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End to Open Adoption
April 19, 2011 permalink
Last week Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth Services, proposed new legislation in the provincial parliament, bill 179. It is promoted with the goal of increasing adoption, even in cases where there are now access orders providing for continuing contact between foster children and their real parents. The Toronto Star, the closest press organ to the government view, lauded it as a step forward. But fixcas readers are aghast. Following the enclosed Star article are the statement of Laurel Broten to the legislature and an analysis by John Dunn. A reader draws attention to the fourth paragraph of Mrs Broten's Statement:
Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, 75 per cent have access orders that, for more than 30 years, have legally prevented children and youth from being eligible for adoption.
Ah yes, those pesky natural parents stand in the way of the adoption machine by demanding to see their own children. John Dunn has read and analyzed the whole proposal. He says the purpose is to negate the reform of 2006 that allowed for open adoptions. Once one of the new adoptions with residual parental contact is finalized, the adoptive parents can, and likely will, take steps to cut out the real parents entirely.
The bill also provides for care of children past the age of 18 in some cases. Sold as a benefit to those kids who would otherwise become homeless, it will also delay the family reunification that now commonly occurs at age 18. It's a good guess that any benefits will not be paid to the children, but to social workers and foster parents purportedly on behalf of the children.
Michael Prue (ogg), representing Beaches-East York (NDP), spoke in the legislature on this bill
Law could ease adoption of Crown wards
Long-awaited changes to adoption laws in Ontario were heralded Wednesday, but subsidies to encourage parents to adopt are missing from the package.
Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten introduced sweeping changes to help more kids find permanent homes by removing legal barriers to adoption.
Broten also committed to reform subsidy programs to make it financially easier for parents to adopt older Crown wards, who often have complex social or medical needs.
There are 46 children’s aid societies with 2,000 subsidy agreements in place. No additional money was provided to tempt prospective parents to adopt.
About 18,000 kids in Ontario receive services from children’s aid societies and about half of them are Crown wards.
But only 10 per cent of these kids are ever adopted. The main reason is because 75 per cent of Crown wards have access orders or legal agreements detailing what kind of contact the children can have with their birth families. Kids with access orders can’t be adopted under the current system.
This new legislation, if it is passed before the Legislature rises for the Oct. 6 provincial election, would increase the number of kids eligible for adoption by terminating these prohibitive access orders.
“This will make a difference in the lives of thousands of kids who want forever families, who want to come home from school and hug a mom or play catch with a dad,” Broten said.
Removing access orders is a needed change, said Mary Ballantyne, executive director of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies.
But adoption is not in every child’s future, Broten said.
To make life easier for older wards, the bill allows a 16- or 17-year-old who has left care to return to the system voluntarily and be eligible for financial support until age 21.
Many of the reforms come from recommendations in a 2009 report done by the province’s Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption.
Sylvia Jones, the Progressive Conservative MPP for Dufferin-Caledon, said she liked the announcement in principle, but she wants to know why Broten took so long to act. “She’s had this report for two years less a month. Some of these things could have been dealt with in a more expedited manner.”
The changes don’t make it easier to adopt a child with special needs, Jones said. Families have more funds available in foster care, she said, “but when you make the transition to adoption that money can disappear.”
Source: Toronto Star
Statement to the Legislature By the Honourable Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth Services On the Introduction of the Building Families and Supporting Youth To Be Successful Act, 2011
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
There is nothing more critical to a child’s well being than knowing he or she will always have a place to call home.
At any given time in Ontario, 18,000 children and youth are receiving services from a children’s aid society. Roughly 9,000 of them are Crown wards in the care of the province.
These kids come into the care of a CAS for a variety of reasons, but they all have one thing in common…their best chance of success is with a safe, stable and permanent family to call their own.
Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, 75 per cent have access orders that, for more than 30 years, have legally prevented children and youth from being eligible for adoption.
At the same time, we have many prospective parents who long to bring a child into their lives to love and support.
That is why I rise in the House today to introduce the Building Families and Supporting Youth to be Successful Act, 2011. Because, as a government, we must make it easier to bring these children and these parents together.
Together with other initiatives being announced today, we are taking an important step toward improving the lives of children and youth in the care of a CAS and making it easier for Ontario families to adopt a child.
