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November 18, 2009 permalink
Former CAS critic Andrea Horwath is lambasting the cuts in funding to Ontario's children's aid societies. According to her doomsday press release, many children's aid societies are facing hardship, and Chatham-Kent is preparing for bankruptcy.
Financial bankruptcy by children's aid would be a fitting complement to their long-standing moral bankruptcy.
This is not just an isolated press release. Today many of Ontario's newspapers have articles lamenting the harm to children from cutbacks to social services.
McGuinty government failing at-risk kids: Horwath
With this coming Friday marking National Child Day, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on the McGuinty government to ensure that no Children’s Aid Society is forced to reduce services as a result of provincial funding cutbacks.
“As the agencies that help at-risk children prepare layoff notices and teeter on bankruptcy and outright closure, will the Premier commit that no Children’s Aid Society (CAS) will cut services, layoff staff or file for bankruptcy?” she asked on behalf of the children who depend on these vital agencies.
Horwath cited numerous children’s aid societies across the province that are facing difficult financial challenges: Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Family Services has issued layoff notices; York Region CAS is also laying off staff; Chatham-Kent Children’s Aid is preparing for bankruptcy; Toronto’s Native Child and Family Services faces a $1.4-million shortfall; and the CAS in Kenora can’t meet the cost of protecting high-needs children and will soon be unable to make payroll.
To draw attention to the McGuinty government’s funding cuts, all management and unionized staff at Children’s Aid Societies and children’s mental health agencies across Ontario will wear blue ribbons on Friday.
“By the time the ‘blue ribbon alert’ is given on Friday, will the McGuinty Liberals ensure there are no layoffs, no service cuts and no closures at Ontario’s child welfare and protection agencies?” asked Horwath.
In response, Minister of Children and Youth Services Laurel Broten could only muster musings about the creation of yet another commission to look into the matter.
“The children of this province do not need another commission. They need their children’s aid societies to be there for them when they need them. The only pathway this government is preparing is a pathway to bankruptcy and closure of children’s aid societies,” countered Horwath.
“At-risk children in Ontario deserve much better than this from the Ontario government,” she added.
Tue, 2009/11/17 - 1:00pm
Source: Andrea Horwath
Addendum: Here is one of the cry-baby articles about Waterloo CAS. The province-wide rallies planned for Friday at 12:15 pm are an opportunity for families to come out and oppose CAS funding.
Local rally planned over child-welfare funding
November 18, 2009, By Brian Caldwell, Record staff
KITCHENER – Local officials are discouraged, but not surprised, by word from Premier Dalton McGuinty that there won’t be any new money for struggling child-welfare agencies.
“It’s the same thing he’s been saying all along,” said Tom Howard of Local 258 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents about 500 workers at Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region.
McGuinty said Wednesday that funding for agencies has more than tripled in the last 10 years, with his government increasing spending by 30 per cent during a period when caseloads only climbed by one per cent.
But Howard and Peter Ringrose, executive director of the local agency, said that math totally ignores major, legislated changes to the system that have increased costs dramatically regardless of caseloads.
“There is so much more to the picture than just making the comparisons that McGuinty is making,” Ringrose said.
Children’s aid societies in Ontario are collectively facing a $67-million shortfall, with some laying off staff and others warning of closures unless the province covers their deficits.
Ringrose said the local shortfall for the fiscal year ending in March is projected at about $900,000 on a $44.7-million budget and there is nowhere left to trim.
“We’ve made the reductions we can in good faith,” he said. “We can’t go any further.”
To call attention to the standoff, the union is planning a rally Friday starting at 12:15 p.m. at Kitchener City Hall.
Other protests are being staged across the province to coincide with National Child Day.
Source: The Record