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Power Grab Inquest
April 1, 2009 permalink
Andrew Osidacz stabbed his son Jared to death and was holding a knife to his ex-wife Julie Craven when police killed him. It is the kind of inquest loved by social services because the coroner's jury is sure to recommend more money and power for children's aid societies. For that reason, we have ignored it until now.
The Hamilton Spectator reports that while Brant CAS executive director Andrew Koster testified, Jared's grandfather accused him of lying. Mr Koster said: "The law needs to change if Children's Aid Societies are expected to investigate a parent with access as opposed to the one with custody to determine a child's safety." Whether it is the law or not, CAS exercises this power now. Dufferin VOCA was called by a custodial mother whose children were subject to court-ordered visits with the father. CAS, on its own authority, overrode the visitation order. The police took the word of CAS ahead of the family court judge.
In the second article, social worker Jeff Packer said "therapy for the entire family, including children, should be mandatory after incidents of domestic violence. ... Since Osidacz killed Jared long after his term of probation for assault expired, Packer suggested child protection agencies could keep files open long enough to ensure therapy for a family, if made mandatory, has taken place". This testimony is completely at variance with actual children's aid practice. Files never really close, since children's aid societies present decades-old reports to the court when it suits their purposes. Also, at present there are no limitations on the power of children's aid to intervene in families, so the restrictions mentioned by Mr Packer do not exist. But is it a good thing to keep parents on what amounts to endless probation after any conviction? Not many parents on probation have reported their story to Dufferin VOCA, but from the few cases we can say that a parent on probation is sure to lose his family. At every interaction with children's aid the parent is subject to the threat: do it our way or go to jail. Not after a trial, but today. Repeated application of this pressure results in unbearable stress, forcing the parent to end it somehow. In one case, by renouncing his son. And possibly, in some cases such as that of Mr Osidacz, by killing his family.
Another news article said that lawyer and father's advocate Walter Fox is participating in the inquest. He might make the jury aware of some of the stress on Mr Osidacz that precipitated the tragedy.
CAS never centred on Jared's dad
Mom's ability to protect son was focus
Carmela Fragomeni, The Hamilton Spectator, (Mar 31, 2009)
The law needs to change if Children's Aid Societies are expected to investigate a parent with access as opposed to the one with custody to determine a child's safety.
Brant County CAS executive director Andrew Koster made that proposal as he testified at the inquest into the deaths of eight-year-old Jared Osidacz and his father Andrew.
Jared was killed by his father while on an unsupervised visit with him in 2006. His father was then killed in a police standoff as he held his ex-wife, Jared's mother Julie Craven, at knifepoint.
When the CAS twice became involved in responding to concerns about Jared's safety, Koster said its investigations centred on whether Craven, who had custody of Jared, could protect her son -- as opposed to investigating any danger posed by Osidacz, who had access through weekend visits.
Jared would have been considered at risk of being harmed only if his mother was unable to control the violence, Koster said.
He conceded to inquest lawyers that Craven, the main caregiver, did not have control over times when her child was with Osidacz.
Koster added, however, that concerns of harm were alleviated when Craven and Osidacz agreed to try not to involve Jared in their conflict and that if Osidacz's probation officer, the police or Jared's teacher had any concerns, they would have reported them to the CAS.
Access visits with Osidacz for the year had gone on without incidents, he said, adding either parent could have tried to modify custody and access through the courts if there were concerns.
Each CAS now must screen every child exposed to domestic violence to determine if they need CAS protection or the help of other community services, he said.
Koster testified that Osidacz's behaviour did not apply in determining Jared's risk -- not his domestic violence, assault conviction, breach of probation charge or the fact he was kicked out of a domestic violence course.
"Domestic violence is not a condition for a child to be found in need of protection by the CAS," he said.
Koster said from October 2003 when the case was closed to March 2006, there was no further contact with the CAS, and there was no complaint about the decision.
This caused an outburst by Craven's father, who interrupted Koster's testimony by shouting "That's not true. I went down to the CAS and they turned me away....
"This is a whitewash. My grandson is dead and all they do is make excuses."
Julie Craven told the inquest through a written statement from her lawyer she felt the CAS worker did not understand the significance of the probation order and its breach and did not take the situation seriously.
Source: Hamilton Spectator
Make therapy mandatory, inquest told
Carmela Fragomeni, The Hamilton Spectator, (Apr 1, 2009)
A social worker who counsels violent men says therapy for the entire family, including children, should be mandatory after incidents of domestic violence.
Jeff Packer was testifying yesterday at the inquest into the deaths of eight-year-old Jared Osidacz and his father Andrew.
Jared was killed by his father during an unsupervised visit with him in 2006. His father was then killed in a police standoff as he held his ex-wife, Jared's mother Julie Craven, at knifepoint.
Packer, who runs Caring Dads, an intervention program in Durham region, was called to testify by the Osidacz family's lawyer.
Before Packer testified, coroner Dr. James Edwards gave a stern warning to Julie Craven and John Craven, the boy's grandfather, that if there are any more outbursts from them, he will seek a contempt of court charge against them.
Edwards referred to "repeated interruptions" from outbursts of anger and said they were disrespectful and "downright rude."
An emotionally shattered Craven and her father have been unable to sit quietly in the courtroom at times during testimony they disagree with. They believe the system failed them and Jared.
Packer said family therapy is very important after domestic violence and that children require therapy after violence and after marriage breakups.
He said domestic violence is not about anger. "It's about all of one's emotions because anger covers up fear, pain, doubt and insecurity."
Packer also said there is a high correlation between homicide or suicide and access to children -- especially for men because it causes them intense pain when they don't see their child much.
He said he understood that Osidacz was suicidal.
The inquest has heard there were no access problems for Osidacz, however, and that he picked up his son for visits and returned him without incident for over a year.
Since Osidacz killed Jared long after his term of probation for assault expired, Packer suggested child protection agencies could keep files open long enough to ensure therapy for a family, if made mandatory, has taken place.
Source: Hamilton Spectator