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CAS Records Abandoned
October 26, 2007 permalink
Following a visit to a private home, a Halton CAS worker abandoned several documents. The client is returning them to the judge in their case. In an earlier mistaken disclosure a mother placed a document on the internet — it is in the second addendum to the Easter Grinch story. Documents like this ought to be published, not for the names and conditions of the children, but for what they disclose about the methods used by social workers to break up families.
October 25, 2007
Family secrets revealed
CAS worker forgets info in client's home
By SARAH GREEN, SUN MEDIA
An Oakville couple say they were shocked when a case worker with the Halton Children's Aid Society left behind papers that they say contain sensitive information about other families.
"It scares me to death," said the 33-year-old woman, a mother of four children, aged 15 to 5. "Is my information out there at somebody's house? We don't think this is right at all."
The CAS worker left the stack of clipped papers on the kitchen table following an hour-long visit Monday afternoon to the couple's Oakville home, the woman said.
The woman said the Halton CAS has had an open file on her family for nearly four years following allegations made after the breakdown of her abusive, former marriage. She has full custody of her children.
"I thought they were papers for me," the woman said. "I didn't think it would be information on all these families."
The woman alleged the papers contained the addresses of foster homes where kids are living, as well as other potentially sensitive information.
"This is stuff that shouldn't be out there," she said.
Nancy MacGillivray, executive director of the Halton CAS, said she spoke to the case worker yesterday and "we have no idea what they have in their possession."
The case worker "doesn't seem to be missing anything," MacGillivray said.
"If we've left confidential information behind, of course it's concerning on our part, but I have no idea what it is," MacGillivray said.
The agency left a message for the couple Tuesday and two Halton CAS officials visited their Oakville home yesterday afternoon to ask for the return of the papers, the woman's fiance, 33, said.
A letter, written by the agency's director of protection services, noted the couple had information with the names and addresses of 15 clients.
"We look forward to the immediate return of our documents," the fiance said, reading from the letter. "I am sure that you can appreciate that privacy and confidentiality of all of our clients are of the utmost importance to us."
The couple, who have a hearing today in family court in Milton, said they plan to turn the papers over to the judge instead.
Source: Toronto Sun
Addendum: Canada Court Watch has found the parent in this case and identified Barb Turkowska as the incompetent caseworker.
Halton CAS worker, Barb Turkowska, gets exposed for her incompetence
(October 25, 2007) A child protection worker with the Halton Region Children's Aid Society, Barb Turkowska, is incompetent and has tarnished the reputation of the Halton CAS and should be fired as a child protection worker claims an Oakville mother. Under existing legislation, the name of the mother cannot be published.
According to the Oakville mother, CAS worker, Barb Turkowska left highly confidential case files containing personal information about several other families at the mother's home when she came for a visit at the family home on Monday October 22, 2007. The mother says she found the files in her home and at first thought that the files were left for her by the CAS worker. When she looked at the files in more detail later, she discovered that highly confidential and sensitive information about other children and families was there as well. Ms. Turkowska did not call the family for the missing files and it was only when members of the media tried to reach Ms. Trukowska at her work, did the Halton CAS become aware of Ms. Turkowska's most serious mistake.
According to Nancy McGillivray, the Executive Director of the Halton CAS, Ms. Turkowska, was not missing anything and that the CAS had "no idea" as to what information the Oakville mother may have had in her possession. Examination of the files at the mother's home by reporters from various media agencies, clearly revealed the highly sensitive information. Either the worker misled the Executive Director of the Halton Children's Aid Society, or she was just so forgetful that she really could not remember what files she had outside of the offices or where she had left them in error.
The mother claimed that not only was the Halton Children's Aid Society worker forgetful, but that she did not know how to spell English properly. According to the mother, Ms. Turkowska's case notes are riddled with spelling mistakes and errors. Even the simple word "mother" was spelled, "mahter" in the worker's own notes. The mother also claims that the children could not communicate with Ms. Turkowska very well because the CAS worker's accent was so heavy that the children had difficulty understanding what she was saying much of the time.
Court Watch has claimed for some time now that workers with the various CAS agencies in Ontario must be more carefully screened and trained and that all workers with CAS agencies be licensed by the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Most citizens would agree that any child protection worker who carelessly leaves confidential files on the job and then cannot even remember which confidential files he/she had with them outside the confines of their office, obviously is not fit to bear the responsibility of a child protection worker.
Source: Canada Court Watch