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Anti-Social Workers

June 30, 2013 permalink

Last July a mob gathered outside a British home shouting death threats and throwing a brick through the window. Social worker Joanna Burgess was one of the mob members. In a separate incident New Zealand contracted caregiver Peter Wayne Purcell engaged in name calling and common assault of children in his care.



Social worker suspended for 12 months after screaming 'baby murderers' outside couple's house and threatening to kill them

  • Joanna Burgess pleaded guilty to being part of a mob outside the house
  • She was heard to shout out threats to kill before a brick was thrown at the property
  • She was this suspended by the Health and Care Professionals Council

A social worker has been suspended for 12 months after she turned up at a couple's house shouting 'baby murderers' and threatening to kill them.

Joanna Burgess admitted being part of a mob outside the house in July last year, where she was heard to shout out threats to kill before a brick was thrown at the property.

She was arrested and, following her conviction by magistrates, was this week hauled before the Health and Care Professionals Council (HSPC) which suspended her.

Elena Elia, a solicitor for the HCPC, told the hearing that Burgess turned up with others outside a home on July 8 last year.

'She was heard to shout 'baby murderers' and was heard to shout out threats to kill a victim inside the property,' Ms Elia said.

She added: '(Burgess) was a member of the party responsible for throwing a brick that injured the victim who required sutures.

'The victim was fearful that the group would smash her door down and further injure her.

'After her arrest, she maintained silence but stated that she had known the victim for some years and had previously given a statement to the police about the victim.'

It was not said at the disciplinary hearing who the target of her abuse was.

The panel was told Burgess had been charged by police following the incident and had pleaded guilty before magistrates in Kettering, Northants., to using threatening language and disorderly behaviour.

She was given a 12-month conditional discharge, and ordered to pay £175 pounds costs.

The HCPC panel decided to strike Burgess from the register for one year for her behaviour.

Panel Chair Brian Wroe said: 'This type of bullying behaviour undoubtedly calls into question the suitability of the perpetrator, Ms Burgess, to remain able to work in social services.

'Ms Burgess' conduct on July 8, 2012, undermines public confidence in the profession and also impacts, albeit indirectly, on the safety of any clients of Ms Burgess.'

Source: Daily Mail

A Child, Youth and Family contracted caregiver physically assaulted and verbally abused children in his care, calling them names such as "fat boy", "fat ****", "charity kid" and "peasant".

Peter Wayne Purcell, 54, admitted to the abuse at the Napier District Court this morning. He pleaded guilty to two charges of assault of a child and one charge of common assault. The charges relate to multiple instances of abuse against three boys.

The police summary of facts stated the acts of abuse Purcell committed against the children, in late 2010 and early 2011, included grabbing a child by the throat, throwing him onto a couch, kicking him, throwing a basketball at them, pulling hair out, punched on the arm, back and stomach.

Purcell was a CYF contracted caregiver, employed by the Heretaunga Maori Executive (HME) in Hastings which cares for young people before the courts and from difficult backgrounds.

In addition to the assaults, the children suffered verbal abuse and at various times were told to "shut up", "harden up" and stop being a "little bitch".

The case was set to go to trial this morning until Purcell changed his pleas to guilty. Interim name suppression, granted so he could inform his elderly father, lapsed at 1pm today.

One boy was placed in Purcell's care in November 2010 before he ran away late December. He was found on the streets by police and returned to Purcell's home six days later. He ran away a second time four days later.

Purcell, who had since resigned from HME, was remanded on bail for sentencing in August.

CYF declined to comment, as the matter was still before the courts.

Source: New Zealand Herald

Abuse in Foster Care

June 29, 2013 permalink

In today's column Christopher Booker tells what happens to children after they go into state care. It is not a pretty picture. Without mentioning it by name he is describing the Cinderella effect, the propensity of parents to take better care of their own children than the children of strangers. Serious estimates are that foster care is ten times as abusive as parental care. When a social worker takes a child from a home twenty times as abusive as normal and puts him in foster care, his life can improve. But today's social services do nothing of the sort. They snatch children over trifles and make their lives far worse by placing them in the kinds of care described by Mr Booker.



What our judges forget when they send children into care

When vulnerable youngsters are cared for by the state, they are too often neglected and abused

state care of children
In England alone, 67,000 children are in care. Yet many are so unhappy that some 10,000 a year go missing

In Leicester recently a jury was shown a 93-minute police video of a 14-year-old boy describing how, after being taken by social workers into care, he was for three years subjected by a care worker to sexual abuse so horrendous that he repeatedly pleaded for help from other members of staff. His pleas were ignored. He finally went to the police, who shot the video but did nothing. Shortly afterwards, the boy hanged himself with a curtain cord. Only when his “carer” was charged with 10 offences did the prosecution produce in evidence the video on which the police had failed to act.

Last week five men were given life sentences for raping, torturing and sex-trafficking six girls – one as young as 12 – over six years. Three girls were in council care. Their “carers” not only ignored the girls’ pleas for help but also connived in what was going on. Remarkably similar stories have recently come from Rotherham, Derby and Rochdale, also involving the systematic abuse of young girls in care that social workers encouraged to continue.

One victim of the Oxford case, Jane, appeared in last Monday’s Panorama: Kids Lost in Care. This described the horrific experiences of several children removed from their families and placed in care. One distraught couple described how their grand-daughter had been moved 13 times to different care homes in two years, and how their pleas to her social workers were repeatedly ignored, until days after running away again from one home she was found dead of a drug overdose. The film ended with Jane, who had been sold for sex on the streets of Soho while in care, observing of those charged with looking after her: “They’re meant to be responsible for innocent and vulnerable children. To put them in a situation where they are even worse off than they were to begin with is confusing. A lot of this wouldn’t have happened if they had done their job properly.”

Since the start of 2008, when the “Baby P” scandal was in the headlines, applications by social workers to take children into care have more than doubled, from fewer than 400 a month to nearly 1,000. In England alone, 67,000 children are now in care. Yet many are so unhappy that, according to the police, some 10,000 a year “go missing”. Having followed hundreds of such stories in recent years, few things have struck me more forcefully than the number of children taken from their families, often for the most dubious of reasons, who then, in “care”, report abuse and ill-treatment far worse than anything alleged against the parents from whom they were removed.

Such is the other half of the equation of what goes on behind the scenes of our “child-protection” system that too often gets overlooked. It is one thing to take children from their parents for no good reason. But just as tragic is the fate of far too many children when they enter the murky underworld of state care. Of course, there are times when it is right for the state to intervene on behalf of children who are being genuinely abused. Of course, there are good foster carers, and nothing could be more heart-warming than those cases where children removed from a cruel and dysfunctional home find a new life with loving adoptive parents.

But more evidence is emerging, despite the wall of secrecy our “child-protection” system has built to protect itself, that this is far from being always the case, and that the system can too often make a horrible mockery of that mantra beloved by lawyers that all is being done in “the best interests of the child”. When judges rubber-stamp requests for children to be taken into care, this is the half of the equation they too readily ignore. They act as if taking of children into “care” means what it says, instead of the very opposite.

One of the few judges who seems to have given careful thought to this crucial question is our most senior female judge, Baroness Hale of the Supreme Court, as she displayed in a recent dissenting judgment which has become quite a talking point in legal circles. To her measured thinking in the case of “B” (a child) I hope soon to return.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Marijuana/Child Bust

June 29, 2013 permalink

When Oshawa police made a marijuana bust, children's aid got a bonus of four children, all to be supported at taxpayer expense.



Oshawa kids removed by Children's Aid after south end drug bust

OSHAWA -- Four children have been removed by the Children's Aid Society from an Oshawa home after a bust in their home netted $46,000 in drugs.

Armed with a search warrant, police entered the south Oshawa home on June 21. They seized 32 marijuana plants, marijuana sealed in bags, crystal meth and cash.

Four children in the home, whose age ranged from one to 12, were placed in the care of the Children's Aid Society.

A 35-year-old man and a 29-year-old Oshawa woman have been charged with trafficking and producing drugs. Police are withholding their names to protect the identity of the children.

Anyone with new information regarding the investigation is asked to contact Const. Richer at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 1756.

Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at Tipsters are eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.

Source: Metroland/Durham Region
only available on Google cache

Foster Hagiography

June 29, 2013 permalink

Enclosed is an obituary for long-term foster mother Erma Vinson. Her life was anything but routine. Her epitaph, however, is absolutely routine. Searching for foster deaths for our tomb page discloses several instances a week of similar obituaries of foster parents, all in the style of a hagiography. These cannot be the result of diligent reporters searching for a good story. The foster care system acts as a unit, under central direction, holding these stories in reserve until the time of death when they can be fed to the local news media. It is part of the social services public relations campaign that engenders the image of foster parents as saintly figures.



Vinson family
Robert Vinson, centre, holds a portrait of his late parents Erma and Rev. Adam Vinson, surrounded by, James Vinson, from left, Michelle Vinson and Brian Friday, June 21, 2013, at Victoria Greenlawn Funeral Home. Erma Vinson fostered more than 250 children over 60 years, was a founding member of Price Memorial AME Church and helped build a school in Ghana, Africa. Vinson died Wednesday, June 18, 2013 at the age of 89.
Julie Kotsis/The Windsor Star

Erma Vinson will be remembered most for a life dedicated to caring for children and a deep faith in God.

More than 250 foster children were placed in her care over the 60 years she welcomed kids of all ages – infants to teens – all in need of a safe, warm, nurturing place to stay.

Vinson was born in 1924, one of 11 children, on a farm in North Buxton, a few miles south of Chatham. She died Tuesday at the age of 89.

She opened her home to foster children in 1951 and the last one left in 2011. Vinson was on the Children’s Aid Society’s emergency list for decades, meaning a child could be delivered to her at any time of the day or night.

“Her home was always open,” said son Brian Vinson, one of five adopted children. “No matter what time, what day, it was always available.”

“I’m feeling the loss of a mother,” said Joni Lariviere, who spent 10 years in foster care with Vinson, from the age of five to 16. “She is the world to me – my inspiration.

“She was my light – someone I could turn to in need … sit on her lap, cry on her shoulder and she would just comfort me.

“Even when I left, I was always close to her,” Lariviere said. “She’s my mom – all the immediate family are my brothers and sisters.”

Lariviere said her mom always wanted her to sing to her, so she sang one of Vinson’s favourite songs – Silver Bells – to her in hospital the night before she passed away.

During Saturday’s funeral service (1:30 p.m. at Victoria Greenlawn Funeral Home), Lariviere will read a poem titled Sleep Mommy.

“It describes how I feel – feeling the loss but also feeling joy knowing that she’s at peace,” Lariviere said.

“The one thing that I know she would like people to know is she was a disciplinarian,” said son Robert Vinson.

But at the same time, she was a very loving mother to her five adopted children and her foster children, he said.

“She wasn’t one to say it all the time – they could tell,” Robert said. “You don’t have to be buying things and you don’t have to hear it all the time. Kids know who they can trust and who they can’t trust.”

Robert said his mother encouraged the children to be busy and to play outside as much as possible, but also to pitch in with the never-ending chores at her Cabana Road home.

“She used to say ‘An idle mind is a destructive mind,’” he said.

Vinson received numerous awards during her lifetime, including the Commemorative Medal for the 125th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada from the Governor General of Canada.

She was Foster Parent of the Year in 2001 and was awarded the prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award by the Ontario Association of Children’s Aids Societies in 1997. It was the first time the honour was issued to a foster parent.

She out-lived two husbands – Rev. Roosevelt Bernie Price and Rev. Adam Vinson. A devout evangelist, she was a founding member of Price Memorial AME Church.

“She was always strong – and had the ability to just know what to do,” Brian said. “Her main focus was making sure children had the opportunity to succeed and had all the tools to do so.”

“I could talk to her and she would give me the straight, honest truth,” Robert said.

Vinson is survived by five children, two long-time foster sons and four grandchildren.

In a 1997 interview with The Star, Vinson said, “If you don’t love children, you shouldn’t be doing this kind of work.

“I only hope that when I’m gone someone will pick up the banner and carry on. There are so many children who need a bit of kindness.”

It’s time for someone to pick up the banner and carry on.

Source: Windsor Star

saint with halo

Waterloo CAS Audit

June 29, 2013 permalink

A $2.5 million deficit at Waterloo CAS caused the province to conduct an audit. A story in the press gives a somewhat garbled report. Among the contradictions, the deficit resulted in the elimination of the equivalent of 50 full-time positions, but there were no recommended staff cuts.

Activity increased because over seven months in 2010-2011 three Waterloo-area children died. Waterloo CAS underwent a mini-panic as reports of abuse shot up. The story names the three dead children. These are the kind of deaths child protectors want you to know about, the ones where CAS was watching the family and a parent killed a child. They bolster calls for more resources to grab kids. But when a child dies in a foster home, they black out the name (it might cause the emotional harm to the child!).



Local child welfare agency too quick to intervene, provincial audit says

WATERLOO REGION — A heightened awareness of children at risk was partly behind rising costs and heavier caseloads at Family and Children's Services of the Waterloo Region, a provincial audit has found.

After three recent deaths of children at the hands of their caregivers, agency workers became more cautious, taking more children into care, the report said.

Police referrals also went up.

The report recommends a balance between protecting children and living within a budget.

Alison Scott, the agency's executive director, said the audit will not deter the agency from its mandate to protect children.

"We are not going to change our service approach," she said.

Last January, 12 provincial investigators spent two weeks at the Kitchener-based agency reviewing its financial books and 332 case files to help the organization deal with the reasons behind last year's record deficit of $2.5 million.

The deficit resulted in the closure of seven of its eight group homes and the elimination of the equivalent of 50 full-time positions.

On Friday, Scott shared the findings of the ministry report for the first time publicly.

"I think it is an excellent report," she said.

The agency's board has implemented all but five of the report's 31 recommendations, she said. There were no recommended staff cuts.

One of the report's key findings is that the agency's focus on responding to cases of family violence resulted in more admissions per 1,000 children than other child-welfare agencies in similar-sized communities and that 60 per cent of those children were under the age of seven.

Family violence accounts for 27 per cent of the agency's caseload, the report found.

Scott said the death of three children over two years resulted in a heightened concern, by agency workers, for children in domestic violence cases and more agency involvement with these families.

And it also resulted in a high number of referrals from the community, especially police, increasing the agency's workload and driving up costs.

Last year, the agency received 11,669 referrals and 11,963 in 2011, a result of the three deaths.

In all three cases, the families were supervised by the agency.

The three deaths were:

  • Four-month-old Kayleigh Ingram-Summers, of Cambridge, died in July 2010. Her 20-year-old father was sentenced to eight years in prison for shaking her to death.
  • Rayna Gagne, 4, also of Cambridge, died February 2011 of head trauma as a result of a spanking. Her stepfather was sentenced to nine years in prison.
  • Cameron Reeve, 2, of Waterloo, also died in February 2011. He was killed by his father who then killed himself.

The ministry audit noted that a review of some of the community referrals found that agency workers intervened in cases when it was "not readily apparent if or in what way children have been impacted" by the reported family violence incident.

This data "coupled with workers' statements regarding the impact of recent child deaths … led the reviewers to believe the society may need to review its damage prevention strategy," the report said.

The audit also recommended "as a starting point" that the agency review its referral protocols with police regarding children's exposure to adult conflict.

Scott said the ministry's position is "in child-welfare cases you can't prevent all deaths.

"They are saying you need to find the right balance" between protecting children and living within a budget, she said.

Jill Stoddart, research and quality control manager at the agency, said the investigators found that agency workers "erred on the side of caution" in admitting more children than ministry investigators felt were warranted.

"You could argue we are too cautious or you could argue we are more proactive," Stoddart said.

She said the agency chooses to invest money upfront in prevention, rather than waiting until the family situation worsens.

Scott said the agency will review its family violence policies and protocols with police and other agencies, but she said she will not compromise the safety of children.

"If the need is there, we are coming," she said.

Scott said child-abuse cases tend to be under-reported, so the agency is not going to ask police and other agencies to stop calling when they fear for a child's safety.

"We will not change our practice," she said.

Source: The Record

Addendum:In the effort to present diverse opinions, here is one by Luisa D’Amato in the Waterloo Record. A reader comment sets her straight.



D'Amato: Child protection receives short shrift from province

Show me a family where the father beats up the mother, and I'll show you their emotionally abused child.

It makes no difference if the child happens to be at a sleepover the night that the neighbours finally call police. Child-protection workers need to get in there, find out what's going on and help the family.

This seems like common sense to me. But in a provincial audit of Waterloo Region's Family and Children's Services, it is suggested that this idea costs too much.

Right now, police called to a domestic-violence scene will involve the agency if a child regularly lives in that house, even if he or she isn't home when the violence happens. The ministry people suggest a review of that approach, since their audit showed that in some cases, "it is not readily apparent if or in what way children have been impacted by the reported incident."


Fortunately, the people who run the Waterloo Region child-protection agency haven't forgotten why they're there.

"We're not going to stop bringing kids in when they need to come in," said Jill Stoddart, senior manager of innovation, research and development.

The audit, of course, has a lot to do with finding ways to save money. Family and Children's Services of Waterloo came to the province's attention when it showed a $3.1-million accumulated deficit last year.

The Ministry of Child and Youth Services bailed them out, and also did an audit which focused on finding ways to cut costs.

Some of the audit's suggestions are constructive and helpful. Others are outrageous.

For example, the ministry people suggest the agency is too generous in paying mileage, parking and other costs for volunteers who drive children in care to appointments, or who help out at special events. They think the volunteer should bear these costs.

The ministry staff also suggest that the agency might stop paying for things like school transportation for a child who has been moved across town to a foster home, but who would be better off attending his or her home school.

The local agency has implemented many of the audit's recommendations, but not those ideas, executive director Alison Scott has said.

"We are not going to change our service approach," she said last week.

Good for her.

This audit is just part of a fiscal vise that child-protection agencies in Ontario are being put through.

The Ontario government — which has all kinds of cash to move gas plants around and give out tuition subsidies for the university-bound children of upper-middle-class families — is chintzing out on one of the most important jobs government does: Protecting children from neglect, sexual abuse, violence, abandonment and emotional harm.

Although this region has one of the fastest-growing child populations in the province — and experienced a nearly five-per-cent increase in the number of child-protection investigations it did over the past three years — this agency will get less money to do its work this year than it did last year.

For the next three years, there are no inflationary or other increases planned in the amount that Queen's Park spends on child protection across the province.

And the flexibility that used to be there — if your caseload was higher, you'd get more money — is now gone.

Meanwhile, board members of child protection agencies will now be required to sign a contract stating they will not exceed their budgets. Oh, but they still have to provide child protection according to the law.

That's a lot of pressure, especially when you have no control over the number of calls you will get.

"We rely on the community to call (with) cases of children at risk. We don't want to go back to the community and say, 'Don't call us," said Karen Spencer, director of client services.

Within an eight-month period in 2010 and 2011, there were three young children in Waterloo Region who were killed by their fathers or stepfathers. It was an unusually high number. Public awareness of child abuse soared after that, and the agency took lots more calls.

Each call has to be checked out, even if it's just with a conversation over the phone. Each time a call is checked out, it costs money.

But would you want it any other way?

Wow. This is no better than an ad written by a spend thrift, misandrist, feminist. Look how it starts: "Show me a family where the father beats up the mother, and I'll show you their emotionally abused child. " The precipitation of non-reciprocal Intimate Partner Violence is going to be more likely from the female. Why you ask? Because she can - most men do not hit back. Multiple studies conform this.

Source: The Record

Document Disclosure

June 29, 2013 permalink

Social workers in Plymouth England left sensitive confidential documents with a client. A similar case occurred in Oakville Ontario in 2007.



Social workers left list of vulnerable children in paperwork given to mum

A council have apologised after social workers gave a mum a confidential list of vulnerable children in with a pile of paperwork.

The woman, whose identity is not being revealed in order to protect her own children, didn't discover the list until nine months after she was given the wad of papers.

She then phoned the social work team in Plymouth to tell them she had the documentation.

"I was sorting through minutes from child protection conferences I've had with social workers," she told her local paper. "I found minutes from October and discovered a loose piece of paper in among them. When I pulled it out, it had the first and surnames of children, including my own, and the name of their social worker."

She said the list had the names of 13 children on it.

The woman said she immediately phoned Plymouth City Council social workers to tell them and they arrived at her home shortly after.

"Usually, I can't get a hold of my social worker; she's apparently always in meetings. But within 10 minutes of me phoning, two of them were at the door," she said. "They said thank you for phoning when I handed the list over."

The Plymouth Herald reports that the mum has been left 'outraged' by the blunder.

"When I think of all the times I've phoned and asked them to come and see me and they haven't, but then when they found out I had something I shouldn't have they were straight round," she said. "All they wanted was this list back because they knew it could get them into trouble."

A Plymouth City Council spokeswoman said that they take data protection issues 'very seriously.' and they activated their information protection process as soon as they were made aware of the list being in the woman's possession.

"We were made aware on Thursday 20 June that a family had a sheet of paper containing names of children that did not relate to their own family," she said. "As soon as we were made aware, we immediately activated our information protection process. This requires immediate collection of any information to ensure that any information breaches are contained as much as possible. A social worker visited the home concerned to do this, in line with this process."

She added that they were 'very sorry' the incident occurred and are investigating how it happened. "We are contacting all families concerned to let them know what has happened," she said.

Last year the same council was reportedly fined £60,000 for sending a child neglect report to the wrong person, and were criticised by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for the Data Protection Act breach.

Source: Parent Dish

document recovery

Family Terrified

June 29, 2013 permalink

The CBC tells of the devastating effect of a visit from a social worker. The example is an Iqaluit worker interviewing Hannah Kiguktak's son in school. Every year the experience is repeated many thousands of times across Canada. The article ends with a nonsense quote from Mark Arnold, Nunavut's director of social services.

Parents need to know they have rights. If they think those rights have been violated, they should contact their social services office.

Social services offices are the chief violators of the natural rights of parents, rights not recognized by the laws of Canada.



Iqaluit mother angry after social worker questioned son

Says child was scared to attend school following questions about parents

Hannah Kiguktak
Hannah Kiguktak says her 11-year-old son was questioned at school by a social worker about whether she or her husband drank or smoked pot.

An Iqaluit mother is complaining about a social worker who questioned her son at school about whether she or her husband drank or smoked pot.

Hannah Kiguktak said her 11-year-old son wasn't the only student approached by the social worker.

"He was asking him how much we drink in our house, how much we smoke in our house, like maybe marijuana."

Kiguktak said her son was afraid to go back to school, and she was afraid to send him and his little sister. The kids missed about two weeks of classes.

Kiguktak said she didn't heard from the social worker, and couldn't get any answers from the school or district education authority.

Mark Arnold, Nunavut's director of social services, said he's aware social workers can be scary for kids but he said their top priority is to make sure kids are safe.

"Oftentimes parents still may be concerned that we went to speak to the children, but it was necessary."

But Arnold also said parents need to know they have rights. If they think those rights have been violated, they should contact their social services office.

Source: CBC

Kidnapper Punished

June 27, 2013 permalink

A kidnapper who abducted a child has been sentenced. The identity of the offender? The real mother of course, Amanda Jordan. She will be serving six months behind bars in Ohio for taking her daughter Nicayla Jordan.



Newark Mom Gets 6 Months In Jail For Taking Child

Amanda Jordan
Amanda Jordan

NEWARK, Ohio - A Licking County mother was sentenced to nearly six months in jail on Thursday for taking her own child.

Amanda Jordan, 25, pleaded no contest to interfering with custody.

On Thursday, a judge sentenced her to 170 days in jail.

In January, police say Jordan took her child against a court order that granted temporary custody to child protective services.

That led police to search for Jordan and her baby for several days before she turn herself in to authorities.

Jordan will get credit for time served.

Source: WBNS-TV

Dufferin CAS Annual Meeting

June 27, 2013 permalink

Trish Keachie, Bonnie Jones, Steve Scott, Michael Craig and Jennifer Moore
Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS) had their annual general meeting and awards ceremony last Wednesday, June 19th. Posing are present executive director Trish Keachie, past-president Bonnie Jones, new president Steve Scott, retiring board member Michael Craig and manager of human resources Jennifer Moore.

Source: Orangeville Citizen

Same-Sex Marriage for California

June 26, 2013 permalink

Five years ago California held the mother of all same-sex marriage referendums. Spending on the campaign dwarfed the campaigns in all other jurisdictions. The voters rejected same-sex marriage. An appellate judge set aside the voters' opinion, contending that it was a constitutionally-protected right. Today the supreme court of the United States let the appellate action stand, finally overruling the voice of the voters and bringing on same-sex marriage for California.

Cutbacks in Woodstock

June 25, 2013 permalink

Oxford CAS executive director Bruce Burbank says it will be difficult for his agency to achieve cutbacks of ten percent within five years.

Ontario's children's aid societies are are managed by professionals whose training and experience are limited to social work. CAS should recruit managers from the private sector with practical experience in cost control.



Oxford CAS Facing Mandated Budget Cuts

The province is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to funding Children's Aid Societies. And here in Oxford County, it isn't good news.

The province is mandating the agency cut 6% from its budget over the next 3-years, and have it down 10% within 5-years. They've also mandated an accountability agreement that forces the CAS to pass a balanced budget each year.

Oxford CAS Executive Director Bruce Burbank says they are going to be difficult goals to achieve. "In the near term, we think we're going to be able to get to that balanced budget. But when you start getting beyond the first couple of years, we're going to have to be doing some long term planning."

Burbank says regardless of the mandate, their first priority is children. "Given that we are a mandated service, you know, we can't turn people away, we can't start a waiting list. If a child needs care, we have to provide care regardless of the cost. There's that sort of unpredictability that the formula doesn't really allow for."

The province has set different targets for different CAS agencies based on a formula that factors local child populations, social demographic factors, and CAS service volumes over the last 3-years.

Source: Heart FM Woodstock

No Smoking

June 25, 2013 permalink

The attack on smokers by seizing their children has spread to Scotland.



Parents warned they could face court for lighting up at home in front of kids

LEGAL experts last night blasted a sheriff’s ‘nanny state’ meddling — after he ruled a mum was risking her kids’ lives by SMOKING.

Sheriff Scott Pattison claimed the mother-of-three’s ciggie habit showed a “lack of parental care” during a hearing into the youngsters’ welfare.

He referred the case at Ayr Sheriff Court to the Children’s Panel — where the woman could now face LOSING her kids.

But his decision has sparked fears of a massive rise in meddling by authorities, which could land more Scots parents in the dock.

Sara Matheson, a Glasgow University lecturer and partner in MTM Family Law firm, said: “There has been a move towards greater state interference.

Scott Pattison
Ruling ... Sheriff Scott Pattison
Alan Ewing

“Three years ago there was a suggestion obese children could be taken into care — this is a similar step.

“Worst case scenario would be the children taken into care, but it’s more likely there will be social work intervention to try and stop the mother from smoking.”

Last night another insider said the legal system could be ROCKED by the move.

The source said: “This is the first finding of its kind I, or any other lawyer I’ve spoken to, has heard of. The implications are enormous.”

Sheriff Pattison ruled the smoker — who cannot be named for legal reasons — breached the Children Scotland Act 1995.

Social workers said her youngsters’ clothes smelled of cigs at their Ayrshire home — and also voiced other major concerns.

It could now decide if the mum is fit enough to keep her children, or if they should be removed.

The law says “compulsory supervision” may be needed if kids are “likely to suffer unnecessarily or be impaired seriously in their health and development due to lack of parental care”.

Retired Edinburgh University law professor Robert Black also told of his shock at the decision. He said: “It’s surprising, since the act has been in force for so long, there hasn’t been a similar ruling in the past.”

Robert Black and Brian Donohoe
Stunned by ruling ... Professor Black, left, and Brian Donohoe

And worried politicians claim the case proves the state is getting too involved in family life.

Ayrshire MP Brian Donohoe said: “I hope there is a reality check when it comes before the panel and the wider picture’s taken into account.

“Not just the fact this woman likes a cigarette — but is she a loving mother?”

Tory MSP Jackson Carlaw claimed the ruling risked going “ludicrously overboard”.

He said: “Is this what things have come to, authorities having to peep through living room curtains to see if children and tobacco are sharing the same room?”

A South Ayrshire Council spokeswoman said their “priorities are the care, safety and well-being” of kids.

The Judicial Office for Scotland said the proceedings were held in private.

Last month Lib Dem MSP Jim Hume launched plans to make it illegal for people to puff in cars with kids.

It's drastic... but tots are at risk

IT sounds a bit drastic to take a mum to court for smoking in front of her kids and one might expect the legal system to show more common sense here.

But parents need common sense too and should put children’s needs before their own selfish habits.

Second-hand smoke harms the delicate lining of a child’s airways and raises the risk of a huge number of conditions including cot death, asthma, pneumonia, ear infections and deafness.

It’s even linked with life-threatening infections like meningitis and septicaemia.

And as you’d expect, kids of smokers are much more likely to become smokers themselves — even if parents don’t care about their own wellbeing they should set a good example.

Some parents think it’s enough to open the window after they’ve had a ciggie but studies show that tobacco smoke lingers for well over two hours.

It also persists on clothing. Research suggests this can be released later, for instance when cuddling a young child.

So smoking in a different room to the children isn’t the answer either.

Don't split up families over cigs

WHILE we are unable to comment on individual cases we believe the best place for children to be is usually with their parents.

And we are against the idea of removing them from their families only because of smoking.

That said, tobacco smoke is a risk to children’s health. It is harmful and increases the chances of various illnesses and cot death — so we encourage parents and carers not to smoke around kids.

ASH Scotland would like to see support for families to voluntarily make their homes smoke-free.

We have produced a website giving advice and information to mums and dads who wish to do that at

Many parents involved in our Refresh project were surprised by how long the harmful but invisible parts of smoke linger.

Many were trying to protect their children by smoking in another room or by opening a window, but that doesn’t eliminate the risk from second-hand smoke.

Going outside of the home to light up, if possible, is the best thing to do.

Source: Scottish Sun

The Kindness of Children's Aid

June 24, 2013 permalink

The Toronto Star quotes OACAS spokesman Caroline Newton:

Cases of homeless parents and children are investigated and dealt with based on severity, said Caroline Newton, spokesperson for the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies. A child will only be taken away from a homeless parent if there’s “an immediate risk of safety,” Newton said, adding that efforts are always made to get in touch with other family members who may be able to help temporarily take care of the child, or place the parent and child in a proper shelter.

If a child is taken into CAS care, the aim is to eventually reunite that child with his or her family, said Newton. “The protection and the well-being of the child is paramount, but the goal is not to just scoop as many kids as possible,” she said. “The goal is to be as least disruptive as possible.”

At least, that is what they say in public.



Homeless in the GTA: Finding affordable housing especially tough for women

Lisa Roberts
Lisa Roberts, who expects to give birth to a daughter soon, has been homeless with her son since May, when she had to leave her basement apartment.
Torstar News Service

Lisa Roberts and her 15-month-old son, Liam, spend their days at the Whitby library or walking around parks and playgrounds.

At night, the same playgrounds become their place to sleep, curled up in the play structures wrapped in blankets.

Roberts, 38 — who is nearly eight months pregnant with a girl — and her son have been homeless since the beginning of May, when she had to leave her basement apartment in Whitby because her landlord’s son was returning from university.

Living off welfare, she has been unable to find a one-bedroom apartment for less than $800 in Durham Region.

“I was told there is a 12-year waiting list (for affordable housing),” she says. And when a rental apartment is listed online, she says, landlords just don’t want to rent to people with children “because they can be destructive.”

Roberts has doctors in Ajax but is having trouble getting to them, and missed her last prenatal care appointment. Liam is healthy for now, she says.

Roberts is one among a growing number of women who are having to wait longer and longer to find homes in Durham Region, says Atiya Siddiquei, manager of the Muslim Welfare Centre, the region’s only shelter that caters specifically to women and children who are homeless but not fleeing abuse (there are separate shelters for that in Oshawa and Ajax).

“Honestly speaking, it’s really getting tougher and tougher every day,” she sighs. The 40-bed shelter is usually filled to capacity.

“Most landlords don’t want to rent to people from shelters. Bad credit is another problem; many people have been evicted in the past. It makes it very hard to find places for these women. It’s a long process (to get into affordable housing). If they are not abused, just homeless, they have to wait years and years, with no other option than rental properties.”

However, she says, even though women are now spending three months or more at the shelter while seeking housing, instead of six to eight weeks, it’s even worse in Toronto.

“We’re really finding women are getting stuck,” agrees Ruth Crammond, director of shelter and clinical services at the YWCA, which runs shelters in Toronto for women who are homeless or are fleeing violence. “Women are staying in Toronto shelters longer.”

The number of women and children entering the mainstream shelter system is also on the rise, according to a study noted in the first ever national report card on homelessness, released this week.

“It’s difficult to say why, but it could be a product of the pressure on low-income families, whose earning power is decreasing … as housing costs are increasing, which squeezes you out of the housing market and leaves you one crisis away from homelessness,” says Tim Richter, president and CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.

The report card called for all levels of government to contribute to building affordable housing. Ontario’s problem with affordable rental housing was recently described in an Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association report as “staggering and worsening.”

Women with children, in particular, want to find housing that is both affordable and in an area where they feel safe, notes Crammond. But after months in a shelter, they often accept substandard housing that can put them at risk of violence or further violence, she says.

“In rare cases we see women returning to their abusers … or entering relationships quickly to secure a place to live.”

Cases of homeless parents and children are investigated and dealt with based on severity, said Caroline Newton, spokesperson for the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies. A child will only be taken away from a homeless parent if there’s “an immediate risk of safety,” Newton said, adding that efforts are always made to get in touch with other family members who may be able to help temporarily take care of the child, or place the parent and child in a proper shelter.

If a child is taken into CAS care, the aim is to eventually reunite that child with his or her family, said Newton. “The protection and the well-being of the child is paramount, but the goal is not to just scoop as many kids as possible,” she said. “The goal is to be as least disruptive as possible.”

Back in Whitby, Roberts is frantically continuing her search for a home, poring over online listings provided by her social worker at the library every day. She takes breaks to collect batteries, which she exchanges for cash to help her feed her son.

She says that after spending one night in a shelter, that just isn’t an option — “it didn’t feel safe for my son. He stayed awake all night shaking,” she says.

Though her father lives in Whitby, living with him isn’t on the table. She says their relationship is strained — documented in passionate poetry and prose Roberts has penned over the years and one day hopes to publish. And she is no longer with the father of Liam and her as-yet-unborn daughter.

