Children's Aid Society (Canada)
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There are 53 corporate Children's Aid Societies in Ontario, Canada, ensuring provision of child protection services in every region. Children's Aid Societies respond to referrals from members of the community and investigate allegations of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect of children, assessing the level of risk children may face.
Extent of Authority and Abuse of Power
Children's Aid Societies have authority under provincial legislation to remove children from homes where they face either a risk of harm, or have experienced harm. Children who cannot remain with caregivers are sometimes placed with other family members ("kin"), family friends ("kith"), or in customary care, which is an option for aboriginal children. In some cases, children can be placed into foster homes or group homes, as well as being adopted. In other cases, children remain in their home, where they are provided service by their local Children's Aid Society until there are no longer child protection concerns.
CAS has more power than the police force when it comes to children, yet it is a private business and therefore not bound by the regulations and standards which are typically seen in government agencies of similar size.
Unknown to most citizens the use of falsified affadavits and perjury runs rampant in Ontario's child protection services in order to gain custody of children for funding. The systems funding is geared toward the number of children in care and the services provided, which has lead to a mass epidemic of children being taken from their homes never to be returned, due to the amount of false and withheld information by child protection "agents". This ultimately leads to the adoption of these children, also by private organizations, which profit directly from the number of children sold.
Currently there is a multi-million-dollar class-action lawsuit in Ontario Superior Court against the Attorney General of Canada over the treatment of thousands of aboriginal children from 1965 to 1985. The lawsuit asserts that the federal government committed "cultural genocide" by delegating child welfare services to Ontario. The Children's Aid Society agencies removed aboriginal children from their communities and placed them in care without regard to culture, heritage and traditions. As a result the children were stripped of their aboriginal identity by being placed in non-native foster/adoptive homes.
Excessive Mortality Rate in Ontario
Each year hundreds of children die in the care of Ontario CAS which accounts for over 10% of the total deaths in Ontario (ages 0-19). From 2003 to 2007 Children’s Aid Societies were involved with approximately 17% of those deaths investigated by a coroner. In 2008, of the 138 deaths which were reported, 96 were reviewed and in roughly half of these cases the cause of death was still undetermined.
An independent review of coroner reports from 2007 by Irwin Elman determined the deaths of children and youth in CAS care were approximately 25 per cent of all children and youth who died in Ontario during that year.
"I was startled by the number. I had no idea that this many children in the system are dying. And from my understanding, this number has been pretty consistent over 10 years. So, just multiplying 90 by 10, it's just startling to think that 900 to 1,000 kids in 10 years that have been deemed in peril by the state in some way have died. That's startling," stated Irwin Elman.
Lack of Accountability and Suppression of Information
In Ontario, a Children's Aid Society's paramount purpose as described by the Child and Family Services Act is to "promote the best interests, protection, and well being of children".
Yet the Children's Aid Society is unaccountable for harm and damages caused by their actions under the Child and Family Services Act and operates with little to no independent oversight in Ontario.
As a private corporation the records of the Children's Aid Society are not available to the public under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which results in independent investigators often being "stonewalled" from accessing information.
Over the past decade this has lead to public rallies, protests and political action calling for some sort of moderation or reform. Bill 93 attempts to rectify this issue by allowing victims of the CAS's malicious legal attacks to have an opportunity to be heard. This bill would allow the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate the Children's Aid Societies and the 'real facts' that are often hidden to protect the credibility of everyone starting right from the intake worker, the child protection worker, the society as a whole and the police from civil litigation.
Attempts to access basic public records, such as a list of members in accordance with section 307 of the Corporations Act, have also been routinely thwarted; establishing a precedent that CAS can operate autonomously and covertly outside both commercial code and provincial regulation.
In October 2008, the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto was named one of "Canada's Top 100 Employers" by Mediacorp Canada Inc., and was featured in Maclean's newsmagazine. Later that month, it was also named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers, which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper. The Toronto Star also routinely publishes articles that expose misconduct within these agencies to the public.
This page was last modified on 26 June 2009 at 08:38.