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July 13, 2010 permalink
About forty people participated in a rally for accountability of CAS in Huntsville yesterday. Many locals showed up with their children and signs detailing the abuses of their local CAS. It was a large turnout for such a small town. The signs and handouts told the story in Canada Court Watch reports titled Muskoka CAS turns children back into the clutches of their abuser! (pdf) and a new report handed out at the rally titled Muskoka Ontario Judge, T.M.Wood, orders that children can’t see their loving father, friends and family then places them into an environment of physical & emotional abuse! (pdf). Here are pictures of the Huntsville rally and a video (Facebook, local copy mp4).
Rally organizer Neil Haskett spoke of his own involvement with children's aid. It began when children's aid workers showed up at his home in 2003. He has only suspicions about why his family was selected for harassment. They separated mom (Neil's wife) from dad (Neil) interviewing them separately. Neil resisted cooperation, but with the threat of child removal CAS got cooperation from mom, and forced an agreement for dad to leave the home. This separation persisted for two months until CAS discovered mom and dad were still cooperating. They seized the children and placed them with Neil's parents. CAS continued with legal process to remove the children permanently and to prosecute Neil criminally. Six months into the process, suddenly all actions were dropped, both in family court and criminal court, and the family was reunited. Neil suspects that his collection of evidence of CAS criminal acts in his case may be the motive for the CAS change of heart.
As for CAS, Neil believes it is a good idea but it needs to be supplemented with realistic oversight, such as by the Ontario Ombudsman, and he loudly demands prosecution of criminal acts by CAS workers, such as those in his own case.
Below is a press report on the rally.
Rally Against CAS in Huntsville
Vern Beck is not a fan of the Children's Aid Society or the family courts right now. So much so, that he spearheaded a rally in Huntsville yesterday to voice his opinion. Beck is a Canada Court Watch child and family justice advocate and says there are grave issues with the Children’s Aid services in this province. He pointed to a local case as proof. Beck says the rally was to bring transparency and accountability to the agencies. Marty Rutledge, interim Executive Director for Family Youth and Child Services of Muskoka says child welfare agencies are under tremendous scrutiny from the court system and the organization's funders. He says the public can rest assured these checks and balances are functioning "very well".
Source: Moose FM Radio Network FM 105.5 Muskoka
Addendum: A slightly more extensive report in the Forester.
Downtown protest draws attention to CAS
Source: Huntsville Forester (page 3, not available online)
All of the July 14 issue is available online except for page 3. It is no accident. A duplicate of page 5 is in its place. Did CAS bully the Forester?
According to Jack Tynan of the Forester, the web deletion was an error. As of Monday, July 19, it has been corrected.