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February 23, 2006 permalink
CAS has responded to an earlier article about a group wanting CAS off the Six Nations land. We rarely respond point-by-point to the drivel coming from Children's Aid, but will in this case. Here is their response, exactly as published except that we have numbered the paragraphs.
Caring for children at risk
By Shannon Korber, manager of Native Services Branch (Brant CAS)
The Hamilton Spectator (Feb 23, 2006)
Re: 'Group wants Children's Aid Society off Six Nations land' (Feb. 18)
1. The mandate of the Children's Aid Society of Brant, Native Services Branch (CAS/NSB) is to provide protection services to children deemed to be at risk of harm or to have been harmed.
2. The NSB staff understands the history of child welfare in Native communities (including the residential school legacy) and strives to implement a service that is fair, consistent and protects children's rights to live safely without risk of harm or neglect.
3. There are situations where, for a variety of reasons, children are unsafe in their current home situations and extended family members are unwilling, unable, or are deemed inappropriate to care for children. In some circumstances there is no, or limited, extended family. However not all children are in care as the result of apprehension. In certain cases, children are signed over to the care of the CAS on the consent of their parents who have identified their own inability to care for their children.
4. Within the structure of existing services, we are the service mandated to bring high-risk issues such as drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence forward as the very issues that devastate the lives of children and families.
5. The CAS receives reports from community members, teachers and school support staff, police, family members and other professionals, regarding protection concerns.
6. The reports are investigated and must be verified before a child is removed from its home and placed (when possible) in the care of an approved family member, with on-going but limited CAS involvement. If there is no family placement, the child is apprehended and placed in the care of the CAS.
7. The CAS must bring all evidence before a provincial family court judge for review. If the CAS does not provide concrete evidence to confirm child protection concerns, the children would be returned home.
8. This standard is outlined within the Child and Family Services Act, which is provincial legislation and guides other services within the Six Nations community such as day care, police and Social Services.
9. The NSB staffs plan to meet with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Six Nations Band Council to resolve service delivery matters until Six Nations endorses an agreement first negotiated in 1993, allowing community based-service delivery.
10. We would like to emphasize that the caring and protection of children is a shared responsibility. You can help by becoming a foster parent, an adoptive parent, or a volunteer. You are invited to contact our office at 519-445-2247. Together we can make a difference.
That has to make you feel warm and fuzzy about CAS. But here are some realities.
1. This is as it ought to be, not as it is. CAS gets most of its funding from the per-diem reimbursement for children in foster care. Protection of children is a smokescreen.
2. Here Mrs Korber acknowledges past abuses, inviting the reader to assume that things are better now. She did not say things are better, and they are not.
3. The real reason children are placed in foster homes in preference to relatives is that foster care generates funding for CAS, relative placement does not. The cases where children are signed over to CAS are never truly voluntary. We have interviewed dozens of parents who have signed "voluntary service agreements" with Children's Aid. Many are approached by a social worker explaining that a signature is needed to allow CAS to help the family, then the family discovers too late that they have relinquished their children. Others are threatened with court action if they fail to sign as demanded.
4 This is a high-sounding paragraph that makes you feel good about the author's intentions, but on on analysis, says nothing at all.
5. The CAS does indeed get lots of reports from professionals who come in contact with children. Those who fail to report are prosecuted, and CAS has made those prosecutions well known among all targeted professions. They act not out of concern for the welfare of children, but fear for loss of their livelihood.
6. CAS does no real investigation before snatching a child. In actual court cases, most of the justification for keeping a child is from evidence gathered after the apprehension.
7. CAS is not required to present evidence to a court before taking a child. The court proceedings are only about whether the parents can get their children returned. For most parents, those lacking the means to hire competent legal counsel, the hearings are a sham and they have no opportunity to oppose Children's Aid.
8. The Child and Family Services Act is a one-sided law that gives powers to Children's Aid. There is not a single paragraph protective of the rights of parents.
9. CAS/NSB intends to negotiate until the Band does what CAS says.
10. CAS appeals to you to help them, in what must be a worthy cause. Fund appeals by CAS raise insignificant amounts of money, but serve to dupe more members of the public the same way. In hundreds of families interviewed, we have yet to find a single parent or child who has anything favorable to say about his experiences with Children's Aid.