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Dufferin CAS May Merge
October 26, 2010 permalink
Dufferin children's aid may have to consolidate with a neighboring CAS to reduce costs. Does that mean the building on Riddell Road will go up for sale?
Cost-saving amalgamation looming for DCAFS?
Change may be coming to Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS), as the province considers amalgamating some Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) as a cost-saving measure.
“We haven’t been explicitly told to merge with anybody. That said, I don’t think the conversation is completed yet,” Trish Keachie, DCAFS executive director, said. “We’re one of the smallest Children’s Aids in the province, so we obviously knew we were under some threat (of consolidation).”
She said discussions about the agency’s fate are underway with the Commission To Promote Sustainable Child Welfare, which reports to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, which funds CASs.
Attempts to reach the commission for comment were unsuccessful by The Banner’s deadline, as were efforts to contact the office of minister Laurel Broten.
In a report released last June, the commission called for the number of CASs to be reduced from the current 53.
“These changes are critical to ensure that all CASs have the scale to deliver consistent, high quality and cost-effective services and the capacity to adapt to the fast-paced changes facing children, family and communities,” the report states.
“In some communities, consideration of culture and remoteness must be balanced against these important scale factors,” it adds. “However, opportunities exist in several Ontario communities to leverage and integrate the strengths of current CASs to create event more effective, responsive and sustainable services for the future.”
Last Tuesday (Oct. 19), Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones, questioned inside provincial legislature the “lack of transparency” on consolidation talks.
“There has been no formal announcement, no press release, no press conference, no ministerial statement — not even a single tweet from the ministry or the commission to let Ontario families know that a consolidation of child protection services is in the works,” she said. “Ontario families have the right to an open and transparent process. Communities were not consulted or even explained how these consolidations would affect them.”
Jones later told The Banner she can’t comment on whether amalgamations would negatively impact services, citing the lack of information available.
A commission representative is slated to visit DCAFS on Nov. 10 to learn more about the agency and how it operates.
“I suspect following that we may get a clearer sense of direction from them,” Keachie said.
“We do feel we have a unique agency and we’re trying to make the case with the commission that being a small agency has some very real benefits to the community,” she added. “We have a very personal relationship with our partners, with our clients and there’s a lot to be said for that. The cost savings that might come from something other than that, one has to wonder. You still need the service in Dufferin County.”
Source: Orangeville Banner
Addendum: Secret plan to consolidate children's aid? That is what MPP Sylvia Jones seems to have uncovered according to the Caledon Citizen. If carried out, Ontario will wind up with fewer than 40 children's aid societies. But without changes to legislation, they will still have the power to seize children on whim.
Jones questions minister on the consolidation of CASs
Dufferin — Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones last week criticized Children and Youth Services Minister Minister Laurel Broten on the lack of transparency within her Ministry, with respect to Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies.
Jones charged the Commission to Promote Sustainable Child Welfare, appointed by the Minister, sent out letters to all 53 Children’s Aid Societies, asking more than a quarter of them to consolidate with a neighbouring agency. The Ministry has refused to release the details of these letters, Jones stated.
“There has been no transparency in this process,” said Jones in the Legislature. “There has been no formal announcement, no press release, no press conference, no ministerial statement— not even a single tweet from the Ministry or the Commission to let Ontario families know that a consolidation of child protection services is in the works.”
Jones asked the Minister to release the list of agencies that the Commission has asked to consolidate, but she refused to produce a list.
“The work of the commission is done at arm’s-length from the government so that they can travel across the province,” Broten said, according to Hansard transcripts.
Children’s Aid Societies who were asked to consolidate were given a deadline of Nov. 5, 2010 to respond in writing to the consolidation request, Jones said in statement issued by her office.
“These consolidation requests are being made under a shroud of secrecy,” said Jones. “Ontario families have the right to an open and transparent process. Communities were not consulted or even explained how these consolidations would affect them.
We have seen that not consulting with the public is a trademark of the McGuinty Liberal government, and they are doing it again with important child protection services.”
This fiscal year, 22 Children’s Aid Societies have filed for a Section 14 review of their funding model, meaning they do not have the funding to provide the child protection services that are mandated in legislation, she added. In the spring, 11 Children’s Aid Societies took the government to court over a lack of transparency flawed Section 14 review process.
Source: Caledon Citizen