Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.
Chambers in Parliament
October 1, 2005 permalink
This week Minister of Children and Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers addressed the Standing Committed on Estimates of the Ontario Legislature. She proudly announced new policies aimed at expanding social services for children, without any hint that some of them might worsen life for children by weakening the influence of parents in their lives.
But in our day-to-day work in the constituency office, first of all, I find the children's aid societies kind of removed. I know the work they deal with is rather proprietary in terms of privacy issues and other issues; it's very personal information. But I find it's almost like I'm on turf that I shouldn't be on, even though I've been asked or engaged to be because of some constituent's needs. It's almost like dealing with another country. I don't say that critically. I just find that they're protective almost to a fault. We don't go looking for trouble. We don't. We have enough work to do without digging up some spurious little piece of information. But I do encourage a perhaps more open relationship.
In plain English this means that getting information out of children's aid is as hard for politicians as for anyone else. This is no accident. It is an example of what public choice theory calls "information asymmetry". Social service bureaucrats know what is happening in their agency, but conceal the facts from the legislators, revealing just those few bits of information that will get them enhanced funding. The elected politicians have to operate mostly in the dark. It is information asymmetry, not the emotional protection of the child, that accounts for the extraordinary level of secrecy within children's aid.
The rest of the Hansard in this discussion confirms that the politicians are clueless about the actual operation of children's aid societies.