“I’m hoping to find something soon, before my baby is born,” she says. She has name picked out for the girl: Ailey. “After that, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Source: Metro News (Toronto Star)
Thanks to Pat Niagara for finding this gem.

Three days after publication of the above story, CAS seized Lisa's child. Based on past experience, CAS has a watch on her unborn child as well.



Children's Aid Society removes son of Whitby homeless woman

On Tuesday afternoon, Lisa Roberts' young son was taken away by the Durham Children's Aid Society.

The Durham Children’s Aid Society has taken away Lisa Roberts’ 15-month-old son after receiving an anonymous call about her living in a Whitby park with her child.

Roberts, who is nearly eight months pregnant, was located by Durham Region police officers on behalf of DCAS on Tuesday afternoon at a bus station in Ajax. She was with her son on her way to pick up a cheque from her social worker, she says.

“I’m a good mother. I’ve been taking care of him. He’s healthy, happy and loved,” a frantic Roberts told the Star on Tuesday. “If I lose my son I will die.”

A court hearing has been set up for later this week. She says she has been told that she will not be able to see her son until then.

Children’s Aid cannot comment on any cases it deals with, said spokesperson Andrea Maenza.

A child will only be taken away from a homeless parent if there’s “an immediate risk of safety,” Caroline Newton, spokesperson for the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, told the Star.

Newton says efforts are always made to get in touch with other family members who may be able to help temporarily take care of the child, or to place the parent and child in a proper shelter.

Roberts says she was not given any options that would allow her to remain with her son, such as staying at a shelter.

Roberts, 38, became homeless in May after she had to move out of her apartment, which her landlord needed back. After running out of money to pay for a motel and briefly staying with a friend, she began sleeping in parks with her son.

Roberts is currently on welfare and is working with her social worker to find an affordable, permanent place to live. She has chosen not to stay in shelters.

After her story in the Star appeared, Roberts received an outpouring of offers of help.

She has declined offers of temporary places to stay because she says she does not want to be a burden on other families. Some of the places are too far away from the father of her two children. Roberts is no longer with him, but he has been providing some financial support.

However, for the next few nights, Roberts says a generous woman is covering the cost of a motel for her. “She is an angel,” she says.

Roberts says she is grateful for the offers of help she has received but adds that she is “not looking for handouts. I’m looking for a hand up.”

She is hoping that a book of prose, poetry and artwork she has created based on her life experiences will be published and provide her enough income to take care of her children.

But for now all she can think about is reuniting with her son.

“I’ve looked after that boy since he was born. He saved my life.”

Source: Toronto Star

Pat Niagara on Lisa Roberts

Addendum: In November Lisa got her child back.



Formerly homeless Whitby mother reunited with children

Lisa Roberts, who lived in a Whitby park for a while with her toddler, has found a new home and regained custody of her son and newborn daughter.

In the one-bedroom basement apartment in Whitby that’s been home for just over a month, formerly homeless Lisa Roberts smiles as she feeds her 2-month-old daughter from a bottle.

The girl’s name means “truth and grace of the beautiful one.”

Her curious, chubby-cheeked brother, nearly 2 years old, plays with a toy bus on the living-room floor nearby.

Roberts, 38, was reunited with her children by the courts on Oct. 23. As the Star reported earlier this year, the Durham Children’s Aid Society took her son near the end of June after Roberts, left homeless at the start of May, ended up living in a Whitby park for five days, after running out of money to pay for a motel.

Her daughter was taken three days after she was born on Sept. 1, says Roberts. The children cannot be named for legal reasons.

“It’s warm, it’s comfortable, we’ve got what we need right now,” Roberts says of the $700 apartment she pays for through social assistance.

The important thing is that her two children are back with her, she says. A friend will be dropping off a sofa soon, and she has her own laundry room, she adds.

She will remain under scrutiny by the CAS for the next six months. Roberts says she lucked out with a landlord who saw renting to a woman with small children as a priority rather than as a deal-breaker.

While homeless, she struggled to find a landlord that would accept young children, she told the Star earlier this year.

Roberts says she accepted an offer to stay with a woman in Mississauga for about a month, made after a Star report on her plight. But after the woman moved, Roberts says, she later returned to living in a Whitby park for three weeks before giving birth to her daughter.

Roberts says she had a place to stay lined up for when she and her daughter left the hospital, but CAS took her daughter three days after she was born. The temporary loss of her children was the “most trying period of my life,” she says.

She was allowed to see her son, and her newborn daughter, only twice a week for two hours. She’s concerned about the effect of that separation on her son.

“I can’t go out of his sight; he clings to me,” she says. Some nights, she says, he wakes up screaming and climbs into her bed.

Though she had wanted to breastfeed her daughter, now she can’t, she adds.

Roberts, who maintains she was treated unfairly by the CAS, says she is researching her legal options.

Source: Metroland / Durham Region

Hate for Baynes

June 23, 2013 permalink

Today the Bayne family in British Columbia was the victim of a hate crime. Their bunny was kidnapped and returned dead and mutilated. This family had three children seized by British Columbia MCFD and held for three years. A fourth child born during the ordeal was seized at birth. The family persevered and was eventually able to get all of their children back. [1] [2] Until there is an investigation, there is no way to know whether there is a connection between the child protection case and the hate crime.



Zabeth Bayne Our family is devastated. Someone came into our yard and stole our bunny only to return her this morning with her little legs mutilated and her head chopped off! The RCMP said it was a message....we are planning on moving out of this area but not sure where to go yet...does anyone know of a nice area for a family to rent in? I just can't understand how someone could be so ugly as to torture a defenseless bunny...we are all terribly heartbroken:(

Source: Facebook, Zabeth Bayne

Parenting Class FAIL

June 22, 2013 permalink

Those parenting classes that child protectors inflict on most targeted families give bad advice. Not all behaviors can be corrected through positive means. The bad advice suits the purpose, since parents following it are sure to fail. The failure justifies further intervention by social services, and more remuneration from the public treasury.



Government parenting advice is 'corrosive and harmful', report finds

Official Government advice telling people how to bring young children up should be torn up because it is “corrosive and harmful” and can damage family life, a new academic report argues.

positive parenting
The so-called “positive parenting” approach which involves avoiding punishment or even criticism while constantly accentuating the positive can do more harm than good
Photo: Rex features

The so-called “positive parenting” approach which involves avoiding punishment or even criticism while constantly accentuating the positive can do more harm than good and simply “sets parents up to fail”, it concludes.

In the study, published in the journal Ethics and Education, Helen Reece, an expert in family law at the London School of Economics, argues that the official obsession with being “nice” to children all of the time is “arduous, if not impossible” and can simply destroy the spontaneity of the parent-child relationship.

She argues that in extreme cases it has led to parents involved in contact or care cases being judged against an impossible standard and then unfairly marked down by social workers and even judges with major consequences for the rest of their lives.

In particular she takes aim at the official handbooks published by the Department of Health and given to parents of newborn babies, known as “Birth to Five” which combines practical advice on matters such as feeding with more subjective pronouncements about how to speak to children.

Under the heading “Be positive about the good things”, the guide advises new parents that even if their children’s undisciplined behaviour comes to “dominate everything” they must react by talking about something “good” and encourage children to “be themselves”.

It adds: “Move on to other things that you can both enjoy or feel good about and look for other ways of coping with your feelings.”

In the paper Ms Reece explains: “Arguably more than any other child-rearing resource, it represents the accumulation of official, mainstream, advice about how to discipline children: published by a government department, production and distribution costs are funded publicly. Given the contemporary proliferation of widely divergent childcare advice – an era in which we can choose to be a ‘tiger mother’, an ‘attachment parent’ or the mother of a ‘contented little baby’, as advised by Gina Ford, I am interested in exploring advice that comes with a clear and overt official stamp.”

Examining the advice line by line she concludes: “Positive parenting is hard if not impossible work, setting parents up to fail.

“Another persuasive objection is a concern with how parenting positively may destroy the spontaneity of parent–child interactions: ‘I’m praising my child – check; I’ve got a positive tone of voice – check; I’ve adopted appropriate body language – check.’

“The nub of this point is that it is impossible to tell somebody how to be nice, because the very essence of being nice is that it cannot be forced: coerced kindness is a contradiction.”

She adds: “Its serious consequence is that any shortfall in a child’s behaviour can always be explained by the fact that the parent’s treatment of the child was not positive enough.”

Ms Reece called for the Government to remove advice on such issues from official guidelines while still giving parents important information on matters such as a safe temperature for a baby or nutrition.

“I think to be told how to relate to your child is really corrosive and harmful,” she said.

Dr Dan Poulter, the health minister, said: "We want to do everything we can to support parents in giving their child the very best start in life.

"A new child is a wonderful experience but it can be daunting, especially for first-time parents.

“It is therefore important that all those who care for children have access to the most up to date information and advice.

"The new NHS Information Service for Parents - launched just last year - provides expert, trusted advice for both mothers and fathers and it has proved extremely popular.

"Over 160,000 parents have signed up so far and the feedback we receive is excellent.”

Dr Ellie Lee, director of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies at Kent University: “The view has become prevalent that bringing up children is far too difficult and too important to be left to mere parents. The main beneficiaries of this have been so-called ‘parenting experts’.

“There is no evidence, however, to suggest Britain’s parents have gained anything from being told that professionals have the answers.

“This article makes some very important points about the dangers of making policies about how to raise children and I hope some politicians will listen to what she is telling them.”

Source: Telegraph (UK)

parenting class

Shotgun Divorce Victim Speaks

June 22, 2013 permalink

Stephanie Lizon went to a West Virginia women's shelter and made accusations of torture against her husband. He was immediately arrested and released on bond while social services placed their son Mojmir with his grandparents. The family home was destroyed during the proceedings and pregnant Stephanie now lives in her car. Prosecutors have declined to indict husband Peter Lizon, or dismiss the case, creating a purgatory in which the family court case cannot be resolved.

Stephanie has recanted the allegations against her husband. It is possible that the mother recanted after seeing what social services had in store for her family. It is more possible that shelter workers made up exaggerated statements for her to sign.



W.Va. woman says prosecutors pushing abuse charges against her husband over her objections

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia woman whose husband is accused of torturing her for nearly a decade said Friday that authorities are pushing the case over her objections, and she claims their overzealous prosecution has resulted in her losing custody of her child and being forced to live in her car.

Stephanie Lizon accused workers from the state Department of Health and Human Resources of using threats and intimidation after she testified last year at a preliminary hearing that accusations against her husband, Peter Lizon, were false. He remains free on bond on a malicious wounding charge and hasn’t been indicted.

A DHHR spokeswoman declined comment, citing state-mandated confidentiality in child protective services cases. Jackson County Prosecutor Kenny Skeen did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

“We were intimidated — the whole family — into agreeing to conditions of the guardianship that were completely extreme and unnecessary just under threat of having our son taken into state custody,” Lizon told The Associated Press, referring to the decision to give permanent custody of her 2-year-old son, Mojmir, to her parents in Alexandria, Va.

She said the couple only agreed to the custody arrangement because they thought the case was going to be closed “within a matter of weeks.”

“It’s been a year now since the alleged incidents took place.”

Lizon also criticized prosecutors.

“By refusing to either indict or dismiss, they’re promoting the situation. ... As long as the criminal matter is pending, it makes it very, very, very difficult to resolve the family court matter,” she said.

The AP obtained an interview with Lizon after her comments were first reported Friday in The Charleston Gazette.

It was July 2, 2012, when Stephanie Lizon fled from her husband while at an equipment rental company, looking gaunt and limping while telling staff she was trying to get away from her husband, who was in a different part of the store. An employee at the shop gave Stephanie the number for a domestic violence shelter and cash for a cab ride there.

At the shelter, Stephanie Lizon told of being held captive for the better part of a decade — beaten, burned and even shackled during childbirth — by her husband, a native of the Czech Republic, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.

The complaint said she had “mutilated and swollen” feet and said that her husband had smashed her foot with a piece of farm equipment. Dozens of photographs showed burns on her back and breasts from irons and frying pans and scars on her wrists and ankles.

The complaint also said she had delivered a fully developed, stillborn child while in shackles, and that her husband buried the corpse on their farm. Another child survived a similar delivery, but Stephanie Lizon said the child had never received medical attention.

Stephanie Lizon later testified in court that her husband never beat her and that the allegations were no more than false, sensational stories told by people who don’t know her or her husband.

She said the state began efforts to seize her son soon after her court testimony. Instead, the Lizons agreed to give permanent custody to Stephanie’s parents.

“I think the message is loud and clear that I’m supposed to denounce my husband and corroborate the accusations or else I don’t get to be with my son,” Lizon said.

In April, Stephanie Lizon was arrested and charged with felony child concealment after police said she took her son without permission. She was jailed for a month but freed when nobody showed up in court to testify against her.

While she was in jail, people she and her husband had entrusted to feed her dogs and goats allegedly stole items from her home and then burned down the house on May 2. Three people have been charged with arson.

Stephanie Lizon is now eight months pregnant, living mostly out of her car, although she said “this isn’t a matter of me being destitute.”

“It isn’t that I don’t have the money to stay in a motel, but a motel isn’t a home,” she said.

Lizon said she is frustrated the case is still ongoing.

“The accusations against my husband are false. I never made them,” she said. “This isn’t a situation where I made statements that I later recanted. These were never my statements. This is third-party hearsay from people that don’t even know me or know my husband or have ever seen us together or have ever seen our property or have ever seen us with our son.”

She said her immediate future depends on what happens with a Jackson County grand jury, which will decide whether to indict Peter Lizon. The grand jury’s term begins next week and runs through October.

If her husband is indicted, she said, she’ll have to find a place to live long enough to give birth, pursue the return of her son and wait for her husband’s trial.

“I have to give birth in August,” she said. “Baby won’t wait. I’m sure the court would like to tell the baby to wait, too. That won’t work.”

Source: The Washington Post

Moldy Files

June 22, 2013 permalink

Mold removal experts are cleaning the offices of the Glynn County Department of Family and Children Services in Brunswick Georgia. The cause of the infestation is unknown, but research by fixcas as ascertained one aggravating factor. Paper can be colonized by fungi of the classifications Hyphomycetes and Ascomycetes in the genera Chaetomium, Curvularia/Cochliobolus, Epicoccum, Geotrichum/Dipodascus, Geotrichum/Galactomyces, Memnoniella, Monodictys, Scopulariopsis/Microascus, Stachybotrys, Stemphylium, Ulocladium and Verticillium. Source:

Child protectors keep records for decades, and records from the 1990s and earlier were most often kept on paper. Getting rid of these old records would make child protection safer, both through reducing mold infestation and protecting families from revival of historical accusations.



Mold forces Georgia department out of building

Glynn County DCFS
Department of Children and Family Services in Brunswick


If you go to the Department of Family and Children Services in Glynn County, you'll see a sign on the door that says the department has temporarily moved a few doors down.

The reason: mold.

DFCS is located in Cypress Mill Square, and Carolyn Oppenheimer owns the property.

"It's behind the walls," she said in a phone interview from Atlanta. "You couldn't see it, so they had to go in and remove the affected areas. They removed some sheet rock and some carpet."

Oppenheimer said offhand she didn't know what kind of mold it is. But employees are worried.

An employee who wants to remain anonymous emailed Channel 4 saying the building has had issues with mold, leaks and flooding for the last few years, and now is the first time something is being done about it.

Building is temporarily closed

Oppenheimer said an employee recently asked if the building could be tested for mold, and she said yes. Results revealed airborne mold spores, so the offices were closed on June 11 for remediation work.

"Dealing with mold is unpredictable in how long it takes to remediate, and we're working hard to get the issue resolved as quickly as we can," Oppenheimer said.

Employees are hoping that's soon. They're in the process of moving furniture and paperwork over to the new location they're currently operating out of so they can help their customers to the best of their ability.

"Our goal is to complete the remediation in a way that it ensures the problem is resolved and that it doesn't happen again," Oppenheimer said.

Source: News4Jax

Here is a current use of a moldy CAS file.



Carolyn Serenity Just looking for some advice on our ongoing torture with the CAS. My children are with me and my partner in our home. They were removed for six months and have been back with us since August. We are going July 16th as CAS wants another 9 months protection. I have done everything they have ordered and yet every time we go to court they have changed documents from what I was served and have added more conditions. I need a legal aid lawyer that will fight for me and my rights. They even have information on the documents of an incident that happened with my partner when he was 15. He was never charged and took counseling to please the CAS at that time. How can they have information on there that happened to him as a minor?

Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...

mold elimination

Foster Girl Steals Car

June 20, 2013 permalink

A girl in Newfoundland has stolen her foster parents' car.



UPDATE: Girl charged with stealing foster parents' vehicle

A 13-year-old girl appeared in provincial court in Corner Brook today after she allegedly stole her foster parents' vehicle.

The vehicle was allegedly taken from a driveway of a residence on West Valley Road at 1:44 a.m.

The matter was called briefly, and set over until Friday afternoon for a bail hearing. Crown attorney Ed Ring is opposing her release.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police located the girl in Stephenville. The vehicle was found on the Trans-Canada Highway near Stephenville and brought to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary garage for the forensics identification.

The girl has been charged with theft of a motor vehicle and five breaches of probation. She is being held at the RCMP holding cells in Deer Lake until her court appearance.

Source: Western Star

Niagara Rally

June 20, 2013 permalink

boy not for sale
I am not for sale

115th Annual Meeting of Family and Children's Services of Niagara

On June 19th, 2013 Members of Ontario Coalition for Accountability attended outside the 115th Annual Meeting of Family and Children's Services of Niagara(FACS) where they distributed awards to Foster families, workers and handed out bursaries to children in care. OCfA members put pamphlets on cars (only to be removed by Event Centre staff) and at the event conclusion held signs stating "Children's Aid Society destroys Families and other placards promoting Ombudsman Oversight. A lot of horn honking and thumbs up showed support from the community.

Source: CAS Ontario (blog)

Video: YouTube and local copy (mp4).

Photos: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...

CFS Takes a Village

June 19, 2013 permalink

Manitoba CFS has seized all but one of the 54 children in a Mennonite community. Authorities have forbidden the publication of the name of the town.



Community's children apprehended by province

Four Old Order Mennonite members accused of assaulting youths

An Old Order Mennonite community in Manitoba has reportedly had all but one of their children apprehended by Child and Family Services amidst allegations of child abuse.

In addition, the number of adults charged has now grown to four from two as the police investigation continues.

Initially, two men from the community were charged, but two more members -- a man and a woman -- also now face assault charges.

The Free Press is not naming the accused or the small community due to a publication ban put in place Tuesday to protect the identity of the victims.

During the man and woman's brief appearance in Brandon provincial court on Tuesday, defence lawyer Scott Newman indicated that CFS had apprehended all the children from the community except one 17-year-old.

"There's no children in the community," Newman reported.

A community member has indicated that 54 children usually live there.

The four adult community members face multiple counts of assault and assault with a weapon.

Two men, described as one of the community leaders and his son, first appeared in court in March.

At that time, it was alleged that at least seven children, aged seven to 14 years, were assaulted on the community.

With two other individuals charged, the number of children said to have been assaulted has reached 13.

An update on the children's age range wasn't immediately available on Tuesday.

Collectively, it's alleged that the assaults were committed between July 1, 2011 and Jan. 31, 2013.

Each of the four adults is accused of assaulting more than one child, and of using weapons multiple times that included a leather strap and a cattle prod.

For example, court records to date indicate that one child had three separate assailants and was assaulted with three different weapons -- a strap, a whip and a cattle prod.

This account is based on court documents and may change if there are further arrests.

One source indicated that the alleged assaults were committed as some form of discipline, but that hasn't been confirmed.

Crown attorney Grant Hughes indicated in court that the investigation isn't expected to be complete until July 30.

The first two men to be arrested were released on bail, as were the man and woman who appeared in court on Tuesday.

Five community members watched Tuesday's proceedings from the gallery.

One man said that he couldn't comment on the case, but shared a brief description of the community.

Usually about 70 people, including 54 children, live in about 10 homes there.

The community also includes machine, furniture, harness and wagon shops.

In general, Old Order Mennonites have a lifestyle that rejects certain technologies, and that appears to be the case here.

The community resident said they avoid the use of electricity and there isn't Internet access.

Residents don't generally use phones, although they have a land-line phone for emergencies.

Their mode of transportation in and around the community is typically horse and buggy.

And, in general, the community keeps to itself.

The resident also confirmed that all the community's children except for one were apprehended by CFS.

However, a provincial government spokesman couldn't confirm that account by deadline.

-- Brandon Sun

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Global News has named the community as Gladstone.



Mennonite community ‘distressed’ after 42 children seized

GLADSTONE – A member of a Manitoba Old Order Mennonite community tells Global News that Child and Family Services took 42 children from their homes near Gladstone last week.

“We are very distressed,” said a bearded man riding a horse and buggy who Global News can’t identify to protect the identity of children involved.

“CFS has apprehended all our children that are minors. They walked into the houses, took the babies out of their cribs while they were sleeping.”

The seizure is believed to be related to multiple criminal charges against three men and one woman in the community, including assault and assault with a weapon, specifically a whip, a leather strap and a cattle prod. Court documents say the alleged assaults took place between July 2011 and January 2013.

“I was surprised when I heard that,” said Peter Dyck, a Gladstone resident.

“I didn’t think that was happening in their community.”

RCMP are investigating, and on Wednesday afternoon a police cruiser and a blue SUV were at one of the Mennonite properties. A farm resident who lives nearby said the property was home to one of the accused. There was a brief interaction between two men on the property and two RCMP officers. The officers left a short time later. The occupants of the SUV did not exit the vehicle.

CFS issued this statement when asked about the mass apprehension:

“Child protection professionals are working with the families and children involved in this difficult circumstance, including providing counseling services and supports during their participation in the ongoing RCMP investigation. The child protection staff are also working to ensure culturally sensitive placements for the children.”

According to area residents, the community of about 100 moved to Manitoba roughly four years ago from Ontario.

“They just kind of go about their daily business, doing their own thing I guess,” said a neighbour who lives near the Mennonite properties.

Gladstone residents said members of the Mennonite community frequent the town for amenities such as the auction and veterinary services. Residents said interaction was limited, but always friendly, which is why the criminal charges are a surprise, they said.

“It’s not that we want to get them out of here. It’s just … make things right,” said Dyck.

Source: Global News

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

Approved and proposed for signature and ratification or accession by General Assembly resolution 260 A (III) of 9 December 1948

entry into force 12 January 1951, in accordance with article XIII

Article 2

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Source: Internet Archive

Family Fractured

June 19, 2013 permalink

Blameless parents lose a child because of a bone disease. CAS ignores the evidence.



Kara Leens

Good afternoon! I would like to share my story with you, in the hopes of getting some advice - please keep in mind that I am going to try and be concise, as I could write a novel about the nightmare the last 2 years has been :(

Our 6 week old daughter was apprehended by CAS in October 2011, after she was found to have 8 fractures throughout her body. My husband and I know we did not cause her any harm, and have believed from the beginning that there is a medical reason for it. However, we were seen as suspects and our daughter was placed in foster care (even though our parents were willing and able to take her in under kinship).

While in foster care, more fractures were found, which we thought would clear us, but then were told that they were "missed" during the initial xrays, and seemed to be dated back to when she was in our care. We asked for another set of xrays, but were denied.

After being in foster care for 3 months, she was placed with my in-laws from February 2012-October 2012, where we got supervised access at any time we wanted (supervision by anyone cleared - our parents, friends, etc.) and saw her at least 3 times a week and all days on weekends.

In October 2012, she was placed in the primary care and custody of my mom, in our home, where my mom made herself available to supervise all of our interactions with our daughter. She was enrolled in full-time day care with our son.

From September 2012 to March 2012, we had 1 day a week (Sundays) of unsupervised access (8am-6pm), and then in March 2012 got 2 days a week unsupervised access (Saturdays and Sundays, 8am-6pm), plus weekday unsupervised access (7-8am, 5-7pm, plus anytime daycare is closed). We have asked for at least 1 night unsupervised access to build up to more, but no word on that yet.

Our next court date is September 2013. I am going to ask our lawyer to file a motion for the immediate return of our daughter, based on Section 51.

Note: we have a 4 year old son, with no issues at all with him since birth (and they did a skeletal xray on him). For my husband and myself, we both have good jobs, own our home, and are stable; we have never been in any kind of trouble. Since our daughter has been apprehended, there have been absolutely no protection concerns - from the daycare provider, from our supervisors, from CAS (weekly unannounced visits plus around 30 visits from a Family Support Worker). We have done everything we have been asked in court - counselling, attachment assessment, monthly doctor's visits, planned activities, etc.

Based on everyone's experience, what else can we do to have our daughter returned to our care?????

We are desperate, as we had no idea this would drag on for 2 years, and we are now finding it difficult to get our supervisors to be available, as they have already put their lives on hold..

My husband and I did push for genetic testing, and were finally able to get a referral for the testing. CAS tried to cancel the appt because "they didnt' have a worker to supervise the visit" but we found out it was because they had a Christmas party that day :S We fought tooth and nail and were finally able to keep the appt, but the geneticist would only agree to test her for one strain of Osteogenesis Imperfecta (the most common one). The testing came back negative - we were glad she didnt' have any medical problems to deal with for life, but also sad that we still don't know what caused the fracture. From initially finding 8, they then said the number "doubled" after the second set of fractures, and then the number kept increasing (to make their case look good). I am still in shock that a doctor could miss at least 8 fractures in the initial xrays..

When I say "no protection concerns", they said they don't have any new ones, but because of the number of fractures found, they are still concerned about her safety. I just don't know what to do, and whether we have a case that teh judge will agree to have her returned to us in September, considering that other than the initial fractures, there have been NO other reasons for them to apprehend her

They are now asking us to do attachment therapy, even though she is living with us, and anyone with half a brain can see that she is thriving. In fact, even our workers and the supervisor have commented on how she's thriving and doing so well.. We know it's a political game, as the Director is the one calling the shots, and no one wants to be accountable for returning her.. If anyone has any similar experiences, please let me know!

Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...

Walking the Dog

June 19, 2013 permalink

CAS is checking out a family in which two girls walked their dog.



Paula Faria So someone called CAS because my daughter was walking the dog n her brother up and down the street (she's 6.5 he's 3) while my bf was outside. I didn't know she couldn't..., they are coming back to talk to her when she's home

Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...

girl walking dog

Mental Health

June 18, 2013 permalink

On May 11 a mother, Catherine, met with Nancy Miller, Director of Intensive Services and Assistant Executive Director of Vanier Children's Services in London Ontario. The video of the meeting (mp4) is a good chance to see what senior social workers are like in private, the direct opposite of their warm face presented in public.

The video starts with three uneventful minutes, the action begins at 3:33. According to the notes, Catherine left a parcel for her daughter with Mrs Miller. Miller did not hand it to the child as promised but to a children's aid worker. On its website Vanier Children's Services offers mental health services for children. What agency delivers mental health services for senior social workers?

Source: Facebook, CG Reilly

Amber Alert

June 18, 2013 permalink

Police in Edmonton issued an Amber alert for a nine-month-old girl abducted by her Chinese mother Hua Qin Zhou. The news says nothing about the family, so it could well be a baby seized by social services. The mother and baby have been recaptured, ending the possibility of the mother raising her own daughter after fleeing to China.



Edmonton police withdraw Amber Alert for nine-month-old; baby found safe

Police in Edmonton have issued an Amber Alert for a nine-month-old baby girl (left) they say has been abducted by her mother. They say they believe Hua Qin Zhou (right) may be planning to leave Canada with the child and return to China.

EDMONTON - Police in Edmonton have withdrawn an Amber Alert for a nine-month-old baby girl they believed had been abducted by her mother.

They say the mother and child have been found and the baby is safe.

Police were concerned that the mother was planning to leave Canada with the baby and return to China.

They said the woman had a stroller, baby supplies and a large suitcase with her.

Officers responded to a report of an alleged abduction Monday night around 7:45 p.m.

Source: Regina Leader-Post

MPP Could Lose His Seat

June 16, 2013 permalink

A recent exchange of emails shows that elected officers have no power when it comes to the actions of children's aid societies. Ken Reid sent an email to his CAS office and a copy to his MPP, John Yakabuski (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke). Read the admission by Mr Yakabuski's office that he can do nothing to correct the abuse.



mrdoneplaying KENNETH
To: Yakabuski, John
Ms. Ducey Supervisor

Dear Ms. Ducey

This email is a follow up of the request for information form that was delivered to you by Brian Hall when he was representing me . I am deeply concerned that I have not received a response from anyone at the Society regarding this request.

I herewith request for the Durham Children’s Aid Society to provide to me the following information immediately:

1. One complete and unaltered copy of any and all original documents including but not limited to reports, notes, phone conversation notes, interview notes, witness statements, police statements, doctors notes, correspondence of any kind including mother but not limited to letters, emails, etc, in its entirety of the Durham Children’s Aid Society’s case file assigned to the myself from its date of inception to the current day and copies of all future entries to the file from this day forward. This will also include the first apprehension of my two boys first, then we we notified you of just the two boys taken and how was that it is possible to take two boys out of her care and leave three other children in her care, This led your office to 2 weeks later apprehending all children. This will also include Jodi Potts notes. This will also have phone calls received to your office from various reports from Petawawa area, no altered docs. It will conclude with my calls to help save my children from harm since 2005. Including on the day that the children were safe in my care by the military police and the OPP. This will have to match my records I received from the Military Police, and the impact letter from my boys at the MP police station 2. Please provide to myself the names of all the workers, supervisors and directors who have been and continue to be involved with myself and my file.

3. Proof of all CAS workers registration with The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers who are and who have been involved in this case from its date of inception. Provide a complete listing of each worker’s credentials and a copy of the resume for each.

Given the fact that the Society has not responded to this request, I am assuming that the Society has no intention of releasing the information requested even though it is my right under the laws in Ontario to receive this information.

Take notice that should you fail to provide this urgently needed information this will leave me no alternative but to bring this matter before the courts seeking an order for file disclosure, the cost of which will be borne by you.

I will also have no choice but to file a formal complaint with the Child and Family Services Review Board, The Ontario College of Social Workers, The Human Rights Tribunal and our local politicians and other authorities to have this matter resolved as soon as possible.

I urge the Society to respond in a timely manner on this matter and to govern yourselves accordingly.


Kenneth D Reid

Wanda Secord - Executive Director Biljana Krstanovska – CAS Worker John O'toole - MPP Thursday at 3:08pm

Yakabuski, John
To: 'mrdoneplaying KENNETH'

Good afternoon Ken;

Thank you for contacting the office of MPP John Yakabuski.

From the information I read below I understand you have a case with Children's Aid Society in Durham and some of the information is from 2005 in Petawawa.

In regards to any legal case or governance of Family & Children's Services as an MPP, Mr. Yakabuski can not intervene, he could lose his seat in the Legislature at Queen's Park if he did so.

Best regards,

Mary Ann Taman Constituency Assistant to
Tel: 613-735-6627 Fax: 613-735-6692

Source: Facebook, Kenneth Reid

Mother Innocent, Children Gone

June 16, 2013 permalink

When Elizabeth Pineda was arrested on a drug charge New York ACS took her children into foster care. But two months later when the charges were dismissed, ACS held onto the children like a pitbull. Pineda remains on the New York State Child Abuse and Neglect Registry.



Woman sues New York City over false drug arrest

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A hard-working single-mother from Queens is suing the city for $50 million dollars, claiming she was falsely arrested on drug charges.

Those criminal charges have been dismissed, but her kids were taken away, and she still doesn't have them back.

It's a pretty astounding story. The mom was arrested on drug possession charges, but she wasn't even in the house at the time the drugs were allegedly found. Bail was set at one million dollars and she spent two weeks on Rikers Island. The worst part, she says, is being separated from her kids, who were ordered into foster care.

"How are you going to charge me with possession when I wasn't even in Queens. I was in Long Island," Elizabeth Pineda said.

Pineda's nightmare started when she took her 11-year-old daughter and other girls to an afternoon birthday party on April 2nd. The single mom, who lives in Middle Village, Queens, left her two younger kids with a family friend, a handyman, who worked in an apartment building in Forest Hills. Samuel Rodriguez lived in the basement.

"The kids get along with him, so I asked him as a favor, can you just watch them for two or three hours. And those 2-3 hours my life just did a 360," she said.

She says she had no idea he was dealing drugs.

Rodrriquez left the kids in the apartment and went outside to allegedly make a drug deal. That's when he was nabbed and detectives called Pineda.

She says when she got to the apartment, detectives showed her drugs they claimed to have found there. But it wasn't until she got to court, that she learned she'd been charged.

"My whole world just came down because I had 14-15-charges. I wasn't even there, then I get remanded. I go to jail for two weeks.

And they took away her children.

"At the beginning, I was not able to talk to or see them, nothing," Pineda said.

Because in the criminal complaint, a narcotics cop named Vincent Esposito swore that Pineda told him she had lived in that basement apartment where the drugs were found: "Defendant provided the above mentioned location as her residence."

"Every physical evidence shows that he lied," attorney Marvyn Kornberg said.

Pineda's lawyer presented bills, even her license that show she and her children live in a complex in Middle Village.

The District Attorney's office finally agreed to dismiss all of the criminal charges on Wednesday.

"People see the accusations and think where there's smoke, there's fire. It's going to be difficult to get her reputation back, if ever," attorney Barry Goldstein said.

Pineda lawyers filed a $50 million dollar lawsuit on Thursday.

"A horrible mother. That's how I felt," she said.

Her children are still in foster care, but they are at least are now staying with a grandmother.

Pineda will be in family court on Monday hoping a judge will order that her kids be given back to her. She also has to appeal to get off the New York State Child Abuse and Neglect Registry.

Source: WABC New York

Addendum: A week later the children are returned, legal accusations against the mother are still pending.



Exclusive: Kids returned to mom after false drug arrest

MIDDLE VILLAGE, Queens (WABC) -- A Queens mother was reunited with her children taken away from her after she was hit with false drug charges.

Last week, Eyewitness News reported on how those criminal charges were dismissed, and now the family is back together.

But, the mother's battle to clear her name is not yet over.

Being home with mom is now extra special for Elizabeth Pineda's three children. They were taken from their mother and put in foster care with a relative back in April after the 31-year-old was charged with drug possession, and locked up on Rikers Island for two weeks.

"I didn't deserve to be in jail, I didn't deserve to lose my kids especially," Elizabeth Pineda said.

"When I went to see her I started crying," said Karina Pineda, Elizabeth's daughter.

For Karina's 11th birthday, Pineda took her oldest daughter, to celebrate with some other girls at a party center on Long Island.

