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No Answers

February 27, 2012 permalink

A Chatham mother sent a request for documents and a question to Mike Stephens, executive director of Chatham-Kent Children's Services. The letter cites legal authority for the requests and indicates her intention to rely on the assistance of C C of Canada Court Watch. That sounds like Chris Carter, recently booted out of advocacy in Chatham by bail conditions. So far there has been no substantive reply, only a letter announcing a 60 day delay. History suggests that after 60 days the result will be not an answer, but another excuse. Fixcas will keep you informed.



Thursday February 2, 2012

Hello Chatham-Kent Children's Services (CKCS) executive director Mr. Stephens,

I am Trish Watson from Chatham Ontario.

I'm registering today's communication with you under the authority of both the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) section 2 (2) Duties of service providers and the Child and family Services Review Board (CFSRB) Case Law Children's Aid Society of Waterloo v. D.D., 2011 ONCA 441 (CanLII):

Duties of service providers


Service providers shall ensure,


that children and their parents have an opportunity where appropriate to be heard and represented when decisions affecting their interests are made and to be heard when they have concerns about the services they are receiving; and


that decisions affecting the interests and rights of children and their parents are made according to clear, consistent criteria and are subject to procedural safeguards. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 2.  

CFSRB Decision


In its careful and detailed reasons the CFSRB set out the nature of D.D.'s complaints which it found eligible under ss. 68.1(4)(4) and 68.1(4)(5) of the CFSA and summarized the complaints as follows:

  • That the Society has failed to comply with clause 2(2)(a) of the Act which states "that service providers shall ensure that children and their parents have an opportunity, where appropriate, to be heard and represented when decisions affecting their interests are made and to be heard when they have concerns about the services they are receiving."
  • That the Society has failed to provide her with reasons for decisions that affect her interests.
  • That the Applicant received no information from the Society about how the decisions were made regarding the children's placement.

I'm asserting, as per the above, my right and your obligation to provide me with official written responses to the inquiries I'll be registering with you in this today's email.  

Issue 1:

I am writing as to concerns that have not been addressed when I have previously attempted to, in regards to this issue, communicate with Robin Rose who is an intake supervisor with the CKCS.

I wish to obtain an unredacted copy of my 1st party records that are in the possession of the CKCS.

I'm aware of issues in regards to your responsibility to protect the information of third parties which may be contained in my records.

If that is an issue in my case I would like a letter attached to the file disclosure explaining which information was redacted.

I do appreciate the fact that you may allow people to come in and review the files and if I'm allowed to so do, I would need to bring in a support person or two.

As well, in your response would you be kind enough to provide me with a written and complete copy of CKCS official policy in regards to providing records disclosure

I'm thinking about bringing Canada Court Watch's C C along as he does have some experience and knowledge of your systems.  

Issue 2:

On November 22, 2011 I attended the CKCS's office and reported to Mr. Ernie Meriano that the father of my two youngest children, *******, had reportedly used inappropriate physical contact on our 5 year old daughter ******.

I told Mr. Meriano that my daughter Cornia had reported to me that on the proceeding weekend during her access visit with her father, he had grabbed her by the upper arms and shaken her.

I explained to Mr. Meriano that this was not the first time that there had been a report of Mr. ******* using inappropriate physical force on our children.

I gave Mr. Meriano the contact information for Mr. *****.

Mr. Meriano instructed me not to allow the children to visit with their father, Mr. ******, until I "heard back from him."

I followed his instructions, not allowing Mr. ****** to have his regular access with the two children

(There is a court order establishing that I have sole custody of the children)

and then on December 9, 2011 I again contacted the CKCS for a follow up.

On Dec. 9/11 I spoke with CKCS worker Suzanne Hamil and was told that the report I had made to Mr. Meriano back on Nov. 22/11 about my daughter ****** having been grabbed and shaken by her father was not recorded on your system.

Ms. Hamil instructed me that as the sole custodial parent it was my responsibility to keep my children safe and that if the CKCS became aware that I had "allowed the children to be in a dangerous situation" they would begin an investigation on me.

I had never wanted to deny access between my children and their father but, considering the reports which have been made re: Mr. ******'s inappropriate physical contact/discipline of the children, I must be sure that the children won't be abused or at risk of being abused while they are with him which, to my understanding, is the responsibility of the CKCS.

On Dec. 22/11 CKCS worker Chantelle Carriere contacted me and claimed that it was OK to allow the children to resume access with their father at his Sarnia home because the Sarnia CAS had completed a home inspection and had "deemed the house safe."

When I questioned Ms. Carriere about the abuse and risk of abuse issues she responded that she "had no information therefore no investigation was done."

These reports were not the first which have been registered and recorded with the CKCS and the Sania CAS about Mr. ***** and his issues in regards to anger management and inappropriate parenting.

I'm aware that the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies' (OACAS) Eligibility Spectrum sections 1.1 Physical Force and/or Maltreatment that states

Abusive physical force includes the following:

  • Use of generally acceptable mode(s) of physical punishment, but is overdone, prolonged unduly, or excessive force is used;

4. Excessive or Inappropriate Physical Force Used, But No Resulting Injury

Force and type of punishment are excessive. The child is not actually physically injured, although experiences considerable temporary pain and potential for injury is there.

Extremely Severe
A Physical - Prime Caregiver

Physical force is alleged/verified to have been used on the child as in (1) or (2) or (3) above by the person who is a prime caregiver of the child. (See Explanatory Note page 7, e.g. mother, father, stepfather, live-in partner)

Moderately Severe
F Risk That The Child Is Likely To Be Harmed - Prime Caregiver

Physical force is alleged/verified to have been used on the child as in (4) above by a family member who has a prime caregiving role for the child. (See Explanatory Note page 7, e.g. mother, father, stepfather, live-in partner)

5.1 Caregiver Has History of Abusing/Neglecting

This section is to be used to identify those situations where there is

  • a caregiver who has a history of perpetrating child abuse/neglect


  • that caregiver is currently in a caregiving role or has on-going access to children


  • circumstances precipitating the previous abuse/neglect have not changed

Moderately Severe
C Previous Abuse/Neglect of Similar Children - No Change in Precipitating Circumstances

It is alleged/verified that a person in a caregiving role with the child has previously abused/neglected, or is alleged to have abused/neglected, another child of similar description and it is suspected that circumstances precipitating the previous abuse/neglect have not changed (e.g. perpetrator has not received counselling, financial stresses continue, alcoholism continues, etc.).


Question 1:

Please explain to me Mr. Stephens and in consideration of all of the above why Mr. Meriano reportedly and apparently did not record and/or investigate the alleged physical abuse committed by Mr. ****** against our now six year old daughter *******?

If you could kindly reply to my request in writing within 10 business days with expressed reasoning supporting your response, it would be greatly appreciated.

I look forward to hearing back from you

Patricia Watson

Source: MS word document

February 23,2072

Ms. Trish Watson
Chatham, Ontario

Dear Ms. Watson:

We are in receipt of your correspondence dated February 4,2012. ln regard to your request for information from your file, please be advised that it is our practice to provide a summary letter, in matters that are not before the court. As such, a summary of your file information will be prepared and provided to you as per our disclosure practice. You can anticipate receipt of that information in approximately 60 days.

Yours truly,


Mike Stephens

Source: pdf file