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Prince Edward Meeting

April 18, 2013 permalink

Mark Kartusch held another meeting with the public in Prince Edward County. The Belleville Intelligencer reports. Curtis Kingston disputes the balance in the article. More on Mr Kingston's observations as soon as available.



Trio of meetings kicked off to mend fences

CAS meeting in Bloomfield
PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY - A small group of eight concerned citizens met with members of the Highland Shores Children’s Aid Society Wednesday night for a public meeting at the Town Hall in Bloomfield.

The meeting was aimed at acknowledging the seriousness of events that took place at the hands of four County foster parents who sexually assaulted children staying in their care; to outline measures taken by the society to prevent it from happening again and to get feedback.

The executive director of the Prince Edward Children’s Aid Society, Mark Kartusch, outlined 11 ministry guidelines that were followed including recommendations to correct 'poor record keeping, inability to critically access risk, no working relationships between the departments and/or the executive director, errors in the application of licensing requirements, allegations of abuse in a home that weren’t formally investigated and continued placement of children in a home that was coded as high risk.'

“Their lives have been forever impacted,” Kartusch told the crowd. “I want to apologize to all that this has happened to in their lives. It’s certainly something that none of us ever imagined would happen.”

Kartusch recognized the breach of trust has broken young people’s faith in the society along with the community’s confidence in them.

“A lot of people have been asking where does the responsibility lie and who is to blame?” Kartusch said. “The true answer is that many have to shoulder that responsibility. The society, the board of directors and the ministry all play an important role in keeping children protected. In the case of these young children that just didn’t happen.”

A woman who gave her name as Doreen spoke up during the question period and said the society made a critical mistake.

“Will there be anything done for these children?” she asked. “As a parent a simple apology won’t do.”

The Highland Shores board chairman Darcey French said the community could trust that the society's apology is more than just lip service and they are working with the victims to try and help them overcome this tragedy.

“We are doing things individually for each of them,” said Kartusch in an interview. “We wanted to continue to reach out to them. Each of them has some connection to the society whether it’s with a caseworker or a previous caseworker. We have met with them or have offered to meet with them and offered to hook them up with counselling or other kinds of services. We’re still trying to sort out what it is that is needed because I don’t think it’s something that you just say ‘here lets give you this and everything will be better.’ Some of the things we try to do for all our kids is help them out with education when that makes sense for them or trying to hook them up with employment.”

A spokesman for a group calling itself Canada Court Watch said he has been speaking with three of the victims and claims they are homeless and receiving no help from the society. Kartusch offered to take their contact information after the meeting so he could get in touch with them.

Kartusch said steps have been taken to try and assure that these incidents don’t happen again.

“It’s important to acknowledge from this review now all files are up to date, ongoing monthly review of compliancy standard and increased oversight and dialogue between supervisors and caseworkers,” said Kartusch.

He said a new foster care supervisor, Brad Bain, has been hired to oversee the process that has already been put in place and to make sure they continue to work effectively. Bain will oversee future processes as they are developed.

It was the first of three public meetings set for the County. The next is on April 23 at Ameliasburgh Town Hall and on April 29 at Sophiasburgh Town Hall. Both start at 6:30pm.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Curtis recorded the meeting and posted it to YouTube with our local copy (mp4). The presentation in chief is a bit difficult to hear, but at 21:45 the questions begin. Mr Kingston does a good job of questioning Highland Shores executive director Mark Kartusch. Mr Kartusch continues with the endlessly repeated claim that there is already excessive oversight of CAS, so ombudsman oversight is unnecessary. He also speaks of families coming to him for services. In all cases Fixcas has found, new families are always approached with at least two policemen to act as bodyguards for the social workers — oops, child protection workers! Mr Kingston notes that it is commonplace for CAS to serve parents with documents minutes before their court hearing. Fixcas followed a case in which a parent offered the court an affidavit a day before a hearing, but the court refused to accept it on grounds of lateness.