1205 CHARLOTTE CIRCLE
80 WELLINGTON ST.
Dear Mr. Chretien, Prime Minister.
I am writing on behalf of parents and grandparents who have children with autism.
On July 18th 2003 my grandson was apprehended from his mother in Burlington Ontario without warning by the worker of Halton's Children's Aid Society. Matthew was taken from a safe and loving environment to a group home with teenagers who are not special needs children. Matthew was escorted into a police car by two officers.
The worker felt that she had the authority to take Matthew out of his home due to his behaviour which is associated with his autism. My daughter was so devastated she called me at my holiday destination and told me through her tears and sobbing, while the worker was still there, I felt helpless there was nothing I could do. My daughter was not allowed to see Matthew until the next day, and only for one hour. They both cried, Matthew could not understand why he could not go home. On the 21st of July when my daughter went to the group home, she was presented with legal papers. Then was told to appear in court on the Tuesday July 22, not giving her time to get a lawyer.
1. My question to you is what gives this Social worker of Halton Children's Aid Society the legal authority to take this action upon my family.
On January 2003 my daughter was introduced to the worker from Halton Children's Aid Society, who worked from the school my grandson attends (Frontenac Public School). She works from this school with children who have special needs and behaviour problems. She had stated to my daughter that Children's Aid helps out familys who have special needs children. The worker never once gave my daughter any programs, knowing her son had autism. The only thing she did do for my daughter was to listen and write down certain situations concerning my grandson.
2. My question to you is?
The Social Worker, knowing my grandson has autism, why would she not offer any kind of programming in the home? But instead, given the legal authority to take Matthew out of his home, without justification. When he receives lots of love. If this worker has any knowledge of autism, she should know that children with autism have some sort of behavioural problems that can be dealt with at home, given the proper programs in place.
My next question is how much power does Children's Aid have?
3. What is a Children's Aid credential to be able to make the decision of taking a child away from home. My daughter has talked to an Advocate who has had experience with the Children's Aid Society. He has told her that the Halton Children's Aid Society is number one on a list out of five Societies as being the worst one of them all. Also he has told her because Matthew is a special needs child, Children's Aid will receive funding from the government for a month of at least the sum of $1,700.
Also my daughter has been struggling since July 2003 to have her son return home to her, where she has programs already in place for his return. She is now on her second Lawyer and has borrowed $2000.00 for these legal fees. She is now on legal aid, where she has borrowed $5000.00 from them which she has to pay back with interest at $150.00 per month. When the $5000.00 runs out she does not know if she can re-apply for legal aid.
I feel the Halton Children's Aid Society is prolonging this case so they can win the rights to my grandson. This would leave my daughter devastated as well as penniless, to lose her only son and my grandson.
The workers intention is to transfer my grandson to a residential placement from the group home he is in now.
4. This is another question. Children with autism. Is this the government's intention to allow Children's Aid Society to take children from a loving and caring home and be placed in a residential placement?
I must add my grandson has a mild case of autism, and his behaviour and still is exaggerated by this worker.
5. I would like in writing from the government, what rights does a child have with autism and also what rights do the parents have with an autistic child?
My daughter has informed the Presidents of the Autism Society, and their chapters in Ontario of her horrific dilemma with Halton Children's Aid Society. She has been given the response, from these Presidents, who also have children with autism, that Matthew belongs at home with her.
6. I would like to know?
What are the requirements needed from myself and my daughter to get Matthew home where he belongs? I would like to know your intentions on assisting us in this matter?
I am requesting an investigation into Halton Children's Aid Society and an investigation of the credentials of the Social Worker, Tina Shal, regarding my grandson Matthew Johnston who just turned 13 on October 3, 2003.. I also would like to know who gives the authority to this Social Worker to enable her to work out of a Public School. Why is she allowed to be able to observe children who have special needs in the school and then is given the authority to take these children from their loving home.
How many other children and parents will be in the same dilemma as my daughter and myself, because of this worker?
I have been involved in Matthew's life since he was born. Matthew was a delightful baby, and his laughter made you want to laugh too. Today he still has this hardy laugh and when with his mom, they laugh together. Matthew belongs in a loving home which he had. It is so unfair for Matthew and his mom to be apart. I as Matthew's grandmother miss him dearly.
Sincerely - signed Patricia Noble
The preceding letter in longhand by a stunned grandmother shows the surprise and shock of a family when they discover that children can be taken without cause, or for frivolous causes. The autistic child in this case will earn premium reimbursement rates from the Province of Ontario, while the child has been placed in a group home, the cheapest form of child care. The five CAS's mentioned in the text are the ones with opposition groups: Dufferin, Durham, Halton, Hamilton and St Thomas/Elgin. Based on previous experience, we can say that the answers to all questions will be that we cannot comment because the case is before the courts. But the real answers are: