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I am the Greatest!

September 17, 2008 permalink

The relatively small Hastings Children's Aid Society has generated a lot of negative attention recently. This spring we reported:

So how has Hastings CAS handled the negative stories? They have found a ministry report comparing children's aid societies and put a favorable spin on it. It makes them look like the greatest. Members of the public do not get to see the full report.



CAS scores high mark but more can be done: official

Hastings Children's Aid Society staff say they are impressed with a grade given to them by the provincial government for their handling of children in its care.

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services recently completed a review on the treatment of Crown wards -- children whose legal guardian is the CAS -- and gave the local agency a score of 72.8 per cent for 2008.

The score is a reflection on the CAS's compliance with a lengthy list of services owed to these children to ensure they get proper care.

The study was based on 206 children who have been Crown wards for at least two years.

The province issued 251 recommendations, based on 139 cases. The recommendations ranged from better documentation on plans of care for the children and their social histories to additional assessments to determine whether counselling or psychiatric care was needed.

While the score is down from the previous year's score of 77.5 per cent, Angus Francis, manager of child and care services, said he was not worried about the drop, as it is more a reflection of tougher standards the ministry now has for agencies.

"Many agencies went from 77 to 20 or 30 per cent," he said, after presenting the report at a board meeting Thursday.

But he also said the score is a good reminder that the CAS has to do a better job of giving more one-on-one attention to its children, who, in many cases, have escaped abuse and suffer from behavioural or psychological problems.

"We're finding that, over the last number of years, the severity of these issues are increasing along with the number of complications these issues create," Francis said.

He said the agency has a new mandate to create care plans for each child so staff can get to the root of what is causing them trouble and seek counselling quicker.

"It's not just, 'Are you doing well in school?' But, 'Are you afraid of things?' 'What happened to you when you were young and can you get beyond that?' "

The review generated plenty of statistics for staff to consider in go-forward plans.

For instance, the number of children in CAS care is increasing. In 2008, the CAS cared for 492 children and 319 of them were Crown wards.

That's up from 2002 when the CAS cared for 234 children, and 121 of them were Crown wards.

Francis said that's not shocking, as the number typically inflates every year as kids grow up with the agency. In fact, he said, the numbers are typical of what a county this size should generate.

But he said the number of children in the agency's care with behavioural or psychological difficulties is higher than the provincial average

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

I am the greatest!
Muhammad Ali