She asked a family friend, a handyman, who lived in the basement of the Forest Hills apartment, to watch 5-year-old Kenny, and 4-year-old Mia.

He left them alone, allegedly to make a drug deal on the street and was nabbed by cops.

"I left them babysitting with someone else. He made a mistake and he left them alone," Elizabeth Pineda said.

Pineda was arrested at the 104th precinct when a narcotics detective, Vincent Esposito, claimed she said she lived in the Forest Hills apartment where drugs were found.

"He lied, he lied about everything," Elizabeth Pineda said, "ACS determined I was guilty of neglect just because he said I live someplace where I don't live."

Pineda says the worst part was the embarrassment after her arrest.

The parents of Karina's birthday friends had to pick them up at the 104th precinct.

"What were they telling parents?" Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Sarah Wallace asked.

"Pretty much I was a drug dealer," Elizabeth Pineda said.

Eyewitness News was there when the criminal charges were dismissed.

Pineda's lawyer proved she and the kids live in Middle Village.

And now, the kids are back home.

"It's much better right now," Karina Pineda said.

But Elizabeth Pineda's legal battle is not totally over. She still has to fight a neglect charge in family court. She is suing the city over the entire ordeal.

Source: ABC News

More Psychopotric Drug for Kids

June 16, 2013 permalink

A study in British Columbia shows that prescriptions of psychotropic drugs for children increased nearly four-fold in fifteen years. The story deals more with measurement than causes. One common reason for the prescriptions is to subdue unruly children, expecially foster children unhappy at separation from their family. Unlike adults, children do not have the option of refusing unwanted drugs. If necessary, they will be administered by force.



Researchers warn of 'exponential' rise in prescribing antipsychotic drugs to children

Dina Panagiotopoulos
Dr. Dina Panagiotopoulos, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of B.C. and an endocrinologist at BC Children’s Hospital, is pictured at the B.C Childrens Hospital in Vancouver.
Photograph by: Ben Nelms for Postmedia News , Postmedia News

Canadian researchers are warning of an alarming and “exponential” rise in prescribing antipsychotic drugs to children.

Prescriptions for some of the most powerful psychiatric drugs on the market — so-called “second-generation” antipsychotics, or SGAs — to youth aged 18 and under increased 18-fold in British Columbia alone between 1996 and 2011, a new study finds, with some of the highest increases in prescriptions to boys as young as six.

Children are being put on the potent drugs for a wide range of diagnoses not approved by Health Canada, the researchers say, and not only psychiatrists, but also family doctors and pediatricians are increasingly prescribing the pills.

The phenomenon “is of great concern” given emerging evidence showing that the drugs can cause rapid weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes and other serious side effects that make children vulnerable to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke when they’re older, the research team reports in the June edition of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

The study is based on data from the B.C. health ministry. Researchers looked at rates of prescribing of both older, “first generation” antipsychotics, and the newer SGAs.

Overall, the total number of children under 18 who received an antipsychotic prescription increased to 5,791 in 2011 from 1,583 in 1996 — a nearly four-fold jump.

But the total number of youth who specifically received an SGA increased to 5,432 from 315 over the study period. That translates into a 18-fold increase in the overall rate of prescribing.

By 2011, second-generation antipsychotics accounted for 96 per cent of all antipsychotic prescriptions for youth, the team reports. The most frequently prescribed drugs were risperidone, quetiapine and olanzapine.

The highest increase was among boys aged 13 to 18, where the rate rose more than four-fold. But similar increases were seen in boys aged six to 12, as well as 13- to 18-year-old girls.

The three most common reasons given by doctors for prescribing the drugs were depression, “hyperkinetic syndrome of childhood” — a grab bag diagnosis for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other disruptive behaviour disorders — and “neurotic disorders” such as anxiety.

“These medications seem to be a common ‘go to,’ ” said lead author Dr. Dina Panagiotopoulos, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of B.C. and an endocrinologist at BC Children’s Hospital.

However, only one study has tested second-generation antipsychotics in adolescents with symptoms of depression who had bipolar disorder and it showed no improvement in depressive symptoms whatsoever, she said. “In spite of that, there’s a lot of prescribing happening in adolescents for depression,” she said.

The drugs are also being used in children under five, and the biggest prescribers to preschoolers are pediatricians. Only one of the drugs, Abilify, has been approved for youths aged 13 to 17.

There is a perception among doctors, driven by drug company marketing, that SGAs are safer than older antipsychotics and cause less muscle rigidity, spasms and other disturbing movement disorders. But Panagiotopoulos says the new drugs carry some of the same side effects as the ones they replaced, in addition to potentially serious metabolic problems.

Her earlier studies have shown that once doctors are made aware of the side effects and the monitoring required, “they aren’t so keen to prescribe them.”

Panagiotopoulos, a clinician scientist at the Child & Family Research Institute, says children are being put on the drugs for poor sleep, “and there is absolutely no evidence for sleep, at all.”

Although the study was specific to B.C., the researchers expect the results would be the same in other parts of the country.

The B.C. researchers have received funding to develop an online tool to help doctors better prescribe antipsychotics and monitor their side effects.

Specialized psychiatric services are stretched, leaving family doctors to bear the brunt of mental health care, Panagiotopoulos said. “We need to support them to do it properly.”


Progress at Wendy's

June 16, 2013 permalink

The late Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's, was adopted at birth in 1932. He became a life-long supporter of adoption and established a foundation bearing his name for that purpose. His support continued long after demographic changes morphed adoption from charity to baby theft.

This Father's Day weekend Wendy's is supporting the foundation with 50 cents for every frosty purchased at their stores. Five years ago, the same promotion resulted in a one dollar donation per frosty. Perhaps the managers of Wendy's have noticed that adoption is not as appealing as it used to be.

Father’s Day Frosty Weekend

When you buy a cold and delicious Frosty over Father’s Day weekend, Wendy’s donates 50 cents to DTFA. You can also donate by purchasing a Frosty pin-up for $1. Wendy’s donates an additional 25 cents to the Foundation for every Frosty Card sent. In 2012, the Father’s Day Frosty campaign raised more than $1.4 million.

Source: Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

Here is a Pat Niagara video on adoption (mp4).

Wendy's frosty

Walter Fox on Family Law

June 14, 2013 permalink

Veteran lawyer Walter Fox gives his opinion of the family law system, and suggests that public attitudes are changing enough to abolish the current regime in five years. See him on YouTube or a local copy (mp4).

Escape from Children Services

June 12, 2013 permalink

Teenager Chiann Morrow was desperate to escape children's services in Ohio after she was condemned to a institution. As she was being driven to the facility she attacked her driver and carjacked the vehicle. She was arrested a day and a half later.



Teen girl accused of carjacking a caseworker is arrested

Chiann Morrow
Chiann Morrow

A 16-year-old girl accused of carjacking a Franklin County Children Services aide was arrested this morning driving the stolen car.

Bruce Cadwallader, a spokesman for Children Services, said Chiann Morrow was picked up at 1:30 a.m. at Cleveland and E. 2nd avenues.

She was charged with a delinquency count of receiving stolen property but will likely face other charges, Cadwallader said.

Morrow was being driven from the department’s intake unit in Whitehall to a West Side placement center about 10:40 p.m. on Monday when she attacked the worker while at a stoplight near I-70 and W. Mound Street, Cadwallader said.

She climbed from the back seat of the Toyota Corolla and pushed the 57-year-old woman out of the vehicle, he said. An 18-year-old man saw the attack and tried to intervene but was dragged 30 feet by the car as Morrow sped off. Both the worker and the man were treated at a local hospital.

Children Services Director Chip Spinning thanked the man for helping at the risk to his own safety.

The incident was out of character for Morrow, who had been calm and compliant for the three hours she spent at intake, Cadwallader said. She was being placed in a facility because she didn’t want to return to her foster home.

Aides transport children daily across Columbus to placement facilities and foster care. Assaults like this are rare, Cadwallader said.

Source: Columbus Dispatch

Baby-Snatchers Object to Cutbacks

June 11, 2013 permalink

Two more news articles of CAS workers complaining about budget cuts. Only a reader comment gets the story straight.



Children’s Aid Rally in Hamilton

CUPE rally in Hamilton Ontario

The six-o’clock hour is traditionally thought of as “the supper hour “, the time of day when families gather together for an evening meal.

Friday night at Hamilton city hall, there was a rally by workers who say they want to keep as many families as possible together:

Scot Urquhart was there with workers from the Hamilton Children’s’ Aid Society.


Naomi Jones says:

The c.a.s. are a group of peoplewho have the power to protect children or to destroy families. They constantly and consistently lie, manipulate and walk a very thin line on breaking the law, all in an attempt to prove their worth to the government. They are also the only group who do not have to answer to any board or higher power, other than themselves. Even our prime minister has to answer for his decisions. They need to be held accountable for when they make mistakes, and should be investigated and have to answer to an inquiry as to why a child was molested, beaten and or neglected when that child was in their care, instead of just saying, oops my bad! Until this happens I believe they should be laid off and their abuse put to a halt!

Source: CHCH

CAS cuts 'just the beginning' 0

Haldimand-Norfolk CAS logo
The Children's Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk.

NORFOLK - The local CAS has laid off nine staff and scaled back "preventative" programs following a cut in government funding, but the worst is yet to come, a union official warns.

"We think it's really just the beginning," said Ann Suderman, president of CUPE Local 1766, which represents about 110 employees at the Children's Aid Society of Haldimand-Norfolk. "We haven't been told everything that's going to happen yet."

Suderman said she expects at least another nine layoffs as the agency tries to balance its books.

The CAS was caught off guard in April when it learned a new funding formula will translate into a budget cut of 2% each year over the next five years. By the time the cuts are completely rolled out, the agency will have $3.7 million a year less to work with than it does now.

Janice Robinson, executive director of the agency, said management is searching for efficiencies but ultimately had to let some staff go, which in turn has led to a reduction in programs that help keep kids out of care.

"We lose the ability to do the extra good stuff that saves families down the road," Robinson said.

However, she said more layoffs are not a certainty. "We're not entirely clear how the year will unfold," she said. "We're looking really hard at expenditures on children in care. We are trying to do a bunch of things."

CAS staff from Haldimand-Norfolk joined their counterparts from Hamilton Friday afternoon for a demonstration at Hamilton city hall to protest the new funding formula.

It was supposed to take into consideration such things as the geographical size covered by an agency and a community's level of poverty.

Some agencies, however, ended up with far less money than before and have had to make significant cuts.

Suderman said she believes the province made a mistake in calculating the Haldimand-Norfolk budget because the census data the government used doesn't include the area's large Mennonite population.

The migrant farm community doesn't participate in the census, she said, yet "they need support" too.

Both Suderman and Robinson called for Queen's Park to take another look at the new formula.

"We're trying to advocate . . . to get the cut in funding examined better," said Robinson. She suggested the government consider giving "us more time and do not cut us so much so fast."

Suderman called for the government to "sit down" with the agency "and help us figure out how this works."

One of the casualties at the Haldimand-Norfolk CAS in the past month has been a special program that provides support for former kids in care who are older than 21.

It helps them finish university and move into adulthood, but the program has been significantly cut back.

"They need support like any kids (that age)," Robinson said. "You wouldn't pull the rug out from under your kids. We wouldn't do that either."

The reduction in early interventions with families is particularly damaging, she added. "Every dollar spent on preventative work pays back multi-fold. Kids go on to become successful, productive citizens . . . because we intervened early."

Source: Simcoe Reformer

Child Protector Batters Woman

June 10, 2013 permalink

What kind of man does it take to lead a social services department? One who batters a woman. That is what Jim Moore, director-general of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services did in Australia. That is the department responsible for child protection, and protection of women from domestic violence.



Jim Moore charged with domestic violence

Jim Moore
Jim Moore, Director General, Family and Community Services.
Source: Supplied

THE Director-General tasked with cracking down on domestic violence has been charged by police after allegedly drunkenly assaulting his partner.

Jim Moore, 52, was arrested and charged with assault and intimidation after officers from Rose Bay Local Area Command arrived at his Paddington apartment, known as "The Stables", and heard a woman screaming for help.

Police allege Moore got into a loud and violent argument with the 44-year-old and, after striking her, refused to let the woman leave the Jersey Rd unit.

He was arrested at the scene and taken in a police car back to Waverley Police Station where he was charged - a provisional domestic violence order was also taken out against him.

NSW Community Services Minister Pru Goward, who is also the Minister for Women, yesterday said she had referred the matter to the Director-General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Ms Goward said Moore had chosen to stand aside without pay while the charges were pending. He will appear in court on June 13 and was granted strict conditional bail until that time.

"Mr Moore has chosen to stand aside without pay while the charges are pending. I support and agree with Mr Moore's decision," Ms Goward said in a statement.

Domestic violence has been a key priority for the NSW Government with Ms Goward recently saying that with 125,000 incidents each year, the current laws were failing women.

As Director-General of Family and Community Services (FACS), Mr Moore - who earned $422,801 a year - was responsible for overseeing the care of some of the state's most vulnerable.

Among the eight departments that made up FACS was included Women NSW, a special agency charged with tackling domestic violence.

He was appointed by Ms Goward to head up the department in December 2011 and was previously a career bureaucrat with experience working both in Canberra and the state government.

It's understood the alleged altercation between the pair was so loud that neighbours reported varying accounts of the incident to police.

However only one neighbour, who was awake around the time of the alleged incident, chose to speak, but claimed not to have heard anything.

"I think he left early this morning - I was awake last night at 12.15 and I didn't hear anything, but their unit is up the back."

Ms Goward's office is in the process of spearheading a raft of reforms around domestic violence, including on-the-spot apprehended violence orders to tackle the problem of domestic violence.

Moore's replacement, Jim Longley - who is presently the Chief Executive of the Office of Ageing, Disability and Home Care - was yesterday immediately appointed into his role.

In welcoming Moore to the job in 2011, Ms Goward noted his strong record in delivering reforms to improve the lives of the State's most vulnerable, making him the ideal candidate for the job.

"Jim's 28-year career in Commonwealth and NSW governments, as well as his strong record in successfully delivering reforms to improve the lives of vulnerable people makes him an excellent choice," she said.

Source: Telegraph (Australia)

Ontario Child Deaths in 2012

June 9, 2013 permalink

The Paediatric Death Review Committee and Deaths Under Five Committee has released its annual report for 2013, listing deaths in 2012. Link (pdf). Starting on page 51 the committee gives three examples of child deaths. Even for children in current or recent CAS custody, the example deaths are all the work of parents, two fathers and one mother. The one on page 52 looks like Jared Osidacz, who died in 2006. The committee gives no examples of deaths at the hands of foster parents or group home workers.

Fear of CPS Kills Baby

June 7, 2013 permalink

As a crack user mother Kimberlynn Bolanos knew the chances that Chicago child protectors would take her son Isaac. She preferred a dead son over an abducted son.



Prosecutors: Mom killed son because she feared cops would take him

Kimberlynn Bolanos
Kimberlynn Bolanos, 21, charged with murdering her 5-month-old son.
Cook County Sheriff's photo / June 7, 2013

A woman told paramedics she killed her 5-month-old boy because she feared police would take him away because she smoked crack, then told investigators she stabbed him because she had premonitions something bad would happen to him, prosecutors said today.

Kimberlynn Bolanos, 21, was ordered held without bail today on a first-degree murder charge in the stabbing of Isaac Bolanos at the Diplomat Motel in the 5200 block of North Lincoln Avenue.

Bolanos and her son were found in the Diplomat Motel in the 5200 block of North Lincoln Avenue around 10:30 a.m. on May 30, police said.

Bolanos had checked into the Diplomat with Isaac on May 28 and called her boyfriend soon afterward, inviting him to join them at the motel, assistant state’s attorney Bridget O’Brien said in court today. The boyfriend went to the motel, spent the night, then left in the morning.

On the afternoon of May 29, Bolanos took Isaac with her to a nearby Dollar Tree store, where she bought a large knife, a pack of razor blades and two sets of knives. The transaction was captured on surveillance video, prosecutors said.

Bolanos went back to the motel room and her boyfrined returned that night. He and Bolanos drank rum, smoked marijuana and, after Isaac went to sleep, had sex, prosecutors said.

In the morning, the boyfriend woke and found knives and a razor blade on the bed by Bolanos’ head. He moved the knives onto a dresser, prosecutors said.

Bolanos asked her boyfriend to wait while she took a shower. Bolanos put the baby in his car seat and took him into the bathroom, prosecutors said.

About half an hour later, the boyfriend knocked on the bathroom door and Bolanos did not respond. The boyfriend tried to open the door, but Bolanos held it shut, prosecutors said.

The boyfriend was able to open the door enough to see Isaac in his car seat, covered in blood, with a large cut on his head. The boyfriend ran from the room, screaming for help as he called 911, prosecutors said.

Ernest Randall was in the motel parking lot gathering some belongings from his truck when he saw a man run from Room 122 to flag down a cop along Lincoln Avenue the morning of May 30.

"The man came running out of the room and said, 'She killed my baby,' " said Randall, 59, whose semi sat parked in the lot, which was cordoned off by yellow police tape.

A woman working at the front desk said she called 911 when the man came to her crying and screaming, "She killed my son and she's going to kill herself too," the employee said.

A man, woman and a baby had been staying in the room since Tuesday, she said.

When police and paramedics arrived, they had to break down the bathroom door with an axe. They both Isaac and Bolanos on the floor, the boy covered in blood and unresponsive.

The boy was taken to Swedish Covenant Hospital and declared dead on arrival, prosecutors said. Bolanos had slit his throat and stabbed him 21 times in the head and eight times in the chest.

As Bolanos was being taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, she told paramedics she killed her baby because police were going to take him because she smoked crack, prosecutors said.

In a later videotaped statement, Bolanos told investigators about buying the knives at a dollar store and told them she used them to stab Isaac about 25 times.

Bolanos said in the videotaped statement that she wanted to kill Isaac because she had premonitions something bad would happen to him, prosecutors said.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Questioning CAS

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

Anti-SLAPP Legislation Coming

June 5, 2013 permalink

SLAPP lawsuits (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) are legally restricted in many places, so far not in Ontario. Proposed legislation would correct the situation, protecting public participation in debates by poorly-funded participants.

Fixcas could be one of the beneficiaries. Since its inception as Dufferin VOCA in 2001, fixcas has averaged one legal threat per year. It is hard to justify fighting these threats on behalf of a website with no revenue stream.



Ontario brings in legislation to crack down on SLAPP lawsuits

TORONTO - Ontario plans to crack down on frivolous strategic lawsuits aimed at intimidating and muzzling critics on matters of public debate.

New anti-SLAPP — or Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation — legislation was introduced Tuesday by the governing Liberals, who say it's time Canada's most populous province join Quebec in rooting out such nuisance lawsuits.

They have a "chilling effect" on public debate, said Attorney General John Gerretsen.

"A citizen's confidence in their justice system and their willingness and ability to participate in a democratic society are inextricably linked," he said.

Most SLAPP suits are defamation claims that have little or no merit and are dropped before proceeding to trial, the Liberals say. They can also silence groups that don't have the money to defend themselves in court.

Laws to protect citizens against strategic lawsuits are common in the United States, said Gerretsen. British Columbia's legislation was repealed.

Ontario's environmental commissioner has long complained that such intimidating legal tactics are being used by big developers to weaken groups fighting to protect natural areas.

He cited one case in which a group of residents who opposed the proposed Big Bay Point Resort on the shores of Lake Simcoe faced a $3.2-million claim for costs by the developer.

The claim was denied by the Ontario Municipal Board, but the cost of defending themselves ended up totalling more than $1 million, according to a lawyer involved in the case.

The Liberals finally put together a panel to make recommendations for anti-SLAPP legislation, which delivered its report in 2010.

Under the proposed law, courts could fast-track the review process for lawsuits that are alleged to be strategic.

One of the parties can file a motion to dismiss the case, which would have to be heard by the court within 60 days, Gerretsen said. The legislation also includes a legal test that a judge could use to quickly decide whether or not the case should be dismissed.

"In applying the test, the courts would seek to balance the interest at stake with an eye not only on the technical merits of the plaintiff's case, but on the value of free expression on matters of public interest," Gerretsen said in the legislature.

The case would be allowed to continue where the plaintiff is likely to suffer serious harm, he said.

If little or no harm is likely, then the technical merits of the case would yield to the value of public democratic debate and the suit would be dismissed, he added.

The legislation contains similar provisions for proceedings in administrative tribunals like the Ontario Municipal Board, Gerretsen said.

Submissions for costs would also have to be made in writing, unless a tribunal determines that it's "likely to cause the party significant prejudice," the five-page bill states.

The proposed law would also amend Ontario's libel and slander law to better protect free expression on matters of public interest, he said.

The legislation is slightly different than Quebec's, where judges don't need a motion to decide if the case in front of them is abusive, said John Gregory, general counsel to the Ministry of the Attorney General who wrote much of the legislation.

"The court doesn't get to decide on its own," he said.

Strategic lawsuits are a national issue, said Roy McMurtry, a retired judge and Ontario attorney general under former Tory premier Bill Davis.

"I think it's an issue in every province," he said.

"To what extent it's an issue in other provinces, I don't know. But it's an important issue. It's a complicated issue."

The minority Liberals would need the support of at least one of the opposition parties to pass the legislation. It's unclear when it may come to a final vote, since the legislature is expected next week to break for the summer.

The New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives wouldn't say whether they'd support the bill. Both said they welcome legislation to stop SLAPP suits, but noted that the government has dragged its feet on the issue.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who introduced an anti-SLAPP private member's bill in 2008, said her party has been pushing for it for five years.

"Really? Five years to do something that everybody agrees needs to be done?" she said.

Gerretsen acknowledged that SLAPP suits have been an issue in Ontario for some time, going as far back as eight years ago when he was minister of municipal affairs and housing.

"It's taken a lot of work," he said.

"We've reached a stage now where we think legislation is required in that regard."

Source: Yahoo

New CAS Judge

June 5, 2013 permalink

Brantford's newest judge is Kathleen Baker. Her résumé includes serving the children's aid societies of Brant, Durham and Hamilton. She has been a panel member for the Office of the Children's Lawyer, a member of the Legal Aid Ontario local appeals committee and the Hamilton Family Court's child protection sub-committee. Speaking engagements and volunteer associations include the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, the Hamilton Women's Group, the McMaster Student Union, the Sexual Assault Centre in Hamilton, and the Legal Aid Ontario mentoring program. In summary, she has participated in just about every level of Ontario's family destruction apparatus.



New judge sworn in June 26

Brantford's newest Ontario Court judge will be sworn in on June 26.

Justice Kathleen Baker was recently appointed to the bench following the retirement of Justice Lawrence Thibideau.

Baker was called to the Bar in 1989 and was a legal supervisor, then in-house counsel for the Children's Aid Society of Brant. From 1990 to 1994, she was in private practice specializing in criminal and family law, including child protection matters.

Baker worked for six years as senior legal counsel for the Children's Aid Society of Durham, and of Hamilton. She also has been a panel member for the Office of the Children's Lawyer.

Baker has been a member of the Legal Aid Ontario local appeals committee and the Hamilton Family Court's child protection sub-committee.

She has been a speaker at the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, the Hamilton Women's Group and the McMaster Student Union. She has a long history of volunteering, including providing assistance at the Sexual Assault Centre in Hamilton, and as a member of the Legal Aid Ontario mentoring program. She was also a member of the Hamilton Public Library Board.

Source: Brantford Expositor

kangaroo court

Uniformly Bad

June 4, 2013 permalink

There is no good way to deal with child protectors, but Heath Campbell has showed the bad way. He named his son Adolf Hitler Campbell and showed up at a court hearing in a Nazi uniform.



Heath Campbell

New Jersey Man Who Named Son After Adolf Hitler Shows Up For Family Court Hearing Wearing Full Nazi Uniform

The New Jersey man who is fighting to regain custody of his young children--one of whom he named Adolf Hitler Campbell--showed up today for a Family Court hearing wearing a full Nazi uniform and a Hitler mustache.

Heath Campbell, founder of the Hitler’s Order hate group, appeared this morning at a Flemington, New Jersey courthouse for a closed hearing on his request for visitation with his youngest child, a two-year-old boy.

In November 2011, the child (and his three siblings) were taken into custody by state welfare officials, who accused Campbell, 40, and his wife of child abuse. Campbell has contended that he never neglected his children, claiming that they were seized by the state solely due to the their names (one of his daughters is JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell).

As seen above, Campbell was accompanied to court by a woman wearing a costume with a swastika on its sleeve and a Nazi Iron Eagle.

When asked if wearing the Nazi uniform would hurt him in the eyes of the Family Court judge, Campbell told a TV reporter, “Well, if they’re good judges, and they’re good people, they’ll look within and not what’s on the outside.”

While Campbell's uniform appeared authentic, historical records contain no reference to Nazis carrying laptop bags.

Source: The Smoking Gun

Foster Parents Complain over Funding

June 3, 2013 permalink

Responding to criticism that Ontario funds children's aid societies in a way that serves as an incentive to seize more children [1] [2], Ontario has introduced a new funding formula for CAS. Since both the old and new formulas are unpublished, fixcas has not commented on the change. But since the announcement of the new formula there have been funding complaints from Hamilton, Haldimand-Norfolk, Haldimand-Norfolk, St Thomas-Elgin, all of Ontario and Highland Shores, and Hamilton.

Today there is a new form of objection from the CAS of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville. Foster parents are objecting that reduced funding will make it impossible to care for their wards. Without seeing the actual formula, there is no way to be sure, but it is a good guess that the ministry did not cut the funding for foster parents. The local CAS, through its board and management, did so. The same kind of agency willing to harm families to suppress dissent is willing to cut pay for foster families to pressure the Ontario government over funding. In battles of this type between child-care agencies and funding sources, the agencies always win in the end, even when, as in the state of Maine, there is a decade-long hiatus in the flow of funds. [1] [2]. In Ontario CAS has not yet pulled out the super-weapon in this kind of fighting — blaming the death of a child on funding cuts.

On expand, send the sound link to an mp3 player or discard it.



Foster parents threaten to leave family services centre

Relationship with new administration, changes in compensation spark pushback

OTTAWA — Foster parents are threatening to leave Family and Children’s Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville because the agency is bringing in changes they say will make it impossible to give the children the care they need.

“People are talking about a mass exodus,” says Gena Morrow, a foster parent with the agency, which looks after about 120 foster children in Brockville, Kemptville and Gananoque.

Along with her husband, Tony, Morrow is spearheading a pushback against the changes to compensation which she says will affect parents’ ability to continue to work for the agency.

“They’ve made decisions based on dollars without looking at the impact on families,” says Morrow.

Parents say they were not consulted about the changes and were only told of them two days before their approval in February.

The primary concern is the elimination of designations for children with special needs, such as intellectual or physical disabilities or a history of abuse, and the extra money required for their care.

Parents say they took on such children with the expectation they would stay home to provide 24/7 care. The changes mean they will receive half the money they used to receive and will have to get outside work, leaving them less time to look after the children in their care.

“A lot of people talk about dollars and cents, but it’s about recognition for the work that you do,” says Allison Asselstine, president of the Foster Family Association, which represents the foster parents’ interests.

The problems began when the Children’s Aid Society of the County of Lanark and the Town of Smiths Falls, and Family and Children’s Services of Leeds and Grenville, amalgamated in 2011 to form the current agency. The administration changed at the same time.

“The amalgamation transition has been challenging times,” said the agency’s executive director, Allan Hogan, who wouldn’t comment on the changes, other than to say the family association signed off on them.

Hogan said that once parents notified the administration of their concerns, changes to compensation were pushed back to October from the original April start date.

Last week, about 60 people — parents and social workers employed by the agency — dressed in black funeral attire as a sign of protest while the Morrows outlined their concerns to the board at a meeting in Perth.

The meeting represented one of the few times the parents have been able to directly communicate with the board since the amalgamation. The family association had good relations with the previous administration, says Morrow, and more communication with the board.

Following the amalgamation, the foster parent representative on the board, Deborah O’Connor, was redesignated as a general board member.

“I do not get to speak to the board any more on behalf of the foster parents, and my loyalties are supposed to be with the board, not the foster parents now,” said O’Connor.

She said she understands the decision as a means of eliminating conflict of interest but thinks foster parents should still have a voice on the board.

Relations between the administration and the social workers it employs has been strained, too. Drawn out negotiations between their union, CUPE, and the agency followed the amalgamation. The workers ultimately accepted lower wages.

About a dozen workers have not had their contracts renewed since the merger.

The social workers have rallied behind the foster parents, adding their concerns of overwhelming caseloads and transfers of children to the private system to the debate. They were supposed to pick up the extra slack when it comes to care but are being stretched thin by cuts at the agency, said union local president Mike Burt.

“We’re certainly supporting our foster parents’ struggles to keep their support in place,” says Burt.

The family association is looking to the government for support, too.

Foster parent Doug Martin contacted the Ministry of Child and Youth Services, which oversees the province’s foster care system, for help in dealing with the agency.

“We’ve lost the trust and transparency, and we feel we have to fight for the children in our care,” he said.

The ministry’s South East Regional office has since been in regular contact with the agency and the family association to try to help the parties solve their disagreements, a ministry spokeswoman said in an email. Parents are also in contact with MPPs and the Provincial Child Advocate’s Office.

The association, board of directors and agency administration met Monday to discuss the rates and other service changes.

Morrow, Asselstine and fellow foster parents presented a plan they have devised to compensate parents for their experience, especially with regards to high-needs children.

Morrow said afterwards that there was some progress, but that there was much more work to do before parents will want to take on new placements.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Addendum: Within a day, the other Hamilton CAS announces layoffs, and claims cuts will hurt children.



Hamilton Catholic children’s aid laying off 10 staff

David Shea
David Shea, director of the Hamilton Catholic Children’s Aid Society
Hamilton Spectator file photo

The same provincial clawbacks that forced the Hamilton Children's Aid society to cut 70 staff are now leading to layoffs at Catholic Children's Aid.

In a release sent Monday morning, director David Shea said a two per cent funding reduction in provincial funding is forcing the layoff of 10 employees.

The layoffs are affecting both unionized and non-unionized staff, as well as management. The agency is also not filling vacancies left by temporary leaves.

The release states that the province's new funding formula has "placed pressure on the organization.

"The reduction in funding may require changes in the way we deliver services," it reads. "We remain confident in the delivery of services that keep children and families safe and supported."

The province's changes to funding for children's aid societies have had a devastating impact on Hamilton's agencies.

Previously, children's aid societies received funding based on projections. If the actual caseload fell short, money had to be returned to the province. If the caseload was greater than the projections, agencies would receive more money.

However, that created scenarios where CAS workers were being asked to keep cases open to make it appear that caseloads were larger.

Under the province's new funding model, half of the agency's funding will be based on a three-year average of past caseloads. The remaining half will be based on socioeconomic factors, including low-income families, single parents, and aboriginal children, within a society's catchment area.

The Hamilton CAS saw its 2013-2014 allocation shrink by $2 million to $46 million. The agency also says the province is reducing its allocation by $4.7 million over the next four years.

That has led to the Hamilton CAS decision to lay off 70 employees, a move they warn will lead to more children in foster care.

Source: Hamilton Spectator

Children Hospitalized
Parents Not Told or Kept Away

June 3, 2013 permalink

When a baby in CAS custody was hospitalized, they did not bother to notify mother Lynn Vienneau. She tells of her experience in off-color language.

In a separate incident Kim Shook reports that a Renfrew family was kept away from their son during surgery so as not to disturb the foster parents.



Lynn Vienneau Wow. I'm so pissed off right now I just found out that my son Jaheim has been hospitalized with a respiratory infection and u think the CAS would even fucking call me and let me know. I just got the phone call about 20 mins ago. What a fucking day. I'm sick with the stomach flu and my mom was going to the visit. Up until I find out he is in the hospital and wasn't even told. I'm fucking pissed. Gonna be going up to the hospital and I don't give a fuck what CAS says. It will take more then CAS and police to keep me away from son. Mommie and Daddie loves u, hold on there babyboy.

Source: Facebook, Lynn Vienneau

Kim Shook-Advocate CAS of Renfrew County you have taken yourselves to an all time low. First you grant mom and dad permission to attend the hospital for their child's surgery, then the worker comes and makes mom and dad sit in the main lobby of the hospital, all so not to upset foster mom, whose husband was verified to have physically assaulted one of the children, and you's did nothing about that. Now you sit there and make mom feel degraded and embarrassed,having security watching them the nursing staff on alert not to let mom and dad go to the surgical floor. Nurses are more worried about how foster mom is feeling having mom and dad there, and you let them have a total of 5 minutes with their child after making them wait close to four hours wondering what was going on, if the surgery went ok. All I have to say to you CAS and this worker is your days are numbered, this abuse of power will be stopped.

Speaking to mom right now. It appears the child was not informed mom and dad would be attending the hospital today, furthermore mom and dad were forced to remain in the main lobby to keep them separated from the foster parents. Nurse was overheard asking the worker if foster mom was okay with bio parents being present, no nurse would even talk to mom. Treated mom like a stranger. Mom was told no info could disclosed to her at to how her son was doing as CAS is listed as his guardian.

This child has already had ten surgeries to correct the problem and will have to endure about four more and ever time mom and dad have been there,no questions asked, never even a worker present until now all because mom and dad contacted police about the assault after their other child came home trying to get justice. Also mom and dad were denied the opportunity to give their child the gifts that they brought

Furthermore after the worker kicks mom and dad out of the room, (by the way the child was so excited to see mom and dad) she is heard telling the child not to worry foster mom (stated name) will be in to sit with you, and this is said right in front of mom and dad. Now how low is that?

Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...

In a Facebook posting on June 22 mother Tammy Vienneau-johnson reports that her son Jaheim was returned to by the family court.

Increase CAS Funding!

June 3, 2013 permalink

The same Monique Taylor who introduced bill 42 to provide for ombudsman oversight of children's aid is supporting CAS demands for higher funding. Last week she presented a petition to the parliament.




Miss Monique Taylor: I have a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

“Whereas the Ontario government has approved a new funding formula to provide funding to the children’s aid societies which are mandated by legislation to provide child protection services to Ontario’s most vulnerable;

“Whereas due to this new formula the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton will be underfunded approximately $4 million over the next three years with no changes to mandated child protection responsibilities;

“Whereas chronic underfunding to the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton will result in dismantling of support services and a loss of staff thereby jeopardizing the ability of the children’s aid society to provide relevant services and protect Hamilton’s children;

“Therefore we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

“That the Ontario government look critically at the funding provided to the child welfare sector and restore funding to the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton.”

