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CAS Sued

April 20, 2011 permalink

Former foster child Paul Williams is suing the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto and Nairn Family Homes Inc. for his treatment while in care.




RE: Former foster child initiates legal action against a Children's Aid Society for years of abuse and neglect in foster care while the Ontario Government opposes independent Ombudsman Oversight of Children's Aid Societies

TORONTO, ON – (Wed. April 19, 2011) Paul Williams, a former foster child (Crown Ward) who lived under the legal custody and control of a Children's Aid Society has retained the services of a lawyer (Loretta Merrit of Torkin Manes Barristers and Solicitors in Toronto) who specializes in historical and recent sexual, physical, and emotional abuse cases caused by members of clergy, doctors, police officers, teachers, group homes, and, privately incorporated Children's Aid Societies to name a few.

Although still in its early stages at this time, the suit seeks in part, damages for the time Williams was in foster care from the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto and Nairn Family Homes Inc. for;

  • breach of duty of care and fiduciary duty;
  • breach of non-delegable duty;
  • negligence; and vicarious liability

The suit also seeks in part, damages from individuals, including;

  • physical assault and battery;
  • psychological abuse;
  • breach of fiduciary obligations;
  • sexual assault, and/or infliction of mental distress

When Merritt was asked why people sue and what they hope to gain she said: “Sexual abuse has a devastating effect on all areas of a survivor's life. It hurts their self esteem, their relationships, their ability to trust others and in some cases leads to problems with substance abuse. She says people sue because they are looking for compensation for the injuries they have suffered. Money can’t make it all better but it can help fund therapy etc. Also, they want to help raise public awareness so that hopefully others will be encouraged to come forward. Ultimately survivors want to do anything that might prevent another child from being abused. It takes a lot of courage to come forward after years of silence.”

When Williams was asked why he initiated this legal action he said “It is a means for me to have a meaningful, productive life, hold them accountable for their neglect, and closure for years and years of anger and frustration. Additionally, since having joined a social activist group calling on Children's Aid Societies to be responsible for kids in their care, it's about ensuring kids in the system don't come out scarred like I am ”.

Over the past few years, Ontario's NDPs have introduced a series of bills in the legislative assembly which seek to provide vulnerable children and youth in foster care with independent, Ombudsman Oversight over Children's Aid Societies, only to have those bills met with extreme resistance from the Ontario government.

Ombudsman oversight is needed because currently, the Ministry fails to publish its Directives which are issued to Societies regarding corrective measures they are ordered to take, the Ministry does not publish statistics obtained from Societies through Serious Occurrence Reports regarding the number of children and youth who are abused while in foster care, the Ministry also fails to publish the number of law suits which are settled out of court with gag-orders forced on the victims preventing them from speaking freely about their settlements, and the Ministry and Societies fail to publish detailed budgets and financial reports revealing expenditures of Societies, and more.

The Foster Care Council of Canada is a non-profit group made up of former foster children and their supporters whose mission includes “Involving current and former foster children and their supporters in the process of improving the transparency and accountability of child-welfare services through a strong and united voice”.

Source: Foster Care News (John Dunn)