general report that outlined a host of spending abuses by provincial agencies. Millions of dollars in unreceipted expenses were found at Hydro One and there were instances of teachers and executives of Children's Aid Societies rewarding themselves with luxury vehicles, foreign trips, DVDs and Christmas lights. We can only wonder what other waste and misuse of money has yet to be uncovered.

Why shouldn't the Niagara Parks Commission meet in public? Or Niagara Falls Hydro? Why should the Niagara Health System or the Niagara Regional Police Services Board be able to take portions of their meetings behind closed doors, and decide for themselves what information should be available for general consumption? They are not guarding official secrets, although you have to wonder the way some of them cling to their blackout privileges.

All of these organizations could easily operate under the rules set out by the Ontario Municipal Act for elected councils, where in-camera sessions are permitted for discussion of legal and personnel matters. Everything else is (or should be) out in the open.

There is a provincial election this fall. It's not too early to start asking candidates about their stand on Bill 142. Tell them you're tired of the secrecy.
ID- 479976
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
© 2007 , Osprey Media. All Rights Reserved.

Anonymous said...

Printed from www.standard-freeholder.com web site Thursday, May 10, 2007 - © 2007 Cornwall Standard Freeholder
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Next week's inquiry hearings delayed



Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 08:00

Local News - CORNWALL (Staff) – Officials at the Cornwall Public Inquiry have scratched next week's hearings off the calendar.

On Thursday, an attorney representing the Children's Aid Society told the commission documents have been located which relate to a witness scheduled to testify Monday and Tuesday of next week.

"We only discovered these documents yesterday," said Peter Chisholm Thursday. "We're very sorry. It was an oversight."

Commission counsel said the witness lives in Edmonton and will have to travel to Cornwall in order to testify. The documents will have to be disclosed to all the parties in order for them to be reviewed prior to the start of the witness' testimony.

"We would prefer to bring her (the witnesss) here just once," said Peter Engelmann, lead commission counsel. "We should be able to hear her evidence June 4 and 5."

Comm. Normand Glaude said while he recognizes things will happen from time to time at the inquiry that cannot be prevented, he encouraged all parties to keep things moving along.

"It's important we don't lose sight of the fact that in an inquiry of this magnitude there will be days that cannot be filled," said Glaude. "I am concerned we continue to press on as much as possible."

The inquiry is hearing from a witness today who alleges he was sexually abused while living in a foster home in the city in the 1950s by another youth in care.
ID- 523344
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
© 2007 , Osprey Media. All Rights Reserved

Anonymous said...

Another article about abuse in CAS care, and an all too common story as well about it.


Witness says time as a foster child was terrible

Terri Saunders / Standard-Freeholder
Local News - Friday, May 11, 2007 @ 08:00

When Andre Bissonnette was 11 years old, his life took a turn that would result in decades of anger, apathy and alcoholism. Bissonnette, now 58 years old, testified at the Cornwall Public Inquiry Thursday about the physical, emotional and sexual abuse he says he suffered during the years he was a ward of the Children's Aid Society.

Bissonnette said he was one of nine children and due to alcoholism in his own home, and the deteriorating relationship between his parents, he and three of his siblings were shipped off to a series of foster homes in the city when he was 11 years old. He eventually ended up at St. Joseph's Training School in Alfred, Ont., a reform school run by a group of Christian brothers made infamous after hundreds of former residents came forward in the 1990s with allegations of systemic physical and emotional abuse.

When he left Alfred at the age of 16, Bissonnette was already on a path that would see him drop out of high school and turn to alcohol as a way to cope with the enduring pain of the abuse.

But long before he went to Alfred, Bissonnette said he was the victim of repeated abuse at the hands of a number of foster parents and even another ward of the system.


In 1963, when Bissonnette was about to turn 15 years old, he was living with a foster family in the city who were also caring for another boy, Larry Hawn, who was 16 years old at the time.

Bissonnette said he remembers being approached by Hawn when the two boys were sharing a bedroom in the foster home.

"I was scared of him because he was a lot bigger than me," said Bissonnette, who said he didn't tell anyone about the abuse until he ran away from the home a few weeks after moving there. "I was too ashamed. I couldn't say anything. I couldn't defend myself."

Hawn has since passed away and Bissonnette said it took him some time to come to terms with the sexual abuse he says occurred on several occasions over a two-week period.

"I couldn't handle what was going on," said Bissonnette, who became emotional while testifying.

"They (foster parents) were strangers. It was a dark secret and I didn't open up to anybody about it."

Bissonnette said he would spend time alone and question why he had ended up in such a place in his life.

