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Sudbury Rally on TV
March 22, 2010 permalink
Addendum: Here is a newspaper report from the Sudbury Star, and a reply by rally organizer Neil Haskett.
Critics want CAS held to account for actions
Cars honked in support for the 25 people protesting across the street from the Children's Aid Society for the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin on Lasalle Boulevard.
Some signs held by the protesters asked for accountability, while others accused the society of being a corporation only interested in money and practising child abuse instead of protection.
The group is calling for the implementation of what was known as Bill 93, which would would give the Ombudsman oversight over the province's Children's Aid Societies.
Proposed by NDP leader Andrea Horwath to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, it had its first reading carried on June 11, 2008.
"We'd like the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate all of Ontario's 53 Children's Aid Societies. We've been asking for four years to file a complaint against the Sudbury Children's Aid Society. They've done nothing to address our concerns," said Neil Haskett, the Sudbury organizer for the Rally fro Accountability.
He no longer has the CAS in his family's life. They became involved after he filed a complaint about police actions years ago, Haskett said.
He would like to see the CAS's actions investigated by the Ombudsman.
Since the proroguing of provincial parliament earlier this month, Haskett and others at the rally are waiting for the bill to be reintroduced. The bill has the support of about 19 MPPs, including Horwath, he said. He can't understand why the government won't grant the Ombudsman this power.
"We want (them) .... to stop victimizing innocent families," Haskett said.
"We'd also like them to help foster children in care who are asking for help. Foster children who are being abused. We're not saying everyone is doing it. They've done great work. We're not disputing that. But we'd like them to be accountable for their actions."
It's a delicate balance between the protecting children and protecting the rights of families, said Colette Prevost, CAS executive director for the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin
"We don't support the bill," she said. "It's not an active bill because the house has prorogued. We'll have to see whether it will be advanced again.
"Children's Aids across Ontario do not support another level of oversight because we understand there to be significant accountability in a number of different areas."
The Ministry of Children and Youth Services already oversees the CAS, she said. Any complaint can be sent to an executive director, such as herself. There's also an internal panel review.
"We understand the Ombudsman to have oversight on Child and Family Service Review board, which is a third-party review," she said. "The auditor general has oversight on any organization as far as the financial."
However, the review board will not hear cases regarding matter currently before the courts, already seen by the courts, or those that fall under the Child and Family Services Act, said Haskett. That doesn't leave much that it will hear.
Most of those attending the rally were there for personal reasons -- either they had asked the CAS to investigate abuse and felt it had failed to do so adequately, or were fighting to regain custody of their children.
James, his sister, Anna, and their parents travelled from Timmins to attend the rally, as well as visit with James' two young children. The children were removed from their mother, who is separated from James, when another sibling by a different father died.
The family has been fighting to get the children, now in foster care, into their custody. They say the CAS never contacted James or any of them when the children were removed from the mother's care.
They've had to undergo fingerprinting and other background checks. The matter will go before a family court judge in April.
Tammy McIntyre was there to protest the money spent on keeping children in care rather than investing in families to give them the support they need to deal with special needs children.
"Every child is a source of revenue for a very large corporation. It starts with the social workers, the medical profession is in there and, of course, the legal," she said.
There's more First Nations kids now in care then there were in residential schools, she added.
"It's really heartbreaking," McIntyre said. "They cry to come home. People think they get over it. They don't."
Source: Sudbury Star
In an interview with reporter Lara Bradley in today's Sudbury Star, March 23, 2010, Colette Prevost, Executive Director for the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin Children's Aid Society states "We don't support the bill," in reference to Ontario's Bill 93 and she also stated "Children's Aids across Ontario do not support another level of oversight because we understand there to be significant accountability in a number of different areas."
- Being on the Children's Aid Board of Directors do you share Colette Prevost opinions?
- Have you prior to receiving this email ever reviewed my complaints? If so failed to involve police in criminal matters?
- Will you go on record and say all complaints against this Children's Aid are dealt with properly?
- Mayor Rodriguez will you and council support a private bill to protect this community with proper Ombudsman oversight over Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin Children's Aid Society? I guarantee you and council the Ontario Ombudsman would expose how bad this Children's Aid Society Is.
- Yesterday, during our passive rally that the media including Sudbury Star, CBC and Eastlink News was in attendance and that I recorded on video. Two police officers in separate, marked police cruisers arrived at the society and left within 10 minutes. Was the call made for another matter, was this call a form of intimidation by the Society against the rally participants and was it an offence and a waste of an emergency service already stretch thin?
I would like to provide more information that would prove children and families are in need and the benefits for our community to have Ontario Ombudsman oversight and would like help in the matter.
Mayor Rodriguez, I would like to invite you and the council to our next rally April 22nd, 2010 at 12 noon until 2pm. Same location: Across the road from Children's Aid on 319 LaSalle Blvd.
cc.. Mayor John Rodriguez, Joe Cimino - Councillor Ward 1, Jacques Barbeau - Councillor Ward 2, Claude Berthiaume - Councillor Ward 3, Evelyn Dutrisac - Councillor Ward 4, Ron Dupuis - Councillor Ward 5, Andre Rivest - Councillor Ward 6, Russ Thompson - Councillor Ward 7, Ted Callaghan - Councillor Ward 8, Doug Craig - Councillor Ward 9, Frances Caldarelli - Councillor Ward 10, Janet Gasparini - Councillor Ward 11, Joscelyne Landry-Altman, Lara Bradley
Source: Ontario's Bill 93 2008