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Bountrogianni May be Asked to Resign

May 30, 2005 permalink

The following press release, originating with the Ontario New Democratic Party (NDP) suggests that Minister of Children and Family Services Marie Bountrogianni should resign over failure to deliver promised services to the parents of disabled children.




Attention News Editors:

Families in Ombudsman Ontario's Special Needs Report Visit Queen's Park Today, Demand Real Answers from Minister Bountrogianni

LONDON, ON, May 30 /CNW/ - Parents in the Ombudsman Ontario report, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" could call on the Minister and those in her ministry to resign today. They will sit in Queen's Park legislative gallery while specific questions are raised to the Minister of Child and Youth Services.

Linda Limon, one of the 'original seven' complainants in the Ombudsman's report and mother to Andrew, who is 8 and severely Autistic, expects meaningful answers from Minister Bountrogianni. Linda wants to ask, "When are you going to find Andrew a permanent placement? "It's not as simply as 'restoring custodial rights' and means nothing to us...Jim and I have custody of Andrew". Andrew is currently on an extension at a Ministry treatment facility in London (CPRI) until the end of August. Last week, he broke both of his permanent front teeth in half head-banding on the floor at CPRI.

All of the seven complainants in the Ombudsman's report have custody of their children, except one having been forced into societal wardship. For some, crown wardship will be a reality very soon. Some of the parents have expressed anger over the Minister's latest announcement to restore custodial rights to parents. "While we applaud the Ombudsman's recommendations, the Minister stating she'd be restoring custody does nothing to change Jesse's life 300KM from home. Nothing at all. We have custody but we do not have our son", Cyndi Cameron, mother to Jesse Cameron, 14, expressed.

The Minister's recent comments regarding 'moving very quickly' on this issue holds little weight with families who have waited years to access residential service. While the Minister continues to express a commitment to 'building capacity', some believe the Ministry is paralyzed with indecision. Five of the families were available for comment and jointly state that either the Minister - and those within her ministry, specifically, Deputy Minister Jessica Hill, Assistant Deputy Minister Cynthia Lees, and Regional Director, Peter Steckenreiter either "step up to the plate today or step down from their positions". They want the Minister to fulfill the Ombudsman's recommendations for their kids- commit to stating specific action plans today, in their presence.

Jennifer Bray, mother to Wesley, 12, insists that Bountrogianni act immediately to re-instate the legislation for special-needs agreements. "We can no longer go through this nightmare," Bray said.

The families have also expressed a concern regarding the general impression about their involvement in the class action law suit. None of these families state that they are currently involved in the Anne Larcade $500 million class action lawsuit. These parents express there needs to be a point of clarification that their families - who are currently facing Children's Aid Society (CAS) involvement and imminent custodial relinquishment to access residential services for their children with special needs, and who are without lawyers in this matter have put faith in the process of the Ombudsman and government - and are not involved in the class action suit. "Any reports to the contrary presently in the media - or from other involved citizens are just not true", mother Cynthia Cameron stated.

"We refuse to become involved with the CAS to access residential support for Andrew. Today, I am at Queen's Park demanding a definitive solution outside the CAS, for my son.

For the seven original complainant families - the Brays, Camerons, Grignards, Limons, McLarens, Nieblers, and Pynes - the time for the Minister to act specifically in their cases is now. "I would like to ask the Minister, how has that seventy-four million dollars she continues to refer to helped our families?", Limon questioned.

For further information: Parents available for comment at the following contact numbers are: Jennifer Bray, (519) 253-5160; Cyndi Cameron, (519) 474-4359 (home) or (519) 719-7867 (cell); Tina Grignard, (519) 631-5472 (home after 6 p.m.); Linda Limon, (519) 245-7087 (home after 7 p.m.) or (519) 719-7867 (cell).

Source: press release