"I used to go across the highway down by the river and I would sit there and cry," he said. "I blamed my mother, and I blamed the Children's Aid (Society) for everything that happened to me."

Bissonnette said he was eventually sent back to the home even though he says he told his foster mother and a social worker about the abuse.

"They placed me in a separate room from him (Hawn), and I wasn't doing too well in school," he said. "I didn't much care about anything anymore."

Bissonnette said he remembers coming home one day and encountering Hawn outside the house.

"I told him if he ever touched me again, I'd kill (him)," said Bissonnette. "It took everything I had to say that, and we had a bad fight. I got the worst of it. I was covered in blood."

The boys' foster father came out and broke up the fight and Bissonnette was eventually moved out of the home as was Hawn. Bissonnette was later sent to the reform school in Alfred where he says he was repeatedly physically and sexually abused by a number of Christian brothers. Throughout his life, Bissonnette spent time in a number of foster homes. He says he was often abused by foster parents, forced to do manual labour and treated poorly by family members.

There was one bright spot in Bissonnette's upbringing. For a period of time in the early 1960s, he lived with a family by the name of Bourgon. He said while he lived with them, he felt safe and protected but he had to leave when his foster mother became ill.

"It was the best home I ever had and I was on my way, doing well," said Bissonnette. "It broke my heart . . . but I understood why I had to go."

Over the years, Bissonnette has stopped drinking, is the father of three children and has entered into a relationship. He also spoke with police agencies about the abuse he suffered, but since Hawn had passed away, he was told there wasn't much that could be done. "I still feel like I was denied justice," he said.

Anonymous said...

Although the newly formed Child and Family Service Review Board has been established as a type of oversight body designed to ensure the adequacy of the services of Ontario's Children's Aid Society's, this body continues to lack any real jurisdictional powers over the CAS. I have recently been made aware by the Child and Family Services Review Board that even after a hearing of their panel that includes a finding that the CAS has provided substandard care, the Review Board can only make a "recommendation" to the Society. There is still no onus on Children's Aid Society's in Ontario to comply with any recommendation or directive of the Child and Family Services Board. In addition, local Children's Aid Society's have cleaverly acquired a new tactic in order to avoid accountabilty. The Child and Family Services Review Board cannot hear matters that are before the courts. Acordingly, local Children's Aid Society's can now ensure matters remain "before the courts" in contravention of "the Rules of Law" under the guise of "in the best interest of the child" in order that they are never held accountable for professional misconduct or unethical practice while a child is under the age of 16 or in some cases 18. There is currently a matter involving the daughter of a Police Officer who has battered an abused his child for years. The involved Children's Aid Society continues to leave the child in the care and custody of this police officer despite countless dsiclosures by the child that she has been battered and abused by this officer and his current wife, (who, by the way, is a supervisor with a local Children's Aid Society). It appears that local Children's Aid Society's do not even possess a protocol that deals with child victims of Police Perpetrated Domestic Violence. I have been informed that it is the job of the local Police Service to arrest and charge CAS employees for criminal negligence if a child continues to be neglected and battered while in the care of, or under the supervison of, the Children's Aid Society. It will be interesting to see who gets arrested in this case. Will it be the Police Officer who beat his daughter, or the Supervisor with the Children's Aid Society who watched the Police Officer beat his daughter and did nothing...or will it be the Children's Aid Society Worker assigned to the case that is denying the officer is an abuser despite the child disclosing she is being exposed to physical violence, humiliation, emotional degradation, police corruption, pornogrpahy and cocaine..."Never stop fighting for your daughter!." "Whatever you do, do not let this one go!"

Anonymous said...

I would suggest trying lawyers, and the media.

No surprise that it does fuck all -look at who the Minister is working with.

Anonymous said...

Don't go now...
Time for the RCMP to get their cleanup man; Shakeup of senior management needed to end cover-your-butt culture
The Ottawa Citizen
Sun 20 May 2007
Page: A4
Section: News
Byline: Randall Denley
Column: Randall Denley
Source: The Ottawa Citizen
How much more will it take before Prime Minister Stephen Harper steps in to clean up the RCMP? We are being bombarded with stories about RCMP incompetence and lack of integrity practically on a daily basis.

The Mounties never really got to the bottom of the 1985 Air India bombing, but now we find out that the Mounties themselves might have dropped the ball. Despite warnings of a terrorist attack, they had all their bomb-sniffing dogs and handlers on a training course. Worse, the Mounties told Bob Rae in a previous inquiry that dogs had examined the luggage.

The probe into the mess with the RCMP pension money has demonstrated that senior management were more interested in keeping the embarrassing incident from getting out than they were in doing something about it. There have been allegations that evidence was removed from a file and investigating officers were muzzled.