I couldn’t agree with this more. I will affix my name to it and send it to the Clerk with page Vanessa.

Source: Ontario Hansard, May 30, 2013

Dutch Child Snatching

June 1, 2013 permalink

The Antonova family comes from Latvia, speak Russian and lives in Holland. Dutch child protectors seized children Nikolai and Anastasia from mother Jelena Antonova and warehoused them in a pricey foster home. Authorities have resisted court orders to return the children to their mother. An unusual aspect of Dutch child protection is that it is (still) legal for the press to report using real names. Christopher Booker reports. The video of the child seizure is on YouTube and a local copy (mp4).



Dutch social workers catch the English disease

Social workers are ripping families apart for no good reason in Holland but there such travesties of justice can be reported

I have lately been following a bizarre case involving the kidnapping by Dutch social workers of 10-year-old twins from a Russian-speaking Latvian family long resident in Holland.
Photo: ALAMY

When it comes to social workers ripping families apart for no good reason, it seems the English disease is spreading. I have lately been following a bizarre case involving the kidnapping by Dutch social workers of two 10-year-old twins from a Russian-speaking Latvian family long resident in Holland. Pretty well everything about this case echoes what goes on behind closed doors in England: social workers colluding with a dysfunctional father to justify snatching distraught children from their mother, to incarcerate them miserably in care homes; the courts refusing to test evidence and accepting lies. But because this case is in Holland, not Britain, the family can be named and its shocking details publicised.

Unusually, for instance, we can see on YouTube the harrowing scenes from March 2012 which show the screaming children being carried by police from their family home to a waiting police van (Google “Kidnap of children from their mother by Dutch social services”). Nikolai and Anastasia Antonova were removed from their mother, Jelena, for three stated reasons. The first, astonishingly, was that they spoke Russian rather than Dutch at home (this is in clear breach of two articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which enjoins respect for a child’s right to speak his or her family’s language). A second was the baseless claim that the family might return to Latvia to escape from the children’s estranged father, who had joined a weird cult that caused the family intolerable strain.

The third, according to the social workers who were working closely with the father, was that the children had “severely conflicting loyalties to their parents”. The children had made clear that they were frightened of their father and did not want to see him again.

Social services’ involvement began in 2010, when they tried to re-establish contact between the children and their father, who had already been investigated over claims of abuse against their older stepbrother Ilja. Now aged 24, he is a capable young man who has played a key part in fighting for his siblings’ release from the institutional care homes where they have been ill-treated and very unhappy.

Thanks to his success in publicising their plight in the media, he has more than once been arrested by the police. He has also won the support of two robust lawyers, a father and son, who have fought the case through a fraught succession of hearings.

Last November, the order under which the children were given into the care of a private company called Jeugdzorg Bureau lapsed. Jelena took her overjoyed children back. But a court accepted a new order, fraudulently backdated to cover the error, and the children were returned to another care company which earns €1,000 a week for looking after them. In February, thanks to Ilja and a Latvian MEP, the family’s cause was taken up by the Committee of Petitions in the European Parliament, which asked for the Dutch government to explain its conduct in the case. The committee heard evidence from six other countries also angry over the seizure of their children by Dutch social services.

This story was widely covered in Latvia and Russia, provoking a demonstration outside the Dutch embassy in Riga. The Dutch government has still not replied to the request for a report on its conduct. Ten days ago, the family’s lawyers won a victory in the Dutch court of appeal, which castigated the social workers for their illegal backdating of last year’s care order, ruling that the children must be returned immediately to their mother. Within hours, however, the child-protection service of the Dutch ministry of justice, which had previously refused to intervene further in the case, persuaded a family court to reverse the higher court’s order. The twins thus remain in a care home, earning the company which runs it £42,000 a year.

The children are forbidden to speak Russian, own a mobile phone or watch the news on television. All this is in clear breach of articles in the UN Convention. Indeed, not the least shocking aspect of this story is that the Dutch authorities’ treatment of these children appears to be in breach of no fewer than 17 separate articles of this treaty, to which Holland is a signatory. But much the same is true of pretty well every case I have investigated here in Britain, where children have been snatched from their families for similarly dubious reasons.

The only difference is that in other countries such travesties of justice can be reported. In Britain, as we know, these horrifying stories must remain almost entirely buried from public view.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Boy Apprehended

May 31, 2013 permalink

Northumberland CAS has apprehended a boy and he is awaiting his first court date. This is the critical date, the only one in which the parent gets to challenge the validity of the apprehension. The mother is soliciting help through Facebook.

Anne Coffee

My child was apprehended. The child is over the age of 12 as I know that is an important age. The society says that the child's needs are not being met. My first date is on Tuesday. Is there anything I can do to get return on Tuesday? My child was suppose to call today but still has not called. This is of concern to me. I don't trust that CAS would call if there was something wrong. If anyone could give me some pointers greatly appreciated.

Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...

Foster Mom Convicted of Torture

May 31, 2013 permalink

Scottish foster-mom-from-hell Ruth Johnston has been convicted of torturing her wards. Her child-care practices included:

  • malnutrition
  • forcing a child to lick urine off a carpet
  • kicking a child to the ground
  • hitting a child with a slipper
  • pinching a child until drawing blood
  • dragging a child by the hair
  • force-feeding
  • cold showers
  • forcing a child to sit outdoors for hours in the cold
  • making a child repeatedly run up and down the street in pajamas
  • rubbing soiled sheets in a child's face
  • confiscating treats given to a child
  • cramming foster kids up to five in a room
  • hitting a child on the head

All together now: Best interest of the child!



Sadistic foster mother convicted of horrific catalogue of physical & mental torture against young children in her care

RUTH JOHNSTON painted herself as a loving mother but for years she terrorised her foster children, subjected them to physical pain, humiliation and even made one lick urine from a carpet.

Adele McGuire, Rebecca Forrester, Thomas Timlin and Kevin Timlin
Adele McGuire, Rebecca Forrester, Thomas Timlin and Kevin Timlin.

A “DICKENSIAN” foster mother made a child lick urine from a carpet and left her so starved she ate from bins.

Ruth Johnston, 61, treated her own kids like royalty while beating and terrorising foster children as young as two.

Vulnerable youngsters were knocked to the ground, hit with a slipper, pinched until they bled, dragged by the hair, force-fed, put into freezing showers and forced to sit outside in the freezing garden for hours on end as a punishment.

One little girl was made to run up and down the street in her nightdress. Another had her soiled sheets rubbed in her face.

If anyone gave the children sweets, self-styled Christian Johnston would confiscate them and give them to her own kids.

She lived in comfort with her family upstairs at her home in Paisley’s Dunchurch Road while the foster kids were crammed in up to five to a room downstairs.

Social workers kept placing children with Johnston despite repeated complaints, and she got away with her cruelty for years.

But four young victims – Rebecca Forrester, 19, Adele McGuire, 25, and 22-year-old twins Kevin and Thomas Timlin – banded together and bravely told what she had done to them.

And yesterday, they held hands and wept with relief as she was convicted of physically and mentally torturing them between 1991 and 2001.

Johnston will be sentenced at a later date. It’s feared she had other victims.

Her husband Gordon, 63, a former church elder, was cleared on not proven verdicts of three charges of assaulting children.

Johnston denied all wrongdoing and painted herself as a loving mother who nurtured the children entrusted to her.

But prosecutor Stephen Ferguson told her trial she had subjected her victims to “a pattern of real and sustained abuse”.

And as he found her guilty, Paisley sheriff James Spy said the conditions the kids had described in her home “would match a Dickensian description of life for deprived Victorian children”.

He praised the kids’ courage.

Johnston showed no emotion. Kevin said: “She has shown no remorse. Her reaction was one of arrogance and indifference.”

Rebecca said: “I feel relief she has been found guilty. I feel I can breathe again.

“But now we have to ask why it was ever allowed to happen – and ensure it does not happen again. The system betrayed us.”

Rebecca was placed with Johnston when she was two and kept there until she was eight. She endured constant cruelty over those years, sometimes being hit with such force that she fell to the ground.

She said: “I was hit several times a day. She’d hit me with her hand, a slipper or a newspaper. I was told it was because I was bad. I got to feel it was normal.”

The foster kids were not allowed upstairs to use the toilet. It was reserved for the Johnstons. And like most of the children, Rebecca wet the bed.

After one such incident, her urine-soaked clothes and sheets were rubbed in her face and she was forced to her knees to lick the soiled carpet.

She was then dragged upstairs by the hair and made to stand in a cold shower.

Another time, Rebecca was put in the garden as a punishment and not allowed back inside until bedtime.

She recalled: “I sat outside with nothing, feeling completely lost and hurt. I got so hungry that I went through the bins and I ate a stale baguette.”

Rebecca would also sometimes have to find food in the bins at school. And when Johnston did give her something, she would fly into a rage and force-feed her if she refused to eat.

Rebecca said: “My throat would hurt as she shoved it down. I realised early on that to cry would make her worse.”

Johnston bought two types of groceries – one for her own family and one for the foster children. The Johnstons got the best, while the foster kids were given cheap, basic brands.

Even when they were out shopping together, Johnston would torment Rebecca. She said: “She would dig her nails into my skin or nip really, really hard and we weren’t allowed to complain. It would bleed or sting for a day or two.

“I had to be careful not to cry. If I cried, she would do it harder.”

When Rebecca was five, a wasp stung her on the tongue at school.

She had to go to hospital and her real mum was summoned to go with her, but Johnston was furious that they had spent time together.

Rebecca said: “She walloped me on the head and made me sit on the stairs.

“I wasn’t allowed to have any feelings for my own mum. She used to ask if I loved my mum and I had to say no or she would hit me.”

When it was time to wash Rebecca, Johnston would do it in the sink, using washing-up liquid.

She carried the mental scars of what Johnston did to her for years, and suffered from depression.

But she now works as a telephonist, and is a loving, dedicated mother to her own baby.

She and the other victims are making successes of their lives.

Adele is a shop manager, Kevin is in his final year of a law degree at Edinburgh University and Thomas is also at uni – studying social work.

The boys’ achievements are no thanks to Johnston, who began abusing them when they were three and continued until they left her when they were seven.

They were regularly beaten and locked out of the house.

Kevin recalls how sweets would be taken from them and put out of reach – so the Johnston kids could eat them.

In more than three years, Kevin was given two baths. But he was forced into a cold shower every three days.

And when it was time to be taken to church, the boys would be scrubbed up and made presentable. Johnston had an image to protect.

Kevin and Thomas and their birth family complained to Renfrewshire social services about Johnston, but they were not believed.

“The Johnstons were considered upstanding members of society,” Kevin said.

“We came from a troubled background but we were innocent, vulnerable children. We deserved to be loved and cared for properly.

“We don’t want any child to go through this again. We felt we had a duty to stand up and fight for accountability, not just for us but all the other children who were sent to that house.”

Thomas added: “There were social work investigations but nothing was done.

“In future I would say, ‘Ask the children if there is something wrong.’ It’s easy for abusers to put on a show.”

Adele was with Johnston between the ages of three and five, and was hit regularly.

She also recalls having to sleep on a bare mattress after soiling the bed, and being forced to run up and down the street outside the house in a twisted punishment.

Adele, who has struggled to recover from the abuse, said: “When I heard that verdict, I felt euphoria.

“We all stood together against her and we won. Finally, after all these years, we have been heard.”

Duncan Dunlop of kids’ charity Who Cares? Scotland, said children in foster care could find themselves in a “closed shop” environment.

It can be hard for them to speak out, or find advocates to speak for them.

Duncan said: “Children in all types of care need to be both seen and heard.”

Source: Daily Record (Scotland)

Addendum: No jail for Ruth.



Cruel foster mum guilty of ‘Dickensian’ abuse escapes jail term

A FOSTER mother responsible for the ‘Dickensian’ abuse of children in her care avoided jail yesterday.

Johnston-escaped-a-jail-sentence-and-walked-free-from-court Johnston escaped a jail sentence and walked free from court

Ruth Johnston treated her own youngsters like royalty while terrorising foster children as young as two.

The 61-year-old beat the children and forced them to take cold showers.

She washed them in a sink, using scourers and washing-up liquid, and would say they were “bad” and deny them food.

One little girl was made to run up and down the street in her nightdress.

Another child was left so starved that she foraged in rubbbish bins.

Social workers kept placing children with Johnston despite repeated complaints, and she got away with her cruelty for years.

But four victims – Rebecca Forrester, 19, Adele McGuire, 25, and twins Kevin and Thomas Timlin, 22 – banded together to reveal what Johnston had done to them – and she was convicted of seven charges, including assault and wilful ill-treatment, at Paisley Sheriff Court in May.

Sheriff James Spy said the evidence “would match a Dickensian description of life for deprived Victorian children”.

But yesterday when she returned to the dock for sentence, still protesting her innocence, the sheriff said his ability to punish her was “severely limited” by the length of time that had elapsed since the offences.

He also noted that, because the case was brought at summary level, the maximum jail term was 12 months.

Rather than jailing Johnston, he placed her on probation for two and a half years and ordered her to carry out 240 hours of unpaid work.

One of her victims burst into tears as Johnstone left the dock and walked free from court.

Johnston – who fostered children for 13 years – had claimed she had “a warm home run by churchgoers”.

Her husband Gordon, 63, a former church elder, faced three charges of assault, but these were found not proven.

Johnston denied all wrongdoing and painted herself as a loving mother who nurtured the children entrusted to her. But prosecutor Stephen Ferguson told her trial she had subjected her victims to “a pattern of real and sustained abuse”.

Louise Arrol, defending, yesterday told the court: “She maintains her position of denial, though she accepts that she requires to be sentenced today for the charges your Lordship convicted her of.”

Speaking following May’s trial Kevin Timlin said: “She has shown no remorse. Her reaction was one of arrogance and indifference.”

Miss Forrester added: “We have to ask why it was ever allowed to happen – and ensure it does not happen again. The system betrayed us.”

Source: Daily Express (UK)

Boy Reprimanded for Saving Classmate's Life

May 31, 2013 permalink

Two of Briar MacLean's classmates got into a fight. When he heard a knife flick open, Briar intervened to disarm the student, saving the other boy from the risk of injury or death. Briar was reprimanded by the school for his actions.



No heroes allowed: Calgary student, 13, reprimanded for defending his classmate against a knife-wielding bully

Briar MacLean and Leah O’Donnell

After Briar MacLean stepped up to defend his classmate against a knife-wielding bully, his mother, Leah O’Donnell, was politely informed the school did not “condone heroics.” Instead, Briar should have found a teacher to handle the situation.

Briar MacLean was sitting in class during a study period Tuesday, the teacher was on the other side of the room and, as Grade 7 bullies are wont to do, one kid started harassing another.

“I was in between two desks and he was poking and prodding the guy,” Briar, 13, said at the kitchen table of his Calgary home Friday.

“He put him in a headlock, and I saw that.”

He added he didn’t see the knife, but “I heard the flick, and I heard them say there was a knife.”

The rest was just instinct. Briar stepped up to defend his classmate, pushing the knife-wielding bully away.

The teacher took notice, the principal was summoned and Briar went about his day. It wasn’t until fourth period everything went haywire.

“I got called to the office and I wasn’t able to leave until the end of the day,” he said.

That’s when Leah O’Donnell, Briar’s mother, received a call from the vice-principal.

Briar MacLean and Leah O’Donnell, Mike Ridewood for National Post

“They phoned me and said, ‘Briar was involved in an incident today,’” she said. “That he decided to ‘play hero’ and jump in.”

Ms. O’Donnell was politely informed the school did not “condone heroics,” she said. Instead, Briar should have found a teacher to handle the situation.

“I asked: ‘In the time it would have taken him to go get a teacher, could that kid’s throat have been slit?’ She said yes, but that’s beside the point. That we ‘don’t condone heroics in this school.’ ”

Instead of getting a pat on the back for his bravery, Briar was made to feel as if he had done something terribly wrong. The police were called, the teen filed a statement and his locker was searched.

Calgary Police Service confirmed there was an incident at Sir John A. Macdonald junior high school Tuesday: a third student intervened in a fight between two others and a knife was involved.

The incident is being investigated and no one has been charged.

Ms. O’Donnell said the bully had since been suspended.

Sitting in their northwest Calgary home as Briar’s younger brother played with Buzz Lightyear action figures, Ms. O’Donnell said this isn’t the first time her child had been in trouble for confronting bullies, either.

She teaches her son to stand up for others, and for himself. His heroics were featured on the front page of Friday’s Calgary Sun. His mother had obtained several copies she stacked on her coffee table.

“We used to get phone calls home from the elementary school saying Briar’s been in a fight, but he was always defending someone,” she said.

“He stuck up for himself with a bully one time and they actually gave him heck for that, too. He had a friend stick up for him in that situation and I’m taking the two of them to Disneyland in two weeks. Because if you stick up for my kid, I’m going to treat you right.”

The mother says she understands the school’s desire to keep students from getting hurt, but fears it is teaching the wrong lesson.

Running away, tattling usually just make things worse. Students need to learn how to handle bullies on their own and how to help each other.

“What are they teaching them? That when you go out into the workforce and someone is not being very nice to you, you have to tattle to your boss? You’re not going to get promoted that way,” she said.

Most of the time bullies back down when confronted, she added.

“What are we going to do if there are no heroes in the world? There would be no police, no fire, no armed forces. If a guy gets mugged on the street, everyone is going to run away and be scared or cower in the corner. It’s not right.”

The Calgary Board of Education did not respond to a request for comment.

Source: National Post

Happy Birthday (from Secret Jail)

May 31, 2013 permalink

Father Garry Johnson was the subject of an extraordinary gagging order from a British family court. He had custody of his two sons but under supervision of social services. As part of the custody agreement he was not permitted to name his sons in public. The order ran not during the childhood of his sons, but for life. On his son's twenty-first birthday, Garry posted a message to him on Facebook. He was called before a secret tribunal without warning of the seriousness of the matter and immediately jailed. Already in poor cardiac health, he suffered a heart attack from his treatment.



Secret court jails father for sending son 21st birthday greeting on Facebook after he was gagged from naming him

  • Garry Johnson breached gagging order stopping him publicly naming son
  • 46-year-old brought up his son and still lives with him
  • Judge sent father to prison for contempt at a closed-doors family court
  • Case certain to fuel concerns about Britain’s network of secret courts
Sam and Adam Johnson
Controversial: Father Garry Johnson has been jailed at a secret court hearing for sending a Facebook message to his grown-up son on his 21st birthday. His sons Sam, then 9 and Adam, then 6, are pictured in 2001

A father has been jailed at a secret court hearing for sending a Facebook message to his grown-up son on his 21st birthday.

Garry Johnson, 46, breached a draconian gagging order which stops him publicly naming his son, Sam, whom he has brought up and who still lives with him.

In a case which is certain to fuel concerns about Britain’s shadowy network of secret courts, a judge sent the former music executive to prison for contempt at a closed-doors family court hearing in Essex at the beginning of last month.

He was not arrested by police or even represented by a lawyer.

The order silencing Mr Johnson – which follows an acrimonious divorce eight years ago – means he cannot mention either of his boys, 21-year-old Sam and Adam, 18, in public, even by congratulating them in a local newspaper announcement when they get engaged, married or have children in the future.

The extraordinary gag is set to last until the end of his life, although his boys are now adults. Last night they condemned their father’s jailing as ‘cruel and ludicrous’.

After their parents’ divorce, the two boys chose to live with their father, following a series of rows with their mother over her new boyfriend.

But within a year of the divorce, Mr Johnson’s ex-wife made allegations to Essex social workers that he was neglecting the children and not feeding them properly at his smart family home.

An investigation by social workers cleared him of any wrongdoing and said the boys were fine.

A year later, in 2006, she made further allegations to social workers that he was mentally unfit to care for the boys.

Medical documents shown to the Mail by Sam and Adam reveal that Mr Johnson was examined three times by a local psychiatrist hired by social workers. The doctor wrote to social workers saying:

‘There is no evidence of mental illness. I cannot understand why there are concerns about Mr Johnson’s mental health.’

Social services refused, as a result, to get involved.

In 2007, the ex-wife started private care proceedings to remove the boys from their father. A judge put the boys under a ‘living at home with parent’ care order.

It meant they would continue to live with their father, but under supervision by social services.

This care order was accompanied by the gagging order to stop an increasingly anguished Mr Johnson talking about the case publicly.

Even naming his sons in the most innocuous circumstances – such as on Facebook – became a contempt of court.

Sam Johnson
Much-loved: Gary Johnson wished his son, Sam a happy birthday on Facebook. Sam is pictured when he was 15 in 2007

The care order on Sam expired on his 18th birthday three years ago. The one on Adam in October last year when he reached 18. Normally, a gagging order imposed by a family court judge on a parent expires at the same time as a care order on the child. This one did not.

Mr Johnson was imprisoned at the height of the Mail’s campaign against jailings by this country’s network of secret courts.

The secretive family court system, which jailed Mr Johnson, deals with custody wrangles, children’s care orders and adoption.

Mr Johnson received a letter in late April from Chelmsford County Court officials ordering him to go to Basildon Magistrates’ Court building on May 2 for a hearing regarding his children.

He was not warned he might face imprisonment or that the hearing was about his Facebook message, posted on Sam’s birthday a few days earlier on April 23.

On arrival, he was escorted by court security guards to a private room in the building for a half hour hearing under family court rules before His Honour Judge Damien Lochrane.

He was not warned that he might need a lawyer.

At the private hearing, Mr Johnson learned he had breached a gagging order, imposed by the family courts in 2007, by sending the Facebook message.

He informed the judge that he had had four heart attacks and was awaiting a triple by-pass operation. But he was sentenced to 28 days’ jail and sent down to a court cell to await transport to Chelmsford prison.

In the court cell, he had a heart attack caused by the shock. Rushed to a local hospital by ambulance, he was then shackled and handcuffed to a bed while on oxygen and receiving morphine.

A team of prison officers were put on 24-hour shifts beside his bed to make sure he did not escape.

He recovered and was sent to prison two days later, serving two weeks of the sentence before being released. Details of the horrifying case were made public to the Mail by his sons, who are not subject to any gagging order according to their Essex-based lawyer, Alan Foskett.

The jailing provoked a horrified response from MPs last night. John Hemming, the Lib Dem MP who has campaigned against the secret courts, said: ‘This is yet another example of how the secret courts are stopping freedom of speech. I have never heard of a gagging order of this kind going on into adulthood. This is a surreal case.’

Mr Johnson’s local MP, John Baron, said: ‘I have helped Mr Johnson and his sons – who always wanted to live with him – over several years. To find he has been imprisoned for sending a birthday message to one of them is troubling.

Concerned: Mr Johnson's local MP, John Baron, pictured, said it is troubling that he has been imprisoned for sending a birthday message to one of them

‘Whilst I appreciate the need to protect children, the family court system often ignores the legitimate wishes of families. This needs to change, and quickly.’

Sam, a telesales manager and former professional footballer, said last night: ‘My dad is a good father and has never been in trouble with the police. He was treated like a criminal. This ludicrous gagging order should not exist and must now be lifted.

Both Adam and myself are adults. This cruel ruling is now hanging over my father to silence him about the sons he loves for the rest of his life. That is a terrible thing in what is meant to be a free country.’

Mr Johnson was imprisoned a day before senior judges, on May 3, reacted to the Mail campaign by saying they planned to stop courts jailing defendants in secret for contempt.

The Ministry of Justice this week said that it does not count up people jailed by the family courts because the numbers are ‘so small’.

A spokesman said of the courts: ‘It is very rare for anyone to be imprisoned for contempt of court and it only ever happens in extreme circumstances when a person has continually disregarded legally binding requirements made by the court and clearly communicated to them.

‘A person accused of contempt of court will always be given their full legal right to defend himself or herself at a hearing will always be heard in an open court.’

However, it is estimated by campaigners and MPs that up to 200 parents a year are imprisoned for contempt by the family courts. Because of the controversial secrecy rules, some have been sent to jail for discussing their case with MPs or charity workers advising them.

Source: Daily Mail

Dog Bites Social Worker

May 30, 2013 permalink

A Pennsylvania social worker visited a family to provide services. His client's dog correctly assessed his intentions and attacked the worker.



CYS caseworker attacked by dog

FARRELL — A pitbull-terrier chased a county Children and Youth Services worker Tuesday in Farrell and tried to take a chunk out of his neck, police said.

A male CYS worker was bitten at 4:47 p.m. in the right side of his neck by the dog and taken to Sharon Regional Health System with “severe injuries,” according to Southwest Mercer County Regional police.

A CYS spokeswoman said the man went to the home at 1150 Beechwood Ave., Farrell on an undisclosed matter.

When he knocked on the door, the homeowner asked him to wait while she locked up the dog, police said.

Before she could contain the dog, the door was opened by either the CYS worker or the homeowner, police said.

“He said she opened it, she said he opened it,” Riley Smoot, police chief, said. “The investigation is ongoing.”

The five-year-old female dog chased the CYS worker to the sidewalk, where she jumped on him and bit him.

The homeowner said the dog has been getting her yearly shots at the Hermitage Veterinary Hospital.

The CYS office said their worker was treated at the hospital and released. He was back at work today.

Smoot said police are working of the Shenango Valley Animal Shelter, Hermitage, to determine what charges will be filed.

“Someone is going to get charged with something,” Smoot said.

Source: Sharon Herald


Drunk Driving with Children

May 29, 2013 permalink

A Michigan father sent his daughters home with his partner. Both daughters separately called their mother to complain that the driver, their stepmom, was drunk. The driver tested at double the legal limit when she arrived home and she has been charged with drunk driving.

CPS investigated the case and found no child abuse. How did this family get excused from the usual treatments of foster care and shotgun divorce? The father was Macomb County judge Richard Caretti.



Report finds no child neglect by Macomb County judge

Richard Caretti
Judge Richard Caretti
Brenda Conway
Brenda Conway
The Macomb Daily/DAVID DALTON

A state investigation revealed no substantiated child neglect by a Macomb County judge who allowed his two minor daughters to ride in a car drive by his allegedly drunk girlfriend.

A Child Protective Services investigation of Judge Richard Caretti for his role in a driving incident in January resulted in a classification that shows “a preponderance of evidence of child abuse or neglect is not found,” according to sources who did not want to be identified.

Meanwhile, in the related criminal case, Caretti’s girlfriend, Brenda Conway, has appealed a district court judge’s refusal to toss out evidence that could dismiss the charge of drunken driving with minor children for which she was arrested after driving Caretti’s children home from a wedding reception and registering a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit.

The CPS report, completed within 30 days of the incident, was not made public, but its contents were learned by The Macomb Daily.

The report says, “This appears to be an isolated incident,” according to a source.

“The father has been pro-active in seeking out services and participating in services in the protection of his children from harm,” the report says.

Caretti’s statement in the report is consistent with his public comments in the days following the Jan. 13-14 incident. He told The Macomb Daily he did not realize Brenda Conway may have been drunk, did not notice erratic driving as claimed by one of his daughters, and was not drunk himself, saying he consumed “two or three drinks” over seven hours at the reception. He said Brenda Conway drove because it was her vehicle.

Caretti, days after the arrest, called his ex-wife “very vindictive” in her allegations and “very inaccurate” in her description of the events of that night.

Caretti and Lori Conway both declined to comment.

The couple divorced in 2011 and has shared joint legal custody of the children.

Caretti, who resides in Fraser, was appointed judge in 2002 and was elected in 2004 and 2010.

The incident began the night of Jan. 13 when Caretti’s 12-year-old daughter called her mother and Caretti’s ex-wife, Lori Conway (no blood relation to Brenda Conway), from a Macomb Township banquet hall and said she was afraid to drive with Brenda Conway because she was drunk. A short time later, Caretti’s other daughter, 15 years old, texted Lori Conway that Brenda Conway was driving erratically.

Lori Conway called police, who arrested Brenda Conway after she parked in front of Lori Conway’s home and registered .15 percent and .16 percent levels in preliminary Breathalyzer tests.

In April, Judge Debra Nance of 46th District Court in Southfield denied Conway’s motion to remove some or all of the evidence against her, and Conway, 50, of Troy, appealed May 3 to Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac.

In the appeal, Brenda Conway’s attorney argues that Police Officer Stephen Thompson violated her Fourth Amendment right against illegal search and seizure when he turned a “welfare check” into a criminal investigation.

“A welfare check is supposed to be totally divorced from a criminal investigation,” attorney Jeffrey Abood said.

In her opinion, Judge Nance supported the officer’s actions, saying, “The only way to properly conduct the ‘welfare check’ and determine whether the minors had been in jeopardy was to immediately interview the driver regarding the allegation of possible intoxication.”

Abood says in the appeal application that Nance wrongly “intermeddles” the welfare check and criminal probe.

Abood also argues that Thompson did not have probable cause to arrest Conway because two of the three sobriety tests he performed are not recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the one legitimate test was performed incorrectly.

In addition, he contends that Thompson failed to observe Conway for the required 15 minutes before performing a preliminary Breathalyzer test. He only observed her for 11 minutes, and didn’t watch her the entire time, he says.

Abood said he requested oral arguments.

A representative of the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office did not respond to an interview request.

Source: Macomb Daily

Cuts to Children's Aid

May 29, 2013 permalink

CAS stakeholders rallied outside the Windsor office of Teresa Piruzza, Ontario's minister of Children and Youth Services. The stakeholders were all persons employed by social services. Instead of honestly advocating for their own paycheques, they chose to claim they were acting for the benefit of families and children. But no parents or children participated in the demands to maintain funding for children's aid. In a second article, Highland Shores CAS announced cutbacks.



CAS stakeholders protest outside Piruzza’s office

CTV Windsor: CAS rally against cuts

Stakeholders with the Children’s Aid Society are trying to stop cuts and restore services within the sector.

The group protested outside the Windsor office of Teresa Piruzza, minister of Children and Youth Services.

Organizers say the cuts are a problem in the Windsor area and throughout the province.

CUPE at Teresa Piruzza's office
click for larger image

CAS stakeholders and union representatives rally outside MPP Teresa Piruzza's office in Windsor, Ont., on Friday, May 24, 2013.

(Chris Campbell / CTV Windsor)

“It distresses me that when they're using statistics to determine a funding formula, as we all know being in Windsor, things can change overnight,” says Andrea Madden, CAS community initiatives coordinator.

Piruzza came out of her office to hear and address concerns.

“Our main objective of protecting our children and ensuring that we keep our communities safe,” says " says Piruzza. “We can ensure that all children have the opportunity to be successful and have all the support that they require will continue.”

Two months ago, 18 casual case workers were laid off at CAS in Windsor due to budgetary restraints.

Consultations will take place between Ontario and CAS officials over the next five years as a new funding formula is implemented.

Source: CTV

CAS axing program, 20 jobs

Highland Shores CAS
In order to meet its 2013/14 budget demands, Highland Shores Children's Aid announced it will be closing its Residential Treatment Program (RTP) as well as cutting 20 positions within the organization.

The society's budget development is guided through the provincial funding formula for children's aid society, which was developed by the Commission for Sustainable Child Welfare and came into effect last April 1st.

Mark Kartusch, executive director of Highland Shores Children's Aid (HSCA), noted during the society's last board meeting held in Belleville Wednesday evening HSCA will reduce three service support programs by one staff member each, as well as its after-hours reception coverage by cutting the after-hour security guard position.

“While we understand the fiscal environment and the need for a new funding model, the society is concerned with elements of the model and its implementation within our local communities and across the province,” said Kartusch.

While it finished its 2012/13 budget with a modest surplus, the society forecasts a 2013/14 budget of $45,740,001.

Kartusch noted the new formula allocates funding to each society based on combination of both socio-economic and volume-based factors. As a result, the model calls for a two-percent decrease in the budget each year over the next five years — representing an approximate $950,000-reduction per year.

“Operating a group home such as the RTP is simply not possible in this new fiscal environment as we cannot continue to support demands the business of group care places on our organization,” he explained.

While he recognizes the announced program closure and staff reductions are “very difficult” for the society, Kartusch said HSCA's intention is to lessen the impact using methods such as attrition or re-assignment before thinking of layoffs in situations “where this is possible.”

“This new fiscal environment will require many child aid services to fundamentally re-think how they deliver child welfare services,” he added.

“As Highland Shores moves into its future, our hope is to create a healthy, sustainable organization that meets the needs of our communities in Hastings County, Northumberland and Prince Edward County.”

In addition to axing its Residential Treatment Program and cutting 20 positions, the society has identified numerous areas that could generate budget savings, from reducing overtime, mileage to the cost of placing children in 'Outside Paid Resources' care.

“We will continue to to be committed to delivering the best possible service to our clients, while being accountable to the public with regard to the use of public funds,” added Kartusch.

Source: County Weekly News

Rabbi Opposes Child Protection

May 28, 2013 permalink

Rabbi William Handler has published a warning against cooperation with child protectors. He includes an example of a family turned upside down by an accidental injury taken to hospital emergency. The introduction by the publisher was unsympathetic, as were most of the reader comments.



Molestation Cases Must Be Handled by G’dolim, Not by ‘Experts’

If you’re lucky enough to avoid losing your children, you’re still not home free.

William Handler
Rabbi William Handler

I want to warn our Orthodox Jewish community of a new danger: the existence of a clique of pseudo-experts who are working among us in the field of “Criminal Molestation.”

These “experts”—self-styled “helping professionals”— are actively seeking-out people whom they believe to be “molesters,” with the goal of turning them over to the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.

This is an enterprise fraught with the most serious dangers for our community.

Anyone can make an accusation of “molestation.” There are usually no witnesses.

So how can anyone determine whether the accusers are telling the truth or making the whole thing up?

Well, say the “experts,” we should assume that the accusation is true, because it’s highly improbable that anyone would make up such a grotesque story; and, in the unlikely event that someone did make up such a story, the “experts” in the district attorney’s office know how to question the accusers to make sure they aren’t lying.

Now, since the whole enterprise revolves around the ehrlichkeit (honesty) of the accusers and the honesty and skill of the district attorney, it is reasonable to ask a couple of poignant questions:

1. Is the accuser really telling the truth, or is he a skilled liar, who seeks to settle a score with the accused, gain custody of children in a divorce case, or just plain do harm to someone for any reason at all?

2. Do prosecutors always do their job properly; do they always seek justice?

Those of you who have followed the Sholom Rubashkin case closely, know that prosecutors don’t necessarily care about the truth—often, their actions are based on political considerations, or they just want to show another successful conviction on their resume, and they’re willing to get it by any means necessary, legitimate or otherwise.

