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July 7, 2010 permalink
Ralliers gathered again at Sudbury yesterday to demand accountability for children's aid.
Protestors Demand Oversight Into Children’s Aid
Protestors looking for change from Children’s Aid took to the streets this afternoon along the Lasalle Street location.
With signs that read, “CAS needs oversight now,” they’re upset that Ontario has become the one province that does not have any oversight over it’s child protective services.
“You know there’s a lot of information that the public aren’t aware of because a lot of people don’t understand that they’re a private organization, they’re funded by the government but they’re a private corporation,” says organizer Catherine Frei.
With just over a dozen on the agency’s front lawn, she says there wasn’t a single person there that did not have some sort of negative experience with the agency. Some had even travelled over 400 km to Sudbury this week.
“None of us are opposed to the CAS, but what we are looking for is accountability and transparency,” says Frei. “We would like an independent party such as the Ombudsman to investigate their decisions.”
In the last year, the Ontario Ombudsman’s office has been forced to turn away 296 individual complaints and 2201 complaints in the past five.
According to officials, the complaints have centred around everything from refusal to investigate, or to thoroughly investigate, allegations of abuse and neglect; concerns about CAS apprehension of children and the care of children in CAS custody or supervision; inaccurate CAS records; threatening and harassing conduct on the part of staff; and refusal to permit access to children in their custody.
In the last couple years, attempts have been made by the legislature to correct this including Bill 93 introduced by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
However the NDP bill did not proceed past first reading when the legislature was prorogued back in March of 2010.
“It’s time that it happens, it’s happened elsewhere,” says Frei. “You know the workers here and the things that are happening to children and families, it’s time that they were held accountable.”
Source: EZ Rock 105.3 FM
Addendum: An articulate father expresses his opinion (mp4).