When the force's ethics adviser raised the pension matter with then-commissioner Guilano Zaccardelli, he didn't act.

"We should have had zero tolerance for any sort of unethical behaviour," John Spice told a House committee. "As much as I would like to say that we tried, we failed miserably."

This particular scandal isn't some low-level affair. It involves people at the deputy and assistant commissioner level.

Then there is the Maher Arar affair, where the RCMP mistakenly said that Arar had terrorist links, a suggestion that led to his deportation to Syria by the Americans. The RCMP's role was covered up and inconsistent testimony about what happened ultimately led to Zaccardelli's resignation.

At times, the Mounties seem like government-controlled secret police. Earlier this month, an Environment Canada employee was accused of leaking a confidential government document. One could see where this could lead to workplace discipline, but why would the Mounties arrest the man in the workplace, then not charge him? The investigation continues.

A group of five Mounties is suing the force, claiming they were harassed and intimated by the inspector for whom they worked. The complaint says the boss used racial slurs as part of his abuse. The matter was investigated internally and the officer in charge was subsequently promoted.

Not even the famous RCMP crime labs are up to snuff, according to the auditor general. And again, the public was misled about what was really going on. Zaccardelli told the justice committee in 2004 and 2005 that there were no problems.

And all of this is just what has come to light so far this month.

Some MPs are calling for an overall inquiry into the RCMP. It would be an informative and depressing exercise, but we've seen enough already to know that action is warranted. And we know where the change is required, too. The Mounties seem to be knee deep in standup staff sergeants, guys who will tell the truth even at risk to their own careers. It's senior management that must be changed.

While evidence mounts that one of our most vital national institutions has been sucked into a moral black hole, the prime minister has done nothing. The search for a new commissioner is under way, but there is no visible sense of urgency.

The No.1 priority must be to quickly select a commissioner whose integrity is beyond question. The new commissioner must be from outside the force, perhaps even from outside policing altogether. We don't need some guy who looks good in red and can ride a horse. The RCMP's paramilitary, cover-your-butt culture needs to be changed and that change must come from the top.

Directors of the FBI are typically experienced prosecutors or judges. We should follow the same example here. The ideal person to head the RCMP would be Andre Marin, Ontario's ombudsman. The former Crown attorney and national defence ombudsman has an impeccable reputation and a passion for rooting out wrongdoing. He is a man who knows how to deal with an entrenched bureaucracy.

The mandate of the RCMP is also long overdue for modernization. In every province except Quebec and Ontario, the federal force provides provincial and some municipal policing. Surely the other provinces should be undertaking this themselves, in the same way the central Canadian provinces do.

The RCMP should be restricted to the investigation of complex crime problems that are national in scope. We need a national police force with a clear focus, sufficient funding and a manageable size. The 26,000-member RCMP is responsible for everything from municipal policing in tiny northern towns to complex white-collar crime. Maybe its broad mandate made sense back when most people rode horses, but it doesn't anymore.

The problems of the RCMP are much more consequential than the standard government incompetence we have all become used to. The police have enormous power to ruin a person's life. We must trust them to use that power in an honest and ethical way. Right now, that's just not possible.

The prime minister's failure to address this crisis is troubling and inexplicable. How can he not understand what's at stake?

Contact Randall Denley at 613-596-3756 or by e-mail, rdenley@thecitizen.canwest.com

Anonymous said...

If politicians do not care about children enough to do something about the 53 CAS agencies of Ontario, then what motivation would they have if any to clean up any mess involving the RCMP?

The Ontario election is coming up, and it should be asked by Ontario voters what precisely their MPP is prepared to do about CAS. Are they supportive of the Ontario Ombudsman having oversight of them, and if they are not please do not vote that MPP in.

And not stupid promises, not spin doctoring, not pissing, and not moaning, but a solid stance that yes we support Mr. Marin, and yes we agree that he needs to have oversight of CAS!

All is not fine and well with CAS, and all has never been fine and well with them. More victims of sexual abuse are speaking out, more people are sharing what has been going on while they were in the care of CAS.

And there is nothing but a sheer arrogance, blindness, and total apathy to anyone speaking out.

Anonymous said...

And if the Ombudsman can get in there, he can enforce that CCAS and any other agency is not IMMUNE from police investigations involving tortured children. Toronto CCAS should never have had the leeway to refuse to cooperate with detective Michael Davis. At no time should they have ever been allowed to coverup their part in the murder of Jeffrey Baldwin.

No CAS should ever be able to get away with this again. Too bad that they think they are above the law, as they have a union to protect them. They should not be above the law, and their butts being covered over as serious of a police investigation as Jeffrey should never, ever again enable them to not cooperate.