These amendments to the Child and Family Services Act would remove the legal barriers I mentioned earlier that prevent Crown wards from being eligible for adoption.
This will make a difference in the lives of thousands of kids who want forever families; who want to come home from school and hug a mom or play catch with a dad.
Adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents have also told us that finding reliable information, no matter what adoption stream they are interested in – public, private or international – is a challenge.
With that in mind, we will provide online information that is easy to navigate - and guidance about all types of adoption, so parents know what option is right for them.
To match adoptive parents with Ontario children who need a permanent home, we will double the number of Adoption Resource Exchanges – forums that help match adoptive families with children needing adoption – from two to four across the province.
We know that adoption home studies should be completed in a time frame that is clear and without delay. So, we will reduce the waitlist for homestudies and establish timelines.
We will train all CASs to ensure Aboriginal children are cared for AND stay connected to their culture and traditions through customary care.
In fact, customary care will be a central part of the discussion we will be having at a Summit on Aboriginal Child Welfare at Fort William First Nation next week.
Mr. Speaker, while we aspire to secure permanent homes for every child in our care, we know that for some, adoption may not be in their future and we need to support them into adulthood.
Think about it.
We know that almost half of Canadians in their twenties live at home and enjoy all the support that comes with that. Yet, right now, a youth who leaves the care of a CAS is not allowed to come back for services.
The Act, if passed, would allow those youth whose CAS care or customary care ended at age 16 or 17, to return to their CAS and be eligible to receive benefits until age 21.
We will also make it easier for a youth receiving financial support from a CAS to go to college or university by exempting that income from the OSAP assessment.
Mr. Speaker, these are important steps. But we will work to do more. We have seen many innovative approaches from CASs and we want to build on them.
Some CASs are currently providing targeted subsidies to make it possible for families to adopt children in care. We will seek their advice and that of other experts and consider how we can best build on this experience across the province in a fiscally neutral way.
We began transforming the child protection sector and strengthening adoption in 2006.
Thanks to the hard work of children’s aid societies, fewer kids are now coming into care and more kids are getting the chance to succeed in a permanent home.
Last year, we increased adoptions in the public system by 21 per cent over the year before. With these proposed changes, we strive to increase that number.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to call on all families in Ontario to consider whether they have room in their hearts and in their lives to give a child a forever family.
Today, I call on all members to support this important legislation that will improve the lives of thousands of kids and families across this province.
Source: Ministry of Children and Youth Services
Regressive Bill Introduced by Ministry of Children and Youth
A Bill has recently been introduced by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services which appears to be dangerously regressive in nature.
In 2006 Bill 210 was passed which had as one of its goals, keeping children and youth in touch with their family members even after they become adopted. It has been repeatedly proven that is it harmful for a child to lose contact with their family if that is something the child or youth still wishes to do.
However, on April 13, 2011, the Ontario Government introduced a Bill which contains dangerous provisions which will permit the courts to ram adoptions through at the request of Children's Aid Societies and to permanently terminate any relationship the youth may wish to keep with their natural parents, brothers or sisters even past their 18th year due to restrictions in place from adoption legislation which imposes up to $50,000 fines for those who attempt to contact each other when an adoptive parent may have placed a 'no-contact' veto with the Ministry's registry.
The new Bill contains various "well intentioned" provisions which offer the Societies the option of verifying that they "tried" to contact natural family members to notify them of the pending adoption proceedings in court which will allow them to proceed with the adoption and terminate relations between natural families without giving notice to the families.
Children's Aid Societies have played such tricks as telling the court that they attempted to contact someone to notify them of a court matter and that they could not do so for lack of contact information when in fact they had the e-mail address of the person they claim to have attempted to contact and did not send any e-mail to this person, moving an adoption hearing through and having the child moved to B.C..
These adoptions are even going to terminate the 2006 progressive steps of keeping family contact after adoption through "openness orders" which is said to be in the best interests of children and youth.
Please read this Bill, and get involved. This type of thing already has a HUGE lobby group of adoptive parents and professionals who profit from adoption behind it. Millions of Dollars are involved, so contact your local MPP and ask for a meeting to discuss this new and insidiously dangerous and powerful Bill which will have many implications, including the sealing of records which are already hard enough for people to review in the child welfare sector.
