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Family Day Vigil
February 21, 2012 permalink
Vigils occurred in several cities and towns to remember Ontario's broken families. Here is a set of photos from the vigil in Chatham     and a video of Chris Carter YouTube and local copy (mp4)
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
Press coverage of the Chatham vigil:
Is CAS trying to steal your children?
Monday evening local Chatham Kent residents gathered on the corner of St. Clair and Grand Avenue to hold a vigil in memory of the families ripped apart by Children’s Aid Services. In Canada most provinces have a government run Children’s Aid Service, in Ontario that’s not the case. CAS is a private industry and Chris Carter of Canada Court Watch claims it’s one shrouded in secrecy, backroom deals and executives raking in the cash. In a documentary soon to be released through Canada Court Watch a former CAS employee exposes startling issues withing the OACAS, and even claims that babies are being auctioned off to high profile bidders.
There is a serious problem and it begins with accountability. When a CAS worker believes that there is “risk of imminent harm” (physical, mental, social, sexual) they may with cooperation of local police remove the child from the home and place them into CAS care. There is no warrant needed for the police to enter and there are no records kept of unwarranted removals.
The next area of accountability involves deaths of children in CAS care. There are no statistics on the number of deaths or the number of deaths caused by CAS workers themselves. There are some parents who believe that CAS has gone as far as to murder their child. Why would CAS want to murder children? CAS is accused of taking out life insurance policies on government wards, (children in CAS care). When accused the reply from CAS was that if it is happening they are unaware if it.
There is also a factor of the cost, it costs approximately $10k per assessment and the number of assessments in specific communities is private information. The information provided from OACAS is convoluted and offers no explanation as to why they keep no statistics on specifics like these.
The funding model now in place allows for funds to be directed to CAS only when they decide a child must be taken into custody. This system creates what some call a bounty on our children. Similar to how pharmaceutical companies need sick people, CAS needs the pain and suffering of children in order to operate. There is room for organizations like CAS to do good things in our community, and they certainly do. there are obviously children who need parents, and there needs to be a system to accomplish parental accountability, as well as CAS accountability. The Ombudsman (an independent provincial government watchdog) could be granted jurisdiction over CAS and there would be a level of accountability that does not currently exist.
Chris Carter left multiple voice mail messages for Mike Stephens the Executive Director of Chatham-Kent Children’s Aid Services requesting a copy of the polices and procedures, as well as bylaws and the process for attending CAS meetings. His calls have not been returned.
Danage.com attempted to contact Mike Stephens but his voicemail states that he is gone for the week attending various meetings in Toronto and London. I look forward to a call from Mr Stephens so he can clear the air and let the public know his opinion on these problems. We would like to give Mr Stephen’s the benefit of the doubt and consider it a coincidence that he is out-of-town the week that a CAS protest appears. Additional rallies are being held this week and more information is available through CanadaCourtWatch.com and FixCAS.com
Pat Niagara On February 20, 2012 on Clifton Hill tonight in Niagara Falls a scant few members showed up for a Candlelit Vigil in Memory of Families Destroyed by CAS and Family Courts. Thanks to those who made it out and for the camaraderie. Thank you to Kim Shook, Shannon Horner-Edsal and her son Austin, Jessica Pelissero, Kevin Harris, Bobbie Gellner and Beverly Putt Gilbert, our newest addition.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
Earlier CCW members gathered petition signatures at the CAS-organized Free Skate.
Pat Niagara On February 20. 2012 members of Canada Court Watch converged on Niagara area arenas at a FACS (CAS) Family Skate Day in order to educate the public and collect signatures for Ombudsman Oversight of the MUSH sector. All totalled over 150 signatures were obtained.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
Addendum: While executive director Mike Stephens would not talk to reporter Dan Age, Chatham-Kent CAS spokesman Kim Mugridge spoke with another reporter. In the interest of fairness, here is the whole report. Mugridge sticks to the politically correct party-line.
Maintaining connections is key
FOSTERING: Local homes badly needed
The face of fostering is changing.
"The whole goal of foster care is reunification," said Kim Mugridge, foster care/adoption family recruiter for the Chatham-Kent Children's' Services. "We want communication (with the birth family) to be more open, because the whole goal is for the children to go back to their homes."
Maintaining a child's connection to family, friends, community and social activities is key for the reunification process to run smoothly, Mugridge said. A shortage of foster homes is forcing area children to be placed anywhere from 45 minutes to four hours away from Chatham-Kent.
"Our other focus is finding kin families, placements within extended family, where we can reunite children with their ...aunt or cousin," said CKCS adoption services worker Tracy Thomas.
There is also a need for local families interested in adopting, she said.
"We want families locally so the children don't have to move out of the area," Thomas explained. "There is an increased focus on maintaining openness to the birth family."
The training adoptive and foster families receive highlights the positive aspects of maintaining connections with the child's birth family, Thomas said.
She believes local families look overseas to adopt because they don't realize there is a need within their own community, or they are looking for babies and toddlers.
"For children over the age of five, our need is always greater," she said. "We've also had very few families come forward who were willing to adopt two or more children. That's our other priority - keeping our siblings together."
Mugridge said both foster and adoption applications follow a similar process that takes between six to nine months. Families also go through a nine-week training program addressing the rewards and challenges of being a foster or adoptive family.
Information nights, like the one being hosted at CKCS Feb. 23 from 7-9 p.m., are an opportunity for people interested in adopting or fostering to have questions answered.
"We're going to break the myths that have been out there for so many years," said Mugridge. "(Like) there is a waiting list for adoption and as you move up that list you are given a child. That's not how it works, it's a matching process."
Thomas said another common myth is that you must be a heterosexual married couple.
"We do not discriminate against single applicants, divorced, married, same sex," Thomas said. "We're always looking for a variety of cultures. Matching is our priority, to find the best match for a child."
Perhaps the biggest myth Thomas hopes is erased from public perception is about the children themselves.
"(People believe) children available for adoption are all damaged, that their needs are very high, I think that's definitely a myth," she said. "There are kids who come in from a bad situation and just need a family. There are other ones that do have higher needs, and may need a more experienced family."
To register for the information night please call 519-352-0440 or email email@example.com
Source: Chatham Daily News
One note from Brantford:
Brantford Ont. Rally In Memory of Destroyed and Broken Families by Children's Aid Society and Family Courts had an attendance of 9 with a visit by the Brant News for pictures and interview. Of course nothing was printed does that surprise anyone.