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Prince Edward County CAS History

December 9, 2011 permalink

Prince Edward County CAS has backed out of a proposed merger with Hastings CAS. A Belleville Intelligencer editorial on the subject is enclosed because of the posted comments by Brenda Everall. She has fourteen years experience with Prince Edward County CAS, including personal knowledge of the Holm case [1] [2]. We have confirmed the author is the same person at a Picton rally in August.



County CAS needs to open up on decision, policies

Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society has decided a merger with Northumberland and Hastings County CAS is not in the cards for the PEC body.

If statements by directors of the other two agencies are to be believed, it will be a minor hiccup in the overall scheme of streamlining child protective services in the region.

Prince Edward CAS clearly has a better view of the needs and abilities of the County and children in need of protection and that may well be part of the reason for making its decision.

But, the County agency isn't explaining its case in any detail and with provincial funds and wards of the society's lives at stake in its decision, we'd have hoped for more rationale on the reasons for striking out alone or continuing as a lone entity.

The province had mandated amalgamation of children's aid agencies in pockets such as Quinte and in an era of provincial belt-tightening, it seemed to be a prudent exercise. But, Prince Edward CAS clearly decided it was not a good fit for the County's child protection service.

Why? We don't really know.

Prince Edward County CAS local director, William Sweet, issued a terse statement Monday, briefly outlining his agency's reasoning for the last-minute merger withdrawal.

In it, Sweet said the County agency concluded that the "County's interest would be best served by the preservation of an independent agency."

Oh? How so?

Perhaps the County board and its executive director felt it would diminish the autonomy of the County CAS. Again, we don't know because there has been precious little said about the decision.

What we would expect to hear from the Prince Edward CAS is how it will walk to tightrope between fiscal accountability and adequate resources and oversight to ensure another situation does not arise on its watch as the case of the Bloomfield couple recently jailed for sexually abusing CAS wards in their care.

Because that, more than anything, is the elephant in the board room that children's aid societies, locally, have yet to how a willingness to address.

Without more open communication on such issues as mergers and service provision, a public stung by closed-door policies is left to form its own opinions and that breeds nothing but contempt and suspicion.

Already, a jaded public is too often left to infer silence on such issues means there's something to hide. We're saying nothing of the sort, but if there is no openness to discuss reasons for stepping back from an amalgamation, what else are we not being told?

Why, then, Mr. Sweet and the board of Prince Edward CAS, did the County's child protection services decide it was in the County's "best interest" to stay autonomous? A short, detail-starved press release in this case does not suffice.

Awesome article! It would seem that Mr. Sweet and his board in their infinite wisdom are telling the public that it is none of our business. Well I for one disagree it is very much our business! PECAS is here to serve the families and children of Prince Edward County with Ontario taxpayers money. That makes it our business. This closed door policy is indeed making it look like they have something to hide. I think they are hiding a great deal of information on many issues including the safety of the children in their care. This is why there needs to be a public inquiry. Perhaps we need to go over Mr. Sweet and his Board's heads and demand the Ministry of Child and Youth Services (Minister Eric Hoskins) to tell the public what the hell is going on there.

they won't merge with the other C.A.S agencies because then they would be held accountable for their actions. the way they run their system would be brought to light. they would actually have to follow proper procedures instead of dogging it. taking 2-3 weeks to respond to peoples calls is ridiculous.if they won't merge shut them down and expand another C.A.S. agencies boundaries. the Prince Edward chapter is a joke!!

i agree PepperAnn there is something amiss with the director's and the boards decision to back out of it because of autonomy of the agency,the fosterparents who were jailed or is there another hidden secret that is causing distress for the director and the board.what about the rumor that the ministry is doing a full investigation of the prince edward cas.something is very wrong.

There are a couple posters here that know for a fact that the rumor is not that but a fact. PECAS is in fact under current investigation by the ministry. Also PECAS currently only holds a provisional licence for child protection meaning they have not met all the requirements to operate a CAS and are being given a prescribed amount Of time to meet the standards (cfsa section193.6)

Due to the investigation Mr. Sweet is likely being advised to be tight lipped with media and those who want to know what is going on would probably get farther with the Ministry.

Thank you to the Intelligencer for opening the door to the truth. It has been a long time coming & beyond appreciated!

I assure can assure the public that Bill Sweet & his elite board of directors are hiding many truths.

I, myself have a long list of questions for Mr. Sweet and in the 14 years that I have been FORCED to deal with his agency he has eluded an answer to all of them. It no longer matters to me how the general public perceives my comments..the naysayers are becoming a minority quite rapidly. In fact, in the last 2-3 years I can't count the amount of people who said "I should've believed you sooner" or "I just can't believe our government would allow this." I couldn't believe it myself when my personal 'battle' with the CAS & family court started many years ago...but I caught on quick!

