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November 9, 2005 permalink
Here is a letter from Mary McConville published in the Toronto Star, followed by an unpublished reply from a Dufferin VOCA reader.
CCAS committed to quality care
Nov. 5, 2005. 01:00 AM
Innocent children, monstrous life
The Star reported that the Catholic Children's Aid Society moved Jeffrey Baldwin's three remaining siblings from their foster home "because of a time-out that exceeded the approved formula." The Society's legal and professional obligations prevent us from disclosing why Jeffrey Baldwin's siblings were removed from their foster home. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services — to whom we are accountable — is aware of the reasons for our actions in this case. The Society does not remove children from foster homes for frivolous reasons.
We understand the importance of maintaining continuity and stability in the lives of our foster children and any decision to remove children from their foster home is difficult and is always taken with a child's well-being in mind. This is especially critical in the case of Jeffrey Baldwin's siblings, whose childhoods have already been compromised. We are committed to ensuring that Jeffrey Baldwin's siblings receive nothing but the highest quality foster care.
The circumstances that led to Jeffrey Baldwin's death are tragic and unacceptable. The Catholic Children's Aid Society has made changes to its internal practices to reduce the risk that a tragedy like this could happen again in the future.
Mary A. McConville, Executive Director, Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto
Source: Toronto Star
In her letter, CCAS Committed to Quality Care, Mary McConville selectively takes issue with statements sworn by the foster parent her agency employed to care for Jeffrey Baldwin's siblings.
She neglects to mention these children were removed from this foster parent only days after Jeffrey's death and placed in three separate foster homes. One wonders what incident could justify inflicting such an emotionally devastating experience on these children. If a sufficiently serious incident did occur, it can only raise further alarms about this agency.
McConville claims she cannot disclose why the children were removed from their foster home due to legal and professional restrictions. Curiously, the same restrictions did not prevent CCAS from publicly disclosing why the children were removed from the Baldwin home in the first place.
The Ministry of Children and Youth Services - who are only aware of what the Children's Aid Society of Toronto told it - must view this wide discrepancy between the foster parent's testimony and the agency's explanation with considerable concern. This is one more reason why a public inquiry is essential in this case.
Previously, McConville claimed the incredible negligence CCAS demonstrated in placing Jeffrey with convicted child abusers was attributable to deficiencies in her agency's kinship care policies. Here, she conveniently neglected to mention that CCAS also supported Elva Bottineau as home child-care provider.
Contrary to McConville's reassurances that CCAS does not remove children for frivolous reasons, thousands of Ontario residents have publicly stated the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto and provincial agencies like it, routinely do precisely that.