Source: Foster Care News, John Dunn
Addendum: Here is an opinion on the bill by Anne Patterson.
Bill 179, The Trojan Horse of Family Destruction
The departing McGuinty Liberals have a series of secret bills that they are trying to ram through, one in particular is like something out of Germany in the 1940’s.
Bill 179: Building Families and Supporting Youth to be Successful Act, 2011.
Their slogans are meant to be catchy, and captivating, and if you wish to literally capture a child they are.
Building families’, not exactly to those being robbed of their children. Women, men and grandparents.
The bill removes access orders to children that are in the CAS system, and will allow a fast track adoption system. For those concerned about the cavern of hell that is referred to as foster “care”, your concerns are valid. But this bill is not going to be about finding homes for older children as the clientele that the bill caters to is more interested in babies. Caught in the blank slate theory that we are environmental Petri dishes to be tinkered with and tampered with accordingly, those who wish to adopt believe the age old nonsense that children will be just like them. They are missing the value, importance and reality of nature; they are missing in fact any common sense.
While those in foster care will continue to be shipped around like ping-pong balls being batted from pillar to post, the facts are this bill is a guise to create a system where CAS can take your child, remove access orders for parents and fast track the child into adoption before the parent can either fight them, hire a lawyer or deal with them.
It gives these agencies more power and control than they have had before, and it also makes the whole issue of access orders a total charade. Ask those in foster care long-term if they were even allowed to see their families, and the majority will out right say they have not been. That they are using this as an argument for this new bill is patently false.
Access orders themselves are a nightmare in the system; CAS often removes children to other jurisdictions making it impossible for the family or parent to travel to visit them. They routinely change appointment times for parents who have juggled work schedules to visit their child, and they have above all no meaningful or real accountability to speak of.
Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin has long wanted oversight of these agencies, along with a mounting number of those direly concerned with the state of CAS. And while these agencies can easily sell this Bill as being a way for older fostered children to find homes, it does not address the lack of any tangible or meaningful accountability or transparency of them what so ever. In contrast Bill 131 to have Ombudsman investigations into the cesspool referred to as child welfare is being vehemently opposed by the network of secret CAS agencies, and the Liberal party.
Along with this bill and at its height of arrogance is the “forever family” catch phrase nonsense of this experiment, the notion being that once adopted a child goes off into a land of wonder and merriment. Not so fast though; there have been no real studies into adoption by the industry at all. It cherry picks from the brew of utter nonsense and propaganda what it deems as being good, and blatantly ignores other darker realities such as the overwhelming numbers of those who have been adopted and abused; those who have been adopted by everything from pedophiles, thieves, mentally ill nutjobs and everything else under the sun.
We do not have such a thing as a “forever family” and marketing one group above reproach to another is simply false. It leaves those who have been adopted at risk of living in invisibility while they are being abused; after all, those forever safe forever families never abuse children do they.
Those behind this bill are not child advocates, they are a lobbying group that is advocating on behalf of infertility networks, gay activist groups and everyone else that seem to have the mistaken belief that they have a right to someone else’s child. Missing is the right for the child to their family, and the age old natural God given right of parents to raise their own children.
This bill will create a massive baby farm for anyone that moves, and will lead directly to families not being “built” but being destroyed instead, worse it will lead to children being abused. CAS taking thousands of children for this baby farm will increase adoption, fast track children into homes without proper checks being done, and rob families and parents under a ruthless guise.
False allegations of child abuse are rampant in the system to start with. A fake child abuse allegation can now with this bill lead to a child being taken by CAS, denied access to ones parent and vice versa, and ultimately and very quickly procure that child for adoption with no legal mechanism to repeal it. The bill will void access orders once an adoption is ordered by a society, and it will leave adopters solely in power along with CAS. As it is these agencies allow their own employees to adopt, which is in and of itself totally unethical. It gives parents a 30 day window to fight an agency with no accountability, transparency, or oversight to speak of. Bill 179 is a Trojan horse of massive proportion, it needs to be stopped!
Source: Facebook private page