Thursday, December 04, 2014

Media Contacts and OACAS Continuing False Information

If any media need to contact the author of these blog posts please text or leave a voice message for John Dunn at 613-709-3866

Also of note is the fact that the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) is still lobbying to remove freedom of choice for youth over 16 years of age to receive services if they want them. It appears from years of lobbying efforts by the organization which represents Ontario's CASs that they are attempting to make it so youth over the age of 16 can no longer refuse services if they choose to do so because the law already states that they can provide services to a youth over the age of 16.

See section 27 of the CFSA for the current legislation at http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90c11_e.htm#s27s1




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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What Will YOU Be Doing? (May 14 - Children and Youth in Care Day)


Our Voice, Our Turn... made up of Children, Youth, and Adults from across Ontario, whose lives have been impacted by foster care, with support from Ontario's Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth made recommendations to the Ontario Government, through a report titled “My Real Life Book seeking fundamental change to the way Ontario's child protection services are delivered.

One of the recommendations made in the report, is for the declaration of May 14th of each year, to become Ontario's official Children and Youth in Care Day!

The purpose of Ontario's Children and Youth in Care Day is to forever keep child and youth recommended fundamental change in the hearts, and on the minds of the government, the politicians, the professionals, and the citizens of Ontario, whose decisions, actions, and inaction directly impact the lives of the province's children and youth living in, and from foster care, and those who care about them.

This year, even before the Children and Youth in Care Day is officially proclaimed into law, the children and youth of Our Voice, Our Turn are preparing to kick-off their special day a year ahead of time by asking Ontarians:  
 WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING?

That's why I'm here today, to tell Ontarians what the Foster Care Council of Canada will be doing be doing starting on May 14th, 2013 in preparation for next year's first official Children and Youth in Care Day.

As an adult survivor of sixteen years in Ontario's foster care system, and, as the Founder of the Foster Care Council of Canada... an organization which advocates for transparency and accountability of child protection services, I'll be hitting the streets in an attempt to give a voice to children and youth in and from foster care, and those who care about them regarding their experiences and recommendations for fundamental change to the Ontario's child protection services, and will post the video on our website at www.afterfostercare.ca once it's ready!

I will then share the video with members of the Ontario Government, the Provincial Parliament, Children's Aid Societies, professionals involved with child protection services and regular citizens.

Having said that, I too would like to ask... WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING on May 14th 2013 to prepare for the first official Children and Youth in Care Day of 2014!

Learn more and get involved by visiting the Our Voice, Our Turn web page at http://facebook.com/ourvoiceourturn


Here's their video telling you about the event.



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Ottawa Children's Aid Society asked for Committee Agendas and Minutes

John Dunn, executive director of the Foster Care Council of Canada, an organization which advocates for transparent and accountable child welfare services in Canada asked the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa if they would provide him with copies of the agendas and minutes of the various committees and/or subcommittees of their Board of Directors.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Another Bill for Ombudsman Oversight of CAS Introduced

Another Bill has been introduced at the Ontario Legislature to try and get Ombudsman oversight of Children's Aid Societies in Ontario to protect children and youth in care, and those who could come into contact with a CAS in the future from wrongdoing by CAS staff, officials and volunteers.

The Bill (Bill 42 of this Session)  is titled the;

Ombudsman Amendment Act (Children's Aid Societies), 2013

You can read the content of the Bill at this link, or the discussions of MPPs regarding this Bill when it was being voted to go second reading and on to a committee. Notice how hard the Liberals are arguing against the Bill. Why? What are they afraid of? It appears the entire party is being whipped into saying no by their leader. You will also notice a former foster child who admits having worked with a CAS later in life, also happens to be against oversight. Sounds like a conflict of interest or at least the appearance of it.

You will also read how CAS are allegedly overseen by the local community as non-profit corporations, however, we are all too familiar with the fact that CAS will reject membership applications of the members of the community who have any type of advocacy or difference of opinion toward or on CAS business.

Read the debates here:




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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

CROWN WARD Newsletters Published

The Crown Ward is a newsletter about child welfare services in Canada, the people who receive them, regulate them and profit from them.

