Report of the President and Executive Director:
The past year has been one of unprecedented change. In all three service areas, the agency has been at a full "run to keep up". The most significant change came with the proclamation of the amended Child and Family Services Act on March 31 of this year preceded with much work to prepare for its' introduction and the change it is yet to bring in the coming years. The following summarizes the work of the agency over the past year.
Our Community Support Service saw two significant changes over the past year: the transfer of the Parent Relief Program from the Dufferin Association for Community Living to our agency and its redesign into an individualized funding model, and the implementation in all cases of Individual Support Agreements or ISA's.
The Children's Mental Health Service introduced the Arson Prevention Program for Children with staff trained in assessing fire setting behaviors and a working protocol completed with all local fire services. More change continues since the Ministry of Community and Social Services increased funding to our Children's Mental Heath Service by 75%. This overdue funding is very welcome news and allows the agency to begin implementation of two new programs, the Intensive Child and Family Intervention Program and Mobile Crisis this fall.
Child Protection has been particularly busy with the introduction of the new funding formula, new court rules, staff training and the introduction of new procedures in preparation for the implementation of the revised Child and Family Services Act, its new regulations and a revised Risk Assessment Model.
The amended act makes it clear that its paramount purpose is to promote the best interest, protection and well-being of children. The 1985 legislation had previously listed several purposes including the "least restrictive action" for the family under investigation. The term "least restrictive" had sometimes unintentionally resulted in children being kept in dangerous situations. The amended act will make it easier for societies to intervene and protect children sooner.
In addition, the act has expanded the reasons for finding a child in need of protection. Previously, the word "neglect" was never specifically used in any grounds for finding a child in need of protection. The phrase "pattern of neglect" has now been added to the grounds allowing a child to be assessed as being in need of protection. Also, the courts had to find a "substantial risk" of harm to a child to justify a finding that a child was in need of protection. At times, the interpretation of the word "substantial" created too high a test before action was taken to protect a child, again resulting in some children being left in unsafe situations. The amended act lowers the threshold for interventions and court findings by replacing the word "substantial risk" to "risk that a child is likely to be harmed". A further lowering of the threshold has been accomplished by the change in wording from "severe" to "serious" in describing the results of emotional harm. As well, "delayed development" is added to the list of symptoms of emotional harm. An important amendment now clarifies that evidence can include past conduct of a parent or caregiver toward any child, not just the child in the person's care.
Other important changes include new reporting grounds and requirements; introduces the obligation to report ongoing concerns even though you have already made a report; introduces legal changes which promote earlier decision making which allow for permanent arrangements for children as soon as possible; and ensures that access to children permanently removed from parental care is granted by the court only if such access is beneficial to the child.
Children's Aid Societies and Boards of Directors are bound by the philosophy and direction set by these legislative changes to the Child and Family Services Act. The mission of our society has for years been child focused with the protection and best interest of the child as our utmost objective. Although we strive to meet children's basic safety needs within their family, it is often necessary and best to remove children from parental care. We support the new directions taken by the province in the amendments to the Child and Family Services Act and the other child welfare reform agenda actions.
The challenges are many over the next few years of implementing this constant change. None of it would be possible without the ongoing support and exceptional hard work of our staff, volunteers, foster parents and Board Members. To all of you goes our continued admiration and thanks.
In 1999, no employees were paid salary as defined in the Public Sector Disclosure Act 1996, of $100,000 or more by the Children's Aid Society of the County of Dufferin.
Central Shared Services
Gary Putman, Executive Director
Pat Morrison, Manager Finance and Administration
Irene Beazley, Executive Assistant
Child Protection Service
Debbie Taylor, Senior Program Manager
Kim Evans, Program Manager - Intake
Children's Mental Health Service
Shirley Hackman, Program Manager
Dr Greg Finlayson (Psychologist)
Dr Susan Bradley (Psychiatrist)
Developmental Support Service
Dorothy McLachlan, Program Manager
Dufferin Children's Fund
Wardlaw, Mullin, Carter, Thwaites & Ward
7:00 - 7:45 pm
Minutes of the Previous Annual Meeting
Approval of the 1999/00 Audited Report
Appointment of Auditors for 2000/01
Election of Directors
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Note: Full Audited Financial Statements are distributed separately
1999/2000 ANNUAL REPORT
The Children's Aid Society of the County of Dufferin