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December 8, 2011 permalink
A rally for CAS accountability took place in Dunnville Ontario on Wednesday. Participants report that the police were supportive, voicing private reservations about CAS that they cannot express on the job. A personal message from Chris York and a press report follow.
Chris York I want to take a moment to thank the people of Dunnville Ontario for the warm welcome and reception they gave us when we showed up today to rally in there town. The support we received was beyond outstanding and we were asked by a few locals to come back to there town in the future.
It was nice to see so many faces coming up and supporting us and spreading the word that we were there. we had people sitting at home that heard we were there and made it a point to get up and come out to sign the petitions.
It was so nice to see people that decided to not stay at home and decided to do there part to call for change.
Cars were honking in support of the cause and people stoped by just to say Thank You.
A big thanks goes out to the people of Dunnville for that warm reception and understanding and rest assured we will grant your wish with a return in the future.
Protestors speak out against Children's Aid Society
It wasn't quite as large as some of the Occupy protests seen around the world, but still, a protest of any kind in downtown Dunnville is sure to grab the attention of people passing by.
Representatives from Canada Court Watch, a public accountability group, collected signatures and spoke out against the Children's Aid Society (CAS), claiming there is "so much corruption going on" with the non-profit corporation.
A group of about a dozen people stood at the corner of Lock Street and Queen Street in Dunnville on Wednesday afternoon using a megaphone to announce their thoughts on the organization.
"The workers are going into homes and perjuring themselves in documents and there's no oversight," claims media spokesperson Bobbie Gellner.
They came to Dunnville because recently the group travelled through town in their Canada Court Watch van and had residents come up to them claiming the Children's Aid Society in Haldimand and Norfolk was "awful".
"We've had a few stories here already today and these pages are filling up with signatures quickly," Gellner said, adding about 100 signatures had been collected by noon – one hour after beginning their peaceful protest outside the Royal Bank of Canada which ended around 2 p.m..
"We definitely agree there is a need for child protection, but there needs to be some accountability and oversight."
She said all too often children are taken away from their parents under false accusations of wrongful care.
Chris York, a fellow protestor, agreed mentioning he almost lost his son when the Children's Aid Society intervened recently.
"I was accused by my sister of being a drug addict and an alcoholic and six police officers came and busted down my door at my St. Catharines area home like they were storm troopers," York said. "They found no drugs, searched my home illegally without a warrant, turned my socks inside out and I went to court four days later where they accused me of still having a drug problem.
"When I showed results of blood testing done by my doctor proving that wasn't the case, [CAS] changed their story contradicting everything they accused me of and said it was a mental health issue instead."
York said he had his son returned within a week, but that the damage had already been done.
"For the next year and a half I had to vigorously defend myself against more allegations saying I had an anger problem. I don't; I have a hatred probelm against the Children Aid's Society for what's taking place."
Gellner said some CAS workers who are engaged in the practice of social work with the province's various agencies are working in violation of the Social Workers and Social Services Work Act (1998) by not being registered members of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.
"They use the title as child protection worker, yet they are doing social work. They are changing the law by changing their title."
She claimed the CAS also uses doctors they've consulted beforehand to administer parental capacity assessments.
"That's an extremely biased assessment because they choose the doctor you have to go to, one they've used thousands of times before against other families."
"These doctors already see these verified allegations on you and ask you questions so you can never pass," added York.
Executive Director of the Children's Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk, Janice Robinson, said the idea that her organization takes children prematurely is "not right".
"I understand that the Children's Aid Society has a lot of power and we can sometimes be perceived that way in the public eye, but we work hard for people and ensuring a child's best interests are met."
She said the organization, for the most part, tries to make it possible for the child to stay with his or her family.
"We feel that's where they belong, but that can't aways happen, so we look for the least intrusive alternative."
Robinson said that often means contacting the child's parents' next of kin.
As well as conducting their work within the contact of Ontario's Family Court System, CAS also answers to the Ministry of Children and Needs Services and the Child and Family Services Review Board.
Robinson said the agency welcomes the opinion of people.
"If someone doesn't like what's happening or wants to learn more, I'm not one who doesn't want to hear what they have to say," she said, adding if a strong showing of signatures is collected that "maybe there is something that requires our attention."
In 2010 and 2011, CAS of Ontario received more than $1.4 billion in provincial tax money.
To find out more about Canada Court Watch, visit www.canadacourtwatch.com
Source for pictures: Facebook