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Give CAS More Power!

August 15, 2008 permalink

The brouhaha following the death of Katelynn Sampson has led Ontario's attorney general Chris Bentley to conduct a review of child protection legislation. It is hard to imagine any outcome other than more power for children's aid societies. We will trust John Dunn to approach the attorney general to find out whether past CAS clients will be part of the review.



Ontario Attorney-General to review child protection laws

MARIA BABBAGE, The Canadian Press, August 15, 2008 at 5:47 AM EDT

A review of legislation aimed at protecting vulnerable children such as Katelynn Sampson is under way in the wake of the seven-year-old girl's death, Ontario Attorney-General Chris Bentley said yesterday.

"We are working very hard with the Ministry of Children and Youth to make sure that whatever needs to be done will be done, whatever changes need to be made will be made, whatever we need to strengthen will be done to make sure that our children - our most vulnerable - are protected," he said.

But Mr. Bentley wouldn't say what changes might be considered, and he declined to comment on the case, saying only that Katelynn's death was "tragic for all."

"We're taking a look at the legislation - what's in it, what could be in it," he said.

The circumstances surrounding Katelynn's death have outraged many since the girl's battered body was found by police Aug. 2 in her caregiver's apartment after someone in the home called 911. Katelynn had been staying with the couple with her mother's consent.

One officer said the injuries the girl suffered were the worst he had seen in 20 years of policing. Screams of anguish were heard outside a funeral home Monday after friends and loved ones saw the injuries to the child's body.

Opposition parties and the province's child advocate have been calling for an inquest into Katelynn's death and an overhaul of the Children's Law Reform Act.

NDP MPP Peter Kormos has raised questions about the decision to award custody of Katelynn to Donna Irving, who has been charged with second-degree murder along with her boyfriend Warren Johnson.

Court transcripts revealed that few questions were asked about Ms. Irving, who had a criminal record for drugs, prostitution and violence.

Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory said Katelynn paid with her life for the system's shortcomings, and it's a "disgrace" the government hasn't yet started an investigation into what went wrong.

Mr. Bentley should order that any potential guardians be checked for a criminal record in custody cases where children are involved, Mr. Tory said this week.

Source: The Globe and Mail