Those of you who may have had the occasion to get entangled with NY City’s ACS/DCP (Administration for Children's Services / Division of Child Protection) will understand what I mean when I speak of the dangers of getting entangled in a Kafkaesque government bureaucracy.

Perhaps your baby spilled some hot tea on his hand and got a serious burn. You call Hatzoloh, and the ambulance speeds your screaming child to the hospital emergency room. (NOTE: this is a true story, it happened exactly as I’m describing it)

Before your child is even treated for his condition, and while he is still screaming in pain, the emergency room staff will insist that you submit to an interview with a social worker, who will try to determine whether you were guilty of child neglect.

This procedure is mandated by City law. As “mandated reporters,” emergency room staff are required to report any suspicious indications of child neglect or abuse (as are other government licensed professionals, like psychiatrists and doctors).

Please remember, the social worker gets paid to find cases of child neglect. If she does not find any cases, there is no justification for the existence of her agency, no justification for paying her salary and benefits. So, she has a clear bias in favor of seeking something—anything—that would justify a finding of “child neglect.”

The social worker’s report is sent to ACS/DCP.

Shortly thereafter, you will be visited by ACS workers, who will appear at your home suddenly—often in the middle of the night—to conduct interviews with your small children in an attempt to discover and document “child neglect.”

Each child will be interviewed individually, in a van parked outside your home. You will not be permitted to be present at these interviews. Any silly or indiscreet statement by your innocent child may be accepted as documented evidence of “child neglect.”

If your child mentions any behavior that the City defines as “child neglect,” slapping, yelling, etc., ACS may, at their discretion, haul you into Family Court and petition the court for the removal of ALL of your children from your home to live with foster parents.

You will have to spend a fortune on lawyers.

If you’re lucky enough to avoid losing your children, you’re still not home free. The law gives ACS up to an additional 60 days to continue their investigation of your family.

ACS will now send a “field worker” to your home to conduct “surveillance,” to observe how you interact with your family. The worker will note everything you do on her clipboard. This officious busybody will visit with you for hours upon hours, getting on your nerves, as you attempt to take care of your family. You must be extremely careful about what you say and do in front of her.

I’m sure most mothers with large families will agree that this is a nightmare scenario. However, it is something that is going on in our community right now. Just ask your friends and neighbors. As I said, I have witnessed it personally.

Now, if this is the way the City’s “professionals” abuse decent Jewish parents whose only crime was that their child accidentally spilled some hot tea on his hand, imagine how “compassionately” they treat someone who has been accused of the much more serious crime of molestation.

Do you really think the prosecutors are going to treat anyone accused of molestation fairly? Do you really believe they are going to assume that he is innocent until proven guilty?

God forbid that I should in any way minimize that great pain and the terrible damage that is inflicted on innocents by even one molester in our community. There definitely are such people in our midst, and we must take action to stop them.

But involving the cumbersome, insensitive, and largely incompetent government apparatus in the internal problems of our community can only result in even more terrible tragedies, chas v’sholom.

It borders on Mesirah (turning in a fellow Jew), and it is virtually certain that it will result in many innocent people going to jail for years and years, destroying their lives and the lives of their families and children.

I know that there have been complaints that rabbis have declined to take action when accusations of molestation have been presented to them. I have already discussed the conundrum they face earlier in this article—should they take action on the say-so of a single person, who may have malicious intent to harm the accused.

The Talmud tells us that “He who is not an expert in the laws of marriage and divorce should stay out of the picture, lest he increase the number of illegitimate mamzeirim in Klal Yisroel.”—only gedolei Yisroel—true experts—have the competence to rule in these matters.

The truth of the matter is that a situation this serious does not belong to your average rabbi, no matter how sincere and pious he may be. It must be refereed to our top Torah leadership, just as the question of Internet use was.

Only our gedolei Yisroel have the siyata d’shmaya (Divine help) necessary to guide us on the proper course of action in these painful and perplexing situations.

Can we settle for anything less in matters of pikuach nefesh (life and death)?

Source: Jewish Press

Napanee Rally

May 28, 2013 permalink

Yesterday there was a rally for oversight in Napanee. Pictures: [1] [Curtis Kingston and Samntha Paulin] [3] [4] [5]

Source: Facebook, Terri-Anne Bucholtz

The Napanee Beaver had a story.



Protesters call for improved gov't oversight

A small group of protesters hit Napanee's main street on Tuesday to push for more oversight and accountability for arms-length government agencies and organizations in Ontario.

"We arc petitioning the legislature for ombudsman oversight of the 'MUSH' sector — that includes schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities and children's aid societies," said Curtis Kingston, protest organizer and spokesperson for the Ontario Coalition for Accountability

Kingston said that, unlike other Canadian provinces, the mandate of the Ontario ombudsman — whose job it is to investigate complaints regarding government services — does not include municipalities, universities and other organizations that receive provincial government funding.

Kingston focussed specifically on children's aid societies, pointing out that Bill 42, a private member's bill put forward by the NDFs Monique Taylor, would bring CASs within the oversight of the ombudsman. The bill has received first and second reading and is currently at the standing committee stage.

Kingston said, currently, families with complaints regarding CASs do not have sufficient recourse to see those complaints investigated. He said the Children and Family Services Review Board, which does look into CASs' handing of cases, does not have the ability to sufficiently investigate complaint nor to force CASs to act on those complaints. "When something goes wrong, right now (families) have nobody to go to," he said. "The CFSRB has no authority to compel a (CAS) to do anything. Even when they do find that a society erred or they were unprofessional or did something wrong, they can't tell them to do anything "

He said his own dealings with the CAS system prompted him to get involved with the campaign to have CASs brought under ombudsman oversight.

Kingston said the campaign has the support of both of Ontario's opposition parties. He also says that he's heard from Liberal MPPs who support the concept, although all but one have voted against the legislation so far.

He said his group is not opposed to CASs, and supports the work done by those child welfare agencies. "We are absolutely for the children's aid, but we need oversight so the bad cases don't happen,' he said. "We're not asking to abolish the CASs, We're not asking to get rid of them. We're just asking for a little bit of oversight and accountability

Source: Napanee Beaver
Navigate to page 5

Judge Wants to Seize Children of Criminals at Birth

May 28, 2013 permalink

British judge Alan Goldsack notes that a lot of public money is expended on children removed from their parents and raised in foster care. His solution? Remove children from criminals at birth and have them raised by substitute parents.



Remove children from criminal families at birth to save them from crime, says top judge

  • Alan Goldsack QC said drastic action needed as crime runs in families
  • Recorder of Sheffield said taking children away could save thousands
  • Judge says he sees grandchildren of criminals he prosecuted in court
Alan Goldsack
Concerns: Judge Alan Goldsack claimed the children of hardened criminals should be adopted at birth

Babies born to prostitutes, drug addicts and other criminals should be adopted at birth to prevent them following their parents into jail, a leading judge has said.

Alan Goldsack QC, the Recorder of Sheffield, said it was the state’s duty to intervene to stop the ‘next generation of criminals’.

He said it was ‘frightening’ how many of the criminals he was sentencing today were the grandchildren of those he had dealt with 40 years ago.

‘Crime runs in families the same way that being a doctor, teacher or lawyer does,’ he said in an interview to mark his retirement.

‘Some people become criminals because they enjoy crime and think it’s a good way of life and if they don’t get caught they think they can have a good lifestyle.

‘But a frightening thing is the number of people I see who are the grandchildren of the people I have prosecuted and defended 40 years ago.’

The state had to ‘remove young babies from the families that are going to produce the next generation of criminals’, he said.

He added that a dysfunctional family would often have £250,000 spent on them, ‘but if we get in early and removed children we could save thousands’.

He said a ‘huge proportion’ of prisoners were a ‘product of the care system’.

He added: ‘The care system is not working as well as it should be by a long chalk. If you leave a child until they are nine or ten, you can’t do much for them at all.’

Children removed at 11 or 12 would ‘invariably end up in a children’s home’.

The 65 year-old judge made his remarks after 43 years in the legal profession. But children’s campaigners accused him of criminalising babies.

Camila Batmanghelidjh
Critical: Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of the charity Kids Company, said taking children from criminal families was not the right solution

Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of Kids Company, said: ‘This protest is directed at the wrong corner of the problem.

'If you look at the baby in their cot, they are not a criminal. Taking babies from parents because they happen to be in criminal families is not the right solution.

'We need to address the way that we work with disturbed families and children.’

Alison Worsley of Barnardo’s said the Government needed to do more to support children of prisoners.

Source: Daily Mail

Ice Cream Break

May 28, 2013 permalink

A mother getting ice cream for her kids was accused of driving while impaired. Barrie CAS took her children.



Kids go to CAS after mom arrested

Barrie police officers went to the Kawartha Dairy ice cream store Friday night after someone spotted an erratic driver.

The witness said the car was swerving all over the road, and went over a curb. Officers spoke with a 25-year-old woman who was there to buy ice cream for her two young children in the back of the car.

She was arrested, and with the help of a York Regional Police drug recognition expert, was charged with impaired driving by drug.

Her two kids were turned over to the Simcoe County Children’s Aid Society, as there was no one else to care for them for the night.

Source: Metroland / Barrie Advance

Social Workers for All

May 26, 2013 permalink

Christopher Booker reports on a proposed Scottish law that will appoint a guardian to protect the interest every child from birth to age of majority. Before the modern family law system destroyed the family, every child had a mom and dad to protect his interest.

Booker also follows up on Vicky Haigh, now out of jail again.

In a second article, he reports on children who suffer more abuse in care than in the homes they were taken from. And senior members of the government? They ignore the problems in foster care.



Now it's a social worker for every child - in Scotland

More state interference in families will not protect children

guardian for every child
'Named persons': each Scottish child will have a state 'guardian' from birth

For anyone familiar with how our “child protection” system too often works in practice, rather loud alarm bells might be rung by a Bill currently going through the Scottish Parliament that takes the state’s intervention in family life to a startling new level. Under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, every child from birth will be given a “named person”, charged with keeping an eye on that child’s interests until it reaches adulthood.

We are familiar with the idea that state employees are expected to take an interest in a child’s welfare, from health visitors to teachers at school. But this proposal that local authorities should be empowered to appoint an official to act as a personal “guardian”, or social worker, to oversee every aspect of a child’s life from birth onwards is a world first.

In fact, the Bill is remarkably vague about the powers to be given to these “named persons”. Will they be free to arrive unannounced at the family home to check on how a child is being treated by its parents, when it goes to bed, what food it is given, what political or religious opinions it is being brought up with? In other words, the Bill gives no idea of how this hugely ambitious scheme, estimated to cost Scotland’s local authorities up to £138  million a year, will work in practice. And most worrying of all, to anyone familiar with the failings of our existing “child protection” system, is how often the most damaging errors can arise when professionals are charged with reporting to social workers their suspicion that something in a child’s life might be amiss.

In too many of the cases I have followed where children have been removed from their families for what seems to be no good reason, their nightmare began with a report by a teacher or a doctor that got some overheard remark or slight injury absurdly out of proportion. Too often, such suspicions then harden into allegations that are never properly tested against the evidence, and the damage is done. However admirable, in theory, the thought of appointing a “guardian” to watch over every child might seem, experience suggests that, in practice, this may exacerbate those weaknesses in our existing “child protection” system, which make a mockery of the noble aims it was set up to promote.

Last week I promised to give an update on the increasingly bizarre story of Vicky Haigh, the mother of a two-year-old daughter who was last month sent back to prison for breach of a probation order, on the basis of a solitary “witness statement” that she hadn’t been allowed to see. After evidence was produced that seemed to show that this statement was highly questionable, Miss Haigh was released from prison to return to her bemused family.

Last week, however, she was called back, fortunately accompanied by an experienced solicitor, for an exhausting formal interview with two policewomen, who seemed to be trying to find new reasons for returning her to prison.

Although the interview ended inconclusively, the officers said they would like to interview her again this week. I will say no more until their enquiries are completed.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Children pay a terrible price for 'care'

The Oxford sex-grooming case reveals the glaring failures of our child-protection system

Social services are failing to protect children, as the Oxford case shows

Most of the coverage given to the case of the seven men found guilty of the appalling physical and sexual abuse of underage girls in Oxford has focused on the fact that most of these monsters were of British Pakistani origin. But what should be seen in its own way as even more disturbing is the fact that five of these six girls were in the care of our “child protection” system.

Not only did the social workers consistently refuse to protect these children from hideous abuse over eight years – one 12-year-old girl’s parents pleaded in vain with them to intervene more than 70 times, another mother rang social services to report her daughter missing more than 100 times – but social services also actively connived in it, as when one care home bought a 13-year-old child “sexy underwear”, before sending her out to be drugged with heroin and gang-raped.

Almost identical was the case of those British Pakistanis from around Rochdale, jailed last year for similar offences against underage girls, most of whom were also in care. In Parliament, Simon Danczuk, Rochdale’s MP, quoted health workers who told him that the social workers had refused to intervene “because they believed that the girls had been making life choices, which was why they were seen as prostitutes”.

But these and other similar cases are only the most lurid examples of how our “child protection” system has gone so catastrophically off the rails that, by the law of “dark inversion”, it far too often does precisely the opposite of what it was set up to do. Again and again, in the scores of cases I have followed where social workers, supported by the police and the courts, have seized children from loving parents, I have been struck by how often these unhappy children are then subjected in “care” to abuse far worse than anything alleged against the parents from whom they were removed.

Most disturbing of all is the way this is covered up and ignored by politicians, the BBC and all those who continue to pretend that the system is working as intended.

Last year, when that Rochdale MP disclosed shocking details of his local scandal in the Commons, this was during a long debate calling for social workers to be given even more support in their holy task of breaking up families.

Neither the two ministers present nor a single MP referred again to what he said. We are dealing here with real evil.

On Friday, Vicky Haigh, the mother I wrote about two weeks ago, was released early from prison. A very odd story, of which more next week.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Criminalize the Bereaved

May 25, 2013 permalink

Prosecutors are extending the practice of jailing the bereaved parents of dead children.

In October 2000 Paul Wayment made a terrible mistake. He left his toddler son sleeping in his truck while he hunted deer. When he returned the boy had left the truck. He was found dead a week later. The response of the Utah judicial system? Jail time. The bereaved father committed suicide before reporting to jail. The Wayment case is the subject of a Pulitzer-Prize-winning article by Barry Siegel in the Los Angeles Times. Fixcas has reported several bereaved parents jailed on the testimony of the infamous Dr Charles Smith, for example, William Mullins-Johnson.

Bereaved mothers can now share the same experience. Mississippi prosecutors are moving to jail mothers who suffer a miscarriage on grounds of child (fetus) maltreatment. Alabama is already enforcing a law to criminalize mothers who use the wrong kind of drugs during pregnancy, even for babies born in good health. For women, but not men, the one sure way to avoid this kind of prosecution is a legal abortion.



Mississippi Could Soon Jail Women for Stillbirths, Miscarriages

The state's manslaughter laws weren't supposed to apply to women who lose pregnancies. Prosecutors don't seem to care.

On March 14, 2009, 31 weeks into her pregnancy, Nina Buckhalter gave birth to a stillborn baby girl. She named the child Hayley Jade. Two months later, a grand jury in Lamar County, Mississippi, indicted Buckhalter for manslaughter, claiming that the then-29-year-old woman "did willfully, unlawfully, feloniously, kill Hayley Jade Buckhalter, a human being, by culpable negligence."

The district attorney argued that methamphetamine detected in Buckhalter's system caused Hayley Jade's death. The state Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on the case on April 2, is expected to rule soon on whether the prosecution can move forward.

If prosecutors prevail in this case, the state would be setting a "dangerous precedent" that "unintentional pregnancy loss can be treated as a form of homicide," says Farah Diaz-Tello, a staff attorney with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a nonprofit legal organization that has joined with Robert McDuff, a Mississippi civil rights lawyer, to defend Buckhalter. If Buckhalter's case goes forward, NAPW fears it could spur a wave of similar prosecutions in Mississippi and other states.

Mississippi's manslaughter laws were not intended to apply in cases of stillbirths and miscarriages. Four times between 1998 through 2002, Mississippi lawmakers rejected proposals that would have set specific penalties for damaging a fetus by using illegal drugs during pregnancy. But Mississippi prosecutors say that two other state laws allow them to charge Buckhalter. One defines of manslaughter as the "killing of a human being, by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another"; another includes "an unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth" in the state's definition of human beings.

The cause of any given miscarriage or stillbirth is difficult to determine, and many experts believe there is no conclusive evidence that exposure to drugs in utero can cause a miscarriage or stillbirth. Because of this, prosecuting Buckhalter opens the door to investigating and prosecuting women for any number of other potential causes of a miscarriage or stillbirth, her lawyers argued in a filing to the state Supreme Court—"smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, exercising against doctor's orders, or failing to follow advice regarding conditions such as obesity or hypertension." Supreme Court Justice Leslie D. King also raised this question in the oral arguments last month: "Doctors say women should avoid herbal tea, things like unpasteurized cheese, lunch meats. Exactly what are the boundaries?"

Laws that criminalize hurting or killing fetuses are pitched as ways to protect pregnant women from abuse but are often used to prosecute those same women, NAPW says. The group has documented more than 400 cases across the country in which these laws have been used to detain or jail pregnant women. Earlier this year, Mississippi's neighbor to the east, Alabama, set its own precedent for prosecuting pregnant women for drug use. In January, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld convictions against two women—Amanda Kimbrough and Hope Ankrom—for "chemical endangerment" of a child, under a 2006 law that was written to punish people who expose children—not fetuses—to illegal drugs. Kimbrough gave birth prematurely to a baby boy who died shortly thereafter; she was charged after testing positive for meth. Ankrom gave birth to a healthy baby boy, but she was charged after he was found to have marijuana and cocaine in his system.

In Mississippi, Diaz-Tello says, "we're trying to avoid another ruling like Alabama." The decision in Buckhalter's case is expected to influence a second pending case in the state against Rennie Gibbs, a young woman charged with "depraved heart murder" after a experiencing a stillbirth in 2006, at age 16. A medical examiner claimed a small amount of cocaine, found during the autopsy, caused the death. Gibbs' case is supposed to go before a trial court later this year.

Buckhalter's lawyers contend that both Buckhalter and Gibbs are collateral damage in the abortion wars in Mississippi, one of the most anti-abortion states in the country. A 2011 state ballot measure there would have granted full rights to fertilized eggs, making all abortions illegal all the time. That measure failed, but abortion foes have pledged to try again in 2015, and lawmakers are working hard to close the state's last remaining abortion clinic. Charging a woman with manslaughter for using drugs while pregnant is just a backdoor way of establishing legal "personhood" for fetuses, says Diaz-Tello.

But as McDuff pointed out in oral arguments before the Supreme Court last month, even the state's law defining homicide as including the killing of a child at "every stage of gestation" includes a specific exemption for women seeking a legal abortion. If a woman can legally terminate an unwanted pregnancy, he argued, how can she be jailed for unintentionally ending a wanted one?

Perhaps the most perverse impact of prosecuting Buckhalter, her lawyers say, is that it could lead to more abortions. Fear of prosecution "may cause a mother to seek an abortion that she might not have otherwise have sought," particularly if she is dealing with drug or alcohol addiction, Buckhalter's lawyers argued in a court filing.

A dozen medical and public health groups—including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists—made the same argument in a friend-of-the-court brief submitted in the Buckhalter case. And even for women who want to continue their pregnancy, the medical groups contended, the threat of prosecution could actually deter them from seeking prenatal care or drug addiction treatment, or from sharing important information with their doctors, for fear they may be reported.

As for Buckhalter, her lawyers say she's gotten the help she needed since losing Hayley Jade. She became pregnant again, completed a residential drug treatment program, and gave birth to a healthy baby. She also finished an associate's degree at Hinds Community College, where she was inducted into the honor society. She's a testament to the fact that women in her situation need help, McDuff says, not jail time.

"Obviously, you shouldn't be taking drugs while you're pregnant," McDuff says. "But the notion of prosecuting somebody for murder or manslaughter, trying to send them to prison, is just crazy."

Source: Mother Jones

Lend Me Your Ears

May 25, 2013 permalink

A boy in Hamilton CCAS care is hard of hearing, so he was fitted with a hearing aid. But when the boy went home for a visit with his mother, they kept the hearing aid behind. The boy is not allowed to hear mom.



Ann Haskett

OK. Today my children came for our overnight, anyway the driver asked if he could talk to me — said sure — he told me my child is very upset and has been crying because they made him take his hearing aids out for our visit. I can backtrack a bit, earlier in this month he was fitted, which I wasn't told when, just that they were putting molds in his ears, and that I would be going to the June appt. for his permanent aids and to show how to properly care for them. OK, my understanding was this was when he was getting them. However this is not the case, he was made to take them out cause I can't properly care for them. So each visit before this date he is going to have to take them out. My child isn't able to verbalize that well but was extremely upset and with good reason as he had said that he couldn't hear anymore. I know he can but now he knows how much better he can with them. Even this driver said, I'm no expert but this is wrong on so many levels. I've called the worker involved but is there anyone else? This is just unacceptable. All I said was there had to be other alternatives other than making him suffer.

Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...

Addendum: CAS apologizes a week later.



Ann Haskett Well I'm sure to thank everyone for this and I thought I would post and say we got a huge apology and my child will never go without his aids again. I am extremely happy with the way things worked out and all the advice I received in this matter. Big hugs!

It was certainly nice hearing they made the mistake for a change, the worker must have apologized a dozen times on the phone..

Yes I did record, and an even better feeling knowing my child will be happier, and thanks!

Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...

St Thomas - Elgin CAS Cutbacks

May 25, 2013 permalink

The children of St Thomas and Elgin will be seven percent safer following budget cuts to their children's aid society. Executive director Rod Potgieter has announced layoffs.




St Thomas Elgin CAS staff
click for larger image

Family and Children's Services St. Thomas and Elgin announced service cuts and layoffs, in the wake of a new funding model. The model offers 7% less funding for the 2013-2014 budget year than last year, and due to this, Executive Director of Family and Children's Services Rod Potgieter says some services will suffer.

Potgieter says that it's a tough time to face these cuts, as Elgin County has seen an upswing in things like domestic violence, depression and child abuse in the wake of the economic recession. He adds that the organization will be restructuring itself to protect the core children's services, and they will operate as well as they can while looking for alternatives to the cut services.

Source: St Thomas Today

Social Worker Machismo

May 23, 2013 permalink

In public social workers say the right things about apprehending children, they are distressed themselves over the requirement to separate children and families. They may even complain publicly about their own need for emotional support to get over the trauma. But what do they think and say in private? A British publication has found Facebook postings by social worker Siobhan Condon boasting about her success in getting children legally separated from their parents.



Social worker's Facebook brags about getting children put into care

Social worker's Facebook brags about getting children put into care

Facebook exchange by Siobhan Condon
Social worker's Facebook brags about getting children put into care

A SOCIAL worker has posted Facebook messages bragging about removing three children from their parents.

Three boys aged four, seven and nine were taken into care following a private court hearing in Chelmsford Crown Court on May 9.

Within minutes of the court hearing, Siobhan Condon, said to be a senior Basildon social worker based at Ely House had commented on her Facebook page about the case.

She said: “Just experienced His Honour Judge [sic] give parents a massive rollicking. It was an amazing and extraordinary moment in my career.”

She added: “So the day is complete. Its so powerful to know that three children’s lives have just massively changed for the better and now they are safe and protected from and now have every hope for the future.”

The outspoken comments on a confidential matter have left the children’s parents distraught.

Their 39-year-old father said: “On the same day as the court case we found she had put all this on Facebook. The site was public until we complained to Essex County Council then they contacted Facebook and the page was suspended.

“I want it in the open and I want an apology.”

An Essex County Council spokeman said: “Essex County Council has apologised to the family for what has happened. We take this matter extremely seriously. This is unacceptable and appropriate action will be taken.”

Source: Southend Standard

Addendum: Cartoon by Legally Kidnapped.

female machismo

CCAS Deports Canadian

May 23, 2013 permalink

In 1981 Toronto CCAS broke up a family by sending four-year-old Marinela Piedrahita, a Canadian by birth, to Columbia. Three decades later the woman lives in Canada but has limited command of English because of her childhood abroad. She cannot live in the same country as her brother Felipe Piedrahita because of citizenship laws.



Catholic Children’s Aid sued by siblings decades after being removed to Colombia

Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto is being sued for negligence by two siblings, who allege they were wrongly removed to Colombia three decades ago.

Felipe Piedrahita immigration document
Employment and Immigration Canada paper showing landed document was ready for Felipe Piedrahita.

Marinela Piedrahita is still haunted by the memory of seeing her mother pushed by her drunken father down the stairs of their Toronto home in 1981.

But nothing haunts her more, she says, than what happened next to her and her then-17-month-old brother, Felipe.

With her mother in hospital and father out of their lives, Piedrahita, then 4, remembers being taken to a Chilean woman’s house, where she and Felipe stayed for about a month before they were taken by “some strangers” to their relatives in Colombia.

A quarter of a century later, Piedrahita managed to return to Canada, her birthplace, and is now suing the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CCAS) for negligence in removing her and her brother to Colombia and for causing them hardship living in conflict and warfare in their parents’ homeland. The agency denies the allegations.

Felipe Piedrahita

“It was a big mistake to send us to Colombia, to suffer and live by ourselves. We were moved from one relative to another. No one really took care of us,” Piedrahita, now 35 and a mother of two, said in broken English. “And now I am a stranger to the country I was born.”

Felipe, now 33, will likely never join his sister to return to Canada. He was born in Colombia during their mother’s visit there and was removed from Canada at the same time he was waiting for his permanent resident paper, which has since expired.

“My brother and I grew up together by ourselves. We are very close, but separated because he can’t come back here,” Piedrahita lamented.

According to their statement of claim, CCAS signed a temporary care agreement on Oct. 1, 1981 with Piedrahita’s mother, who was separated from their abusive father and had checked herself into the Queen Street Mental Health Centre, now the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, for substance abuse.

The temporary care agreement was for three months only and designed to allow the children’s mother time to secure treatment and resume care of them, and their mother intended to raise the children in Canada, the claim states.

However, on Nov. 12, 1981, the claim says their mother terminated the agreement at the advice of a CCAS worker and signed some documents that she only found out later had authorized the agency to send her children to their grandparents in Colombia.

The next day, on Nov. 13, 1981, the children were flown to Columbia, escorted by a volunteer couple, who placed them with their grandmother.

The siblings’ Toronto lawyer, Jeffery Wilson, says the mother was in no mental condition to understand what she was signing at the time.

“She did the commendable thing by having the CAS care for her children, but then discovered they threw her children into harm’s way,” Wilson said in an interview.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

CCAS denies any wrongdoing in a statement of defence, saying the children’s mother “wanted care of the children to be transferred to her mother Aura Saldarriaga (the grandmother) in Medellin, Colombia, because she had no relatives in Canada to care for her children.”

Their mother never advised CCAS that she intended for the children to be raised in Canada as alleged, the agency says in its defence.

“CCAS pleads that it reasonably fulfilled the statutory, common law and fiduciary duties it owed to the plaintiffs at the material times,” the defence statement says.

In seeking $1 million in damages from CCAS, Piedrahita and her brother claim they lived in constant fear in Colombia, where leftist guerrillas including the infamous FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia), were in constant conflict then.

As a result, they claim they received virtually no schooling, were physically and emotionally abused, and were periodically abandoned and left to fend for themselves.

Their father passed away in Colombia years ago and the mother lives in Toronto, still struggling with substance abuse.

Piedrahita said she only discovered CCAS’s involvement in their return to Colombia when a grandmother passed away in 2008 and she came across some old documents.

The agency declined to comment on the case, but said care agencies do on occasion reunite children with family in other countries.

“This is done only when it meets the specific needs of the child or children involved and after a thorough assessment process,” executive director Mary McConville said in a written statement.

“If there are close family ties in another country where the child could receive the supports needed and all criteria to ensure the child’s safety are met, an international kinship arrangement may be in a child’s best interests.”

But cases such as the Piedrahita’s are rare, said Felipe’s immigration lawyer Angus Grant.

“While child protection agencies have frequently failed to recognize their obligation to obtain legal status for the children who come into their care, I have never seen a case like this where they have done the opposite,” said Grant.

“They took it upon themselves to effect a child’s deportation and subsequent loss of status.”

In 2010, Grant filed an immigration application for Felipe on humanitarian grounds. The application was denied last year.

“While I recognize that you and (your sister) endured difficulties throughout your childhood, you are now 31 years old and are no longer subject to abuse,” Citizenship and Immigration Canada said in its rejection letter.

We value respectful and thoughtful discussion. Readers are encouraged to flag comments that fail to meet the standards outlined in our Community Code of Conduct. For further information, including our legal guidelines, please see our full website Terms and Conditions.

Source: Toronto Star

Drunk Social Worker Tips Over Baby Buggy

May 23, 2013 permalink

Scottish social worker Anne Sinclair got drunk while babysitting and tipped over a buggy with a one-year-old baby inside. She was fined for endangering a child. Fixcas missed this story, but better late than never.



Drunk social worker tipped baby over in buggy as she crossed road

Anne Sinclair
Anne Sinclair
from another news story in The Sun (UK)

A drunk social worker tipped a baby over in his buggy as she crossed a town centre road.

The one-year-old was left hanging upside down as Anne Sinclair staggered and fell over in front of passers-by.

Perth Sheriff Court heard on Tuesday that Sinclair had been looking after the child for the day and had got so drunk police were unable to interview her.

Officers had to wait for her to sober up for almost four hours after detaining her before they could talk to her about what she had done.

The 46-year-old was still in police custody when the baby's parents arrived to take him home to safety.

Fiscal depute Carol Whyte told the court: "As she crossed the road pushing the buggy she tried to lift it on reaching the pavement at the other side. However, both she and the buggy fell to the ground.

"The accused fell onto the road and the buggy fell upside down with the child still restrained within. Members of the public rushed to help.

"They put the buggy the correct way round and back on the pavement, and helped the accused to her feet. They found the accused to be unsteady on her feet, staggering and slurring her words.

"The child was not injured, but he was extremely upset and screaming. The witnesses watched the accused walk up Glasgow Road and contacted police over concerns for the child's well-being."

Ms Whyte added: "Officers from Tayside Police traced Sinclair and the baby close to Perth Leisure Pool and they were taken into custody a few minutes after the incident. However, it was not until almost 10pm that night that Sinclair was deemed to be sober enough to be interviewed.

"Officers spoke to the parents and discovered the child had been left in her care at 10am that morning, and at that time she was not under the influence of alcohol."

Sinclair, of Pickletullum Road, Perth, admitted being drunk in charge of the baby in Glasgow Road, Perth, on August 6 last year.

The depute senior social care officer with Perth and Kinross Council, told officers: "I feel truly sorry for what I have done and it will never happen again."

In a letter to court, Sinclair added: "I work within a social work setting and I am well aware of adult support and protection and child support and protection.

"What I did was very wrong and I am pleased the issues relating to this incident were reported, but I am ashamed and disappointed with my own actions.

"I have worked within social work for 21 years and if anything I should know better. Nothing like this has happened before and it will never happen again."

Sinclair said she had been stressed because her mother had been diagnosed with dementia, her brother had died and her dog had passed away.

Solicitor John McLaughlin, defending, added: "She does accept that at this stage she was using alcohol as an emotional crutch. Her ex-husband had re-married on the day and she was out and had taken a drink."

He told the court that as well as getting drunk while in charge of the baby, Sinclair had been on prescription drugs Tramadol and Diazepam.

Mr McLaughlin added that the buggy was already unsteady because it had been laden with goods but said Sinclair accepted the incident was her fault.

He said the local authority had been extremely supportive, appointing her own social worker to assist her, and would await the outcome of the court case before deciding her fate.

Sheriff Robert McCreadie was told that Sinclair had stopped drinking and said that she should continue to stay tee-total for "the rest of her life."

He told her: "I accept you are remorseful and distressed by what you did. You cannot be in a situation where you are looking after children in an inebriated state."

He fined Sinclair £260.

Source: STV (Scotland)

Hamilton Rally

May 22, 2013 permalink

There was a rally on Tuesday outside the Catholic Children's Aid Society in Hamilton. Here is a copy of the brief video (mp4) mentioned in the news article.



VIDEO: Protesting Children’s Aid work

Maureen Fennelly


Maureen Fennelly holds a banner at a protest Tuesday aimed at the Catholic Childrens Aid Society of Hamilton on the corner of King Street and Sanford Avenue. Tina Todd said her group, Justice for Children, believes the children’s aid societies bring people into the child welfare system that shouldn’t be there, and the societies keep cases open too long. The group also believes children’s aid workers are not being held accountable and are violating people’s rights. A bill by Monique Taylor which has passed first reading would bring the societies under the scrutiny of the Ontario ombudsman.

Kaz Novak,The Hamilton Spectator

People unhappy with the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Hamilton held a protest Tuesday in front of the society offices.

Tina Todd, with the group Justice for Children, said her group believes the children's aid societies bring people into the child welfare system that shouldn't be there, and the societies keep cases open too long.

The group also believes children's aid workers are not being held accountable and are violating people's rights.

Source: Hamilton Spectator

Best Interest of the Child

May 21, 2013 permalink

Fixcas extends thanks to Durham social worker child protection worker Biljana Krstanovska for finally letting us know what that phrase best interest of the child really means. It means keeping a father uninformed about his children.



May 17, 2013

Dear Mr. Reid,

The Society is in receipt of your letter dated April 29. 2013

Ms. Theresa Ducey and Ms. Wendy Traynor, family service supervisor and family service worker respectively, no longer have carriage of this matter. The Children's Services Department continues to be Involved with respect to Edmund and Preston. As you are aware the Children's Services Worker is Biljana Krstanovska and the supervisor is Came Shannon.

Respectfully, your request for disclosure will not be provided by the Society. It is the Society's view that production of documents to your attention is not the best interests of the children. The Society relies on your conduct to date, specifically making confidential information public, despite orders from the CFSRB to refrain from doing so, in making this determination

The information requested regarding Society's worker's Registration with The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers has been addressed by the Society in its letter to you. dated July 5, 2012.

Yours truly,

Biljana Krstanovska

Biljana Krstanovska

Unfit for Social Work

May 21, 2013 permalink

Vern Beck comments on a social worker habit in preparing court affidavits: rambling on for dozens of pages saying nasty things about a family without including any facts. He lost patience when Durham social worker Sarah Place reached 150 paragraphs of factless denigration.