As a result of 'fighting the system' while retaining custody of my children, people started looking to me for answers & I began to help them. In no time at all I was swarmed with families seeking assistance to their matters with the CAS. As a result, my children & I have been targeted by the CAS & have been dragged through hell & back. Thank goodness my kids are thoroughly educated on their rights & completely intent on defending them, much to the CAS's regret :) I have hours of recorded conversations where my children are clearly being intimidated & threatened into silence. It's beyond sickening to see some of these power hungry SOCIAL WORKERS getting the praise that they do for being so WELL INTENDED when I can prove otherwise to anyone who'll listen. The general public doesn't want the truth & they've rejected it for far too long while the very children who are being 'PROTECTED' are anything but! CAS is out of control everywhere but this particular small town CAS has many, many skeletons in its closet!

I consistently pass drug tests, I have no physical/mental health issues (as confirmed by 2 doctors) that would impact my parenting capacity, I am educated, I've been at the same address maintaining a 3bdrm $1000.00/plus apartment, I'm not involved with the police, I don't have a partner, I have minimal friends, am active in my community & I have strong family supports. My children excel in school, they thrive in the arts and are visible in their community. The reports that I have from CAS says that no one in our lives, such as the school, counselors, doctor/dentist, etc. have concerns yet at the end of the report, it says that the CAS has concerns & that the file will remain open. $1.4 BILLION of YOUR taxpayer money went to finance this nonsense last year alone. They are focused on me & my well adjusted kids, yet we have things like this most recent fiasco in Bloomfield going unchecked. SERIOUSLY??? Joey & Janet (Holm) lived only minutes away from me..geography is not to blame here! The Picton CAS is!

I have spoken to family members, friends & former foster kids of Joey & Janet's & THERE WERE REPORTS & PHOTOS given to the CAS YEARS ago. CAS turned a blind eye. PERIOD! So many people knew about Joey & Janet's alternative lifestyle which they were welcome to as adults, but to throw foster kids into the mix was just disgusting. How could a whole community gossip about the goings-on in that house yet the CAS kept shipping kids there? Why were workers quoted to get 'creeped out' when having to visit there? WHY? WHY? WHY? Why is there STILL a photo album on Joe's facebook account of 'FORMER KIDS'? (last time I had access to his page the pics were there.)

There are so many more questions for PECAS. The public needs to ask how it is that I have an open file, yet just last year, a child was placed with me for a weekend for emergency care? The police & the CAS left her with me for the whole weekend & trusted me to bring her to the office on the Monday. How can this be? Why did a foster mother show up at my door a month ago with a teenager who had overdosed? The foster child refused to go ANYWHERE without me as she repeatedly stated that I was the ONLY ONE in the whole system (not that I'm part of the system), or world for that matter, that she could trust. She was on the run & knew she would be arrested at the hospital when released. It was heartbreaking. You know why she ran? Because she had to..she couldn't take any more ABUSE. See, this girl was sexually abused in her foster home yet when she spoke up she was shipped out & labelled a lying trouble maker. She got medicated & treated like a dirty little liar. I was there for it all as one of the only ones to believe her. Well, low & behold, a couple of years later, she gets called as a witness to the trial of the foster father that she had reported on. Other girls had come forward & it was going to be hard to contain, so now it's in court where they can keep it under wraps--not because it's the right thing to do. This girl has also been charged for petty nonsense so they can control her through the court process. It's simple for them, if she runs, she gets picked up & jailed. Then they feed her more meds until she is controllable again. It is unbelievable what this strong young woman has endured. Sitting at the hospital that evening with the CAS worker & the police made me sick to my stomach. I knew no matter how many times we hugged/kissed, held hands or exchanged 'I love you's', that it would all end soon & my ability to protect her was going to end upon her arrest, nevertheless, it was a moment I wouldn't have given up for the world. She felt so loved & safe, if for only a couple of hours. Meanwhile, back at my own apartment are my kids who had their world turned upside down when the foster mother walked through the door announcing that this girl had overdosed. I had to leave my own children (13 & 15 yrs old) very quickly during their night time routine & they were justifiably very upset & worried with the situation at hand. How fair is it that I can offer stability for my own kids only to have to constantly deal with PECAS dysfunction?

I assure you that I have advocated for many children over the years & I have been absolutely repeatedly shocked. I recall when a young girl begged me to get her out of her abusive situation only to later find that she had been returned to the abusive home that very evening contrary to the begging of this girl & PROOF that she was being physically & emotionally abused & neglected. I fought tooth & nail with that case worker only to be told that I don't know the whole story & that CAS doesn't have to justify themselves to anyone. We kept at it & the girl was ultimately moved out of the home, but not before some blood, sweat & tears!!

