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Ontario Adoption Brush-off
September 18, 2014 permalink
Lori Niles-Hoffman tells of her frustration in trying to do a public service by adopting a child in Ontario. She tried adopting a young child, age 4, and an older child. In both cases she got the brush-off. In common with other frustrated adopters, she falsely attributes her failure to bureaucratic incompetence. For a full opinion on the adoption brush-off, refer the the article on prospective British adopter Claudia Connell. A similar frustration was in another British article by Judith Woods.
The two preceding links show that, contrary to the claim by Lori Niles, Britain is not a nirvana for adopters. The bill 42 mentioned in the article died in May when the last Ontario legislature was prorogued. The website AdoptOntario requires a password to look at the biographies of the children.
Lori Niles: Want to adopt a child in Ontario? Good luck with the paperwork
October will mark two years since our decision to pursue adoption. How many of the 30,000 waiting children could have found families by now?
The Honourable Governor General David Johnston has declared an “adoption crisis” in Canada, with nearly 30,000 children waiting for permanent homes, approximately 8,000 of those children being in Ontario.
I heartily applaud any efforts to encourage adoption as a method to grow families, but the crisis is not about recruiting more adoptive parents. AdoptOntario, the provincial database of waiting children and parents, boasts 20,000 registered families, yet only a fraction of these ever adopt. The real adoption crisis is that a bloated and broken system is preventing the timely match of waiting families with children in need.
My husband and I started our adoption journey more than two years ago. Our story began with a phone call to our local Children’s Aid Society (CAS). Despite our willingness to adopt an older child, I was told that due to our cultural background and lack of parenting experience, we would not likely meet the unique needs of any child at CAS.
We decided to pay for a private homestudy with a licensed social worker. The process took just over a year and included classroom courses, dozens of interviews, criminal record checks, and plenty of bureaucracy. In February 2014, the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services deemed us “AdoptReady” and our homestudy valid for two years.
While pursuing international adoption, we also continued the process in Ontario. In May, 2014 we went to the Adoption Resource Exchange (ARE), a biannual forum where profiles of children from across the province are made available for viewing by potential families. It is a way for families to apply for children outside of their CAS regions, as families are normally restricted to registering only with their local CAS.
After reviewing many profiles, we sent an “Expression of Interest” form through AdoptOntario for two children we felt would be a good match. One was four years old and the other a young adolescent. After four months, we had not heard any news and I contacted each CAS.
My first inquiry about the younger child was passed from colleague to colleague, each claiming that the other was responsible for the file. After repeated follow-up calls, I uncovered that 14 families had expressed interest in this child, yet the file had not been touched for months. The longer a young child stays in foster care, the harder it is for healthy attachment to begin. Four months to a four-year-old is a long time.
My inquiry into the progress on the older child also came to a dead end. The Children’s Aid Society said they never received our Expression of Interest. I followed up with AdoptOntario, which verified that it indeed had been sent. I provided the email confirmation to the CAS workers, yet they insisted they had no record. Since there is no independent oversight of CAS, there was nothing further we could do. We hope this child was matched with a suitable family whose file didn’t fall down the rabbit hole.
Determined not to be discouraged, we approached our local CAS again, hoping our completed homestudy would help us. The homestudy was designed by the Ministry of Children and Youth services to be portable across public, private and international adoptions. Yet in my phone conversation with the CAS contact, I found out that our private homestudy would need to be updated with a series of CAS interviews, which could add another six months of waiting, and that intake meetings for parents happen only periodically.
We had just missed the May meeting, so now we are waiting for the October intake meeting. If all goes well, and we are accepted by our local CAS, it will be 15 months since we became AdoptReady. And that’s only when the potential matching process with children will start, which could take anything from months to years.
October will mark two years since our decision to pursue adoption. But adoption is not about us. It’s about putting children first. How much of our time waiting for bureaucracy to catch up could have been spent caring for a waiting child? How many thousands of other parents are in the same situation? How many of the 30,000 waiting children could have found families by now?
It would be nice to think that our anecdotal experience is an exception. But I write a blog chronicling our adoption journey, and hear from a lot of other frustrated waiting parents. It would be easy to lose faith just based on the number of people who have told me they have given up or are thinking about it.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Years ago, the adoption system in England was similarly inefficient and slow. Now the adoption approval process typically takes only six months. Likewise, there is oversight and accountability for adoption. Ontario is the only province in Canada where Children’s Aid Societies are not overseen by an ombudsman. This means no incentive to improve or answer for errors. New legislation, Bill 42, represents an attempt to grant this power, but it is stuck in the weeds at Queen’s Park.
It is time for Ontario to look across the pond for inspiration and best practices. In fact, Ontario identified many issues with the adoption system in a government report years ago but never acted on the recommendations.
The Governor General’s plea for more adoptive parents is well-intentioned and idealistic. In Ontario, though, success will not come from more prospective parents. Success will come only from a government that stops being afraid of changing the inefficient CAS system and starts acting on behalf of the waiting children. This would be truly putting children first.
Source: National Post
Addendum: The slow-poke adoption system takes years to place a child, but it responded just 19 hours after the posting of Kayla's vita.
- Pat Convery <email@example.com>
- "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
- Security Breach of Profile from AdoptOntario
- Date sent:
- Sat, 20 Sep 2014 19:12:36 +0000
- Copies to:
- Mary Henry <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear Mr. McQuaid
I am contacting you today to request that you immediately remove the child profile that you copied from the AdoptOntario Waiting Children site. When you signed into the site you accepted a EULA that specifically states that this activity is not allowed.
