Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.



Kids on Display

April 16, 2010 permalink

The children's aid society of Ottawa has launched a heart gallery, with pictures of children awaiting adoption displayed to the press on April 15. CAS has pledged to put the pictures online, and fixcas will feature them when they are available. The most notable thing about the article from CTV is the response from reader Ron Jette.



Ottawa CAS launches project to increase adoption

Ottawa's Children's Aid Society is launching a new project to boost adoption rates for older children.

For the first time in Canada, an art exhibit of children who are up for adoption will be on display with the hope of increasing the adoptions of older children looking for families.

"It is incumbent on us to try every strategy to give (kids) a home," said Barbara MacKinnon of the CAS.

The exhibit was on display for CAS staff to view on Thursday before it was moved to the Hill. Eighteen children are shown in the exhibit, and their photos are also displayed on the CAS website.

Photo galleries have significantly boosted adoption rates for children in the United States. Right now, the CAS has almost 30 children between ages five and 15 who are looking for permanent homes.

What do you think of this new approach? Have your say by posting a comment below . . .

Ron Jette

I'm sitting at my desk right now trying to see through the tears as I write this note. Let me say up front that I spent many unpleasant years under the care of the Children’s Aid Society in another province.

Although mine was not a good experience, nobody wants the CAS to succeed more than me. And nobody admires and respects its executive director, Barbara McKinnon, more than me. Although it’s an agency with opportunities to make mistakes at every turn, I believe the CAS plays a critical role in trying to protect children.

But when I saw this story about the “marketing” the kids--let’s be honest--it opened the gates to a flood of memories that left me in a state of shock.

When I was eight, the CAS put me in a children's shelter, one of my many stops along the way. They, too, had a program designed to get more kids adopted. Each Sunday, they would dress us up in little suits and ties and parade us out in front of potential adoptive parents who would then take us for a "test drive" for the afternoon.

Sometimes I was picked and sometimes I wasn't but even when I was picked, I was always returned never to see that couple again. I can't even describe the negative impact it had on me. Clearly, the message to me, an eight-year-old kid, was that I was not worthy.

I know the success of this program will be measured by the number of kids adopted--and some will be and that’s a good thing. But what about those who aren’t? The message to them is that they, too, aren't worthy. And that's a bad thing.

— Ron Jette

Source: CTV Ottawa

Addendum: A month after promising to open the Canada Heart Gallery, the site still does not show children for adoption. Perhaps children's aid has caught on that hawking children no longer generates favorable publicity.

Addendum: Here is a copy of the heart gallery. It is available online with a password, which may be obtained by an email request to the gallery.