Toronto CCAS should be shut down permanently. Various police have concerns with them, media do, those who have been in their care do.

Anonymous said...

Angela Martin who said "we will win" when a precious, beautiful infant starved to death is beyond arrogant, it is simply breath taking!

That is the type of remorse that the Toronto CCAS has. How wonderful that they still have the so called and alleged ability to pretend to protect children.

We will win - a baby starves to death and someone has the nerve and audacity to say this???

Baby Jordan and the ghastly pictues of this infant are on the Internet. How anyone could look at the condition of that baby and say "we will win", should enrage people. It should also be a good motivation to ask that the Ombudsman have oversight of those agencies.

Anonymous said...

Most loving people that truly love children feel bad when a child has skinned their knee, let alone starving to death. If a person has no remorse for a child starving to death, then they should not be allowed to be around children period.

And in the Baby Jordan nightmare, one has to also question the so called social workers in the shelter who never noticed a baby starving to death. He had to have cried in pains of hunger. How could this not be noticed!

Anonymous said...

But the shelter that was involved with Baby Jordan is connected to the Toronto CCAS though isn't it. Really says it all!

Anonymous said...

Want to see how remorseful Toronto CCAS is about Jeffrey? Watch Failing Jeffrey for that display.

Anonymous said...

These hospital toady-types need a good kick in the pants!!! How dare they run politicians and bureaucrats like puppets! Just like the CAS runs Mary Ann Chambers!

Ontario hospitals off limits for ombudsman; Many people in the province want to know why, including an injured Hamilton man and a local MPP
Hamilton Spectator
Tue 22 May 2007
Page: A7
Section: Canada/World
Byline: Tanya Talaga and Robert Cribb
Source: Toronto Star
David Malleau awoke in hospital with a gaping hole in his skull.

The 44-year-old Hamilton truck driver had suffered a devastating car accident in 2004 that forced doctors to remove a fist-sized piece of bone from his skull to relieve pressure on his brain. Once the swelling subsided and he was ready for surgery in March 2005, Malleau was sent home from Hamilton General Hospital and put on a waiting list.

Three months passed, then six. He waited at home, a prisoner unable to leave the house for fear something would hit the exposed side of his brain -- for him a potentially fatal incident. In the end, it took nearly a year before he could get skull replacement surgery.

If Malleau lived anywhere but Ontario, the provincial ombudsman's office could have investigated why he had to wait so long for neurosurgery.

When patients or their families feel their complaints about the hospital system are falling on deaf ears, there is no independent body in Ontario with the power to conduct an independent investigation. All other Canadian provinces give their ombudsmen power to scrutinize hospitals. In Ontario, successive ombudsmen have sought that oversight power for more than three decades without success.

"The position of hospitals continues to be, 'Let's keep our dirty laundry to ourselves,'" says Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin. "There's tens of billions of dollars signed away in the form of a blank cheque to run health care. (Independent oversight) is a complete no-brainer .... It's frankly embarrassing."

With nowhere to turn, Pat Malleau, who quit her job to care for her housebound husband, called New Democratic Party MPP Andrea Horwath (Hamilton East) for help. Horwath called the hospital several times on their behalf, but never got a satisfactory reason for the delay.

"It was the most disgusting display of lack of responsiveness of a hospital that I've seen in a long time," she told the Star. "His life was on hold for a year because they couldn't find the time to put his skull together. It was Humpty-Dumpty gone wrong."

Malleau was reluctant to try another hospital because he wanted to stay with the same neurosurgeon who performed his postaccident surgery.

Horwath's experience led her to introduce a private member's bill to give the ombudsman the power to investigate hospitals and long-term care facilities. Horwath doubts her bill will get a second reading before the legislature rises for the summer.

A lack of hospital accountability has also outraged Ontarians like John Balatinecz in Toronto. The member of a community organization called Humber River Health Coalition is spearheading an effort to get similar hospital- focused citizen groups together to press for greater hospital transparency in the leadup to the next provincial election.

One goal of the newly formed Ontario Alliance for Accountability of Hospital Boards is expanding the role of the provincial ombudsman to include hospitals, he says. "The ombudsman's office is independent of political influence and political considerations. It is really there to represent the citizenry. This should be supported by all parties."

If Ontario's ombudsman were given oversight powers into hospitals, his office would have no shortage of complaints. Marin said last year alone, his office had 237 complaints regarding hospitals and long-term care facilities that he could do nothing about.

Officially, the role of the ombudsman is not to prosecute or investigate individuals, but to investigate decisions and processes to make sure they are "just, reasonable, fair and right," says Marin.

