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Letter Writing Campaign
January 19, 2010 permalink
Dufferin Children's Aid (DCAFS) is urging people to write letters to premier Dalton McGuinty asking for more funding. Opponents can take the opportunity to write letters suggesting no additional funding, or even more cuts. An Orangeville Banner article and one response letter are in the expand block. This is a chance to show the premier what the real public sentiment is.
For those who decide to participate, DCAFS has a suggested letter (MS-Word) and a website for submitting your letter to the premier. For even more impact, forward a copy of your letter to [ rtmq at fixcas.com ] for inclusion on this website.
DCAFS launches ‘pre-emptive’ funding strike
Provincial funding cuts would be “devastating” to children’s mental health programs, warns Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS).
That’s why the agency has set out on a letter-writing campaign aimed to preventing a drop in dollars allocated for the next fiscal year. The campaign runs Jan. 18 to 22.
“It’s pretty important that we at least maintain current services,” said Gloria Campbell, the DCAFS’ program manager for children’s mental health. “We see some kids and families who really are struggling with pretty significant issues.”
For the past two years, DCAFS children’s mental health services have been operating with provincial funding of about $1.28 million. During the past 16 years, the agency said it has received three base-budget increases and no additional funding.
A spokesperson for Laurel Broten, minister of children and youth services, couldn’t be reached for comment, but previously said the province will work with agencies to “manage within the funds they have” and “mitigate” any potential problems.
DCAFS’ children mental health programs include supervised visits and exchanges with non-custodial parents, crisis response and individual counselling — to name a few.
“We’re seeing kids here who are the victim of sexual assault, assault, neglect, we work with kids who have diagnoses of attention problems ... autism, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder,” Campbell said, noting there are 22 people currently on the waiting list for programs. “Some individuals will wait several months for services. That’s not OK.”
The agency hasn’t heard anything from the province about what to expect in the next budget. But officials are aware of the $25 billion provincial deficit and want to get their message out ahead of any potential cuts to children’s mental health. That’s why they’re asking people to send letters to Premier Dalton McGuinty, Broten and Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones, a member of the official opposition.
“We’re standing up and saying ‘Hey, we’re underfunded for children’s mental health services and please ... at the very least, don’t reduce what you’re giving us’,” Campbell said.
“The letter-writing campaign has gone mostly to people of influence,” she explained, noting several individuals have already written letters of support. “We’re really pleased that our colleagues, business people and individuals in the community are saying ‘Our kids in Dufferin really count’.”
Anyone interested in writing a letter to support DCAFS’ position can find a template letter online at www.dcafs.on.ca.
“We’re hopeful that it will have some impact,” Campbell added. “Our children and our youth are really important and we can’t let them down.”
Source: Orangeville Banner
January 19, 2010
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building, Queens’s Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
Subject: Funding for children's aid
submitted by web form at https://www.premier.gov.on.ca/feedback/feedback.asp?Lang=EN
I am urging you to maintain the recent cuts in funding for children's aid societies, or even better, to make further cuts. The suggestion to write to you came from Dufferin Child and Family Services, currently organizing a letter writing campaign for the opposite purpose.
Our family was driven from Dufferin County after a children's aid worker backed up to two armed policemen seized our three-year-old son from our home. While we got our son back, dozens of other families in Dufferin were not so fortunate. In the course of conducting a membership drive to get policy or management changes for children's aid, I spoke to hundreds of affected families. It is rare for a children's aid intervention to improve the condition of a child. The best solution would be to reduce the funding of these monsters to zero, or, if you are unwilling to contemplate such a drastic change, then lowering their funding as far as is possible.
I leave intact the last paragraph of the letter as suggested by Dufferin Children's Aid, below:
We need you, Premier McGuinty, to address this funding situation in fair and adequate ways. We cannot fail our young people.
Robert T McQuaid
558 McMartin Road
Mattawa Ontario P0H 1V0
email@example.com ( Laurel Broten, Minister, Children and Youth Services )
firstname.lastname@example.org ( Sylvia Jones, MPP, Dufferin-Caledon )
Addendum: As part of her fund-raising effort, Dufferin Children's Aid executive director Trish Keachie addressed a letter (pdf, local copy) to persons she described with: "You are an influential community member". Dufferin VOCA did not receive a signed copy.