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More Support for Bill 88

December 16, 2006 permalink

Last month the Hamiltion media all reported on an audit passed by the local Children's Aid Society. We ignored the self-congratulatory item then, but John Dunn got a reply published in the Hamilton Mountain News. Here are the original article and John Dunn's reply:



CAS sees strong results in Ministry review

The results of a recent Ministry review confirm that children in the permanent care of The Children's Aid Society of Hamilton are being placed in appropriate settings and are receiving effective services and supports to address their needs.

In October 2006, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services conducted a comprehensive review of 199 Crown ward files and 12 adoption probation files, as required under Section 66 or the Child & Family Services Act. Overall, the Society achieved compliance ratings of 93 per cent on the Crown ward files and 100 per cent on adoption probation files.

"We are extremely pleased with the results of the review," said Dominic Verticchio, Executive Director of The Children's Aid Society of Hamilton. "These results prove the effect of long-term sustained focus for continuous improvement in the overall delivery of service to children."

Crown ward findings are based on a review of a Society's files, questionnaires completed by Crown wards and client interviews. The review was conducted at the Society's office from October 2-12, 2006. In addition to legislative requirements, a review team audits the entire case management of the wards ensuring that the Society is providing services to meet the child's educational, behavioural and treatment needs.

"This is testament of the dedication and hard work of our staff to ensure high compliance with Ministry standards, while managing the challenging day-to-day responsibilities inherent in meeting the needs of children in our care," said Mary Meyer, Director of Children's Services, for the Society.

Currently there are 357 Crown wards in the care CAS Hamilton.

Source: Hamilton Mountain News

If you care about rights of children, support Bill 88

Re: CAS sees strong results in Ministry review

In the Nov. 24, 2006 article which discusses the results of a recent Ministry review of the appropriateness of placement of foster children in homes and adoption probation settings the Ministry gives the agency rave reviews.

What it fails to mention is how long in advance the Ministry gives the agency to prepare for the review (agency's selection of files for review by non-independant Ministry Auditors), how Crown Wards were selected for interviews (do they choose the ones who are upset or just the well behaved and happy ones) and it does not mention what appropriate services are being provided to those who need them. (therapy and support vs. punishments and labels).

The article goes on to state that the Ministry reviewed 199 Crown Ward files and 12 adoption probation files and that overall the Society acheived compliance ratings of 93 percent on the Crown Ward files and 100 percent on the adoption placement files. Compliance with what? Are the public allowed to see these criterion? Who makes them? People in the industry? Unfortunately due to extremely high and often unwanted secrecy in child welfare, information which would shock the public is kept secret, locked away in record vaults such as serious occurance reports, thousands of them which detail the daily abuses that children and youth in foster care suffer while in care.

They are so secretive that not only are the media, the privacy commissioner and even at times the courts kept from accessing them, but the actual current and former foster children themselves are refused copies of their files and offered "social histories" instead.

Please, if you care about the rights of children and youth in foster care, support Bill 88, which is an attempt to get the Ombudsman to have jurisdiction over CAS's across the province. Something the Ministry has fought tooth and nail over many years, especially the last year.

Can we hear from the Crown Wards themselves on this review? Oh yeah, sorry folks, the media are not allowed to identify them.... s. 45(8) Child and Family Services Act.

John Dunn
Executive Director
The Foster Care Council of Canada

Source: Hamilton Mountain News