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August 11, 2011 permalink
The tour bus has reached Picton. Favorable press coverage continues.
Rally calls for more CAS accountability
A ‘Picton Rally for CAS Accountability’ welcomed advocates for children welfare reform Tuesday afternoon.
Alfredine (Linda) Plourde and her small band of advocates began touring Ontario in mid-July. After making two stops in Belleville, they met at the Prince Edward County Community Centre with a small group of County and area residents advocating for Children Aid Society accountability. Lead by local advocate Brenda Everall, they travelled to the Children’s Aid Society’s offices for a private meeting with director Bill Sweet.
Ontario is the only province in Canada that doesn’t allow the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate Children’s Aids Societies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes and school boards. The group notes it is not trying to get rid of the CAS, just trying to improve the services.
“In the matter of our most precious resource, our children, excessive oversight is impossible.” said Everall.
“Children’s Aid was created to protect the children,” said Plourde. “You have a good thing that has gone bad. It has become toxic.”
‘Protecting Canadian Children’ was started about three years ago. Plourde was motivated by her experience with the Catholic Children’s Aid Society becoming involved with her daughter and grandson to start speaking out for change in the system. She is touring Ontario this summer to raise public awareness of the need for increased accountability and transparency within children’s services.
Velvet Martin is touring with Plourde. Her severely disabled 13-year-old daughter Samantha died unexpectedly after being in care for more than 10 years. She had returned to her parents’ care six months before her death.
“She had 10 years of seizures that went untreated and the foster mother was approached by medical professionals, schools and myself, and she said I didn’t see any myself,” she said. “My daughter received seven broken bones, three of them were in her femur, and I learned, following the fact, that my little girl died of a heart attack at age 13.”
Martin said she wanted to expose the misconceptions attached to losing a child to protective services.
“The majority of people believe in the stigma of somebody must have done something wrong,” she said. “It happens to middle-class people, it happens to professional people, and I think the public needs to become aware of that… They say there are protocols in place (to protect the children),” said Martin. “When there is no culpability and the protocols are breached it doesn’t serve as a prevention.”
Martin was instrumental in the establishment of “Samantha’s Law” which separated The Family Support for Children with Disabilities Program from that of child protection services.
The tour is to continue until Oct. 27, 2011 ending in Toronto.
Source: Prince Edward County News
Note: As of August 11, the bus has suffered a breakdown, suspending the tour until repairs can be made.