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CAS Meets Public in Milford

May 1, 2013 permalink

On December 7, 2012 Rick Conroy writing in the Wellington Times quoted Highland Shores board member Darcey French saying: “Once a quarter in our agency— though not typical everywhere in the province—Mark signs off on a factual certificate that says all the procedures have been followed; that we’ve had no incidences, or if we’ve had an incidence here is what it was; here is how it was addressed; and here is how we will prevent this from happening again.” Canada Court Watch requested copies of all factual certificates from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The list returned (pdf) included certificates from:
  • Children's Aid Society of London and Middlesex (8 certificates)
  • Children's Aid Society of Hamilton (9 certificates)
  • Family and Children's Services Niagara (13 certificates)
  • Children's Aid Society of the Region of Peel (7 certificates)
  • Children's Aid Society of the County of Prince Edward (1 certificate)
Highland Shores CAS and two of its predecessors, Northumberland and Hastings, have never filed a factual certificate. The statement by Darcey French to the press was false. Four months later, Prince Edward CAS merged into Highland Shores.

Most of the certificates are purely routine. Fixcas took the trouble to examine the signatures in detail. In many cases successive reports use the same photocopy of the signatures.

Highland Shores CAS held its last meeting with the community on April 29 in Milford Ontario. Executive director Mark Kartusch and Brad Bain gave the presentation in chief, those two and Darcey French began answering questions at 27:45 into the recording. Community members with questions included Terri-Anne Bucholtz, Brenda Everall and Curtis Kingston. Unlike previous meetings, this one has a video recording with excellent sound quality. Watch it on YouTube or our local copy (mp4).

Kartusch repeated his claim that calling social workers "child protection workers" exempts them from registering with the OCSWSSW. Mr Kingston noted, in an observation corroborated by Fixcas, that many voluntary service agreements are signed under duress, and not really voluntary. Mr Kartusch asserted anyone not going to court to dispute the agreement is voluntary. Curtis asked why in a recent case CAS refused to comply with a court order for disclosure. Kartusch claimed lack of resources, but Curtis in his annotations says the real reason is that disclosure would show law-breaking by CAS.

Late in the meeting a woman told of a CAS worker who kicked open her door and entered her home while she was naked, insisting on interacting before she could get dressed.

Mr Kartusch repeatedly restricted himself to discussion of broad rules and policies. When specific cases came up in derogation of those policies, he declined to go into the matter. His oratory at times sounded more like a filibuster than a responsive answer.

Addendum: A week later Curtis Kingston reported on the meeting. Mr Kartusch said he personally apologized the to the victims of sexual abuse in Prince Edward, but Curtis knows the victims and Kartusch refused to meet with them.



CAS meetings, nothing more than propaganda to misinform the public.

Mark Kartusch
Mark Kartusch - HSCAS Meeting April 29th 2013.
Curtis Kingston

In Prince Edward County since late March, the newly amalgamated Highland Shores Children's Aid Society has held a total of five public community meetings where the Executive Director of HSCAS, Mr. Mark Kartusch with the assistance of the Interim Director of Service, Brad Bain and the chair of the HSCAS board of directors, Darcey French show a PowerPoint presentation and then have question and answer sessions before the end of the meetings.

The PowerPoint presentation consisted of Mark Kartusch discussing the failings and mistakes made by the former Prince Edward County CAS that resulted in multiple stories of sexual abuse at the hands of county foster parents. Then he would explain what has been done to remedy the issues and explains the minimal oversight and accountability that Children’s Aid Societies in the province of Ontario do have. Then Brad Bain would take the podium and discuss the amalgamation between the HSCAS and the PECCAS and talk about service statistics.

Then the questions and answers took place and that is where things got interesting.

At the first meeting Mr. Kartusch had made his presentation in such a way that was purposely setup to imply that Children’s Aid Societies in the province of Ontario do in fact have Ombudsman oversight as the Ombudsman’s office does have the authority to investigate the Child and Family Services Review Board. As soon as the presentation was over, I was able to explain that this is in no way direct oversight of CAS’s as he was implying in his presentation.

This is because the CFSRB does not have any investigative authority whatsoever and also cannot take complaints from families where their cases have been involved in court. It is also worth mentioning that in well over 50% of cases, the CFSRB does in fact find that the Society was at fault but the CFSRB has no authority to compel a CAS to do anything after they make their findings and therefore recommendations by the CFSRB are often ignored. So yes the Ombudsman can investigate CFSRB decisions but this is in no way investigating a Children's Aid Society directly.

From that meeting on, Mr. Kartusch presented the Ombudsman oversight issue differently but this was only due to the fact that this misinformation was exposed at the first meeting.

Things only got more apparent from there that the HSCAS was not being truthful about what was really going on. This was not only because their presentation was filled with misinformation, but also due to the fact that Mr. Kartusch himself would often purposely dodge questions or answer with blatant lies and misinformation in an effort to continue to make the Society look good with complete disregard for the truth.

Over the five meetings that took place, as a result of questions asked by myself, members of the community and other justice advocates, we were able to get Mr. Kartusch to admit such things as,

The HSCAS has on more than one occasion, illegally apprehended children from their homes just hours after an apprehension warrant was denied by the courts.

