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August 19, 2011 permalink
Yesterday's rally in Woodstock was covered in the press.
Protest takes aim at MUSH-sector accountability
WOODSTOCK— Protesters outside the Children's Aid Society of Oxford (CAS) demanded accountability Thursday.
Lillian Christine Sorko, a member of Voices of Innocent Families in Ontario, said groups have been protesting across Ontario over the past few weeks. In each community, the message has been the same – to have independent investigations to be the protocol for problems in what is referred to as the MUSH sector.
The MUSH sector involves public agencies like CAS and includes school boards, hospitals, long-term care facilities and retirement homes. Sorko said she wants the agencies monitored by the Ontario Ombudsman instead of the current review processes in place.
"These people are coming into our homes and telling us what to do and how to parent, but there is no way to make them accountable for anything," she said outside the Light Street building of Oxford's CAS. "It's not just about CAS; it's about all public agencies. There has to be accountability and there isn't."
Sorko said she's had unpleasant and traumatic run-ins with CAS in the past. Two of her grandchildren were seized, one in hospital just after being born.
"My daughter might have had a drug problem, but I do not. There was nothing wrong with me when I was raising my children. But I guess I wasn't good enough, so they put my daughter and grandbaby through a traumatic event like this," she said.
She now takes care of the child, who is just over a year old. Her daughter has been clean for almost that entire time.
Another protester travelled from Chatham to be involved in the rally. She did not reveal her name because her grandson is still in CAS custody. She said the boy was just six months old when he was placed in six different foster homes in seven weeks. While the infant was in custody, she alleged he sustained multiple injuries, including a dislocated elbow that required a cast. She said police were not able to determine how or who injured the child, although they knew when it took place.
"When he was taken to the doctor, the doctor said he couldn't have sustained an injury like that on his own. Someone must have done it to him because at that age they aren't even crawling they can barely move on their own," she said, "but yet there is no accountability. Foster care abuse is real."
Rob Neill, director of service for the Oxford CAS, said concerns are raised about foster families from time to time and abuse investigations are handled the same way as any other abuse investigation.
"We have a very high standard in terms of quality of care," he said during a telephone interview.
He added a licence is required for those fostering children, and the stipulations required to obtain a licence is handed down by the Ministry of Child and Youth Services.
He said the CAS does have policies and procedures that are in place and reviewed as per guidelines handed down by the Youth Ministry.
Neill wasn't aware of any specific investigations at the time of the interview.
As far as having the ombudsman involved in investigations, Neill said, "We welcome the opportunity to discuss ways to enhance services in any way."
Source: Woodstock Sentinel-Review
The same article appeared in the London Free Press.