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School Board / CAS Puffery

October 30, 2012 permalink

Two school boards in eastern Ontario are proud to announce a protocol with three local children's aid societies. The article is all puffery, no word on what the actual procedures will be.



Children’s Aid Societies and Local School Boards Renew Commitment to Student Safety

Children’s Aid Societies and Local School Boards Renew Commitment to Student Safety

The Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board, the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board and three Children’s Aid Societies (Kawartha-Haliburton, Durham, Highland Shores) within the Board’s jurisdiction, today officially launched and signed a new Children’s Aid Society/School Board Protocol which will guide their work together in ensuring safety for children at school.

Local school Board Chairpersons, Diane Lloyd and Dave Bernier; Directors of Education, Greg Reeves and Rusty Hick, joined with the three Executive Directors of the District Children’s Aid Societies - Jennifer Wilson, Wanda Secord, and Mark Kartusch, in affirming their commitment to school community safety by signing a new Protocol, titled “Ensuring Student Safety and Protection Together”.

The Protocol outlines the relationship, roles, and responsibilities of Children’s Aid Societies and school officials. Among other things, the Protocol identifies when Children’s Aid Societies should be involved and what kinds of information can be shared.

“This Protocol will guide us in using a consistent approach across the jurisdictions of the three Children’s Aid Societies and the School Boards involved as we work together to ensure the safety and protection of children and youth in our communities,” said Jennifer Wilson, Executive Director, Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society. “It will support the work of educators and child welfare practitioners to provide early help and intervention to those children who may be at risk.”

“The Children’s Aid Society and our School Boards have always been close partners in the protection and well-being of children,” notes Wanda Secord, Executive Director, Durham Children’s Aid Society. “This new Protocol is a testimony to our coordinated unwavering commitment to ensure that children receive the services that they need in the most caring, responsive and accountable way possible.”

“All children and youth deserve to live in a safe and nurturing environment,” commented Mark Kartusch, Executive Director, Highland Shores Children’s Aid. “By working together as community partners, we can end the cycle of abuse and neglect and the devastating consequences that it brings to families. This Protocol is a statement of our shared commitment to this process.”

“Along with our community education partners here today, we welcomed the opportunity to develop collective approaches that safeguard and protect our student’s welfare,” said Diane Lloyd, Chairperson of the Board. “Together, we can ensure some of our most vulnerable children receive the care they need.”

“Proactively addressing effective safety measures for children and youth is a responsibility that all those who work with youth collectively share and we were extremely pleased to see the overwhelming support and eagerness from all partners to make this happen,” commented Dave Bernier, Chairperson for the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board. “This Protocol will provide a coordinated response in the undertaking of child protection in our Catholic schools and enhance the safety and well-being of children in our schools and in our communities.”

“The new agreement will be of great benefit to our school staff,” states Greg Reeves, Director of Education for the Catholic Board. “The two school Boards and local Children’s Aid Societies co-ordinated their efforts to ensure that the document reflected the legal rights of students and staff and that there is a consistent approach across the Board with Children Aid Society involvement in schools.”

“It is always a worthy and valuable exercise when community groups like ours can come together to work cooperatively and collaboratively in support of the children in our care,” says W. R. (Rusty) Hick, Director of Education, Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board.



This Protocol is designed to assist in ensuring the safety and protection of students and to provide a coordinated response in the undertaking of child protection, abuse/neglect investigations within the jurisdiction of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board and the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board.

Goals and Objectives

  • Ensure a consistent approach across the jurisdiction for Children’s Aid Societies and the District School Boards to respond to children who may be in need of protection;
  • Deliver the best possible service to children and their caregiver(s);
  • Promote a child-centered investigation and to decrease a child’s “re-victimization”;
  • Increase the safety and protection of children;
  • Define and explain inter-agency procedures and responses of signatory service providers and the ‘duty to report’ all suspicions of child abuse or neglect;
  • To be accountable to each other and the children we serve;
  • To encourage collaborative, adaptive and responsive partnerships to enhance the safety and well-being of children in the community;
  • To choose the least disruptive course of action both within the District School Boards and as part of CAS intervention.

Guiding Principles

  • The Protocol articulates the shared commitment between the District School Boards and CAS responsible for the prevention, detection, reporting and investigation of child maltreatment. Early detection and community education provide the ultimate keys to ending the cycle of child abuse and neglect and their destructive consequences. We seek to collaborate and work cooperatively for the support and healing of children. The principles on page 2 provide a context for this document:
  • All children have the right to a safe, nurturing environment in which to grow to their full potential free from violence, abuse and neglect. It is a shared responsibility to ensure that these conditions are fulfilled.
  • All children who have experienced or witnessed maltreatment will be treated with dignity, respect and care. Their culture, ethnicity and religion will be valued and respected. Within the context of a collaborative investigative process and relevant legal principles, confidentiality will be respected.
  • Investigators should proceed on the assumption that a child’s disclosure warrants a full investigation. Most children are capable of being credible reporters of events. All allegations of child abuse and neglect must be taken very seriously and must be thoroughly investigated. A subsequent recanting by the child should not be taken as proof that the abuse did not occur.
  • Children who cannot verbalize a disclosure due to communication barriers may provide key information through their behaviour.
  • All actions taken will be in the best interest of the child(ren). A coordinated, cooperative and collaborative approach to child abuse prevention, detection, reporting, investigation and support puts the best interest of the child(ren) first. This approach also minimizes the opportunity for, and the potential of, re-victimization. It is recognized that the process may be traumatic, but the child will be supported throughout.
  • Joint investigations are in the best interest of the child and should be considered in all child abuse allegations. The fundamental principle of joint investigations is that decisions are made together through a consultative process and that a plan for the investigation is developed. The partnership will involve both child protection and police. The collaboration could expand to include the education system, the child care system and will expand to the criminal justice system when charges are laid.
  • The plan should take advantage of the particular strengths and abilities of each of the participants. The child(ren)’s developmental level will be taken into account throughout the entire investigative process and throughout the justice system.
  • Investigative decisions need to be based on a child’s intellectual, physical, social and communication abilities.
  • Following an investigation, children and caregivers will be offered referrals to community support services. Strengthening the family to protect and support the child can be the most effective way to stop the abuse and neglect and mitigate the effect of the abuse/neglect on the child.

Highland Shores Children's Aid
Durham Children’s Aid Society
Kawartha-Haliburton Children's Aid Society
Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board
Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board

Source: Northumberland View

School staffer admonishes child

Addendum: Here is the actual protocol. Much of the document is feel-good platitudes, or recitation of the provisions of the Child and Family Services Act. The heart of the matter starts on page 10, where the protocol provides for cooperation (or collusion) between children's aid and schools in the investigation of child abuse. It authorizes interviewing the child with or without a support person and strip-searching of the child, though expressed with more polite words. The child may be apprehended on the spot but notice to the parents occurs only where possible (hardly ever in practice). Starting on page 15 is the more extensive procedure for dealing with child abuse committed by school staff, who get protections unavailable to parents. For example, on page 19:

4. ... The Principal or other persons shall not discuss with or interview any parties with respect to the alleged incident(s) except as directed by the Children's Aid Society, Police or Supervisory Officer of the Board.

An alert reader points out that when a child is interviewed, the protocol makes no provision for audio or video recording. The social worker will make notes of only the parts of the interview that suit her purpose. On page ten, item c says: "Determine when the legal guardian(s) will be contacted". In broken families calling the guardian may mean leaving the custodial parent in the dark.