Vernon Beck

A day in the life on an advocate:

I am in the process of conducting a forensic analysis of an affidavit submitted by a Durham CAS worker (unregistered), Ms. Sarah Place. Her affidavit contains over 150 paragraphs. Thousands of tax dollars were likely spent to prepare and present her affidavit. In the entire affidavit there is not one shred of evidence useful information to the court which is relevant to the child who is the subject of the child protection hearing. In my opinion, based on a 20 hour paragraph by paragraph analysis, her affidavit is frivolous full of hearsay, double hearsay, innuendo, suggestive comments, etc. only to mention a few of the issues I have uncovered in her flawed handling of this case.

In my opinion, my report will provide reasonable evidence show that Ms. Sarah Place should not be engaged in the practice of social work and that the quality of her affidavit material which was supposed to be checked over by lawyers with the Durham CAS is very poor. We are closing in on CAS workers who have been getting away with abusing children and families for too long. Its time for these CAS agencies to get their act together and start doing their jobs in a competent and professional manner.

Anyone who has had issues with Ms. Sarah Place should contact Canada Court Watch at

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Police Honored

May 21, 2013 permalink

The Toronto police have honored the team of investigators headed by John Smissen. Following the death of Katelynn Sampson at the hands of her foster parents they spent two weeks gathering evidence. Six years ago an undercover police officer tempted Katelynn's mother with a $40 drug deal. When Bernice Sampson took her opportunity, she got four months house arrest and innocent Katelynn got the death penalty. Link to earlier story. The Toronto police are not honoring the officer involved in the earlier sting.



Toronto police honour investigators for work in death of Katelynn Sampson

Toronto police honouring investigator who helped collect evidence in murder of 7-year-old Katelynn Sampson.

Katelynn Sampson
Katelynn Sampson, seen in the cafeteria of Parkdale Public School in this April 28, 2008, photo, was killed by her guardians in 2008.
Lisa Kannakko photo

I think about Katelynn Sampson often.

She was 7 in 2008, when she was beaten to death by her guardians. That’s how old my daughter Lyla is now.

I thought about Sampson last week, when Lyla was accidently kicked in the face by a cartwheeling friend in the schoolyard. Her lip was cut. She howled. Her blood streaking down her chin and splashed onto her little pink shorts.

We spent 13 hours in the hospital, getting four stitches.

Katelynn’s lips were cut too. Twice. One was ripped; the other had a hole through it. Those injuries weren’t caused by accident.

Her guardians had pounded her little face so hard, her teeth had cut through her lips, the pathologist reported.

Instead of taking her to the hospital, they locked her in the bottom of a linen closet in their Parkdale apartment.

We know that because of the work of John Smissen and his team.

Smissen is an investigator with the Toronto Police Forensic Identification Services.

His team arrived at the Parkdale apartment two days after Sampson’s death.

They spent two weeks there collecting evidence.

Two weeks seems like a lot of time to spend examining a two-bedroom apartment.

There was a lot of evidence to collect. A truckload in fact.

“There was blood splattered throughout the apartment. It was on every wall inside the apartment,” Smissen says. “When we started looking for it, it was like ‘Here’s some more and here’s some more.’ ”

A reminder: Sampson was murdered by her legal guardians, Donna Irving and Warren Johnson. They didn’t stab her to death. They killed her over slow weeks, with punches and kicks and slams and smashes. The pathologist counted 70 wounds to her body, including eight broken ribs, three broken bones and a split liver.

Her blood didn’t spurt. It trickled and flecked.

Smissen’s team needed swabs and laser scanners to detect it all, gathering evidence for murder.

They went through piles of clothing, searching for blood. In the end, they loaded a truck with more than 800 pieces of evidence.

Their breakthrough was that linen closet. There were holes in the bottom of the wooden door.

“We believe she used her feet to break it outwards,” Smissen says. “There was blood splattered everywhere under the bottom shelf.”

Then they found the two-by-four, jimmied with hockey-stick pieces to lock the closet from the outside.

“There was evidence that someone was forcibly confined in there,” he says.

That evidence was enough to boost the murder charges to first-degree. Katelynn’s murder hadn’t been impulsive. It was planned and deliberate.

The evidence was enough to convince Irving and Johnson to plead guilty — to the lesser charge of second-degree. They were sentenced last year to 15 years without parole.

That saved the courts a lengthy trial, which is a good thing for the system, but not necessarily for Katelynn.

No one witnessed her lonely, piercing pain when she was alive. Thank goodness a coroner’s inquest has been called to bear witness to some of it now that she is gone.

I imagine her howls and sobs from that dark closet and it makes my eyes burn.

Smissen’s team uncovered many documents in Katelynn’s apartment, which revealed both motive and the toxic atmosphere before her murder.

“I’ am A awful girl that’s why know one wants me,” Katelynn had written 62 times on one piece of paper.

I think about those haunting words often.

My daughter is just learning how to spell. She makes books about fairies and dogs and little happy girls, all of them loved.

“No child should have to go through stuff like this,” says Smissen, himself a father.

I don’t know how he does his job. But I am grateful he does it.

He and his team were awarded an internal Toronto police award for teamwork last week. They’ll receive the Police Officer of the Month award from the Toronto Region Board of Trade this Thursday.

They deserve it.

Source: Toronto Star

Hospital Cooperates with CAS

May 21, 2013 permalink

Bluewater Health has created a protocol with Sarnia Children's Aid. The hospital will report child injuries to CAS and cooperate with CAS to keep parents away from their children.



Bluewater Health enters into formal agreement with CAS

Bluewater Health
Bluewater Health

There are moments, every once in a while, when staff at Bluewater Health need to call the Children's Aid Society.

Sometimes a baby is born with drugs in his or her system, or children show up with broken arms, broken legs, or suspicious bruising, said Dawn Flegel, executive director with Sarnia-Lambton's CAS.

“The hospital would have a duty to report those concerns to our organization,” she said.

A committee of Children's Aid and Bluewater Health representatives recently inked a formal protocol that outlines what needs to happen when those sort of incidents occur.

That can include restricting family members' access, or supervised visits. An emergency response officer is called whenever there's potential for volatile behaviour or violence.

The protocol includes newborns and children up to age 16.

“It's not a change,” said Jennifer Black, manager with Bluewater Health's Maternal, Infant Child Program. “All that we've done is put together what we've already been doing in writing.”

It's put into practice about 30 times per year, Flegel said.

“People come and go in organizations and it's always good to have things written down to solidify and validate what was already happening in terms of best practice,” she said.

Source: Sarnia Observer

Kidnapper Caught

May 21, 2013 permalink

Kidnapping charges are pending against — who else? — the real father. Jon T Lockwood retrieved his two children Sarah Nguyen, 10, and Patrick Nguyen, 8, from foster care.



Police say man who kidnapped his 2 kids in Braintree captured

Jon T Lockwood
Jon T. Lockwood, 54, whose last-known address was a Foxboro hotel, has been charged with kidnapping his two children from a foster home in Braintree on Monday, May 20, 2013
Braintree Police


Police say a father who kidnapped his two children from a foster home was captured late Monday night in Windsor, Conn.

“Jon Lockwood is in custody in Connecticut and the children are safe,” Braintree police Chief Russell Jenkins said in an email.

The arrest came nearly seven hours after Lockwood allegedly forced his way into the foster home. Windsor is a little more than 100 miles from Braintree.

An Amber Alert had been issued a short time before Lockwood was taken into custody.

Jon T. Lockwood, 54, had a last-known address of a Foxboro hotel.

Jenkins said Lockwood had a supervised visit with the two children at a Department of Children and Families facility in Weymouth earlier in the day. Jenkins said he did not know how Lockwood found the foster home.

“There was some concern this might happen,” Jenkins said,

The alleged kidnapping took place at about 4:30 p.m. Jenkins said Lockwood forcibly removed his 8-year-old son from the foster home and ordered his 10-year-old daughter into the car before driving off with both children.

“The foster mother tried fighting off Lockwood, engaging in a tug-of-war for the custody of (the boy), but was unsuccessful,” Jenkins said.

“She tried to get the children to hide from him,” Jenkins said.

He did not know if the foster mother was injured in the struggle.

Several neighbors heard the commotion and went outside to investigate, Jenkins said.

“One neighbor tried unsuccessfully to chase Lockwood down the street,” the chief said.

The two children attend Braintree Public Schools, he said.

Lockwood had been living in Utah and had a Nevada driver’s license, Jenkins said. It isn’t known if he has any family in the state.

The mother of the children is believed to be out of the country, the chief said.

An alert sent to police agencies said that Lockwood may have been attempting to take the children out of the country.

Lockwood had checked out of his Foxboro hotel, Jenkins said.

Braintree police worked with State Police, the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on the case, the chief said.

Source: Braintree Forum

Save Our Children

May 20, 2013 permalink

The Save the Canadian Children conference took place on Friday at the Grand Olympia in Stoney Creek Ontario. About forty people heard presentations by Jim Black, Robert P Lee, Sheila Foster, Jamie Sullivan, Velvet Martin, Charles J Stecker, Raymond Dionne, Kiran Matharu and others.

Pictures: [1] [2] [3].

Source: Facebook, Alfredine Linda Plourde

There will be more posted here as soon as available.

Jamie Sullivan played a video of her late daughter (mp4), dead six days after her apprehension without cause.

3 1/2 to 4 months old. So strong. Started picking her own head up since the day after she was born.

Was just taken to her four month check up a few days prior to being stolen and was deemed exceedingly healthy and happy. Was asked by receptionist if she ever cries. She always had a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye unless she was hungry. lol. — at Home where she belonged and was loved and happy.

Source: Facebook, Friends of Delonna Sullivan

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

May 20, 2013 permalink

In 2008 British Columbia ended a program that let mothers in prison keep their babies while incarcerated. A pending suit contends that the routine separation of mothers and babies in prison constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Once the courts accept that argument, what will they call the routine separation of children from mothers who have committed no offense?



Top Story: B.C.'s prison moms battle to keep their babies

Patricia Block and daughter Amber
Patricia Block and her daughter Amber, age four at their home on May 13, 2013. Block was incarcerated when she delivered her daughter Amber. Amber was apprehended by social services and placed in foster care and was reunited five weeks later when Block was released on parole.
Photograph by: David Szabo , PNG

The baby was a girl.

As her first cries rang through the hospital room, her mother began to cry, too.

Through 14 hours of labour, Patricia Block had refused pain medication so she would remember this moment: her daughter’s cries, her bright eyes and chubby arms, the way it felt to hold her.

She named the baby Amber Joy and prayed time would stand still.

Two days later, a social worker took Amber from Abbotsford Regional Hospital to a foster home.

A correctional officer took Block back to prison.

On May 27, as the B.C. Supreme Court considers a case that deals with the rights of incarcerated mothers and their babies, Block will relive the events that separated her from Amber for three months in 2009.

The claim was filed almost five years ago after the closure of the “mother-baby program” at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, a provincial prison for women serving sentences of less than two years.

Between 2004 and 2008, 12 mothers took part in the program, which allowed them to keep their babies with them while doing time. Most babies remained with their mothers in prison for six months. The longest stay was 18 months.

In 2008, the program was cancelled.

Since then, 22 mothers have given birth while in a B.C. prison.

Block is one of two plaintiffs claiming the program’s cancellation constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, while infringing on her right to care for her baby and her baby’s right to security.

The second plaintiff, Amanda Inglis, was able to remain with her premature son in hospital until she received parole.

The mothers are asking the B.C. Supreme Court to reinstate ACCW’s mother-baby program.

A statement of defence filed on behalf of B.C.’s attorney general and solicitor general, as well as ACCW’s current warden, claims the program’s cancellation violated no rights and that the program ended over concerns for the babies’ safety.

“I’m getting ready to live it all again [in court],” Block told the Sunday Province in a recent interview. “It’s stirring up a lot of memories.”

Baby Amber was born a few months after the end of the mother-baby program.

Former ACCW warden Brenda Tole, whose time as warden corresponds almost exactly with the duration of the program, cannot recall a single incident of concern among participants.

There was no violence, she says, and no drugs, either. The provincial prison system is often called a “revolving door,” but the recidivism rate for moms was astonishingly low, she says.

“The impacts [of the program] were very, very positive.”

As Tole describes it, the prison was more like the “facilitator” than the initiator of the program, which began when ACCW opened in 2004. The provincial jail was a replacement facility for the Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women, which housed both federal and provincial inmates.

A “mother-child” program has been part of the federal Corrections mandate since 1990 and continues in Fraser Valley Institution, B.C.’s federal women’s prison for inmates serving sentences of two years or more.

Tole says that when ACCW opened, a planning conference on women’s health identified a need for a mother-baby program in the provincial prison.

“We were told the outcomes for the moms and babies were better if they could stay together,” she says. “So we said OK, we’ll try it, but we need to do our due diligence.”

That meant getting the Ministry of Children and Family Development on board, as babies who are born to women in custody fall under the ministry’s protection.

Once the program was up and running, women delivered their babies at the Fir Square unit at B.C. Women’s Hospital. After birth, the moms and babies returned to the prison to a special living unit next to the health care unit.

“It was of the things I was most proud of,” Tole says of the program. “When these moms got out [of prison] they didn’t come back. They made a life for their kids. I don’t think that would have happened otherwise.”

Tole retired in 2007.

ACCW’s new warden, Lisa Anderson, is listed as a defendant in the upcoming court case. According to the statement of claim, she implemented a number of changes to prison programs. In early 2008 the mother-baby program ended.

The defendants maintain the program was cancelled due to “concerns regarding risks to the infants” as the provincial prison holds both remanded and sentenced offenders, as well as immigration detainees.

“The short-term stay of many of these individuals does not afford an opportunity for effective, or any assessment of their suitability to cohabit safely with mothers and infants in custody,” says the statement of defence.

The decision to end the program came under fire immediately.

B.C.’s representative for children and youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, called the mother-baby program “a jewel” in a 2008 Vancouver Sun opinion piece.

“The program was cancelled without any real evaluation,” she wrote. “There were no security concerns, and certainly any institutional issues could be addressed — if the will was there — as they have been addressed for women incarcerated around the world.”

In another article, the executive director of the B.C. Association of Social Workers asked who was being “punished” by the cancellation of the program: “The experts on early childhood development will tell you unequivocally it is the children,” wrote Linda Korbin.

“If you take their children away what do these women have to live for?” president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union Darryl Walker said in a recent interview with the Sunday Province.

Patricia Block lived for visiting day.

A few days postpartum, she remembers being shackled and transported to court. She asked the judge for more visiting hours and provisions to send breast milk to her baby.

Back in her cell, she sat on her bed and watched the clock until Amber arrived.

“Newborn babies just sleep, so sometimes the whole two hours [of visiting] would pass and I wouldn’t get to feed her. But I held her,” she says.

At the end of the visit, she’d hand over her daughter and a bag of frozen milk. There was little else she could do for her baby, so she wrote to her.

“I miss you and love you so much.

I’m so sorry we are not together, honey.

I think of you every second of the day.

Wherever you are, I hope you are OK.

Love, Mommy”

Block began the journal before Amber was born. She’d learned she was pregnant in late 2008, around the same time she entered ACCW after being arrested for selling drugs.

“I knew the baby program had ended, and I knew what would happen to my baby,” she says.

At her sentencing hearing, Block asked for a two-year sentence so she could go to FVI, where there is a mother-child program.

But while her request for a longer sentence was granted, it took 60 days to process her transfer to the federal prison, and another 60 days for an intake assessment.

At seven months pregnant, she learned her application to the federal mother-child program was denied because she was not expected to remain at the prison long enough to complete the classes that are part of the program.

Amber was born at 9:24 p.m. on March 17, 2009. St. Patrick’s Day. Two days later, a social worker came into Block’s hospital room with a car seat.

Block insisted on strapping the baby in herself.

“I couldn’t do anything. I cried. I kissed her goodbye.”

The significance of the mother-child bond will play a key role in Block’s upcoming B.C. Supreme Court case.

“We argue that breaking that bond is taking away the right to life, liberty and security of the person, both for the mother and the baby,” explains co-counsel Sarah Rauch.

According to an article in the BC Medical Journal, female prisoners who experience “traumatic separations” from their children are more likely to be re-incarcerated.

“If we are looking for positive outcomes [for female prisoners], we need to pay attention to the role of bonding between mothers and their children,” agrees Dr. Patricia Janssen with the School of Population and Public Health at UBC.

Several years ago, while the ACCW mother-baby program was still running, the professor followed female prisoners to assess their success at achieving health goals upon release.

“A number of women said that watching moms with their babies in the prison motivated them to find and reconnect with their own children,” she says.

Mo Korchinski can attest to that.

The former inmate turned prison researcher was doing time at ACCW in 2004 when a fellow inmate had a baby boy and brought him back to the mom-and-baby unit with her.

After years of addiction and several stints behind bars, Korchinski often told people she had no children.

In fact, she had three.

“Seeing the babies opened up something inside of me,” she says. “I’d blocked out that part of my life.”

Reconnecting with her daughter Cassandra was hard work. The teen had been living with her dad’s family for about a decade.

“It’s impossible to forget everything that happened in the 11 years she was gone,” says Cassandra, who was eight months pregnant herself when she reconnected with her mother.

Today, Korchinski is helping to raise her granddaughter.

“The cycle of dysfunction has to break somewhere,” she says.

Block’s lawyers plan to argue the cancellation of the mother-baby program not only infringes on the rights of mothers, but also on the rights of their babies.

Child development experts agree a strong mother-child bond is the basis for proper child development.

“The baby has to know that the adult taking care of them is absolutely in love with them,” says Dr. Hillel Goelman, an early childhood education professor at UBC. “Children become confident when they’re comfortable and the caregiver’s response to them is positive and predictable.”

Dr. Jennifer Lloyd with UBC’s Human Early Learning Partnership points to breastfeeding as an important way for mothers and babies to bond.

“It’s very difficult to find a replacement for Mom,” she says.

Both experts were unable to comment on the upcoming court case and the impact that living in a prison might have on a baby, but Goelman says a child’s environment should be safe and predictable, as well as stimulating.

“Toys don’t have to be the latest thing from Fisher Price. A drawer of wooden spoons might fit the bill,” he says.

Lloyd says children begin to appreciate social interaction with other children at about age three, but adults remain the key to healthy development.

The mother-baby program has its share of detractors as well.

The union for federal prison guards is not supportive of the federal program.

“A prison is not a place for children,” says Gord Robertson, regional president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers. “Staff cannot cover all places at all times, and we believe the risk outweighs the benefits.”

The federal mother-baby program made headlines in 2008 when Lisa Whitford won the right to bring her 11-month-old daughter, Jordyn, into FVI while serving a four-year sentence for manslaughter. The baby girl was born as Whitford awaited trial at ACCW following her 2006 arrest for shooting Jordyn’s father, Anthony Cartledge, at the couple’s Prince George home.

Cartledge’s family did not reply to interview requests for this story, but previously told the Comox Valley Echo they did not feel Whitford was being adequately punished.

“She’s getting her own private, guarded, locked and secure backyard,” said Natasha Cartledge, Anthony Cartledge’s daughter from a previous relationship.

Another family member, Diane Martin, questioned what was best for Jordyn.

“I would think that if I was to have a baby and raise it in total isolation by myself in a house for the first two years of its life, there might be a public outcry when that was discovered,” she said in the article.

Stockwell Day, federal public safety minister at the time, called for a review of the federal program and announced prisoners convicted of violent crimes would no longer be eligible.

Canada’s corrections watchdog Howard Sapers says participation in the federal program has dwindled since eligibility was restricted. There are currently no prisoners taking part in the program in Canada.

“I feel it needs to be structured in a way that allows for participation,” he says. “A program that exists solely on paper is not really a program at all.”

Beyond sparking the controversy that led to the eligibility restrictions, it’s unclear what impact the mother-child program had on Whitford’s life — and what has happened to Jordyn.

In 2011, Whitford was the subject of a Canada-wide arrest warrant after leaving a New Westminster halfway house.

Court records from Fernie, B.C. show that in January she was convicted of assault with a weapon. She received a 60-day jail sentence.

For more than 70 years, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver has advocated for the rights of women in trouble with the law.

So one might assume the non-profit organization would support the mother-baby program.

But executive director Shawn Bayes says she can’t “in good conscience” do that. Since the cancellation of the ACCW program, E Fry has been working with B.C. Corrections to develop sentencing alternatives that keep new mothers in the community — and out of prison.

B.C. Corrections says 22 inmates have given birth since the program’s cancellation.

“I think this is where the rubber hits the road,” says Bayes. “Pre-sentencing reports should present the judge with options for dealing with [expectant] mothers ... Mothers and babies should not be in prison to begin with.”

E Fry estimates more than two-thirds of female prisoners are mothers and the sole caregivers of their children. While most children of male prisoners live with their mothers, children of female prisoners live with extended family or are placed in foster care.

About 75 per cent of female prisoners in B.C. Corrections serve less than three months in jail.

Three months is the amount of time Block was separated from Amber.

“I can’t ever get that time back,” she says.

After her release from prison, Block attended culinary school in Vancouver. She now lives in the Okanagan.

Amber is four. She’s funny and silly and bursting with life. She likes preschool. She just finished swimming lessons. She’s a picky eater.

“I think someday I’ll tell her the story of her birth,” says Block. “When she’s an adult. When she can understand.”

Right now, Block’s focus is on saving other women from the nightmare she endured after Amber’s birth.

“Women are still suffering. I’m fighting for them now. I want to give them hope.”

Source: The Province (BC)

Addendum: A court has ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.



Incarcerated mothers should be able to take babies with them to jail, B.C. judge rules

mother with baby
An inmate at the Washington Corrections Center for Women walks her baby boy in the J unit in Gig Harbor, in Washington on May 5, 2011.

British Columbia’s government violated the rights of incarcerated mothers when it cancelled a program allowing inmates to serve time with their babies, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled.

The lawsuit was launched in 2008 by two former inmates of the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge, B.C., after a prison official cancelled the program because infants were not within the mandate of the correctional service.

Justice Carol Ross ruled Monday the decision violated the mothers’ equality rights and security of person and liberty, contrary to the principles of fundamental justice under the Charter of Rights.

“The decision to cancel the Mother Baby Program removed one important option, the one presumed at law to be favourable, from the process of determining the best interests of the child,” said Judge Ross.

“As a result infants have been and will be separated from their mothers during the critical formative period of their life, interfering with their attachment to their mother, and depriving them of the physical and psychological benefits of breastfeeding.”

Mothers, too, will continue to suffer from being separated from their infants, Judge Ross added, concluding the decision to cancel the program was “arbitrary, overbroad and grossly disproportionate.”

She said it was also contrary to the principles of fundamental justice.

“Provincially sentenced mothers and their babies are members of a vulnerable and disadvantaged group,” she said.

“In that regard the circumstances of aboriginal mothers and their infants are of particular concern given the history of overrepresentation of aboriginal women in the incarcerated population and the history of dislocation of aboriginal families caused by state action.”

Geoff Cowper, legal counsel for some of the plaintiffs, said he is pleased with the ruling, adding the women showed considerable courage and determination.

“There’s a compelling record, I think, record to revisit the whole issue, and I’m hopeful that the province will agree to reinstate the program because it stands well on its own merits, whether or not the constitution requires them to do that,” he said.

The judge gave the government six months to correct the present situation and comply with her ruling.

Kasari Govender, executive director of the West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, an intervener in the case, said the ruling creates a legal implication for the government.

“The government has to reinstate a similar program,” she said. “What exactly that program will look like is not specified in the decision.”

Grace Pastine, spokeswoman for the BC Civil Liberties Association, agreed that the status quo is isn’t acceptable.

“The government will no longer have the option of refusing to administer a successful program that had fundamental, proven benefits for mothers and babies,” she said.

“This program was highly respected. It respected the family unit and the bond between mothers and their babies.”

Marnie Mayhew, a spokeswoman for BC Corrections, said the agency will review the decision carefully and decide how to move forward.

“If government decides to not pursue an appeal, BC Corrections has six months to fulfil the direction from the court,” she said in an email.

“Regardless of the outcome, I can assure you we are committed to ensuring supports for all women — including pregnant women — continues to be in place at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women.”

Source: National Post

Magic from Taxpayers

May 19, 2013 permalink

A fairy godmother (Ontario taxpayers) has rescued the children's aid society of Simcoe, paying their $1.5 million debt incurred through overspending their budget.



Province clears Children’s Aid Society’s $1.5-million debt

SIMCOE COUNTY – With the wave of an invisible wand by the province, the $1.5-million debt held by the Simcoe County Children’s Aid Society (CAS) has been forgiven.

“In April, a new funding model came to all children’s aid societies,” said Susan Carmichael, executive director of the CAS. “What the ministry did is forgive everyone’s debt. Out of the 47 of us, 30 were carrying historical debt. All of us are starting with a clean slate.”

The new funding formula gives a payout based on a three-year average, and also takes into account factors like percentage of children living rurally, or aboriginal families in the area.

“The government recognized we were under-funded,” said Carmichael. “We are actually getting a two per cent increase every year for the next three years.”

According to Carmichael, the local CAS was “penalized” in the past because funding was based on the number of children physically in their care.

“Ninety per cent of our children are still with the families, and you were penalized for things like that (when we felt) we were doing good work,” she said. “We were relying on lines of credit. Nobody wants to run on a line of credit.”

Any annual deficits reported over the last five years have been forgiven, said Carmichael.

Going forward, she’s had to sign an accountability agreement, which means the local CAS won’t run a deficit.

“I welcome the accountability agreement,” said Carmichael. “Taxpayers should know how we’re spending the money, and performance indicators will demonstrate the good work we’re doing.”

The agreement already comes with tough decisions, as Carmichael anticipates being $800,000 over budget if spending continues as is. Unionized salary increases and cost-of-living expenses are a portion of that figure, she said.

“We’re looking at all of our services, and everything we’re doing, to find a cost-benefit analysis,” she said. “It’s a $40-million budget, so we can find the savings.”

It might mean taking children out of “more expensive resources into kinship or family-based care,” she said.

However, children’s safety is always a priority, regardless of the cost.

“Children’s safety, well-being and permanence is No. 1, and we will never compromise that just to balance a budget,” said Carmichael.

In 2012-13, the local CAS served 4,500 families, with 11,000 children.

Source: Midland Mirror

fairy godmother

Belleville Rally

May 18, 2013 permalink

Curtis Kingston

Belleville rally was a success got a couple hundred signatures on the petition and we certainly had much support from the public. I will be posting the video in the next few days and we will be in Napanee in two weeks. Thanks to everyone that attended :)

Source: Facebook, Curtis Kingston

Pictures: [1] [2]

Source: Facebook, Terri-Anne Bucholtz

Video of the rally by Curtis Kingston. YouTube and local copy (mp4).

Teaching Junior

May 18, 2013 permalink

What do you do to a seven-year-old boy who scuffs his shoes? Answer: Whip him with a belt. That's what Indiana foster parents Lorna and Timothy Bankston did.



Foster parents charged for whipping boy for scuffed shoes

The foster parents of a 7-year-old boy have been charged in Lake Superior Court with battery resulting in bodily injury for allegedly whipping him with a belt for scuffing his shoes.

Lorna C. Bankston, and Timothy K. Bankston, both 47, of 2774 W. 47th Ave. in Calumet Township were charged after the boy complained of pain to his arm to a school nurse at Hosford Park Elementary School on Jan. 29.

Authorities saw fresh “whip marks” on the boy’s arms and back.

Two other children were removed from the home.

The charge is punishable by a maximum three-year sentence.

Source: Chicago Post-Tribune

woman with whip

Inverse Coercion

May 18, 2013 permalink

This British story appears here as an example of a form of suppression that does not yet have a name. We have dubbed it inverse coercion. To suppress stories of victims of oppression, the authorities harm not the reporter, who may claim protections such as free speech or freedom of the press, but the victims in the story. An example was the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, as reported by Eason Jordan. Any time the foreign press exposed an abuse in Iraq, the police tortured or killed the family that was the victim. Decent members of the press ceased reporting to avoid contributing to the mayhem. A decade ago the same technique was used by Dufferin CAS when crown-wardship was imposed on families that told their stories to VOCA.

Last week the British press reported on a family falsely accused of abusing their own children. The family was completely cleared by the courts, but subject to a gag order preventing them from being identified by name. Violation of the gag order will bring harm on the family, such as jailing the parents or fostering of the children. In the past John Hemming has invoked parliamentary privilege to identify persons involved in family court, but in today's case he has to refrain in the knowledge that his actions would destroy the family. The courts can even spread their fear outside of Britain. A disclosure by fixcas would result in the same harm to the family. The permanent suppression of the names greatly reduces the impact of any press report and gives the perpetrators absolute protection against the kind of reporting most feared by wrongdoers exercising police power: showing the faces of the innocent on television. Court systems that muzzle the press by further harming their victims have the same legitimacy as the regime of Saddam Hussein.



These loving parents were branded abusers - yet the courts won't let them clear their names: SUE REID on a chilling case that raises profound new questions about justice and Britain's culture of secrecy

  • Parents cleared of wrongdoing but barred from proclaiming innocence
  • Accused of causing broken bones in three young children
  • But injuries were caused by inherited disorders

Playing in their large garden, this family look happy and content.

A pair of twins, a brother and sister aged two, reach out to cuddle their parents who, in turn, cling tightly to their youngest child, a boy of one who keeps crawling off at a fast pace towards the flower-beds.

The children are blissfully unaware that if doctors, police officers and social workers had had their way, this scene would not be taking place at all. By law, in many cases such as theirs involving family courts, it is not possible to name those involved or identify where they live.

But we can reveal that nearly two years ago, the parents were wrongly accused of the most horrific crime: shaking their children, injuring their brains and breaking their bones.

At one stage, a police officer told the family: ‘This is the worst case of child abuse I have ever come across in my 16-year career.’

During 19 months of investigations, the parents were barred from being alone with the children. Therefore the twins’ maternal grandparents (both in their late-70s) had to care for them at night while the parents slept in a separate part of the family’s home, the connecting door locked on the orders of social workers.

Cleared: The parents of these three adorable children are completely innocent but cannot be identified

Astonishingly, a bell on the electric gate at the garden entrance was also disconnected by social workers.

They said it was so they could make unannounced visits to check the parents were not attacking their children.

When the mother gave birth to her third child, by Caesarean, social workers claimed there was a risk that she would hurt him. They threatened to take the baby away (even though he was being breast-fed) until the mother could be supervised round the clock in her hospital bed.

But a little over two weeks ago, a High Court judge decided that the parents had not harmed their children. Mr Justice Baker said the couple were ‘besotted’ about them and should not face ‘one scintilla’ of criticism.

He refused to allow the youngsters to be taken into care by Devon Council and, in all probability, be put up for adoption.

The judge said the couple suffered from complex medical ailments which may have been inherited by the children and which made their bones and skulls fragile.

He concluded there was a ‘real possibility’ that — rather than being the result of abuse — the twin girl’s elbow was broken when her arm was pinned down by two doctors as they tried to insert a tube for blood tests.

A fracture of her brother’s rib was also ‘likely’ to have occurred at the hospital during a medical examination.

As the mother says now: ‘It has been a nightmare. So many mistakes were made. We have lived for months under this massive terror that council social workers would take our children away. I was made to feel an evil woman by social workers. They treated me like a liar. We were accused of being child abusers by the police.

‘Now we learn that some of our children’s injuries may have been caused at the hospital where doctors were accusing us.’

It is, indeed, a disturbing story. But as this family get on with their life, there is another worrying aspect to this case.

It concerns the judge’s decision that the family cannot be identified and that their whereabouts must be kept secret until the children are grown up — even though they have done nothing wrong.

The ruling, by Mr Justice Baker at the High Court in Exeter, means that if this family allow the media to use their real names, they will be in contempt of court and risk being sent to prison.

They are frightened even to speak about their ordeal to neighbours or friends because in doing so they could identify themselves and the children as having been participants in the family court case.

The couple feel they have no choice but to comply with the ruling. However, they have agreed to brief the Mail anonymously about their plight.

These gagging orders have become normal in such family court cases where parents are eventually found innocent of any wrongdoing. Last week, Bill Bache, the family’s lawyer and an expert on family courts, said: ‘This ruling impinges on this family’s freedom of speech. This is very troubling.’

And John Hemming, the Lib Dem MP campaigning against court secrecy, added: ‘These rulings stop innocent families talking openly about their experiences and they protect the doctors, social workers and police who wrongly pointed the finger of blame at them.’

His views are endorsed by Alison Stevens, who runs the charity Parents Against Injustice.

She said: ‘Most innocent parents who win their children back face a gagging order from the family courts. It means the mistakes made by social workers, doctors and the family courts are concealed.’

So how did this travesty occur?

The couple — she a 39-year-old teacher and he a former hotel manager of 31, whom we will call Elizabeth and William — met five years ago.

They began to live together nearly three years ago — owning a bungalow in Devon — and were delighted when, after IVF treatment, Elizabeth became pregnant and gave birth in February 2011 to the twins.

Both babies were a good weight, appeared healthy, and were taken home from hospital five days later. But their daughter had trouble feeding. She lost weight and was prescribed a special high-calorie bottled milk.

She soon put on weight, and a health visitor who saw her at home when she was four months old, wrote in the child’s medical records: ‘Much better weight gain. Looks healthy and happy. Feeding improved greatly.’

Yet, three hours after that visit the baby collapsed. She stopped breathing and was taken by air ambulance to Devon and Exeter Hospital. There, doctors held down her right arm as two tubes were inserted into her hand.

‘This is probably when the fracture to her elbow happened,’ says her mother — a view endorsed by Mr Justice Baker in his published judgment on the case.

The baby recovered and went home. But three days later she was taken back to hospital with suspected meningitis.

The child was given an MRI scan which detected bleeding inside her skull. Doctors gave her a lumbar puncture (a spinal fluid test which cleared her of the disease), holding her so firmly by the legs during the procedure that her blood vessels ruptured, causing red marks.

Meanwhile, her twin brother was coming under medical scrutiny, too.

The hospital’s consultant paediatrician Dr James Hart, who was treating the girl, asked for the boy to be given a MRI scan. This revealed inter-cranial bleeding and a number of rib fractures.

An X-ray on the girl also exposed a single rib fracture and — tellingly — a fracture of her right elbow.

The hospital immediately alerted police and social services. Dr Hart said he thought the children had been shaken by either of her parents.

An official investigation was launched and it was only because the grandparents offered to care for the children that the authorities were persuaded not to remove them from the family.

‘The consultant paediatrician continued to insist we had shaken the children and caused the injuries,’ says Elizabeth today.

