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More CAS Whining

March 27, 2008 permalink

Here is the best sob story yet about cuts in funding for children's aid. According to its Careers webpage, Waterloo CAS has 575+ employees. Peter Ringrose says that he has had to lay off 17 of his staff. Only 558+ to go!



Peter Ringrose
Peter Ringrose

March 26, 2008

Children forgotten by Ontario budget


On the day of the provincial budget, the man in charge of looking after Waterloo Region's neediest children was fuming.

"At the present, it doesn't seem that children are very high on their priority list," Peter Ringrose, executive director of Family and Children's Services of Waterloo Region, said yesterday of the Liberal government.

Last week, Ringrose had to cut two programs because a shortfall in provincial money left his agency with a deficit of $1.2 million. A total of 164 families were affected by the cuts. Ringrose was also forced to lay off 17 employees.

He fears there could be more cuts, especially since yesterday's budget contained no cure for the agency's financial ills. Among the possible targets are subsidies for families who adopt high-needs children.

"The problem is mounting instead of getting smaller and it will have to be dealt with at some point," Ringrose said.

In 2006, the McGuinty government ordered child-protection agencies such as Family and Children's Services to implement what it called a "transforming agenda." The guiding principle was that children are best left with their immediate or extended families instead of being put in foster care or group homes.

But the agenda required social workers to devote more time to individual cases, connecting with the families and monitoring precarious domestic situations.

In 2006-07, Family and Children's Services received $979,000 from the province to implement the agenda. Last year, that funding was cut to $434,000.

Because of the resulting deficit, the agency had to cut two programs aimed at keeping at-risk adolescents in their homes. One recreation-based program, called Going Beyond, helped 103 youths; the other program, called Outreach, helped 61 families.

Without these programs, "we are going to see more kids at risk of coming into our care," Ringrose said.

The agency recently closed a group home for teens because there wasn't a need for it, he said. Now the home may have to be reopened.

Yesterday, the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies said 46 of the province's 53 agencies are running deficits.

The combined deficit of $22.3 million this fiscal year could rise to $60 million next year, the association said.

Ringrose said he's met with Children and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews and Kitchener Centre MPP John Milloy, but there was no promise of more help.

Source: Waterloo Record

crocodile tears

Addendum: A reader suggests that Peter Ringrose should attend an anger management course.