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Niagara Falls Rally
September 23, 2011 permalink
At the end of an article glorifying Niagara FACS, the story admits that the real voice of the community was being heard outside, though the reporter got the basic facts wrong.
Expanded FACS building showcased in Falls
NIAGARA FALLS — It's a "surreal feeling" walking through the Shelley MacBain Centre for the first time … especially if your name is Shelley MacBain.
The adopted daughter of renowned former Niagara Falls MP Al MacBain couldn't stop smiling Friday as she toured the 810-square-metre expansion to Family and Children's Services Niagara. She and her brother John donated $750,000 to the project last December through their McCall MacBain Foundation.
"The building is incredible," she said, insisting Niagara Falls is still "home" despite living on Vancouver Island now. "I'm just humbled and honoured at the same time."
"I was actually adopted from the Children's Aid Society in 1963, so there's some deep-rooted feelings for me."
Donors and supporters of the FACS expansion were given tours of the Canadian Dr. facility. Shelley MacBain attended a morning session, while her billionaire brother flew in from Halifax to attend an afternoon tour.
John MacBain made a fortune with his chain of Auto Trader magazines, earning him the nickname King of Classifieds. He owned all of them in Canada except Ontario's. In 2006, he sold the company for $2 billion, and established the McCall MacBain Foundation in Switzerland, where he now lives.
For his $1 million donation, the MacBain Community Centre on Montrose Rd. is named after his deceased parents Al, who died in 2003, and Viola, who died in 1999.
He shocked fundraisers for FACS with his donation last year, which accounted for three-fourths of the agency's $1 million fundraising drive.
The $3.4-million project broke ground in June 2010, and opened a year later. The new section boasts themed meeting rooms for families, new indoor and outdoor play areas, increased privacy and counseling facilities. The original 540-square-metre building is now reserved for staff.
Ann Godfrey, FACS director of development, says the larger facility can now act as a median for families who live in St. Catharines and Fort Erie, and will better serve families going through emotional turmoil.
Each year, FACS provides support to more than 1,500 families and foster care to about 540 children.
"Part of the skill of our staff is to engage with people, understand and be empathetic to the emotions that they're feeling," she says. "Never for a minute would we underestimate the drama families would feel meeting to have this kind of service."
While donors toured the inside of the building Friday, a protest was held outside.
About 15 members of Voices of Children's Alliance — which wants to reform Children's Aid Societies in Ontario — picketed during the afternoon as part of a province-wide series of rallies.
Advocator Chris Carter said he had a bitter experience with a children's aid society during his divorce, and believes the agencies have too much power in Ontario when it comes to taking children away from their natural parents.
"We're trying to raise public awareness of the need for accountability and transparency in regards to the actions of children's aid societies," he said. "Basically we're the only province in Canada that has children's aid societies doing child protection. In the other provinces (that) is done exclusively by a government ministry."
Source: Welland Tribune
The real news:
Pat Niagara Rally for Accountability and Transparency
Friday, September 23 · 12:30pm - 5:30pm
Niagara Falls, Canada
Groups from all Over Ontario attended the Niagara Falls Children's Aid Society Rally.
To spite the rain 27-30 people attended. Police also attended the rally, by the time we got to Facs Niagara members of the Niagara Regional Police had arrived shortly before us and had parked just down the street. Some staff from Facs Niagara did come out and talk to a few people who had been having problems with Niagara CAS. Niagara CAS staff did answer some of the concerns and even offered to help a few people out at a later date. The staff even offered the members and supporters to come inside and take a tour of the building and have something to eat. All in All it was a great day for everyone.
*Facs Niagara did open the door to a meeting with Canada Court Watch members this coming Wednesday to go over some of the concerns within the FACS Niagara, and hats off to them for doing so.
**Again we all believe there is a need for Children Protection in Ontario, but we also believe FACS and all CAS must work harder on keeping families together and working with them to resolve this problems and only removing a child as a last resort.
-=Video will be coming soon=-