Marin said he would look at hiring practices and staff qualifications, follow up on patient complaints and make sure communications between hospitals and patients are clear.

The Ontario Hospital Association doesn't agree that there is no meaningful oversight. It has argued Ontario hospitals rank among the most intensely scrutinized institutions in Canada, reporting to the health ministry and local health integration networks -- groups that allocate funding.

The governing Liberals are introducing mandatory regulations requiring hospitals to "inform patients when errors occur," and compel hospitals to report critical patient safety measures to the public. The government is also close to passing Bill 171, legislation that will introduce new disclosure rules in Ontario and end secrecy around malpractice records, criminal convictions and limits on the licences of all health-care professionals. But the Liberal government has said opening hospitals to investigations by the ombudsman's office is not a priority.

Across Canada, provincial ombudsmen play a vital role in looking out for those without a voice in the health sector. In Quebec, Le Protecteur Du Citoyen investigated complaints of abuse at a Montreal adult hospital for the developmentally challenged. The hospital was effectively placed in trusteeship after the revelations. The hospital director played down the allegations and later committed suicide.

Manitoba Ombudsman Irene Hamilton says her office routinely follows up on inquest recommendations related to hospital care issues to determine what actions have been taken.

"I think having an oversight function over hospitals is important. There's a significant expenditure of money and people need an avenue by which they can ask for the opportunity to have actions addressed."

Alberta Ombudsman Gordon Button says that after 10 years of discussion, his office was given the power to investigate complaints last year. "There needs to be an independent body to provide assurance -- that last door to knock on (for patients)," he said from Edmonton.

Alberta businessman Michael Broadhurst became an advocate for making the hospital system more accountable after his 10-year-old daughter died in 1997. Maren Burkhart was misdiagnosed with flu-like symptoms, sent home, returned to hospital and soon after died of septic shock.

Broadhurst demanded explanations. "All of us, we screw up. If no one can look in from the outside, it's going to get worse."

After finally getting his skull replacement surgery in January of last year, Malleau is paralyzed on his right side and his speech is only now beginning to return.

"I've pretty much had to fight for everything," says his wife, Pat. "We were taxpayers, owned our own home. We went from having our jobs, being in the middle class, to nothing."

Anonymous said...

Forever safe, forever family? What absolute utter crap that is!

http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070516/NEWS/705160407

Adoptive mother Ciambrone's fate in the hands of Bradenton jury
By MICHAEL A. SCARCELLA

michael.scarcella@heraldtribune.com

BRADENTON -- Heather Ciambrone was negligent in the care of her 7-year-old adopted son, Lucas, but the boy's death in 1995 should not be pinned on her, Ciambrone's attorney said in court Tuesday.

Ciambrone, 38, is charged with murder for what prosecutors called the excessive and malicious beating death of Lucas. Authorities say Lucas, severely malnourished and covered in cuts and bruises, died from four blows to the back of his head.

This morning, jurors are expected to begin deliberating. A guilty verdict could put Ciambrone behind bars for the rest of her life.

She was serving a 55-year prison sentence for her role in the boy's murder before winning an appeal last year. Her husband, who stood on trial separately for Lucas' death, is serving life for murder.

"Can there really be any doubt about malice?" said prosecutor Bruce Lee, holding out a full-scale photo of Lucas' emaciated body to jurors Tuesday. "His body says it all. It shouts at you."

Medical experts said the extent of the boy's injuries were far greater than anything a child could self-inflict. Lucas' ears, for instance, were nearly torn away. He suffered several broken ribs near the base of his back.

An attorney representing Ciambrone, assistant public defender Adam Tebrugge, said jurors could hold Ciambrone accountable for not getting medical attention for her son.

But the injuries the boy suffered, and his death, should not be blamed on Ciambrone, Tebrugge said in his closing statement. Police, the attorney said, did not find any evidence from the Ciambrone house in Rubonia to support the state's theory of a "house of horrors."

Tebrugge said jurors could find Ciambrone not guilty or find her guilty of third-degree murder -- a crime that carries a maximum 15-year prison term.

To find Ciambrone guilty of third-degree murder, the jurors would have to believe that Ciambrone's abuse of Lucas was not so physically violent to be labeled aggravated.

Lucas, Tebrugge said, attacked the people who cared for him. He lashed out at his mother.

Lucas did not have the capacity to love and to use reason because of emotional abuse he suffered as a child before the Ciambrones adopted him in 1993.

Ciambrone employed strategies that included isolation and hugging to comfort Lucas during his tirades. She was a struggling mother, Tebrugge said, who did not get the help she needed to control a troubled child.