The HSCAS will instruct unwitting foster parents to secretly intercept private conversations with children and their friends and families even though this is against the law.

The HSCAS just as every other CAS in the province, does in fact have the unfair advantage in the courtroom and will go against family court rules whenever they feel necessary.

Mr. Kartusch admitted that he himself does in fact practice Social Work from time to time along with most front line CAS workers even though they are unregistered with the Ontario College of Social Workers & Social Service Workers.

This is a direct violation of Section 46. (1) of the Social Work and Social Service Work Act that was put in place to regulate the Social Work profession in the same way as Teachers, Doctors, Lawyers, etc are regulated by colleges and other regulatory bodies.

Mr. Kartusch explained that he does not feel that they are in violation of the law because he feels that the term "Social Work" does not have anything to do with child welfare, but yet he also admitted at other times that he has been a "Social Worker" and that he still practices Social Work from time to time and most of the front line CAS workers practice Social Work. So he is in a sense stating that even though he and front line CAS workers practice Social Work, they do not have to be registered and accountable Social Workers because the term "Social Work" does not have anything to do with Child Welfare.

Then there where the blatant lies by Mr. Kartusch when asked questions such as whether or not a family would require a lawyer to obtain their file disclosure as it is already their right under the law.

Mr. Kartusch implied that this is not the case and a family would never require a lawyer for a file disclosure. This is simply untrue as there is a case in Belleville Ontario at the moment that Mr. Kartusch is fully aware of, where a family has had to fight in court for several months and spent thousands of dollars in legal fees to have the court order that the Society give the family file disclosure. In this case, the HSCAS has violated that court order and still has not provided the family with full disclosure. So far based on our information, this family is the only family that has received any of their file disclosure from the HSCAS. There is also the fact that there have been a large number of families recently who have requested their files but yet have not received a response and feel that their only way to obtain file disclosure will be through the courts.

Then when asked the number of families involved with the HSCAS that where involved voluntarily vs. involuntarily, Mr. Kartusch stated that most families where involved with the Society on a voluntary basis.

At the following meeting I had brought this up and asked him whether or not he gets this number based on the number of voluntary service agreements that are signed or the number of families that come to the Society asking for help, because most families do sign these agreements but only under duress and intimidation and threats by the Society.

Mark then admitted that I was right and those numbers are in fact based on those agreements, but then stated that "Just because they are working with us voluntarily doesn't mean happily" This just proved that Mr. Kartusch had lied by omission at the previous meeting and had given more misinformation by implying that most families are working with the Society voluntarily but left out the fact that most families that are involved are not happy about it and where forced to do so based on intimidation and threats.

Mr. Kartusch had also stated at a number of meetings that he himself has in fact met with and personally apologized to all of the victims of the recent sexual abuse cases in Bloomfield foster homes. He also stated that the Society has been working with these victims and giving them many supports and assistance as they require it.

This was simply a blatant lie by Mr. Kartusch as I myself had advocated for one of the victims and she had been denied the opportunity to meet with Mr. Kartusch on multiple occasions and has not been receiving the supports from the Society that Mr. Kartusch had implied. Furthermore she has felt threatened by the Society every time she tries to ask them for help. There are also other victims of these cases that give similar experiences with the Society.

There was also a question brought up to Darcey French, the chair of the HSCAS board of directors inquiring about his statement that he made at a press conference in December 2012 where he stated that “Mark signs off on a factual certificate that says all the procedures have been followed; that we’ve had no incidences, or if we’ve had an incidence here is what it was; here is how it was addressed; and here is how we will prevent this from happening again.”

The issue was that through freedom of information, Canada Court Watch was able to obtain every reference to factual certificates by the MCYS. The MCYS has stated that factual certificates from the HSCAS do not exist. Darcey's response was that the certificates are not actually sent to the MCYS but rather the board keeps them on file. His original statement in December 2012 had implied that they were sent to the ministry but yet this is just another example of where the HSCAS would imply something but not give the real information until confronted on the issue by someone that was educated enough on the issues to know the truth.

Being in attendance at these meetings gave people a sense of just how many issues are still surrounding Children's Aid Societies in the Province of Ontario and because of myself and other community members were able to expose the fact that these meetings where in fact nothing more than propaganda and misinformation to attempt to cover up the horrors that are still taking place behind the closed doors of your local Children's Aid Society.

Here are the links to the videos from the HSCAS public community meetings so that you can watch them and gauge for yourselves what these meetings where all about:

HSCAS Community Meeting March 20th 2013:

HSCAS Community Meeting April 17th 2013:

HSCAS Community Meeting April 23rd 2013:

HSCAS Community Meeting April 29th 2013:

I encourage everyone to please look into the issues surrounding these private organizations and contact your local MPP's to express your support for their oversight and accountability, so that one day they can be held accountable for their unlawful and immoral actions when they operate against the best interest of children for their own financial and personal gains as they sadly do on a regular basis at this time.

Source: Examiner, Curtis Kingston