Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.
July 7, 2012 permalink
To cope with the scandals of the past year, Prince Edward County CAS has come up with an eight-part plan. Many points come out of the script. At least they don't have to put up with the criminal and civil penalties that apply to the rest of us when we engage in their kind of conduct.
CAS celebrates successes, vows to fix procedures
The management and board of the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society appear determined to ride out the storm swirling around this community agency in the past year.
In its annual meeting last week the CAS put on a decidedly brave face, choosing to stress its successes rather than dwell on failures.
It has been a very tough year for the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society.
It began by rejecting the overtures of two neighbouring Children’s Aid agencies, Hastings and Northumberland, as well as the prodding of Ministry of Children and Youth Services, for the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society to join forces with its money losing region agencies.
Then in November foster parents Joe and Janet Holm were convicted of sexually exploiting children in their care and subsequently sent to prison. In his ruling, Justice Geoff Griffin urged the community to demand an inquiry to find out how 25 children had been sent to live in this home for the past nine years—yet Prince Edward County CAS officials were unaware of the crimes perpetrated against children in their care.
Then it happened again.
Last month a 71-year-old man, who has not been named, was convicted of sex crimes against two children in his care. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday in Picton.
Charges were withdrawn against a third foster parent last month—charges brought about by a review of the local children’s aid agency’s operations, a review monitored by provincial ministry officials.
There was, however, little discussion of the “challenges” of the past year in the Salvation Army hall on Thursday night. Instead there was a decided attempt to focus on the positive— including a first-ever “Foster Parents of the Year Award” ceremony.
They couldn’t, however, ignore the questions surrounding the agency entirely.
Executive Director Bill Sweet said his agency has embarked on an eight-point plan to improve and enhance internal policies to ensure safety of the children in its care. (See sidebar).
Sweet told the Times that while none of these practices was exactly new, his agency was refining the way it does business and building on past practices.
“We have undergone an extraordinary amount of reflection these past months,” said Sweet. “We learn every day in this job.”
Sweet said he understands that his agency has much more work to do to rebuild community trust in the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society.
“The community has a right to expect us to do better,” said Sweet. “The community should ask questions.”
All existing board members stood for re-election. There were no nominations from the floor. Steven Ward remains chair.
The mood in the room was decidedly upbeat last week—perhaps not surprising as most of the chairs appeared to be filled by staff, board members and foster families. Several young people were recognized at the meeting for their achievements in building successful, productive lives by way of the support provided by the agency and the homes administered by the Children’s Aid Society.
One young man exuberantly credited his foster parents for turning his life around—transforming, in his words, an angry a youth into positive and energetic young man, ready to take on the world. Through the troubles and difficulties of the past year, the local Children’s Aid Society is seeking redemption through achievements like his.
Source: Wellington Times