As a result, she says that she and the children’s father had to be ‘locked’ in a separate flat all night and were told they couldn’t be left alone with their children at any time.

The police also visited the home and as part of their investigation searched through the children’s toys.

Things became worse, when the mother became pregnant again last summer and gave birth.

When the little boy was three weeks old, he fell out of his Moses’ basket on to a wooden floor, a distance of between 18in and 24in. Despite the low height of the fall, a subsequent medical examination revealed that he had suffered skull fractures and bleeding in the brain.

This was enough for Devon Council social workers to again apply to the family court — unsuccessfully — to take all three children into care.

Crucially, the family’s medical history was not investigated by the hospital.

It was left to Elizabeth to try to see if there was a link. After hours researching on the internet, she realised that her own medical problems — she suffers from easy bruising and painful joints — could have been passed on to the children.

She therefore went to a rheumatologist who diagnosed a tissue disorder known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which can cause bone fragility and bleeding within the skull.

Her partner, it turned out, also had health problems: chronic kidney stones which are associated with a calcium imbalance and reduced bone density.

When Elizabeth told the court what she had discovered, it sent the couple for an independent medical examination by one of the world’s top geneticists (and an expert on Ehlers-Danlos syndrome) in London.

He said the children were likely to have inherited disorders from their parents which ‘had an impact on their bone fragility’.

‘It was a turning point for us,’ says Elizabeth now. ‘I believe my three-week-old baby’s injuries from the fall also pointed to his genetic disposition to fragile bones.

‘I believe many other parents with similar genetic disorders are being wrongly accused of shaking their babies and child abuse. They should be told what happened to us.’

So how did this scandal happen?

Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) came to public attention in Britain in 1997 when British au pair Louise Woodward was convicted in the U.S. — she was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter — of shaking a baby to death.

SBS was said to show that any brain-bleeds or fractures of children’s bones were sure signs of deliberate abuse of babies by parents or carers.

Among the most ardent supporters of the SBS theory was Sir Roy Meadow. Trusted by the family courts, where he regularly appeared for councils accusing parents as an expert witness, Meadow was finally barred from medicine after giving evidence at the trial of Sally Clark, a solicitor whose two children had died suddenly.

Sally Clark
Falsely accused: Solicitor Sally Clark was wrongly accused of killing her two children

He wrongly claimed there was a 73 million-to-one chance of a middle-class mother, like Sally, losing two children to cot death. Clark was subsequently convicted.

He has since successfully appealed and retired. As for Sally, she was imprisoned for three years before being freed on appeal, and has since died.

Rioch Edwards-Brown, a campaigner for accused parents, says: ‘Scores of families have had their lives destroyed by false accusations that they hurt or killed their babies by violently shaking them. They have been convicted on what is medics and social workers’ opinion and dogma rather than fact.’

After Sally’s conviction was overturned, it was found that ailments such as vitamin D deficiency which causes rickets, birth trauma (even in some Caesarean deliveries), and hereditary diseases could mimic the physical signs of the syndrome.

The Court of Appeal ruled that due to the growing confusion surrounding SBS, a conviction should never be made when there are conflicting medical opinions given in a trial. There has to be real evidence of an assault.

However, in the family courts — where guilt is decided on a ‘balance of probabilities’ — hundreds of parents every year are still being accused of shaking their babies and have had them removed into care and adopted.

Worse, these judgments are always made behind closed doors. Even if the parents have not hurt their child, secrecy rulings obstruct them from identifying themselves and openly proclaiming their innocence after the case is over.

That is just what is happening to Elizabeth and William.

Mr Justice Baker’s ruling also means that only the one doctor actually named in his final judgment, when he cleared the parents, can be identified publicly.

As a frightening result, the identities of the social workers, the police officers and nearly all the hospital medics who provoked this family’s nightmare are now hidden behind a cloak of secrecy.

Is that justice? When the judge was shown happy, smiling photographs of the family together he said they illustrated the ‘manifest devotion’ of both Elizabeth and William to their two boys and girl.

He added: ‘They are significant evidence of how much these parents love their children.’

So why, one might ask, is this couple not allowed to say who they are — and shout publicly from the rooftops that they are innocent?

Source: Daily Mail

Boiled Baby

May 15, 2013 permalink

Boiled baby, posted by Angus Francis
click for larger image

Source: Facebook, Angus Francis

The picture above is a social worker's idea of an April Fool's joke. It is posted to the Facebook page of Angus Francis.

Mr Francis has appeared in these pages before in a story on Hastings CAS in September 2008.. Enclosed below is another more recent story mentioning Angus Francis, still with Hastings. His compensation in 2012 from Highland Shores CAS was $121,705.47 in pay and benefits.

Brenda Everall posted a video of her attempt to report baby abuse to CAS on YouTube and a local copy (mp4).

What would CAS do if a mother posted a picture like this?



Children's Aid "struggling" to find homes for kids

The Hastings Children's Aid Society is "struggling" to find foster and adoptive homes for children of all ages.

Angus Francis, manager of the society's Child in Care services department, made the statement Saturday at the Family Space-Ontario Early Years Centre on MacDonald Avenue.

His remarks came during a celebration of National Child Day, when local agencies held a free family concert.

It was attended by more than 100 people, most of them children and parents.

Children danced and played while local trio The Fiddleheads performed, but Francis said other children's needs aren't being met.

"We have everyone from infants to teenagers that we're struggling to find homes for," Francis said.

"About 70 kids are still waiting for adoption.

"We had 32 adopted last year. We're on track to adopt 30 this year.

"But the need is constant."

Call the society at 613-962-9291 to learn more about how you can help.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Brenda followed up with a series of phone calls on this incident. Names are taken from voice recordings, there is no way to know the true spelling.

After complaints started to come in, the original photo was removed from the Facebook page of Angus Francis. Attila Vinczer and at least one other person posting copies had them removed by Facebook and further had their accounts suspended for 12 hours. Attila says CAS complained and Facebook informed him it violated their "Community Standards" rules.

To recap, posting for two weeks by Angus Francis was great fun, but posting for a few hours by critics violated community standards. Get it?

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Film Police Beating
Lose Kids

May 13, 2013 permalink

When Baltimore police were beating a man one of the cops noticed Makia Smith filming the incident. They attacked the woman and threatened to remove her two-year-old daughter.

Based on this, and many other stories, threats by police and prosecutors to remove children from a family are routine.



Beaten for Filming a Beating, Woman Says

BALTIMORE (CN) - Baltimore police beat up a woman and smashed her camera for filming them beating up a man, telling her: "You want to film something bitch? Film this!" the woman claims in court.

Makia Smith sued the Baltimore Police Department, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts and police Officers Nathan Church, William Pilkerton, Jr., Nathan Ulmer and Kenneth Campbell in Federal Court.

Smith claims she was stuck in stand-still rush hour traffic in northern Baltimore when she saw the defendant officers beating up and arresting a young man.

She says pulled out her camera, stood on her car's door sill and filmed the beating.

"Officer Church saw plaintiff filming the beating and ran at her," the complaint states. "He scared her and she sat back in her vehicle. As he ran at her, he yelled, 'You want to film something bitch? Film this!'

"Officer Church reached into plaintiff's car and grabbed her telephone-camera out of her hand, threw it to the ground and destroyed it by smashing it with his foot.

"Officer Church pulled plaintiff out of her car by her hair and beat her. Officers Pilkerton, Ulmer, and Campbell then ran to plaintiff's car and joined Officer Church in beating plaintiff and arrested her using excessive force. At all times described herein, plaintiff's two year old daughter witnessed her mother's beating and arrest by the Officers, as did others."

Smith claims the cops taunted her and threatened to take her daughter away. She says they refused to call her mother to her toddler.

"The officers, despite the pleas of plaintiff, refused to call plaintiff's mother. Instead, the officers tormented plaintiff by telling her that her daughter would be taken from her and sent to Social Services. Seeing plaintiff's distressful reaction to these tormenting threats, they continued," the complaint states.

Smith says claims she was arrested and taken to jail on bogus charges that she assaulted Church and resisted arrest.

She claims Church failed to appear for her trial - twice, and prosecutors dropped the charges, but she had to hire a lawyer and spend more money recovering her impounded car.

She claims Baltimore police have a history of illegally seizing and destroying recording devices.

She seeks $1.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages for civil rights violations, conversion and infliction of emotional distress.

She is represented by Christopher Lyon, with Astrachan Gunst Thomas.

Police departments around the country have been accused of similar responses to citizens filming them abusing other people.

Source: Courthouse News Service

False Records

May 13, 2013 permalink

Florida child-welfare caseworker Sashelle Alamo-Rios falsely recorded visits to foster homes that never happened.



Caseworker didn't check on children, arrested for falsifying records

Sashelle Alamo-Rios charged with 11 counts of falsifying records.

A child-welfare caseworker was arrested Wednesday, charged with not visiting children for scheduled appointments and falsifying records to cover it up, court documents show.

Sashelle Alamo-Rios, 27, was working as a case manager for the Children's Home Society of Florida, which has a contract with the Florida Department of Children and Families to provide services to foster children, a CHSF spokesperson said.

Alamo-Rios is facing 11 counts of falsifying records between Jan. 20 and March 22 of 2012 after a foster caregiver told the chief investigator for DCF that she did not see Alamo-Rios on several scheduled appointments, court records show.

The foster mom "recorded DCF's visitations on a calendar and Alamo-Rios did not keep the face-to-face meetings," despite turning in records for travel reimbursements, according to investigate documents filed by the Orange-Osceola Ninth Circuit State Attorney's Office.

An initial tip was reported to CHSF in March 2012. Officials from that agency contacted DCF's Office of Inspector General with the tip and the investigation ensued.

"We take our responsibility for keeping kids safe seriously," CHSF Central Florida Executive Director Tara Hormell said. "We have a zero tolerance policy on falsification."

Alamo-Rios worked for CHSF for 22 months with children who are victims of abuse and neglect before being put on suspension, Hormell said.

She was put on suspension when the investigation started, but quit before CHSF could fire her, according to Hormell.

According to court documents, investigators determined that "none of the children were placed at risk or harmed."

CHSF has 89 locations throughout the state and helps about 90,000 children annually, Hormell said.

Source: Orlando Sentinel

Get Out of Court

May 12, 2013 permalink

Vern Beck reports on Facebook that teenagers were excluded from a courtroom in a family case involving their sibling.



Vernon Beck

In a court hearing recently, the CAS lawyer asked that informed teens and family members be removed from the court. The informed teens had come to the court in support of their parents and their younger sibling who was needlessly in care of the CAS. The teens wanted to be in court and were fed up with the way in which the CAS and its reckless and unregistered workers had been treating their family and their younger sibling for the past several months.

The Child and Family Services Act states that children above 12 have the right to attend and to be informed of court matters affecting them, yet in this case the CAS and the judge wanted to maintain secrecy in the court. All the teens in this case were above 14 with one being above 18 years of age. The CAS lawyer and the judge simply did not want any witnesses, especially young Canadians to see what was going on behind the courtroom doors. The teens were made to get out of the court. The judge made some really stupid remark that parents should not allow their teens to drink under age, so why would they allow them to come to a courtroom and expose them to such "emotional" harm.

The teens were very angry at being excluded and lost their respect for the judge and the family court process. In their words, "the family court sucks" These teens saw right through the CAS lawyer and the judge who are supposed to be so "learned". The teens figured out immediately what was the judge and the CAS lawyer were up to. The teens clearly where much smarter than the judge himself and called the judge an "idiot" outside of the court.

Teens today are eager to learn and eager to see for themselves who these legal professionals are who are destroying their parents in family court. Yet, the judges and lawyers want to keep these young Canadians m in the dark and then try to compare it to underage drinking.

Unfortunately, these family court judges themselves are speeding up the very destruction of Canada's Justice system and putting the Canadian family justice system into disrepute. Young Canadians are now learning how corrupt some of the family courts are as well as these CAS lawyers who will do anything to profit the agency that employs them in the name of justice. It's is no wonder why even members of the Supreme Court of Canada are saying that family court system is in the crisis it is today.

Canada Court Watch will be making a submission to the Supreme Court of Canada and to all Chief Justices of each province in Canada as well as to all MPP's on the issue of judges keeping young Canadians out of their own family court proceedings to maintain secrecy. Its time for our family courts to be more open and accountable to the families they serve. It's time for families to be involved in the justice process, not excluded and told they are stupid.

Anyone who has had the experience with judges keeping family informed members out of court using threats and intimidation and are willing to speak out about it then please contact Canada Court Watch.

JJ Wright My lawyers threaten to quit if I brought in any of my children

Patricia Anne Turner judge said in my case kids were not to be even told what happened in court or about what was going on in proceedings, and CAS never served my children over 12 yrs of age with court documents. My kids asked to go to court and CAS wouldn't take them and tried everything to keep them quiet (I have a very vocal daughter and as soon as an OCL was appointed she said what she wanted and OCL was good in my case

Alexandra Stuart CAS had made it very clear in a supervision order that my 2 year old could not even be in a courthouse.

Destiny Davidson my daughter was asked to leave the courtroom at the age of 15 the worker at the home wroteher a note for school so she could attend. the cas asked the judge to remove her from the court room, she. was asked to leave. later the worker i hadcancelled my visit that day and rote in an affidavit, it was cancelled because i had seen her at court.

Robert T McQuaid When siblings A, B and C are in foster care and A dies, child protectors assert the right to keep the name of A secret. It might identify B and C as foster children. But when A goes to family court, they assert that siblings B and C are not involved and should be excluded from the process. What we have is an agency that uses conflicting arguments, whichever one suits their purposes at the moment.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

kicked out of family court

Lies, Damned Lies and MCFD

May 10, 2013 permalink

Last December British Columbia MCFD made an agreement with father Derek Hoare to return his daughter Ayn Van Dyk. It was a lie. The girl is still in foster care, and her mother Amie van Dyk gets occasional supervised visits.

Ayn Van Dyk

Hungry Boy

May 9, 2013 permalink

Nine-year-old Nathan Copeland-Lewis is missing in Oshawa. According to police he has run away before and is most likely to be found in a place selling food. Reading between the lines, this looks like hungry foster runaway.



Police Request Assistance in Locating Missing Child

Durham Regional Police are requesting assistance of the public in locating a missing nine- year-old child from the Ritson Road North and Hillcroft Street area of Oshawa.

Nathan COPELAND-LEWIS ran away from Hillsdale Public School on Oshawa Boulevard North at approximately 3:15 p.m. on this date.

Nathan is described as: male, white, with a thin build, approximately 163 cm (5’ 4”) tall, with short light brown hair, wearing a white t-shirt with blue and white on it, dark blue “skinny” jeans with rips on them and black “Spiderman” rubber boots with a web pattern on them. A photo is attached.

Nathan has gone missing before and has been located in places that sell food, such as shopping malls. Searches in various locations have taken place but he has not been located.

Anyone with information about Nathan’s whereabouts is asked to call Durham Regional Police Central East Division in Oshawa at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5200.


Nathan Copeland-Lewis

Source: Durham Regional Police

Note: Police say the boy was found the same evening.

Win A Prize!

May 9, 2013 permalink

My Foster Family
click for larger image

Yesterday Melissa Buckingham-Russell photographed a poster at the Barrie CAS office. It is a bit late to enter, but some lucky artist will get a prize.

Fixcas suggests a truthful picture of a foster child. Watch what Cassandra Robillard's son looked like ten after she refused to give a social worker oral sex.

Of course, since CAS will be judging, truthful pictures are out of the running. Only a false picture showing foster parents and children loving each other will be considered.

Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...

Thanks to the efforts of Pat Niagara, we now have a copy of the poster with the technical errors corrected. It also uses a realistic example.

Funding Controversy

May 9, 2013 permalink

Funding cuts for children's aid are generating controversy. CHCH-TV has a video report featuring a statement by Kathleen Wynne (local copy mp4). The article enclosed says Norfolk council wants the funding cuts restored. All of the objections to cuts come from the workers formerly getting the funding, none come from families getting the so-called services.



County objects to CAS funding cuts

NORFOLK - Norfolk council wants the province to think twice about pending cuts to the Children’s Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk.

Council has directed Mayor Dennis Travale to draft a letter expressing the county’s displeasure with pending staff cuts and a reduction in service.

Simcoe Coun. Charlie Luke, an elementary school principal, raised the matter in the council chamber Tuesday night. He began by noting that council members have been inundated with emails about the cuts since the Reformer reported on them May 2.

“They need to know that these are our children,” Luke said. “If you don’t work in the business, you don’t know how important the work they do is. I like to think that I do.”

The local CAS learned in April that the cash-strapped province intends to cut its budget 2% a year over the next five years. This will reduce its funding from $21.5 million a year to $17.8 million. Because 60% of the local CAS’s budget goes toward employee wages and benefits, the agency faces the prospect of laying off some of its 160 employees.

“I have a lot of concern over what’s taking place here,” Luke said. “Our young and our old have to be looked after.”

The local CAS has 291 children in care and liaises with another 454 families. In total, the agency has dealings with more than 1,100 local children.

The local CAS received more than 2,000 referrals last year and completed 936 investigations.

Source: Simcoe Reformer

TD Bank Supports CAS

May 9, 2013 permalink

TD Bank has donated $75,000 to Windsor-Essex CAS. That is in addition to the $25,000 donated last month by Rose City Ford.



Children's Aid gets cash contribution

The Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society has received a contribution of $75,000 from TD financial to support the construction of the Bill and Dot Muzzatti Child and Family Centre.

The centre, currently under construction, is part of the $4.4-million, two-floor expansion of the society's building on Riverside Drive, designed to provide enhanced services to children, youth and families, said Mike Clark, manager of public relations and fund development for the society.

The concept is to provide a "spacious and inviting" environment for parent and child visitations.

The project was spearheaded by a $1.25 million gift from Dorothy Muzzatti, her late husband Bill, and the Muzzatti family.

"TD values the great work that the Children's Aid Society does," said Eric Griggs, divisional vice-president of retail for TD Financial. "This support is an investment in children and youth, who are the future of our community."

Source: Windsor Star

Addendum: Vern Beck suggests a campaign to get TD Bank to correct its actions.



Vernon Beck

In May of 2013, Mr. Erick Griggs, the Regional Vice President of the TD Bank donated $75,000 to the Children's Aid Society, an organization in which CAS workers are breaking the law. All justice minded individuals are encouraged to participate in a campaign to help ensure that TD Bank does not donate any further money to the CAS until all front line CAS workers are registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers as required by law. This campaign is open to all. Visit to join in with this campaign. Please share this message so that others can join in the campaign as well.

In addition, download the attached Pdf file about TD financial donating money to CAS and save it on your computer. Print out copies of the article to distribute to all the TD branches in your community. Simply walk into the TD branch and hand out 3 or 4 copies to tellers and if you have any extra copies hand them out to customers and then turn around and leave the TD branch. Pass the fliers to anyone you see walking into the TD Branch.

Join in. The journey to making our child protection system the best in the world is accomplished with many small steps

Source: Facebook, Reform the CAS NOW

Addendum: CAS wants to build without paying the permit fees charged to other developments.



Children's Aid Society wants $70K from city

Agency asking to be reimbursed for fees and permits related to construction of addition

The Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society is asking for a financial break from Windsor council.

The agency is looking for a refund of almost $70,000.

Children's Aid is looking for money spent on building permit fees, development charges and grants for the construction of a two-storey addition to the building on Riverside Drive East.

"The society is receiving no funding from the Province of Ontario for this project. It is being supported solely by donations and fundraising efforts," said Mike Clark, manager of public relations and fund development with the society. "We are appreciative of our long-standing relationship with the City of Windsor including the city's support in waiving fees associated with the 2002 construction of the Riverside building."

The city's planning and economic development standing committee has sent the request from the Children's Aid Society directly to council for its decision.

"We provide some form of service to one in 10 children in Windsor and Essex County, with over 75 per cent of our business being in the city of Windsor," Clark said. "This was a prime reason for location our headquarters in Windsor."

Source: CBC

Addendum: CAS gets their fee waived.



Childrens’ Aid Society gets city break

Mike Clarke
Mike Clarke, manager of public relations and fund development with the Children's Aid Society, addresses city council at city hall in Windsor on Monday, September 9, 2013.

City council on Monday night ignored the recommendation of administration and voted to waive more than $68,000 in building fees and development charges tied to an expansion of the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society’s facility at 1671 Riverside Dr. E.

Ward 9 Coun. Hilary Payne, who cast the lone dissenting vote, warned council it could now expect a flood of similar applications from other agencies and organizations.

CAS manager of public relations Mike Clark said the entire expansion cost of $4.5 million was being raised in the community and that none of the forgiven city funds being sought would be going toward administration costs. The two-storey addition, with an official opening Nov. 21, is aimed at providing enhanced services to children, youth and families, he said.

Clark said there are more than 630 children currently in care and that one in 10 children from the local area benefit from the CAS programs and shelter.

City CAO Helga Reidel said provincially funded organizations “generally” get rejected for such municipal relief.

Ward 8 Coun. Bill Marra said an exception was warranted here because the entire expansion is being funded through community fundraising, and the CAS and its operations have “a direct impact on our social services department.”

Ward 6 Coun. Jo-Anne Gignac suggested the city take another look at the governing policy that council just approved last year.

Ward 5 Coun. Ed Sleiman moved approval of the $68,452 CAS refund request. “Why do we waive? Because we care about our community,” he said, citing recent precedence with Habitat for Humanity ($527,000 waived) and the John McGivney children’s centre ($166,000 forgiven).

Source: Windsor Star

bank thieves

StatsCan Counts Foster Children

May 8, 2013 permalink

According to the latest StatsCan report, Canada has 57,380 foster children, half of them aboriginals. The original table is at StatsCan. Analysis of the tables shows figures even more biased than the news report. Among aboriginals 4.6% of the children are in foster care, 28,515 in all. Among the rest of the population 0.3% are in foster care, 28,865 children. Put another way, aboriginal kids are fifteen times as likely to get snatched. StatsCan cautions that the results are unreliable because the surveys were voluntary. Last year the reported foster total was 47,885.



‘Tragic’ number of aboriginal children in foster care stuns even the experts

OTTAWA – Nearly half of children under 14 in foster care in Canada are aboriginal children — a number that exceeds even the grimmest estimates of a leading First Nations’ child welfare advocate.

Newly released data from the National Household Survey suggest that, of the approximately 30,000 children in care in Canada in 2011, 14,225 were aboriginal.

Overall, four per cent of aboriginal children were in care, compared to a scant 0.3 per cent of non-aboriginal children, or 15,345 children.

“It’s tragic, because these numbers far outstrip even our projections,” said Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. Her figures had suggested aboriginals made up “30 to 40 per cent of the kids” in foster care.

“What people need to know is that the factors driving these children into foster care are not abuse-related,” she said. “That doesn’t mean that sexual and physical abuse does not happen in our communities. It does, and we need to courageously deal with it.”

But neglect, fuelled by poverty, poor housing and substance misuse, is the main factor behind the over-representation of aboriginal children in care, she said. “Those are all things that child welfare can do something about,” Blackstock said.

“What we have here is a very dire statistic for children who, just like their parents in many cases, are being removed from their families because of state neglect,” Blackstock said. “The government is simply not giving these children the same opportunity to grow up with their families that all other Canadian children enjoy.”

A spokesperson for federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt said Aboriginal children in care “is a responsibility shared between the federal government, the provinces and territories and Aboriginal communities.

“We are moving forward with partners to implement an enhanced prevention approach to better ensure that children get the services they need,” said spokesperson Andrea Richer.

Children raised in foster care tend to do more poorly in school and are more likely to experience depression and substance abuse, Blackstock said.

“We should spend all the energy we can to keep kids safely in their families,” she said. “I’m not a utopian thinker. I think some kids do need to be in foster care. But not at the rates that we’re seeing.”

Less than half of aboriginal children lived in homes with both of their parents, compared to more than three-quarters of non-aboriginal children, according to the survey. And 34 per cent of aboriginal children – about 135,000 – lived in a lone-parent family, twice the ratio of non-aboriginal children. Most of those single parents are women.

More than one-quarter of Canada’s aboriginal population were 14 and under, and nearly one-fifth were ages 15 to 24, according to the voluntary survey, which replaced the mandatory long-form census the Conservative government scrapped in 2010.

Statisticians caution there is no way of knowing how good or bad the information is from the National Household Survey. The voluntary nature of the survey leaves gaps in the data from groups that tend not to respond to voluntary surveys, including aboriginals, new immigrants and low-income families. Experts believe the data should provide a fairly accurate broad scale picture of Canada, but that the smaller the group surveyed, the less reliable the information.

The rising numbers of aboriginal youths accompany the overall steady growth in First Nations, Metis and Inuit populations, which now number more than 1.4 million combined. That means aboriginals are 4.3 per cent of Canada’s overall population, compared to 3.8 per cent in 2006 and 2.8 per cent in 1996.

Between 2006 and 2011, the aboriginal population increased at a rate of 20 per cent, compared to the five-per-cent increase in the non-aboriginal population. The median age of the aboriginal population in 2011 was 28, compared to 41 for non-aboriginals.

The growing younger population is due to higher fertility rates and shorter life expectancy among aboriginals, the survey says.

But experts have also noted that legislative changes, court rulings and the combination of an increase in indigenous pride and decreased discrimination have prompted many people to report their aboriginal ancestry.

The data regarding family circumstances of aboriginal children also underscore the importance, highlighted by recent studies, that the circumstances of early childhood can have on later educational performance.

Aboriginal children ages four and under were somewhat less likely to be in foster care than those who were older (3.1% versus 3.9% of those aged five to 14).

Even then, “it’s a devastating number. It makes your stomach boil,” said Ken Coates, Canada Research Chair in regional innovation and an expert on aboriginal issues at the University of Saskatchewan.

The numbers underscore “a tragic legacy that we don’t talk about as openly as we should in Canada,” Coates said. “What you’re seeing is the impact on children on family breakdown, alcohol or drug abuse and cultural loss in aboriginal communities.”

Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy, whose organization represents Ontario’s 133 First Nations, said the household survey numbers reflect the intergenerational fallout of the residential schools system. “A large number of our First Nation elders — grandparents, parents — spent years in residential schools, from the time they were five or six years old, until their mid-teens,” he said.

“You don’t learn healthy parenting skills when you grow up in an institution.”

Allan Adam, chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Alberta, said more resources are needed to help parents “provide adequate living conditions for their loved ones” and reduce the number of children in state care.


Honoring Family Destruction

May 7, 2013 permalink

Executives of Hockley Valley Resort are photographed proudly donating $5,000 to Family Transition Place, Orangeville's women's shelter. It is a feel-good event, contributing to charity. The dark reality is that Family Transition Place is an arm of the family destruction process. Canada Court Watch gathered experiences in A Look Inside Women's Shelters. Several women have told fixcas they lost their children as a result of taking refuge in Family Transition Place.



$5,000 FOR FTP:

Julie Adamo Cass, Shannon Smith, Norah Kennedy and Kelly Lee
Julie Adamo Cass, Vice President, and Shannon Smith, marketing director for Hockley Valley Resort presented Family Transition Place (FTP) executive director Norah Kennedy and events and community relations coordinator Kelly Lee with a cheque for just over $5000 on Tuesday. Proceeds were raised during a charity spring fashion show hosted by Hockley Valley Resort on April 29.

Source: Orangeville Citizen

Hamilton Courthouse Bombed

May 7, 2013 permalink

The Hamilton courthouse was the target of a firebomb yesterday. The stone structure suffered little damage. No word yet on whether the court system will publicize the incident or keep it from the press.



Vernon Beck Hamilton Courthouse firebombed today: Insiders at Hamilton Court House contacted Canada Court Watch minutes after it happened to advise us that an angry citizen pulled up in front of the Hamilton Courthouse and poured gasoline on the front of the court and set it on fire. The person was upset about one of the judges and some lawyers. We don't have any details yet as to who was arrested, but we expect some news by tomorrow will be released. Damage to the court was minimal as the court is made of stone.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Addendum: Two days later it is clear the press is ignoring the story.



Vernon Beck

Fire Bomb at the Hamilton, Ontario courthouse

Hamilton Ontario courthouse

Photo taken after firebombing at Hamiton, Ontario Courthouse: A citizen stands at the spot in front of the Hamilton courthouse shorty after a man poured gasoline ablaze at the front of the main courthouse doors. According to persons at the scene the citizen who did this was upset with a judge and with a lawyer. Most likely he got screwed by the court. Only damage that can be see is the melted garbage receptacle and the black on the stone steps. According to persons at the court a man was arrested and taken away.

For some strange reason, this story was not reported in the local media. It is rumored that this story was kept from the mainstream press to help avoid copycat incidents.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

You @#*^$%* Social Worker!

May 6, 2013 permalink

Fixcas has included many incidents of fathers arrested after attacking social workers in the act of seizing their children. But in today's story from South Carolina there was no weapon and no violence. Mother Christina Lynn Prince, who was unhappy at separation from her children, cursed out a social worker. Prince was charged with a crime. Given how pervasive profanity is in today's speech, this could get just about every parent in a protection case jailed.



Union woman charged with threatening Social Services employee

Union Police Department

Christina Lynn Prince, 25, of 104 Baber St. in Union, has been charged with threatening a public employee.

Prince is accused of verbally threatening an employee with the Union County Department of Social Services on April 15.

An officer responded to a report of disorderly conduct at the social services office. A case worker said Prince became upset and began cursing after she was told she could not see her children without supervision, according to an incident report.

Prince was escorted from the building and is accused of making verbal threats toward an employee.

Source: Spartanburg Herald-Journal

Line in the Sand

May 6, 2013 permalink

Catherine Frei writes on children's aid. For fixcas readers there is little new in her well-informed message. There is some new material in fifteen reader comments.



The line is being drawn in the sand for Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies

Cambridge rally
Protesters at one of the many rallies in front of the Cambridge Children’s Aid.

After much criticism, especially in recent months, it looks as if things will be changing for Ontario’s child protection agencies. With Bill 42 passing second reading on April 11, 2013 (a bill to allow the Ombudsman the powers to investigate the Children’s Aid), a new funding formula being implemented by the province, scathing reports of abuse of power, and endless stories of abuse of children and youth in care saturating the media, it looks as if Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) will be operating under greater scrutiny in the very near future.

This type of oversight has been long sought after as Ontario is the only province or territory in Canada that does not have independent oversight of these agencies which receive in excess of 1.5 billion dollars of taxpayers money each year. All of the investigative work is done internally, Board of Directors investigate complaints and the Child and Family Service Review Board is only able to investigate matters that are not before the courts.

There is virtually no recourse for families dealing with false allegations and evidently there are no proper investigations conducted. The Ministry of Child and Youth Services is governed by the province but the agencies themselves are private corporations, with no accountability or transparency, and an absence of proper checks and balances in place. In other words, we have the fox watching the chicken coup.

This year began with negative accounts of their inner workings, as Provincial Child Advocate, Irwin Elman, spoke to The Star in January about the systematic problems he is discovering within the system. Many children and youth die under the care of these agencies and little is being done to prevent these tragedies from reoccurring. During Elman’s interview it was also stated that, “Hundreds of key recommendations to prevent the deaths of children in custody have been ignored or rejected by government agencies.” Elman also cited that according to his office’s database,” Of the 1,635 recommendations made since 1995, only 17 per cent had been implemented. Another 24 per cent were listed as “had or will be implemented.”

In recent years there have been many reports of abuse, physical, sexual and even pedophiles going undetected. The agencies go to great lengths to protect those responsible for the abuse – not the children. Elman also referred to the privacy laws in the Child and Family Services Act as “bizarre.” It would seem as though these laws are in place to protect the agencies – not the vulnerable children and youth that they are charged with the responsibility to protect.

Past audits have raised concerns about misappropriated funds, lavish vacations, expensive SUV’s and the list goes on. There has been a recent investigation into the spending of a few agencies, among those chosen is Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region and those results are due to be released soon. There are some agencies that receive even more funding annually than their municipal police forces, an organization that they have even more power over.

One prime example of the type of secrecy they maintain is the case of Donald Klasges, the 65-year-old foster parent that was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2010 for abusing a foster child and impregnating her. The Sudbury and Manitoulin District Children’s Aid Societies fought vigorously to have not only his name kept private, but all other reporting on the case as well. One can only imagine the tens of thousands of dollars that it must have cost the taxpayers for legal fees. Klasges sexually abused a young girl in his care from the time of her arrival at his home at age 11, until she was 14 and became pregnant as a result. Over the years he had 42 different foster children placed in his care, so this begs the question ….. Why would they want to keep his name, and the nature of his crimes secret with that many other children out there who potentially could have been victims of his abuse?

This case is not an isolated one, our province is plagued with these types of abuses, yet the Children’s Aid will continue to cry out to the public, pulling on their heartstrings for more money for the children they claim to protect. In the future we may very well see class action lawsuits against the province for damages by victims, and to remedy the problems it will be up to Ontario taxpayers once again. There are a slew of other social problems it will create that are very far reaching.

Recently we have seen scathing reports from Barbara Kay with the National Post, Katie Daubs from The Star, and many others in recent years alerting the public, despite the many limits and constraints due to privacy laws. The latest and most disturbing development was in March this year when Daubs reported on Peel Children’s Aid Society and the internal memo that was leaked to the media. The memo was urging staff to keep files open and begin as many new investigations as possible to secure funding. To date, the agencies funding is based on the number of children in care and files open. The implications of such a request are very serious, and if carried out would have profoundly negative effects on children and their families. As Daubs points out, it is a funding formula with “perverse incentives.”

Since 2006, several bills have been introduced calling for Ombudsman oversight. NDP leader, Andrea Horwath, was the first to introduce Bill 88 in 2006, which never made it past first reading, and two more bills were introduced since with no success. Finally, Monique Taylor of the NDP party introduced Bill 110 which made it through first and second reading to only be prorogued shortly afterwards due to Dalton McGuinty’s resignation. Undiscouraged by this, Taylor promptly introduced Bill 42 in late March of this year. It passed first and second reading with both the PC and NDP party voting unanimously in support of the bill along with one Liberal representative in agreement. The final vote was 55-34 in favour.

Provincial Ombudsman, Andre Marin, has been requesting the authority to investigate the Children’s Aid, but to date it has been staunchly opposed by the Liberal government. For advocates such as Neil Haskett and his wife Tabatha Haskett, they have been advocating for change since 2005. Founders of “The Ontario Coalition for Accountability,” they have worked tirelessly to get our politicians on board and have finally, along with many other advocates around the province, succeeded in getting two of three parties to agree that we have systematic problems that need urgent attention and the Ombudsman would be a good start.

