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April 18, 2007 permalink
A pending bill 88 introduced by Andrea Horwath would give the power to investigate children's aid societies to the provincial ombudsman. That office is occupied by the hard-hitting André Marin, who is aware of the extent of the problems with children's aid. A report from him could precipitate a scandal leading to real reform. In an effort to protect themselves, social services spokesman Mary Anne Chambers introduced a neutered bill 165 to withhold investigatory power from the obudsman, but to modify the powers of the child advocate, currently career social worker Judy Finlay. The advocate would not have subpoena power, so it is unlikely she could do anything that would cause a public outcry.
There is a website, Child Advocacy Renewal in Ontario, supporting bill 165. We believe it is a creation of the social services system, since it shares their graphic design (all smiling faces) and has the same street address, 25 Spadina Road Toronto, as the Children's Aid Foundation.
Whether or not bill 165 is an improvement, hearings could be an opportunity for victims of the current regime and advocates of true reform to get their objections on record. Those wishing to do so through the social services system can use Child Advocacy Renewal in Ontario; John Dunn suggests asking for Matthew Geigen-Miller. For less biased help, we can suggest:
Addendum: Another website allied with social services, Voices for Children, says the hearings will take place on April 25 and 26.