But prosecutors offered a different interpretation.

Ciambrone picked up Lucas by his ears. He was fed dry noodles in a bucket and was often naked. Lucas was locked in a windowless, dark bathroom with a concrete floor that resembled a prison cell, Lee said.

"What's the point of no light?" Lee asked. "They take the light out for one reason and one reason alone, to terrorize him."

Tebrugge questioned how Lucas died, saying there was no evidence to support an injury to the boy's head on the day of his death.

Lee said the trauma to Lucas' head was incapacitating.

"You're down. You're gone. You're dead. That's it," the prosecutor said in court.

Anonymous said...

Foster stranger danger care!


http://www.dailynexus.com/article.php?a=14134

Court Sentences Foster Parent for Abuse

Published Monday, May 14, 2007

Issue 123 / Volume 87

After a five-week sentencing hearing, a former Santa Barbara daycare operator and parent was finally sentenced to a year in prison last Friday for abusing and neglecting her four foster children - three of which she kept in cages.

Foster parent Sylvia Vasquez pleaded no contest to the four felony charges as part of a deal with Santa Barbara Judge Frank Ochoa, stipulating that the defendant spend no more than a year behind bars in county jail, with six months already served. She will face an additional nine years of probation for her crimes, which include injecting one child with a puberty-blocking hormone and forcing others to urinate and defecate in plastic buckets.

The deal was made despite strong objections from county prosecutor Joyce Dudley, who urged for a maximum sentence of 10 years. Throughout the hearing, Dudley portrayed Vasquez as a mean-spirited, violent, neglectful foster parent who - despite the lack of care she provided to her adopted children - received $173,637 from the state for her eight years of services. Dudley also claimed Vasquez inflicted psychological damage to her foster children by punishing them with cold early morning showers and lengthy homework assignments in which they were to detail their shortcomings.

Defense attorney Robert Sanger countered Dudley’s arguments by claiming that the children were exceedingly difficult. Sanger alleged that the foster children were sexually aggressive and violent, which led to Vasquez’s decision to lock them up in cages. Vasquez claimed her now-15-year-old son allegedly sexually assaulted and killed the family cat, and that the older daughter allegedly sexually abused her younger sister with a baby bottle.

An investigation was originally launched in January 2006 when neighbors alerted authorities of Vasquez’s misconduct at her residence on Foothill Road. Neighbors claimed that Vasquez was physically and emotionally abusing her foster children, who were ages six, nine, 12 and 13 at the time. After investigating, authorities reported that the six-year-old was living in a three-by-five fenced-in area of a bedroom, and the 12- and 13-year-old boys also were locked in makeshift cages, covered in urine and feces. The nine-year-old girl reportedly lived in an average, clean bedroom.

-Daily Nexus staff report

Anonymous said...

Illegal brokering, child slavery.

http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/journal_of_womens_history/v019/19.1balcom.html

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Balcom, Karen.
"Phony Mothers" and Border-Crossing Adoptions: The Montreal-to-New York Black Market in Babies in the 1950s
Journal of Women's History - Volume 19, Number 1, 2007, pp. 107-116

The Johns Hopkins University Press

Journal of Women's History 19.1 (2007) 107-116 _________________________________________________________________ * Muse * Search * Journals * This Journal * Contents [Access article in PDF] "Phony Mothers" and Border-Crossing Adoptions: The Montreal-to-New York Black Market in Babies in the 1950s Karen Balcom In February 1954, newspapers across North America announced that a transborder "Baby Black Market" had been uncovered through the collaborative efforts of American and Canadian police and prosecutors. Headlines screamed that for the previous ten years a massive "traffic in babies" had been operating in Montreal, selling the infant children of unwed, Catholic, French Canadian mothers to desperate Jewish couples from the New York City area. The "selling price" for children was said to range from $2,500 to $10,000, and the baby trade was described as a $3,000,000 or sometimes $5,000,000 operation.^1 The Montreal black market had been under investigation for at least two years by New York City Assistant District Attorney Ernest Mitler, who had previously prosecuted several baby-selling cases and testified before the U.S. Senate as an emerging expert on the baby black market.^2 There were, in fact, a series of independent but nonetheless highly organized baby rings in Montreal. The rings had their own maternity boarding houses where children were born and utilized a series of baby depots where children were housed while they awaited parents. Spotters trolled the city for pregnant women, and contacts or legmen approached pregnant women who seemed in need of help. Potential adoptive parents heard about the baby rings through word of mouth, or through salesmen who worked in New York City apartment blocks. Lawyers helped parents secure documents (false birth registrations and/or fraudulently obtained adoption court orders) which could then be used...