Since Marin took office in April of 2005 there have been 3,537 complaints from that time until February 28, 2013, none of which he has been able to investigate. To allow him the power to investigate he would have the ability to look directly into their files, make recommendations and even lay criminal charges if that type of activity is uncovered.

Christina Hurst April 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Excellent read. I would like to add that CAS uses phycotropic drugs on these children, most of which are not recommended for children under the age of 18 years,and most of the children don’t need them. CAS has many private psychologists and psychiatrists on their payrolls, they will say anything, document anything in order for the children to be medicated. My own daughter is a being “drugged for profit” as well has been abandoned to a group home as they said “they have no where else to put her”.How about her home? why would they dump her into a group home? Profit! My daughter wants nothing more then to be home with her family, these people dont care about her needs, just the income she generates for them. They say kids are flexible and will adjust,well of course they will, after they have medicated them .No one is allowed to tell her they love her, only I can do that,and hearing it once every two weeks is not enough for a child.

October Fostey April 30, 2013 at 8:12 pm

I have prayed for this for many years now. I work hard to advocate for the families I serve and have had minimal results from challenging the CAS in our area when they have intimidated and terrorized some of the clients I have been proud to serve. The untold trauma’s these families and children have faced is horrendous and I can only hope that those who have been directly affected by these agencies will be justly served. Thank you so much for publishing this information. A new day will begin now.

Kelly Bedard April 30, 2013 at 9:14 pm

The Sarnia Lambton CAS took their turn with us and I’m happy to say they lost. We won our costs however nowhere near what it really cost our family. We knew our rights and would not back down. We actually have the first published case against Sarnia in the Ontario Court of Justice. The presiding Justice saw through their lies and actually was quite critical of the tactics they had deployed. He agreed there appeared to be a personal vendetta between the worker and us. A children’s lawyer also made comment that the Society had put more resources into our case than any other they had ever seen. We will be pursuing legal action in a class action if it is granted status. Feel free to look up the case on CanLii under 2011ONCJ 802. This Bill is well past due.

AboutTime April 30, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Fantastic! It’s about time. Many people don’t pay attention or even care until it affects you but when it does, wow…what an eye-opener. Seriously? An organization with more power than the police who doesn’t have to answer to anyone and can hide so much behind the privacy laws, and they clearly watch each others backs too. You can add Cochrane to the list of agencies that leave a lot to be desired. You know in some cases it only takes one or two caseworkers with hidden agendas or a bias to terrorize communities and ruin good families. I would very much welcome a class action and in the meantime I will continue to document and wait for the day that I can expose the corruption and incompetence in north eastern Ontario as well.

July Mcdonald April 30, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Thank you very much for this article. Well researched, well written and to the facts. I wish there were more article such as this one! Our tax dollars are being spent on an organization (private one at that) that has no accountability. To me, as a Canadian citizen that is unacceptable. Our Government need to wake up and smell the roses because we will not stand for this kind of behaviour.

purley quirt May 1, 2013 at 11:45 am

This article is an excellent summary of the parts, and reflects the observations of the many. However, I would like to add a common denominator that invades several ” systems” originally designed to help people( police, physicians, counsellors, schools ) where a “disassociation” has occurred and people are only seen ( and understood) on a “per event ” basis. The life of others is only a ” moment in time”…. to be passed over ….or passed on.. to another person. This total “breaking’ of the bond of brotherly love and caring for our neighbor” has left us all shattered and broken ( even the workers). The cure is not to be placed solely on yet another government service… Someone inside society itself, inside the neighborhood, inside caring individuals, need to connect people to ” restoration” of their lives ( both the helpers and the victims who can no longer see anything beyond their own needs).

The CAS stands out as a “group” that does not even follow it’s own standards of operation and demonstrates the boldness people have that are ” not answerable to anyone”. This makes it a perfect scapegoat. I welcome that answerability…. but it does not remove the reality that we are answerable to God for the right things that we ” failed to do” …. all of us.

The CAS concept needs a total return back to rescuing the family and understanding how much the children need the love of their own parents. A hope exists………We stand at the threshold of government $ funding a ” whole society” perspective of health ( Population Health) and that is our doorway to getting it right …NOT… simply the Ombudsman discovering what’s wrong… there must ALSO be something that “sets it right” again!

Brad May 1, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Other professions and organizations abuse these foot soldiers themselves. One such incident being a bunch of parents as well as myself at my son’s school having them called on us for basically not signing up with a dentist (from what I understand). We were all required to fill out some forms and return them to her but a lot of the parents’ dentists were either too busy or refuse to sign them, though they see the child regularly. Situations like that do NOT require cas attention, not over unfilled forms. Some parents already received visits (I was only threatened via letter to have them notified). My son’s dentist took care of everything and were upset over it just as the rest of us. I’ve already had to fight and get him home when he was first born over his mother’s previous relationship involvement with them even though her and I were broken up. Got him home just after a year old (finally home from the hospital since he was taken a month after premature birth)but they had false accusations I continuously had to prove myself for the next couple years. Up until this dental incident they left me alone and we left them alone. Dr. Maria Van Harten was the name on my letter.

Khrystyne May 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm


I am glad that finally Children’s Aid will be exposed. When I was young, my mother came home and I was not there. The children’s Aid worker took me and placed me in a foster home. I didn’t know how I got there, nor do I remember when I returned to my mother. But I remember that my mother gave the worker a good tongue lashing, and she never tried that stunt on my mother again. This happened back in the Mid ’70′s. You have to stand up to them or they will take over. I hope others will agree with me. For those who are able, take them down.

marriam amber hammoudi May 1, 2013 at 10:17 pm

my case is 1251 days old tomorrow… a final order has been placed upon us by stratford family court judge r.w.rogerson…having based his judgement on a parenting capacity assessment done by doc wittenberg of sick kids toronto, and the testistimony of social workers from victoria goderich and stratford offices…with a warning not to publish or go to the media about my story…which started in goderich during a family vacation…followed us home to voctoria, brought us back foricablly to goodercich and by court oder held us there..foloowed us to stratford , reapprehended our babies and went for crown ward ship with no access…this wittenberg fellow recommended it… the judge has granted them crownwardship no access because ourildren will be harder to adopt if the see us…they have been labled protesdent when we are not. my daughter wont settle for them and a psychiatris form stroaford S.S.U. doc salo…diagnosed her with adhd and recommended placing her on biphentin….says if they dont she’ll be a teenage mom high school drop out with low grades drug addict… really i attended a meeting where this creature with a licennsec to prescribe medication sat acrooss form me and spewed this shit out of her mouth about my baby… our appeall was just accepted by the supreme court and my lawyer’s reviewing transcripts… we havent seen our babes since december…and GOD only knows when this will end…

Fred May 1, 2013 at 10:23 pm

This article is wonderful. As others have said you do not realize what goes on until you have to deal with this agency. We would not support hospitals without registered nurses – why do we support this agency where most of the “social workers” are not registered so that they can avoid practicing according to the professional standards of the College of Social Workers. The agency needs accountability not the extra money being given to waterloo by the Liberal government. Oversight is definitely in order and the ombudsman can expect to be busy

Fred May 1, 2013 at 10:23 pm

This article is wonderful. As others have said you do not realize what goes on until you have to deal with this agency. We would not support hospitals without registered nurses – why do we support this agency where most of the “social workers” are not registered so that they can avoid practicing according to the professional standards of the College of Social Workers. The agency needs accountability not the extra money being given to waterloo by the Liberal government. Oversight is definitely in order and the ombudsman can expect to be busy

Shelley May 4, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I once lived in the CCAS and I was in a receving home and was smacked cause they thought I was drink so I ran away and they had helacoptior s up looking for me and the police I had to live on the street for about 3 weeks and when I finally got found I was sleeping in an under ground grauge in a boat and I told them that I did not want to go back to the home cause I was feeling like I was begin center out. Now I alos have children that I have been fighting for and fasle allagiction were made against me and now I do not have my child cause of the ccas or cas I am trying to get my 4 year year old home now but cause there is a one year to fight for you child the cas new about a parenting capacity that was done on myself that they kept saying to myself and the father that we may ask for a parenting capacity and when they finally asked for it my child was 8 months old and we were put on a waiting list and was not seen till my child was 11 months old so basically we lots all right to our child we told that if we did this that the cas would work with us but in fact they went against us and asked for crownward with access even tho the parenting capacity was sort of in our fav but because the one year was not meet cause the capacity was not done till june we lots our right and had to agree to kinship care as we thought it was going to help us beable to work to bring our child home but the cas went for corwnward on us I feel that it was all a lie and they did what they had to to keep our child away from us and only giving us one visit a week with our child and now that she is going to start school in sept they want the kinship to adopt her and we lose all our right to our child and that tears us apart

Terri-Anne Bucholtz May 5, 2013 at 2:48 pm

I truly believe Esther Buckareff deserves a major MEDAL OF FREEDOM !!! there SHOULD BE A MONUMENT BUILT IN HER HONOR!!!!

Wow between her BEAUTIFUL & MOST FEARED By cas most intelligent work with the complete support of her faculty!! , along with the warriors of the coalition against FAMILY TERRORISM & CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, LEADERS FROM all our local groups THEY ALL TRULY DESERVE A MEDAL OF FREEDOM !!! I sense that acknowledgements in the future as we watch on the history channel , will address them ALL as HERO’s , as they stay strong and fight for the GREAT OF GOOD :) THey all do this work for FREE not one dime payed as a advocate and fighter for YOU ! and your FUTURE FOR YOUR CHILDREN’S WELLBEING RIGHTS & SAFETY IN SOCIETY ! and point out how your getting bluffed to support it as a hard working TAX PAYER .

with all of the controversy and PROOF of the Powers resistance rational moral , take accountability & or to show morale with working together to find great resolutions , , it proves exactly the POINT WE MAKE -- RAPE RAPE -- HELP RAPE !!! FOR THE FUTURE !!! WITH NO FREEDOM OF SPEECH NO FREEDOM TO healthy debate / to FIGHT TO PROTECT THE FUTURE ! we are being completely RAPED by our own Country

ALL OF THE GROUP leaders are WARRIORS ! deserve a medal of FREEDOM ! if they / we are all able to "STICK TOGETHER PERSISTENT & STRONG" , to LIBERATE our FUTURE to be HERO'S to these family's and kids, they need so desperately!! Our children need to learn compassion as they fight for whats RIGHT to be a true Canadian !

Advocate May 5, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Thank you for the posting the website for this very controversial but important documentary that sheds light on the inner workings of child “so-called” protection in Ontario. I took part in this doc and was an assistant researcher for the doc as well. Esther received a more than well deserved award for it, and it is a fine work that speaks mounds and gives all of the children that have died in the care of CAS a voice from the grave as well. It was an honour to work with her, know her and I will be forever thankful for her committment and integrity. She deserves all the praise she has received so far … and then some. I encourage people to watch the doc online, it is only 75 mins long but a real eye-opener!

Source: Cambridge Citizen

child draws line in the sand

Vicky Haigh Jailed for ██████████

May 6, 2013 permalink

Vicky Haigh is back in jail. The evidence putting her there has not been published. It has not even been shown to the prisoner herself. Previous articles on Haigh: [1] [2].



A mother sent to prison on evidence she cannot see

The case of Vicky Haigh highlights what passes for justice in Britain today

Vicky Haigh with Sapphire
Vicky Haigh, pictured with her baby daughter, Sapphire, in Ireland in 2011

If the mother of a two-year-old child can be sent to prison solely on the basis of a supposed statement she is not allowed to see and which appears to have been concocted in very mysterious circumstances, we may wonder what passes for justice in the Britain of 2013. This is what has happened to Vicky Haigh, the former racehorse trainer, who for some years has been at the centre of one of the oddest cases of parents falling foul of our child-protection system that I have ever reported.

Last year Miss Haigh was sentenced to three years in prison – the longest such sentence ever recorded – for breach of a “non-molestation order” relating to her daughter by her former husband. Her offence had been to run into the girl at a petrol station. The girl had recently been taken from her care after a long case involving social workers, which ended with her ex-husband being given custody. Miss Haigh then won extensive coverage by fleeing to Ireland to prevent social workers seizing at birth the baby she now expected by the partner with whom she and her daughter had lived happily for six years, with Miss Haigh acting as stepmother to his three children.

Leaving her new baby in Ireland, she returned to face the non-molestation charge, thinking it would be dismissed, only to find that her case had now been taken over by Lord Justice Wall, then head of the Family Division, who took the unusual step of publishing a judgment very hostile to her. A third judge then gave Miss Haigh that record sentence for speaking to her daughter at the petrol station. After she had served seven months as a “model prisoner”, yet another judge agreed that her sentence was “manifestly excessive” and she was allowed to return home on probation to her family.

A former policeman, David Gale, who stood as a Ukip candidate for police commissioner in Derbyshire, then became interested in what he believed to be serious discrepancies in the handling of her original case by social services. By providing police with new evidence, he triggered off an internal police inquiry, and was told that the papers would be presented to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on April 28.

Early last month, however, Miss Haigh was visiting a pub for lunch with her partner and their family. Apparently, she was approached by a barmaid who seemed to know a lot about her, claiming to know her older daughter. The children, who had grown up with the girl, plied this woman with questions and messages for someone they looked on as their sister. Miss Haigh says that, concerned by what was going on, she was careful to say very little about her lost daughter, later contacting friends to describe what she thought had been a “bizarre” incident.

A week later she went to meet her probation officer, wanting to discuss the episode in the pub, only to find two of them present, aggressively telling her that a statement from the barmaid alleged that she had tried to pass messages to her daughter. Mr Gale was later told by the Ministry of Justice that, according to the statement, Miss Haigh had been “trying to contact her sister”, suggesting that this referred not to her but to a step-daughter.

On April 26, two days before the police dossier was supposed to be handed to the CPS, two policemen arrived at 9am, with a warrant for Miss Haigh’s arrest for breaching her probation order. She is now in Peterborough prison for 28 days, leaving her family baffled by what has happened. The police refused to take a statement from Miss Haigh’s partner, who witnessed what happened in the pub. The family have not been allowed to see the barmaid’s statement, or to challenge it.

Why this mother is back in prison remains as much a mystery as why she was given that unprecedented sentence for speaking to her older daughter in the first place.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Parent Power

May 4, 2013 permalink

When Paulette MacDonald got a divorce, she and her ex settled their affairs like grown-ups. But her new partner is in a never-ending struggle with his former wife that has wrecked the lives of the two spouses and their children. This article on mom vs dad appears here because Paulette makes the best suggestion yet for reforming the family law mess: Parents -- not judges -- ought to make decisions on issues such as when children visit grandparents, when they'll take vacations, and the organized sports they play. Our court system is so outdated and broken it actually facilitates this kind of situation. Healthy parents don't need to go to court to be told how to raise their children.



Oshawa woman seeks changes to family law process

Children harmed by divorce battles: advocate

Paulette MacDonald
Oshawa woman seeks changes to family law process. OSHAWA -- Paulette MacDonald, a family justice advocate, spoke during the proclamation by the City of Oshawa that April 25 is Parental Alienation Awareness Day, part of an effort to amend family law disputes to put the welfare of children first. Advocates are seeking legislative change that would require divorcing parents to share parenting and attend mediation to resolve disputes. April 25, 2013.
Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland

OSHAWA -- Children shouldn't be casualties in battles between warring parents.

That's the message espoused by an Oshawa woman who's pressing for changes to a family law system that she says places too much emphasis on litigation, an acrimonious approach to separation that often leaves kids caught in the middle.

"Even if you have a healthy divorce it's extremely hard on kids," said Paulette MacDonald. "If you throw this other BS into the mix, they don't stand a chance."

Ms. MacDonald was delighted when Oshawa City council proclaimed Thursday, April 25, Parent Alienation Awareness Day. She's hoping to raise awareness about the need for reform to the Divorce Act, and the family law process.

Ms. MacDonald said she and her husband divorced amicably years ago.

"We agreed to put our kids first," she said. "We never set foot inside a courtroom."

It was later in life, when she became involved with a man in the midst of a bitterly contested divorce, that she became aware of just how messy the process can be. She said she watched as the former husband and wife battled, often using their children to further their agendas.

The protracted battle resulted in police involvement, broken-hearted children, and sky-high legal bills, she said. Unable to reach agreement on the most fundamental aspects of child-rearing, they depended on the courts to resolve such matters.

It's Ms. MacDonald's opinion that parents -- not judges -- ought to make decisions on issues such as when children visit grandparents, when they'll take vacations, and the organized sports they play.

"Our court system is so outdated and broken it actually facilitates this kind of situation," she said. "Healthy parents don't need to go to court to be told how to raise their children."

She wants to see legislative changes that would require divorcing couples to agree to equal, shared parenting arrangements, and attend mandatory mediation sessions to work issues through.

The way to guarantee the needs of children are fulfilled is through consensus, not a court system predicated on an adversarial approach, she said.

"When you have kids involved you can't act like a child yourself," Ms. MacDonald said.

"Love your children more than you hate your ex."

Source: Metroland Durham Region

No Dogs for Kids

May 4, 2013 permalink

The latest reason to separate parents and children: dogs in the home. This from a reliable source within Canada Court Watch.



Attila Vinczer


It has been brought to the attention of Canada Court Watch that a York CAS worker has made issue with the fact that if a family has dogs, they may have an issue with that and may not consider it a safe environment for children. No I am not kidding.

I am not at liberty to say more due to the fact that I would then be in violation of the Child and Family Services Act as this matter IS currently before the courts.

Source: Facebook, John Oakley Show

dog and girl

Social Worker Guilty of Attempted Murder

May 3, 2013 permalink

Ontario social worker Greg Simard has pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the beating of a twelve-year-old autistic boy. From other stories, the boy is now an invalid unable to feed himself. Link to September story.



Ontario social worker pleads guilty to trying to kill autistic boy

Greg Simard
Greg Simard

LONDON, ON - A 24-year-old man pleaded guilty to attempted murder Friday in the savage beating of an autistic boy in his care.

But a hearing must still be held to determine if Greg Simard is criminally responsible for the assault.

Simard pleaded guilty to a total of four charges. Some in the gallery sobbed while the facts of the case were read in court.

The boy, 12, was discovered in the woods outside the Child and Parent Resource Institute - where Simard worked - on Sept. 9, 2012.

The facility treats children with mental health and developmental issues.

After his arrest, Simard told police: "I did it for my country. He is a drain on society. His life is meaningless."

Simard was working on a short-term contract as a developmental service worker.

The hearing to determine if Simard is criminally responsible will begin Friday afternoon.

Source: Sun News Network

Addendum: Simard is found criminally responsible. He will go to jail, not to a psychiatric hospital.



Simard Found Criminally Responsible

A judge has decided Gregory Simard is criminally responsible for a vicious assault on a 12 -year-old boy at the Child and Parent Resource Institute.

The decision means the 24-year-old will be sentenced to prison rather than sent to a psychiatric facility.

Simard pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the September attack on the young boy with autism who was beaten so badly that he suffered brain damage and cannot eat on his own.

Once the hearing was over the boy’s father, whose name is protected under a publication ban, spoke to reporters outside the court house.

He says the decision is a weight off his family’s shoulders.

Simard’s lawyer, Gord Cudmore, says the next step will be to look at the decision that was made and consider an appeal.

Last month, a hearing was held to determine if he was mentally fit enough at the time of the crime.

Cudmore argued his client was schizophrenic and could not have known what he did was wrong.

He pointed out Simard made no effort to hide his crimes, and even bragged about them, showing he didn’t know actions were wrong.

But the Crown argued Simard was more likely affected by a drug-induced psychosis than schizophrenia, and that’s not enough to be found not criminally responsible for the attack.

Assistant Crown Attorney Fraser Ball told the court Simard took the boy to the woods before beating him, and then fled the scene. He argued those actions are not indicative of someone who had no idea what he was doing was wrong.

During the proceedings, Simard sat quietly in the prisoner’s dock and with a blank expression on his face.

The 24 year old was arrested in September and accused of taking a child from the CPRI out of his room, and brutally beating him before leaving him in the woods behind the Institute’s campus on Sanitorium Road.

Simard has pleaded guilty to attempted murder of the boy, who was due to go home just four days after he was beaten. Simard told police quote “I did for my country” saying the non-verbal boy was a drain on society and that his life was meaningless.

The parents of the 12-year-old boy say their son was born with severe autism and was undergoing an evaluation at CPRI.

The boy spent six months in hospital after the assault suffering from severe brain damage and is now unable to walk, feed himself or go to the bathroom on his own.

His father says before they sent their son to CPRI they had done everything they could to support and care for the 12-year-old.

At the time of the assault, Simard was a Developmental Support Worker under contract at the CPRI.

The case returns to court July 5 to set a date for sentencing.

Source: Blackburn News

Prosecuted for Fatherhood

May 3, 2013 permalink

Ella Dawn Edwards was born with multiple medical problems and died at age seven months in March 2011. In today's hysterical culture of child abuse, every child death outside the child protection system merits a prosecution. Prosecutors relied on the scientifically discredited shaken baby syndrome. Father Aaron Edwards has been acquitted of causing his daughter's death.



Father found not guilty in death of daughter

Aaron Edwards was charged with involuntary manslaughter after his 7-month-old daughter died.

Aaron Edwards

A jury deliberated four hours Friday before finding Aaron Edwards not guilty of killing his 7-month-old daughter in March 2011.

Edwards, 26, who was facing an involuntary manslaughter charge, took a deep breath and hugged his lawyer, Chris Tuck, after the verdict was read.

The trial in Giles County Circuit Court began one week ago, and the jury of six women and six men heard hours of testimony from medical professionals and law enforcement officials.

According to testimony, EMS personnel were called to the family’s Rich Creek home on March 1, 2011, and found Ella Dawn Edwards breathing but limp and unresponsive. Ella was taken to Carilion Giles Memorial Hospital and then flown to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, where she underwent surgery to relieve pressure from swelling of her brain and remained on life support for several days before dying on March 8, 2011.

Ella had retinal hemorrhages, subdural bleeding, brain swelling, six fractured ribs, bruising on the left side of her face and bruising on her chest and back, according to testimony.

Gayle Suzuki, an assistant chief medical examiner for the state department of health, testified earlier in the week that after performing an autopsy on Ella, she determined the cause of death to be abusive head trauma, which is also referred to as “shaken baby syndrome.”

But Tuck called two medical experts to the stand who testified that on March 1, 2011, Ella’s airway was compromised for whatever reason and her brain began to swell. Both said that there was evidence Ella had been vomiting and that she may have choked on her vomit, interrupting her breathing. Tuck added in his closing argument that Ella’s heart could have stopped, which would also deprive her of oxygen and cause the brain swelling. Ella was born with a hole in her heart, had respiratory problems and was vitamin D deficient, according to testimony.

The prosecution “has to rule out every reasonable theory of evidence,” Tuck said in his closing argument. “Can you honestly say they’ve done that?”

Source: Roanoke Times

Public Meeting
Our Side Only

May 3, 2013 permalink

When Julian Ichim showed up at a CAS public meeting, he was thrown out.



CAS Freaks out, and bars us from public meeting!!!!

On May 2nd we decided to attend CAS’s public information night on Foster Parents and bring some of our own information, like articles from the Toronto Star, as well as raise issue of accountability etc. As soon as we entered the CAS building, the workers started freaking out and yelling at us, telling us to leave. I asked is this not a public meeting, on what grounds can you ask us to leave? at which point the woman grabbed me. I told her calmly that i do not enjoy being assaulted and not to touch me, at which point she continued to follow us, and physically blocked the door to prevent us from entering. When the people inside saw what was going on and how calm we were acting as opposed to her, she closed the door and locked it.

police were called and I calmly talked to the cop who was being very reasonable and saw no reason to call back up, since by this point we were on the sidewalk handing out information. Later we left to have people come back and hand more flyers to people as they were leaving.

Though todays action was good it raises some questions, What does CAS have to hide, if they wont allow people with different points of view into public meeting? its one thing if we were being disruptive to be asked to leave, but for simply attending and giving information, to freak out like that and lock the door? Are they so weak and corrupt that they can't handle any criticism or scrutiny? If they are such control freaks and act like that to me in public, how do they treat children in private?

Source: Julian Ichim blog

Baby Defenders Jailed

May 2, 2013 permalink

When Texas social worker Stephanie Vera was making plans to remove the baby girl of parents Troy Davis and Karissa Marie Ferringno, the parents and friend Shane Hensworth Douglas attacked the worker. The three attackers are in jail and the baby is in foster care.



CPS worker choked, beaten while checking on infant

HOUSTON - A Child Protective Services case worker remains hospitalized after she was attacked Tuesday while investigating a report of an abused baby.

According to Houston Police, the baby's parents and a friend beat and choked the 23 year old woman until she lost consciousness.

Case worker Stephanie Vera went to the Somerset Apartments in the 8000 block of W. Tidwell around 5 p.m. Tuesday to check on the well being of a one year old infant.

According to CPS supervisor Estella Olguin, “We were investigating allegations of medical neglect, neglect of supervision and and physical abuse. The reason the visit at the home was to conduct that investigation.”

Olguin says Vera was trying to arrange to have a relative take custody of the baby while the parents were being evaluated. During that discussion, the baby's father, identified as Troy Davis, 21, became angry, grabbed Vera and locked the apartment's front door. Police say Davis punched Vera in the head, then grabbed her by the throat, and slammed her against a wall. During the struggle, Vera managed to dial 911, but the call was cut short when Davis grabbed the phone.

According to investigators, Davis continued to choke her until she lost consciousness, while Davis’s friend, Shane Hensworth Douglas, 21 allegedly threatened Vera with a knife. The baby's mother, Karissa Marie Ferringno, 19, allegedly looked on during the confrontation. When the fighting started, police say the baby's grandmother took the child and left the apartment.

Vera was rescued by Houston Police officers who responded to her 911 call. They arrested Davis, Douglas and Ferrigno. All three were charged with aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping. They are being held under $30,000 bond each.

CPS took custody of the baby. She has been placed in a foster home.

Vera remains hospitalized with injuries to her head and neck.

Source: KPRC - Houston

Astute Boy

May 2, 2013 permalink

A twelve-year-old boy in Vallejo California knows the real value of the social worker providing services for him. While his mother was being harassed by the worker the boy ran at her with a kitchen knife. When police arrived, he tried to smash her car window with his bicycle.



Vallejo boy tries to stab his social worker

Vallejo police took a 12-year-old boy into custody on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after he reportedly tried to stab a Solano County social worker who paid a visit to see him and talk to his mother, Lt. Sid DeJesus said.

DeJesus said the case worker was talking to the boy's mom about the "lack of progress he's been making and that upset him." He reportedly went into the kitchen, got a knife and charged at her but did not make contact.

As police arrived, the boy ran outside, picked up his bike and attempted to smash the social worker's vehicle window but was subdued, DeJesus said.

Source: Vallejo Times Herald

More Cuts to CAS

May 2, 2013 permalink

This is the second story in a week announcing cuts to CAS. The press and children's aid are treating it as bad news, but it is good news for children and families. CAS is urging letters to MPPs requesting increased funding. This is an opportunity for parents to write the other kind of letter, thanking their MPP for the funding cuts.



Devastating cuts to come

The Children's Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk
The Children's Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk.

NORFOLK - The local children's aid society says it faces "devastating" cuts after learning it will lose millions of dollars in government funding over the next five years.

Core protection services will remain in place, but layoffs will almost certainly follow and the agency's ability to carry out preventative work with families is endangered, said Janice Robinson, executive director of the Children's Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk.

The organization learned in mid-April a new funding formula will translate into a cut from Queen's Park of 2% a year for each of the next five years.

Robinson said the agency was caught by surprise. The new formula was supposed to take into account such things as an area's poverty level and distances traveled to carry out its work - things that should have worked in Haldimand-Norfolk's favour.

"To say that I was shocked is not an exaggeration," Robinson said.

The agency will go through its budget "line by line" to try to find savings, but given that 90% of costs go to wages and benefits, job losses are inevitable, she said.

"At this point, we think (a smaller workforce) is something that is necessary," said Robinson.

The agency, she added, "will fight very, very hard" to continue core protection services.

"It's the narrowing of the scope of possibilities of what we offer families, that's the devastating part," Robinson said.

"We know the value in early help. If you can get to a family early, you might prevent them being involved in a bigger way."

The new formula is beginning to impact CAS agencies outside of Haldimand-Norfolk as well. Some agencies will actually get more money while others will see their budgets shrink. The Windsor-Essex CAS has already laid off 18 caseworkers.

The 160 people who work for the Haldimand-Norfolk agency have been told of the cuts and the likelihood of layoffs.

They have joined management in opposing the change and are writing letters to government officials, local MPP Toby Barrett, and even municipal politicians, asking for support.

"We are trying to get the people who are elected to hear our concerns and get them heard by those in power, and get those in power to change their minds," said Steven Murray, a child protection worker with the Haldimand-Norfolk CAS.

"We want to get the message out there that these cuts will have a drastic effect on families, kids, and youth across the province."

The Haldimand-Norfolk CAS has 291 children in care and works with another 454 families, representing more than 1,100 children in total. Last year, it received more than 2,000 referrals and completed 936 investigations.

Its budget will drop from $21.5 million a year to $17.8 million over the next five years.

In an email to the Reformer, the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services said its new funding model "changes the factors by which funding is allocated to each agency. The impacts are varied across the province."

Source: Brantford Expositor

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

Hamilton CAS Cutback

May 1, 2013 permalink

Hamilton CAS will be laying off staff because of a second year of one million dollar budget cuts.



Layoffs coming to Hamilton CAS

The axe is about to fall at the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton.

Management is meeting with the staff of 375 today and tomorrow to outline layoffs after a severe reduction in funding from the Ontario government.

The C-A-S has lost about 2-million dollars in funding from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

CAS executive director Dominic Verticchio won't say how many people will be laid off until staff has been given the information.

The funding cut comes as a shock to Children's Aid.

Verticchio says there was a restructuring last year after a 1-million dollar cut to the budget and he was expecting a zero per cent budget increase this year, not a 2-million dollar cut.

The Children's Aid Society of Hamilton currently has 621 children in its care.

Source: CHML

In two more news articles, CAS executive director Dominic Verticchio lashes out at the government. Based on complaints received by Fixcas, his Hamilton CAS is one of the most disliked by clients in all Ontario. In the kind of terminology that can only come out of the perverse world of bureaucratic management, he says cutbacks to his budget for separating children from families will harm children and further that funding cutbacks will increase foster care expenses. He even claims to speak for the children who are too young to vote. Has Mr Verticchio considered taking one of his own anger management classes?

In a CBC article, Monique Taylor, sponsor of bill 42 to provide ombudsman oversight of children's aid, reaches out sympathetically to the workers facing layoffs. The NDP has a conflict of interest in advocating both for parents harmed by CAS and the social workers drawing a paycheque from CAS. It shows that CAS reform efforts must go well beyond just voting NDP.



Hamilton Children's Aid Society reacts fast

The Children's Aid Society of Hamilton is also reacting to this budget.

Scot Urquhart joins us live with more. Nick, the reaction from the director of Hamilton's CAS has been swift, and sharp. Dominic Verticchio says he's had to lay off 20% of his staff, that's 70 full, and part-time positions, most of them, support workers. Verticchio says the cuts will impact roughly 1,500 to 2,000 Hamilton families. And it may force the CAS to place children in more expensive residential facilities, rather than leaving them in their homes.

Source: CHCH video (mp4)

Children's Aid Society of Hamilton cuts 70 jobs

Children's Aid Society of Hamilton announced on Thursday that it's cutting 70 jobs as a result of a reduction in funding from the province.

“It's been a very tough day for everyone but we must carry on," CAS executive director Dominic Verticchio told CBC Hamilton on Thursday.

The provincial budget cuts will mean a $4.7 million reduction to the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton's budget over the next four years.

"We're committed to providing child protection to this community, but it's going to be a very different servce than in the past."

The agency will not axe frontline workers, it said in a statement. Instead, the job cuts "will result in the loss of many support programs that prevented children from being admitted into the care of the agency."

Support programs for children in foster homes will also be affected.

"Unfortunately, the province decided that this is what their plan is. I'm not sure that they've given full consideration to what the impacts are going to be," Verticchio said.

"There are going to be more children in care and there will be more displaced families. That is not business as usual."

Council to complain to Queen's Park

The move to trim down funding for children's aid agencies has drawn the ire of city politicians. Councillors voted on Wednesday to complain to the province about the cuts.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Hamilton's Medical Officer of Health, will bring a report to the general issues committee later this month regarding how the city can protest the cuts to the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton.

“The CAS is laying off as we speak,” said Coun. Brad Clark of Stoney Creek, who introduced the motion for the report, said on Wednesday. “It's having an impact on the city and I just don't think we can wait.”

The Hamilton society has an annual budget of about $50 million. Other societies, Verticchio said, are facing cuts as high as $5.7 million in one year.

The Hamilton Catholic Children's Aid Society is facing a two per cent reduction to its $26-million budget, said David Shea, its director of communications.

The society is still determining what that means in dollars, and if it will mean staff cuts.

“Our goal is to not (cut staff) if possible because we can't stop providing our service,” he said.

“There's caution in the air. We've been living very tight to our budget.”

Monique Taylor, MPP for Hamilton Mountain, said her office has been “inundated” with emails from employees.

"Staff already working overtime, struggling to meet the growing need in our community, are trying to understand how they're going to do more with less," Taylor said in the legislature this week.

"Workers have told me that these cuts will make their jobs impossible, that they are terrified of what this will mean for the already vulnerable children and families they serve."

Source: CBC

A response to Verticchio.



Put an end to CAS whining

70 children’s aid staff lose their jobs; Director slams province for cuts (May 3)

I am puzzled after reading this article. Does Dominic Verticchio, executive director of the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton, think we taxpayers are a bottomless pit when it comes to money? We are all cutting back to make ends meet. Why can’t he?

Government bureaucrats build empires with our money. Now with cutbacks across the board, Verticchio thinks he should be exempt.

Instead of coming up with new ways to cut back, he whines that services will be cut and staff laid off. Is he taking a pay cut? Is he going to still fund advertising on TV about CASs in Ontario? They don’t have any competition, so why advertise? When he expanded to new headquarters and expanded programs, did he think this funding was in perpetuity?

He stated he has been in the business for over 38 years. Maybe it’s time to let someone else take over. Maybe it’s also time to look at merging the two CASs in Hamilton to save funds and maintain current levels of programs and staffing to help the children who need it.

Shirley Lewis, Stoney Creek

Source: Hamilton Spectator


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