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June 7, 2013 permalink
Julian Ichim attended a CAS meeting, not as protester, but as a participant. Recruiting of foster parents just got harder for CAS.
CAS forced to let us attend foster information night
On June third, a group of people gathered outside of the CAS building to picket foster parent information night, I was not among them. Me and three others agreed that we would do all we can to get inside the meeting, and we did.
As soon as we stepped inside the building police were waiting for us, and we were prepared. We sat down, locked arms and said we refused to leave until we were either allowed to participate in this meeting or we were arrested. The cop called back-up to arrest us, and we were prepared for this as a necessary risk, eg why would CAS have four peaceful people arrested for simply wanting to attend the meeting and participate? It would look bad.
While waiting for back-up we engaged with the police officer, who is a reasonable person, and we came to an understanding that if we signed in, provided ID etc, we could participate (I didn't need to provide ID cause the cops already knew who I was, as did CAS). We gave our word that we would not be disruptive and be respectful with our questions.
The presentation started with an ex-foster kid, now working for CAS, talking about their positive experience in a good foster home as well as the positive work she does now in the agency. Then we were explained what fostering is, and it was a very emotional presentation full of success stories. Question period started and my first question was: if all is hunky dory (I'm simplifying my question) why is CAS afraid to allow accountability through ombudsman oversight? This question was sidestepped by talking about their internal accountability process and the ministry. My second question was about CAS and cultural assimilation in terms of indigenous people and minorities to which they talked about sensitivity stuff and the need for more minorities to become foster parents. Several other questions were asked related to fostering specifics then my friend asked if CAS was a private for-profit corporation that received tax payers dollars, when the presenter answered no. His follow-up question about is it true funding is based on how many children are in custody and how many case were open was not answered but rather told to ask the head of CAS. He got a similar response to several other questions. The discussion continued and several other pointed questions were asked, but the most interesting and impactful question was asked by someone who was not with us but received one of our flyers, which was about liability of foster parents and those that adopt. Many other issues were raised such as the jail-like conditions of group homes etc. All in all our participation was successful and many people talked to us in the end. This was the last info night this year, maybe next year they can get better coffee
Source: Julian Ichim blog