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$500,000 Donation to Children's Aid
February 18, 2005 permalink
The Children's Aid Society of Hamilton has received a $500,000 donation. This Society serves the home riding of Minister of Children and Youth Services Marie Bountrogianni. Ordinarily, gifts to Children's Aid Societies are of inconsequential size, and serve only to create the illusion of charity. For example, in the year ending March 31, 2004 Dufferin CAS received total revenues of $10,327,279, of which $3,562 was donations. The current gift may be an example of charity, or the Ministry and business currying each others favor.
Local agency recipient of largest-ever gift to CAS in province
By Abigail Cukier
The Children's Aid Society of Hamilton received an unprecedented gift of $500,000 in support of the organization's new centre for children at risk, which officially opened last week.
The donation, from POSCOR Mill Services Corp., a processor of ferrous metals, is the largest gift in the agency's 110-year history and the largest ever to any Children's Aid Society in Ontario.
Hamilton CAS is one of the 10 largest child protection agencies in the province and formerly occupied four locations. After six months of renovations, the new location on Arrowsmith Road in Stoney Creek, opened last October.
"We had a vision to bring all of our staff together and to offer programs we never had the opportunity to deliver before," said Dominic Verticchio, executive director of Hamilton CAS. "This is a comprehensive child care facility and it is much more cost effective."
By renovating an existing building rather than opening a new facility, the agency tripled its capacity and reduced operating costs by 50 per cent. The 156,000 square-foot facility cost $4.5 million, and another $1.5 million in renovations.
Hamilton Mayor Larry Di Ianni spoke at the opening ceremonies.
"A civil society is measured by how it nurtures and looks after its children," he said. "I have seen how much we need assistance for our most vulnerable in times of crisis. That's what CAS does."
Chris Phillips, special policy advisor to MP Tony Valeri, presented certificates from Mr. Valeri and Prime Minister Paul Martin.
Dr. Marie Bountrogianni, provincial minister of children and youth services, also spoke and presented a certificate and a letter from the Premier.
Named the POSCOR Centre for Children At Risk, the facility will offer medical and dental services and a child-friendly interview room so children do not have to go to the police station for interviews with the Hamilton Police Service Child Abuse Branch.
In addition to providing child protection, Hamilton CAS strives to reduce child abuse and neglect, repair the lives of children who have suffered from abuse and neglect and contribute to a better life for children at risk and their families. In fact, the agency admits fewer than five per cent of the children it sees into care.
A working kitchen provides an opportunity for parents to learn about nutrition and budgeting for meals. A parent support program provides modeling and instruction on topics including discipline, parental self-esteem and how to access community resources. The therapeutic access centre provides support and teaching about positive parenting and communication. Small support groups for children include anger management, skill development, grief and sex education.
The facility will also offer 59 daycare spaces to staff and residents.
Mr. Verticchio said poverty, teen pregnancies and domestic violence have contributed to a large increase in foster children here. In the last five years, the number of children rose from 395 to 675. While most are temporarily placed, Mr. Verticchio said the number of permanent wards has also increased in the last two years. Without enough foster parents in the area, many children have to be moved out of Hamilton.
Hamilton has about 245 foster families, but Mr. Vericchio said he would love to see that number double.
For information call 905-522-1121.
Source: Hamilton Mountain News