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Bountrogianni Promise

May 31, 2005 permalink

Yesterday the report of Ontario Ombudsman André Marin on disabled children was the prime topic of conversation in the Ontario Legislature. All of the questions on the topic came from the NDP. In Premier McGuinty's turn to speak, he echoed Mrs Bountrogianni's earlier boasts of increased funding for Children's Aid, funding that raises the baby bounty. Minister of Children and Youth Services Marie Bountrogianni said:

My ministry has directed the children's aid societies to begin calling the parents tomorrow. Where there are no protection issues, those parents who have temporary care agreements will have their parental rights restored without a change to the service for their children on or before this Friday.

The result of this warm sounding promise may be:

  • As in an earlier statement by Mrs Bountrogianni, she may simply ignore the promise.
  • The restoration of parental rights may be restricted to the seven cases investigated by Mr Marin, leaving hundreds of other families without relief.
  • The minister may examine all children in foster care, including crown wards, and return them to their parents in cases where there were no valid grounds for removal. That would take a political miracle.
  • Children's Aid may create "protection issues" justifying keeping the children. In a letter to Ontario political leaders (pdf), John Dunn has predicted how Children's Aid will continue to take custody of disabled children when, in Marie Bountrogianni's words, "there are no protection issues". CAS will behave outrageously toward the parents, then at the first sign of annoyance, send the parents to anger management and take the kids.

In any case, the issue being discussed is a trifle. Ontario has 18,000 foster children, of which 150 to 200 are covered by Mr Marin's report. No one has asked how many of the others were taken into custody without cause.