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Easter Grinch Arrested
June 2, 2006 permalink
Here are two more stories of theft within York Region CAS, from Canada Court Watch. Canada Court Watch amended its story later to include the name of the Grinch, Donna Lennon.
York Region Children's Aid Society supervisor BUSTED and arrested for stealing from a child in care!
(June 2, 2006) Just to keep readers updated, in follow-up to an earlier Court Watch exclusive, a York Region CAS supervisor, Donna Lennon, was arrested by York Regional Police today for stealing from a child in the care of the York Region CAS. This CAS worker who was labelled as the Easter Grinch (see earlier post) has been nabbed officially after reports that York CAS was not cooperative in helping police to nab the chocolate-loving Easter Grinch culprit.
Readers should stay tuned for other developments. Those in the area may be interested in attending court when the York Region CAS worker appears in court which is likely to be sometime next week. Court Watch also has information to support other charges against the York Region CAS and these are being investigated as well.
More thieving of children's money by a worker with the York Region CAS
(June 2, 2006) Just after Court Watch reported the story of the Easter Grinch, more news has been passed to Court Watch about the York Region CAS. This time it is a story about more children's money being stolen. The parent who contacted Court Watch says that she has documentation to show that a worker with the York Region CAS took almost $1500 from her which was supposed to be for expenses for her child but it appears that the worker did not deposit the money with the CAS. According to the parent, MPP David Peterson has tried to get through to the York Region CAS to straighten out this mess for this parent but that the CAS will not answer questions from the MPP or even return Mr. Peterson's calls. Seems like the agency has something to hide. Court Watch will be gathering documents and publishing a full story and assisting the parent to see that charges are laid by police.
Source: Canada Court Watch
Addendum: Here is the same story from the York Region Era-Banner, giving the name of the family, but not the Grinch:
CAS worker charged after cash stolen
A York Region Children's Aid Society case worker has been charged with theft after a former Queensville resident claimed an Easter gift for her son was missing.
Alexandra Stuart assembled an Easter basket with chocolates, candies, a new bank card and a card containing the PIN number for her 12-year-old son's first bank account. The boy, who has severe emotional and psychological problems, has been in a group home for three years.
Just days before Easter, Ms Stuart took the basket to a CAS office and left it for a case worker to deliver to the boy.
"I went in to the bank for an update ... and I could see the money had been withdrawn on Good Friday," the mother said.
"Now why would my son be in the bank withdrawing the money on Good Friday? It just didn't make sense."
When she asked her son why he had withdrawn the cash, he told her he never received the gift. "He was just crying. He was inconsolable," she said.
When Ms Stuart first confronted the case worker about the missing gift, Ms Stuart said the woman accused her of taking $40 from the account.
"I called the police right away and filed a report," she said.
Police charged the case worker with theft and possession of stolen property under $5,000 Thursday.
York Region society executive director Martin McNasaid "immediate and swift" action was taken, but would not elaborate.
However, Ms Stuart claims she was told the woman, a society case worker for 22 years, had been fired.
She also said York Region CAS has returned the $40 to her, but other than that, the organization has been less than co-operative.
"That's why I am really upset. CAS has been so unco-operative," she said. "They claim it is an internal matter and confidentiality and liability issues come into play."
Addendum: EkaterinaEthier has a letter on the letterhead of the York Region Children's Aid Society dated February 20, 2006, signed by Anthony W Snider, Senior Counsel, stating:
We have been advised by our Area Office of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services that you have recently written to the Minister and a number of Ministry officials, expressing concern that when you reviewed a package of disclosure material that had been provided to you, relating to your own file with this agency, you discovered that you had received an e-mail that was not part of your file, but related to another family. Apparently, the memo found its way into the disclosure you received by some inadvertence or accident at our end.
While the e-mail in question does reference a person's surname, the surname is a common one, and the information in the e-mail does not, in and of itself, identify who the children or family in question is. This is fortunate, as it means that, without some context or other knowledge of the family in question, it would not be possible for someone who has no knowledge of the specific family to read the e-mail and determine the identity of the family in question.
Mr Snider's letter clearly states that disclosure of the email by itself is not in violation of the disclosure prohibition in the Child and Family Services Act, and since it is now evidence in a criminal case, we reproduce it below. For those not familiar with social worker procedures, it is an example of the technique of disrupting visitation, then blaming the family for not attending. The other circumstances in this case show that the mother was trying to care for her child as well as possible.
- Martin McNamara/YCAS@YCAS
- Sue Clarke/YCAS@YCAS
- Stuart Response
Attached is a draft response as discussed.
In terms of the facts of the matter, briefly they are as follows:
1) The court order states that mother may initiate telephone access on reasonable notice, and not more than twice monthly; physical access is quarterly, again with mother to request. The children's wishes are to be considered in arranging access.
Mother has cancelled agreed on telephone access, or has not sought to arrange them. Many times, especially of late, the children have refused telephone access because of mother's cancellation of phone and physical access. Matters have been increasingly problematic as a result of the "no shows"; one of the children in particular has entered into crisis and requires frequent physical restraints as a result. The Society is contemplating making adjustments to the access scenario in order to better support the children.
2) Ms. Stuart was provided with a schedule of quarterly access in writing on January 25, 2005. Mother had a court hearing pertaining to the civil suit involving the Society on February 25, but did not advise us that this was the case. She did, however, advise counsel to the parties in the suit that she could not attend at court due to a visit. Counsel was concerned as she has regularly prevented the matter from being resolved by non attendance, and contacted Tony. On February 24th we advised Ms. Stuart not to attend the visit but to attend court instead. A make up visit was arranged.
As her court dates pertain to a civil matter and not a child welfare matter, we have no notice of court dates. Ms. Stuart wuld have to advise us of any conflicts, and we would work with her to accommodate.
March 8 letter re Alexandra Stuart.doc
Margaret Osmond, MSW
Director, Residential Services
York Region CAS
905-895-2318 Ext. 2261
Addendum: Canada Court Watch has spoken to the mother at length, and issued a full report on the theft by Donna Lennon, dated June 5, 2006.