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Happy New Year!

December 31, 2012 permalink

This is our opportunity to review some of the significant events of the past year in Canadian child protection.

In April 2009 Canadians were horrified by the abduction and murder of school girl Tori Stafford. This year the killers were brought to justice. The woman who hit Tori with the fatal hammer blow was Terri-Lynne McClintic, an adopted girl herself and a foster child for part of her childhood. Links: [1] [2]. She was not the only CAS graduate to kill. Shawn Cameron Lamb ended the lives of three young women.

In July Malachi Beaudry died after less than two days in Sudbury CAS care. Links: [1] [2]. Another Sudbury foster child died in December, but so far his name has not been released.

Robert Horsburgh was a former foster parent who became a Dufferin CAS board member. In 1975 he sexually molested his foster daughter. Former Dufferin CAS executive director Gary Putman knew about the crime, but failed to notify police or prosecutors. Mr Putman's inaction helped to delay justice in this case for thirty five years. Links: [1] [2].

The campaign for ombudsman oversight of the MUSH sector, including children's aid societies, made progress this year. Many newspapers published editorials supporting the proposal. [1] [2] [3] [4]. Other support came from MPP Jeff Leal. In his annual report ombudsman André Marin repeated his request for MUSH sector authority, and made note of the public efforts in his support. On June 12 MPP Monique Taylor introduced bill 110 providing for oversight. This bill made more progress than any previous legislative efforts in this direction on October 4 when it passed second reading by the legislature. Legislative efforts were cut short on October 15 when premier Dalton McGuinty announced his resignation and prorogued the parliament.

In Ontario, there were many rallies critical of family law and supportive of legislation for ombudsman oversight. Click for list of rallies. The CFFLR group based in Sarnia was an addition to the opposition this year.

The press gave coverage to children's aid societies, other than the puffery coming from the agencies themselves. Links: [1] [2] [3] [4].

The Quinte region was the subject of a chain of trials and news articles relating to abuse of foster children. Links: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]. In the final news item [10] Bill Sweet, executive director of Prince Edward CAS, retired and his society was merged into the Highland Shores CAS, itself the creature of a merger on April 1.

In British Columbia the MCFD agreed to return Ayn Van Dyk to her father after a year and a half away. Links: [1] [2] [3]. But remember, with child protectors you can never be sure until the child actually comes home.

Chris Carter continued his multi-pronged opposition. On Feb 21 he was arrested for his efforts in support of a family in Chatham. He was released two days later. In other efforts he got important disclosures using freedom of information requests. [1] [2] [3] [4].

In a case that got world-wide attention, on February 22 four-year-old Nevaeh Sansone drew a picture of a gun. Father Jessie Sansone was arrested, strip-searched and his home was ransacked before police realized the gun was a four-year-old's fantasy. Want to see the picture? We were told it was drawn on a whiteboard and quickly erased. In June father Jessie got a partial apology.

For the upcoming year of 2013, we hope for better but fear for worse. At least prospects for legislation for ombudsman oversight of children's aid societies appear to be good.

Happy New Year 2013