Anonymous said...

Lawsuit charges that DYFS errors led to sex abuse of baby girl


By JEFFREY GOLD
Associated Press Writer

April 24, 2007, 4:14 PM EDT

NEWARK, N.J. -- The adoptive mother of an 8-year-old New Jersey girl has sued the state's child welfare agency, accusing it of repeatedly bungling its obligation to protect the girl from abuse.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the adoptive parent says her daughter endured months of sexual abuse by her biological father and years of beatings by a series of foster mothers while the state Division of Youth and Family Services failed to provide medical treatment.

The girl, now 8, is mentally and physically scarred and requires weekly counseling that DYFS recently halted payments for, according to the adoptive mother.

The case is the latest to accuse DYFS of systematically failing a child under its supervision. The agency was overhauled after 2003, when the mummified remains of a 7-year-old boy, Faheem Williams, were found in the basement of a Newark apartment. Later that year, four boys in Collingswood were found starving because their adoptive mother withheld food.

The lawyer for the girl, David A. Mazie, said DYFS remains incompetent.

"Every step of the way, DFYS has shirked its responsibilities and in fact (has) been callous," Mazie said.

DYFS referred a request for comment to the state attorney general's office, where spokesman Lee Moore said only that they had not yet seen the lawsuit.

The subject of Tuesday's lawsuit was born near the Jersey shore in 1998 to a 15-year-old girl as the result of a rape by a 21-year-old man, the lawsuit said. The man, referred to only as "K.L.," has never been charged with sex offenses regarding the girl's mother or the girl, who he had custody of from November 2000 to April 2001, Mazie said.

In a phone interview, Mazie and the adoptive mother said they had not approached prosecutors to maintain the privacy and safety of the child, called "S.A." in the lawsuit.

"I'm trying to keep everything confidential to protect my daughter," said the woman, who declined to give her full name or say where they were living.

The child began living with the woman in July 2005, and the adoption was final last April, according to the lawsuit.

"She has a lot of psychological scars from all she endured. And she remembers," said the woman, called "L.A." in the lawsuit.

"Bits and pieces" of the girl's ordeal emerged over time, as the woman said, as she discovered burns on the girl and troubling behavior, such as nightmares.

"Some if it was very hard to take. We cried together and tried to comfort each other," said L.A., the adoptive mother.

When memories intrude, the girl cries and goes into a "total shutdown," L.A. said.

Yet the girl has begun to thrive: She has pulled even with her age group in second grade, where she gets As and Bs, and is learning volleyball from her adoptive sister, a teen that L.A. adopted as a newborn, the woman said.

"She's a very outgoing child. She has a lot of friends, but the issues related to the trauma will probably carry with her throughout her life," L.A. said.

Mazie, who is seeking unspecified monetary compensation for the girl, said DYFS staff should never have placed the girl with her father, and never conducted a child sex abuse investigation into the relationship between the father and mother.

To compound the errors, they failed to remove the girl even after caseworkers saw she had multiple bleach burns, including to her genitals, he said.

The child was finally taken from the father when she was 2 year old after caseworkers and a doctor found evidence to confirm a complaint that the father had struck her with a belt _ leaving a loop-shaped welt on her chest _ and tied her hands with video-game cable to hang her from a door hook, the lawsuit said.

Also being sued, in addition to DYFS and a dozen current and past agency officials and employees, is Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, which is accused of failing to act when the toddler was taken there half-drunk.

The father took S.A. there in January 2001, complaining that the child "drank something" and could not walk and was vomiting, the lawsuit said.

A blood test showed the 2-year-old child had a blood alcohol level of 0.035 percent, about half the legal limit for drivers, the lawsuit said.

The treating doctor and others never asked how the child got alcohol and never notified DYFS, the lawsuit said.

A hospital spokesman, John Shaffer, declined to comment, saying they had not yet seen the lawsuit.


Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.

Anonymous said...

Police find Texada murder weapon
Last Updated: Friday, May 4, 2001 | 5:06 PM ET
CBC News

The RCMP say a police dog has uncovered the weapon they believe was used in the killing of a three-year-old girl on Texada Island earlier this week.
Halaina Lascelle was found dead in her Van Anda home on Monday night, after the RCMP received a 911 call from Powell River.

The girl had been stabbed to death.

Her adoptive father has been charged with second-degree murder, and being held in custody.

Douglas Boyd, 32, makes his next court appearance in Powell River on May 15.

Anonymous said...

A wise man said, he did not like politicians. For good reason - they want to line their pockets first. No wonder CAS is such a murky, filthy, corrupt film of fraud.

