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Adoption Disclosure A Mess

November 5, 2009 permalink

According to Andrea Horwath, Ontario's adoption disclosure system is not working. Disclosures take far longer than the touted six to eight weeks. Refer to the Ministry of Community and Social Services for their side.



Horwath fights for timely release of adoption records

location: Queen's Park

Ontario’s adoption records disclosure system is a mess the McGuinty government needs to fix immediately, Ontario’s NDP Leader Andrea Horwath revealed in Question Period today.

It can take up to 36 months to obtain adoption records, far from the six to eight weeks advertised on the government’s website, said Horwath. The MPP for Hamilton Centre has been battling to secure vital adoption records for 8,000 Ontarians who have applied to receive them under new legislation.

“The adoption records system under the McGuinty government is a fiasco of delays, backlogs and lack of accountability,” Horwath said. “It’s so bad that the Ministry of Government Services won’t even estimate wait times. There is no tracking, confirmation or monitoring of the applications that are received.”

“It’s a customer service nightmare for adoptees and it must be remedied,” said Horwath, who is asking Ontario Ombudsman André Morin to investigate the ministry’s handling of the program. “The McGuinty government advertises a six to eight week turnaround time for the provision of adoption records and doesn’t honour its claim. Any reasonable person would say that’s false advertising.”

The government has been collecting applications since September 2007 but only began processing them in June, 2009 under the Adoption Disclosure Act.

Horwath says the government created a crisis when it mandated the release of adoption records without giving local Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) accompanying funding to get the job done.

“Without the people to process the avalanche of applications, the program to open up adoption records in Ontario is a cruel hoax,” Horwath said. “The government knew there would be a big demand and failed to plan appropriately. I hope the weight of an Ombudsman’s investigation will force the McGuinty government to clear the backlog and run a proper service.”

Joining Horwath at Queen’s Park was Ruth Rideout, of Beaverton, who waited 19 weeks to receive records that were incomplete. And Valerie Andrews, an adoption activist with Origins Canada in Richmond Hill, found out it will take three years for CAS to provide her adoption records.

Horwath says timely access to long-awaited adoption information is crucial to people who were adopted and is often medically necessary.

date: Thu, 2009/11/05 - 1:00pm

Source: Andrea Horwath