On Friday September 19th, Mary Henry, Manager of the AdoptOntario program asked you to remove the profile from your blog. You indicated that you would not do this and it is my understanding that the profile is still on your blog site. As a result we have informed ENOM Abuse department and lodged a formal complaint against your site. We have also contacted our legal counsel and will escalate this matter in any way necessary until we know that the profile is removed.
The reason we have this level of security is to be sensitive to the privacy and security of children. I am aware of your concerns about the Children's Aid Society management and operation in Ontario and find it surprising that you would knowingly engage in activity that is as concerning as the practices of CASs that you speak strongly against.
Note that I am not asking you refrain from your advocacy against Children's Aid Societies. You are antitled to express your opinions in your blog post. My only concern is that the child's profile be removed and you refrain from behaviour that is against the EULA of our AdoptOntario site.
I am also happy to meet with you directly to discuss any concerns you have about AdoptOntario as a program and our role in supporting adoption of Ontario children.
Adoption Council of Ontario
36 Eglinton Avenue West, #202
Toronto, Ontario M4R 1A1
t: 1-877-236-7820 ext.2666
The information on this website is provided for information purposes only and is targeted to residents of Ontario who are interested in adoption. AdoptOntario, a program of the Adoption Council of Ontario (ACO), endeavours to provide up to date and reliable information for this website but cannot be responsible for content that is provided by third parties. As the information is not intended to provide legal or other advice you should not act or rely on any information on the website without seeking the appropriate professional guidance and advice. Changes are made periodically to the Site and may be made at any time without notice.
You can visit our website to read information without telling us who you are or revealing any personal information, unless you wish to enter a password protected area. We will then collect personal information from you when you apply for a password to view children, or via the open-text message functionality incorporated in our Contact Us webscreen. Please read our Privacy Statement regarding the protection of personal information.
You agree not to use this Site for any unlawful purpose. You also agree not to impersonate any person in your use of the Site or in the sending of any e-mail to an address listed on the Site. If you violate any of these terms, your permission to use the information automatically terminates and you must immediately destroy any copies you have made of the information.
No information contained within the Site may be reproduced or re-published without the written consent of the Adoption Council of Ontario. If you wish to reproduce or distribute information in the Site send an e-mail to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, address and a description of the purpose of your intended distribution and the information you would like to distribute.
AdoptOntario respects the privacy of all users of this website, as well as the children featured on it. We are committed to protecting all of the personal information that we collect.
By using this Site you are agreeing to the terms of this privacy statement and consenting to the collection, use and/or disclosure of personal information for the purposes outlined herein. If you do not agree to the terms of this privacy statement, you should discontinue your use of this Site and not provide us with any personal information.
Through this Site, AdoptOntario collects personal information as provided by you. By collecting this information AdoptOntario hopes to deliver to you a timely service and response. However, you always have the choice of whether to provide us with any information. This personal information will be used only for the purposes for which you provide it and will not be shared with anyone else without your express permission.
AdoptOntario recognizes that your privacy is important. However, as Internet e-mail is vulnerable to interception and forging, privacy cannot be ensured. We will not be responsible for any damages you or any third party may suffer as a result of the transmission of confidential information that you make to us through the Internet, or that you expressly or implicitly authorize us to make, or for any errors or any changes made to any transmitted information.
When personal information is collected from you through this Site, it may be used for one or more of the following purposes:
- Issuing a password for the password protected section of this Site
- Contacting you to provide you with AdoptOntario-related services
- Contacting you for feedback and surveying your needs in connection with your use of the Site
- Reporting aggregate numbers (non-identifying only) regarding Site usage, numbers registered, and other related information and reports to funders and sponsors, and evaluating the effectiveness of AdoptOntario and this Site
In providing information about children awaiting adoptive placement, utmost care is taken to protect their privacy and confidentiality. Pseudonyms for children are used, and no information about a child is placed on the site without the consent of the Child's Agency and, where appropriate, the consent of the child himself.
Access to children's information is available only through a password. The use of the password is time-limited and authorization is determined by AdoptOntario. All password holders are expected to maintain the confidentiality of their passwords and user accounts, and are responsible for all activities related to it.
This Site contains links to other web sites which are provided as references to help you identify and locate other Internet resources that may be of interest and not as an endorsement of the content, products, services or organizations involved. We are not responsible for the content of linked third party Sites and do not make any representations or warranties regarding the content or accuracy of materials on such third party Sites or regarding the privacy practices of such Sites.
You may provide hyperlinks to this Site provided that
- you notify us by sending an e-mail to email@example.com
- you do not remove or obscure any portion of the Site
- you discontinue providing hyperlinks to this Site if notified by AdoptOntario or the Adoption Council of Ontario.
Source: Adopt Ontario
Within a few more days the AdoptOntario account of Robert McQuaid, opened on December 22, 2012, was revoked.
Addendum: A sidebar was attached to this article showing one of the girls shamelessly advertised for adoption with her picture and a vita written by a social worker. It was removed on October 5 following a complaint to the webhost for fixcas (pdf). Under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act in the USA, a complainant can send a letter to a webhost and the poster, fixcas, must either hire a legal defense within 48 hours or remove the material. Fixcas has no revenue stream and cannot justify expending the cost of defense. AdoptOntario did not incur the cost of retaining a lawyer to draft a letter.
This is the third time fixcas has received a complaint of this kind claiming copyright infringement. None of them have been about an artistic work sold by or for an artist as his means of earning a living. All have been used to suppress copies of tools used in the process of intervention in the lives of families. A law providing little protection to real artists is an effective tool to suppress criticism.
Addendum: For the curious, link to a copy of the disputed sidebar hosted outside the United States.