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Chatham Rally

January 13, 2012 permalink

Today's rally in Chatham attracted two dozen participants. In spite of miserable weather, there were many who had never come to a rally before. Two news reports are enclosed. In 108 Facebook comments, we found only one CAS defender. Here is the video report from Blackburn News, YouTube and local copy (mp4). There is another video at the Chatham Daily News (see addendum).

Chatham Rally, from Chatham Daily News



CAS Protest Today


A rally is being held in front of the Chatham courthouse this morning.

A group called Canada Court Watch is trying to put pressure on the Ontario government to investigate complaints against the Children’s Aid Society.

The protest gets underway at 10 o’clock, although organizers say with a number of people coming in from out of town, things won’t really get going until 11 or so.

Source: CKSY / Blackburn News

Seeking accountability for CAS

PROTEST: Several citizens want to see change

They took a stand, but say they will pay a price.

Protestors who rallied Friday in a Court Watch protest in Chatham want Children's Aid Societies to be more accountable.

One young father - who can't be named to protect the identity of his son who is a Crown ward - claims his child suffered a broken arm and dislocated elbow before the age of one, while in foster care.

However, the father said there's been no explanation from Chatham-Kent Children's Service, as to how this happened.

The aim of Friday's protest, organized by Canada Court Watch, is to call on the province to give Ontario's ombudsman the power to investigate complaints against children's aid societies.

The man also claims the boy's foster mother was charged with careless driving, following a rollover crash.

His son was in the vehicle.

He said he's frustrated by "the amount of neglect and abuse that happened, and nobody has taken responsibility or ownership of it."

The ombudsman, he said, should have the right to investigate complaints against the CAS, "because nobody holds them accountable for their wrong doing."

The Chatham Daily News has received several complaints about the CAS over the years, but has been repeatedly told by the agency it cannot talk about specific cases or clients due to confidentiality rules.

Complaints can currently be filed with the Child and Family Service Review Board.

John Renaud, 22, has a stack of paperwork six-inches thick from his dealings with CAS over the years.

Being a Crown ward from the age of three, due to his parents' abusive relationship, Renaud said the local CAS quickly became involved when he and a former girlfriend had a child three years ago.

He claims it was due to the fact he was a Crown ward.

Renaud, who split from the mother of his child, said the CAS legitimately took his son from the mother while he was away at college in November of 2009.

He has gone through a long fight to get back the current parental custody he has of his son.

He said when the CAS was formulating a parental capacity assessment of him, the agency somehow acquired his late mother's psychiatric personality assessment inventory.

Renaud claims the CAS used that document in court to try to prove he has the same borderline personality disorder his mother was diagnosed with.

But he said the CAS won't divulge how they acquired the document.

"This is the game they play," Renaud added. "They have way too much power."

Lee Bolton of Chatham, who attended the protest, claims: "There's no oversight of the Children's Aid Society, they do whatever they want."

She claims her nephew has behavioural issues, but the CAS chose to keep him on medication and in a group home, where he was being physically abused and neglected, rather than allow him to live with a family member.

"I'm very frustrated," Bolton said, noting her nephew has been involved with the CAS for about four years.

"They have not helped him whatsoever," she said, adding his behavioural issues have been exacerbated by the medication he's kept on.

Bobbie Gellner, from the Niagara contingent of Canada Court Watch, claims the CAS is corrupt and workers often commit perjury.

"We feel that there is a need for child protection," she said. "It needs to be done in a professional way ... that they're not being vindictive against parents, they're not making up lies against parents in order to keep kids in (care)."

She said the CAS receives its funding based on the number of children in care.

Gellner said the group has not been able get a successful prosecution against the CAS - yet.

"They're still in the works, because a lot of people aren't educated as to how they can prosecute, or go against the CAS in order to even get their children back or overturn Crown wardships," she said.

at the age of 16 (i am the oldest of 5) CAS came into my house and due to the fact we were attempting to adopt started out asking questions to each child Alone wanting to access our home. The older kids were fine the younger ones (5 and 2) were questioned alone and asked VERY inappropriate questions. Due to my parents spanking (with hand which is legal) the younger children. they denied our application to adopt (and these children were full siblings to two children already in our family) they then came into my home threatened my mother, to the point she was balling, that they would take away ALL of us if she didnt sign a legal document saying she wouldn't spank at all. They would not let us use our phone to call my father and brought a police officer. The officer THANK GOODNESS knew they were wrong and kicked them out. He let us call our dad and comforted my EXTREMELY upset mother. CAS does abuse their power and skirts the law, its horrid but the cop told us we could try to sue/charge them but wouldnt win b/c they would lie to protect each other.

The chatham cas are brutal. I dealt with them quite a few years ago. They were under investigation at the time and things were suppose to be done a certain way and as soon as Dr. Robino was gone back to Toronto things were right back to the same way. My children, my mother and myself suffer termendously. Especially my children they were abused over and over again. But they were going to charge me and my mother if we called them again. They also said they were going to take my children away from me.

The whole ordeal with them was a night mare.

I have absolutely no faith in the chatham cas.

Source: Chatham Daily News

Here are pictures of the rally: [cold] [venue] [crowd] [Your child could be next!] [Foster kids are hungry] [ombudsman] [crowd] [lies and steals] [police] [front page].

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Some advocates had to risk their lives getting to the rally through the snowstorm. See the danger on YouTube or local copy (mp4). Video from the rally is on YouTube and our local copy (mp4).

Addendum: Three months later Pat Niagara embedded the report from the Chatham Daily News in this video (mp4).