I have repeatedly asked Bill Sweet for an internal review with respect to my 14 year file. He did do one in 1994, but I caught him in many written lies & he just quit dealing with me since. Period. He simply won't even acknowledge my request(s) although the Ontario Child and Family Services act states that he must. When Bill gets caught in a lie, he withdraws & hopes it will all go away on its own. Unfortunately for you Bill, I promised you this justice years ago in the name of the children, and I have given you many years to reform your corrupt agency, you continue to hide & lie. did you know that Bill Sweet proudly boasts on his stationary that he has a MSW (masters of social work), implying that he is a social worker yet he's not registered and NEVER has been registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers & Social Service Workers. I have verified this through the OCSWSSW & have subsequently complained to the college. The Social Worker & Social Service Worker Act of Ontario CLEARLY STATES in section 46. (1) that No person except a registered social worker shall use the English title “social worker” or “registered social worker” or the French title “travailleur social” or “travailleur social inscrit” or an abbreviation of any of those titles to represent expressly or by implication that he or she is a social worker or registered social worker. 1998, c. 31, s. 46 (1).Same (2) No person except a registered social worker shall represent or hold out expressly or by implication that he or she is a social worker or a registered social worker. 1998, c. 31, s. 46 (2)... So why then is there only ONE ...YES, ONE registered worker at the PECAS? I have also verified this with the college & have the documents to verify. The registered member is a supervisor. EVERY other employee IS not registered. They think they found a loop hole by calling themselves child protection workers..yet a child protection worker as defined under section 40 of the CFSA can only apprehend a child & take him/her to a place of safety------thereby leaving the IMPORTANT stuff to a SOCIAL WORKER. So every time a CHILD PROTECTION WORKER does ANYTHING except apprehend a child, they are acting outside of section 40 of the CFSA as well as DIRECTLY VIOLATING the SWSSW Act. Yet again, no one seems to notice or care except for the advocates across this province fighting to have these laws enforced. All the while, if your matters are before the court or have been decided by the court you cannot appeal to the Child & Family Services Review and even if you can, contrary to popular belief, the CFSRB's hands are tied anyways and have no real power over the CAS regardless of the what oversight measures the government guarantees us to be in place. We are the only province to REFUSE ombudsman oversight by repeatedly voting down the Bill. The accountability isn't there. PERIOD!

All 53 CAS's have much to hide & the public needs to question the funding formula which motivates the CAS at the expense of $1.4 billion last year alone. Why are our streets & Prisons full of former crown wards who have no education, family ties, self esteem or sense of belonging? Because to satisfy a funding formula, a high rate of apprehension occurred & the children paid the ultimate price..look around, the evidence is EVERYWHERE! Children are approximately 7 times more likely to DIE in 'care' as opposed to remaining in their natural environment. Families are always going to face hard times & hit a brick wall now & again, but it is up to society to help, support & nurture that family rather then destroy it! Most of the time, parents are willing to accept help if offered, unfortunately, the CAS rarely offers help in my experience.

I want to express my thanks to all of the good workers & the truly loving foster parents who do it for the right reasons. I know there are many of you out there being rained on by this dark cloud of CAS secrecy & public outcry for justice. I am not claiming & nor do I believe that everyone in the system is corrupt or in it for the wrong reasons. I know there are good people out there who only want to provide care, love & support to an unfortunate child & that is commendable & generous! Some children are terribly abused & that is a sad is all the more reason to make an EFFECTIVE system that truly protects ALL children. How long will the public tolerate hearing "well it's not a perfect system"??? LETS MAKE IT PERFECT..NOW!! Perhaps the amalgamation between Northumberland, Hastings & Prince Edward county CAS's could help to accomplish change, but Bill Sweet has once again chosen to be anything but transparent. He started squirming when the Holm's case broke open, but then when Len Kennedy (Hastings CAS Ex. Dir) publicly slammed the PECAS for the mess, Bill Sweet withdrew from the amalgamation the very next day. Quite typical of the mentality that I've come to know in Bill Sweet. He believes that he doesn't have to answer to anyone. He really does. The PECAS & it's board of directors should be beyond ashamed! We've heard excuses & BS from Bill Sweet but we certainly haven't heard him take any ownership. He just thinks running & hiding will save make it all go away..he couldn't be more wrong! Children were abused on his watch & even though he needs to choose his words carefully through the ministry investigation, showing a little remorse & responsibility would serve him well. I will submitting a report to the ministry to make sure that each & every case of child abuse on his watch is investigated but in the meantime, we need to demand to know what services have been offered to the MANY children in this region who have endured abuse of any sort while in PECAS care...seriously, what is being done to help these kids overcome their OBVIOUS traumas? We need to know!

I cannot begin to convey the hell this CAS has put my family & this community through! I have fought back for years. I'm tired & broken, but still swinging in hopes of real change! Good luck all!

further more to the people that will argue that no child is apprehended without reason.. too bad this wasn't supported with criminal charges. If someone abuses/neglects their children to the point of justifiable apprehension, criminal charges should always support this & the abuser should be punished. Wouldn't you think? Why doesn't this happen? Why can CAS take your kids, lie to a judge & be that simple? The public can't really be this daft I would hope. Why are thousands of ALLEGED child abusers free to roam our streets & live among us? Doesn't that scare you? The naysayers need to use their heads and start asking these questions...why aren't our prison & jails filled with the abusers in numbers to match all the 'ABUSED' kids in care?

Brenda Everall I encourage you to contact the ministry about the ongoing current investigation. Your situation might be relevant to them. Also if you have gone though the internal complaint process at the agency in question ou can elevate the complaint to ministry level. The office of the child and youth advocate would likely be able to assit you. 1-800-263-2841

Thank you for your advice & contact info, I appreciate it very much. I am 3/4 done my complaint to the ministry ( & will put a rush on it :)

Source: Belleville Intelligencer