They are just as putrid as those who support and fund them. They are disgraceful, and much more.

Anonymous said...

"Forever safe, forever families", well with such an Einstein in charge of this whole thing we can all take comfort.

If you held a stethoscope up to a baby brokers heart would you hear a heartbeat? Not likely. What type of heartless knob sells babies for a living?

Yes, babies want to be sold to infertile strangers, and anyone else that moves right Minister Chambers.

Instead of selling babies why don't we sell the brokers, ship them to 19 foster homes in Iraq, then allow them to find a very special, forever safe, forever family in Afghanistan.

Anonymous said...

But before we sell the brokers, we should do a homestudy.

If the infertile stranger in Afghanistan has for instance $20,000 or more - well hey they are forever safe aren't they now.

Anonymous said...

When babies are born they just ache and crave to be given to a heartless baby broker, and they pine away to be sold to a total stranger? What every baby wants to be sold to strangers.

Well as soon as they get out of the womb they want this don't they? To be whisked away for no reason what so ever, other then to make some pinhead social worker happy, and their real clients happy too.

And if someone is in the nutbar fantasy that such a thing exists called "forever safe, forever families", then how suitable might they be to actually screen people and do homestudies?

A little off your rocker if you think families are either always totally unsafe, or totally safe as well.

Homestudies are so magical though that the broker is a triumphant physhic. They can see into the future, they have a magical crystal ball don't they.

They must if they have the nerve to say to anyone that anyone else is forever safe.

And no conflict of interest in this what so ever right Minister. A baby broker can't fill an order through CAS and their buddies can they?

They are not corrupt at all are they now the CAS, actively fighting against the Ontario Ombudsman?

Perhaps if the Ombudsman gets in there, the rot would leave. Maybe the good social workers and the few who do care, and who are trying to help can stay, and the rot can leave.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Ombudsman might say to these assholes that children are the clients of CAS, not infertile strangers, and anyone else that moves who wants a child. Maybe he can straighten out the record, weed the rot out, and really change this. But we don't want that now do we CAS!

You people have had a feast upon the heads of the poor to feed the rich with other people's children. Wouldn't it be something if the tables turned finally.

I guess now every mother in Ontario will have MSBP, and God only knows what else with their theories. And men you poor suckers - you are not fit either - no not unless you are a total stranger. Magical homestuidies, and glowing reports will be written just for you.

The Liberals orchestrated the 649 of baby brokering. Let's hope the ball rolls at election time and the right numbers show up - vote them out!

Anonymous said...

Now if the brokers are not bonding to their captive like owners, don't fear - the brokers themselves know the answer. If they are not bonding with their owners as they are not related to them and haven't anything in common with them at all - well let us not fear. No, at that point the brokers should be taken to a fruitcake psychiatrist. Someone in bed with the brokers, and someone that has likely also bought a child from them.

The good doctor can then say that the broker is not "bonding". Therefore you see they have reactive attachment disorder. Hey they are not acting just like you. So at that point then you would want to dope the brokers to the tits on medication. Keeping them in a drugged stupor to "bond" with their owners is something that the brokers advocate. Why don't they get drugged for years on end to see how that feels!

Anonymous said...

Or if they are not bonding you can take them to the Evergreen center, where a nutbar adopter tries to re-birth them. Maybe they will choke to death in a blanket as a group of fruitcakes attempt to re-birth a child into believing they were born to a stranger who has them.

Like they did to a little girl in the States. Candace was her name.

The brokers here have no problem with the Evergreen center though - the babbling idiots at that center or the death of Candace.

Anonymous said...

If they could suck the marrow from our bones, and drain the blood from our veins they would.

These fuckers do not care about children, they care about money!

Anonymous said...

Tony Blair has stepped down. One of the highlights of his speeches was in decrying, and agreeing that babies and children should not be sold to anyone, for any reason.

How much are you for sale, if you disagree?

Anonymous said...

The broker in charge of the ship from hell, recommended the Evergreen center, as a "support" for those mentally ill, nutbar clients, that are now "entitled" to your children.

Nice eh, why didn't you just dig up Hitler Minister Chambers in this?

Anonymous said...

Vote the fuckers out, if you really love children, vote them out on mass.

Anonymous said...

They have this all set up, thieves, liars, nutbars.

The McGuinty government can down in votes, for being the worst, most corrupt lot of them all!

Vote them out!

Babies want to be sold when they are born. Baby brokers from hell have more power then they ever did.

Anonymous said...

It is the most disgusting display in Canadian politics. Vote these liars out!

Anonymous said...

Children's Aid Societies are indeed baby brokers from hell! As are those who want to sell children for $10,000 a head!

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