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CAS Compels Parents to Abandon Son

March 21, 2005 permalink

The parental dilemma reported in the following article is common among parents of children with disabilities. CAS refuses to help the child until the parents abandon him to the care of CAS. The Larcade suit referred to in the article is one that seeks to increase funding for Children's Aid. Here is the article from the London (Ontario) Free Press:



Parents forced to 'abandon' son

CAS involvement was the family's only option to get help for their troubled son.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tina Grignard of St. Thomas sympathizes with Cameron.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: canoe website

Addendum: On March 31 the provincial parliament debated this case.