Get your copy below:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

CAS Transparency and Accountability Research Project

 The Foster Care Council of Canada will soon be launching its Children's Aid Society Transparency and Accountability Research Project to determine the level of transparency and accountability of the Boards of Directors of publicly funded Children's Aid Societies across Ontario, and to report our findings to the Premier, the Minister of Children and Youth Services, Ontario's MPPs, the Auditor General's office, the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman, related and interested professionals, professors of Social Work, the media, related professional publications, and the general public through available distribution channels of the Canada Newswire and via the Internet.

Child welfare services in Ontario are currently provided by Ministry approved, privately incorporated, non-profit corporations, known as "Children's Aid Societies" which are governed by their own Boards of Directors.

The Ministers of Children and Youth Services and MPPs across the province either claim or believe, that each Society is governed by a community elected Board of Directors and that each Society has local oversight provided by the local community.

However, it has been the experience of many that this is not actually true. Each Society has their own by-laws which differ from the other Societies. Each Society has their own way of determining who gets to become a general voting member of the Society, and how members of the Board of Directors are chosen from the general membership to represent the views and opinions of the local community.

The problem is that most Societies do not advertise any information to the public as to how they can join the Society as a general voting member. They do not inform the public of the difference between being on the Board of Directors, and being a 'general' member of the Society who is not on the Board of Directors. They do not make public the schedule of Board of Directors meetings, whether the Board meetings are open to the public, how or if members of the public can attend and make presentations to the Board of Directors, what rights exist for 'general' members under the applicable statutes (Corporations Act / Not-for-Profit Corporations Act ) and more, including how or if 'general' members can obtain copies of the Society's corporate By-laws or Policies and Procedures manuals and detailed financial reports such as quarterly and annual financial reports to the Ministry.


The research project will ask each of the Societies in Ontario to answer the following list of questions and where required will follow up on their responses to clarify any ambiguities or attempt to fill in any omissions, intentional or otherwise.



ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS
  1. Does the Society currently make a complete copy of its corporate By-laws available to the public?
  2. How could a member of the public obtain a complete copy of the Society's corporate By-laws?
  3. Does the Society currently make a complete copy of its Policy and Procedures Manual available to the public?
  4. How could a member of the public obtain a complete copy of the Society's Policy and Procedures Manual?
  5. When, and at what location does the Society typically hold its Annual General Meetings?
  6. Are the Society's Annual General Meetings open to the general public to attend?
  7. In the past, how has the Society notified the general public of Annual General Meetings, and can you provide a sample of a previous public notice, or the wording of such?
  8. With the availability of technology today, will the Society notify the public of future Annual General Meetings via a notice posted on the main home page of their website/Facebook Page if applicable? 
  9. What matters can members of the public vote upon at an Annual General Meeting if they are not currently a general member of the Society? (But not a member of the Board)
  10. What matters can members of the public vote upon at an Annual General Meeting if they are a general member of the Society? (But not a member of the Board).
  11. Any time prior to an Annual General Meeting, does the Society make a copy of the Agenda available to the general public, and if so, how and when? 
  12. Any time after an Annual General Meeting, does the Society make a copy of the Minutes of the meeting available to the general public, and if so, how, and when?

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

  1. What are the first and last names, and professions of each of the members of the Society's current Board Directors?
  2. If a member of the public wishes to submit communications in writing to each of the members of the Society's Board of Directors, how can they do so?
  3. How can a member of the public who has submitted a written communication to each of the members of the Society's Board of Directors confirm whether each of the members of the Society's Board of Directors has in fact received their written submission?
  4. In what months, on what dates, at what times, and at what location does the Society's Board of Directors regularly meet?
  5. Are members of the public permitted to attend the 'regular' meetings of the Board of Directors? 
  6. In the past, how has the Society notified the general public of the 'regular' and 'special' meetings of the Board of Directors, and if applicable, can you provide a sample of a previous public notice of such, or at least the wording used? 
  7. With the availability of technology today, will the Society notify the public of future 'regular' and 'special' meetings of the Board of Directors via a notice posted on the main home page of their website/Facebook page or via Twitter?
  8. What Committees/Subcommittees/Working Groups etc. exist under the current Board of Directors?
  9. When and how do these Committees/Subcommittees/Working Groups Etc. meet and can the public attend their meetings?
  10. Does the Society allow members of the public to obtain copies of the agendas and minutes of the Board of Directors meetings for each year and if so, how?
  11. Does the Society allow members of the public to obtain copies of the agendas and minutes of the Committees/Subcommittees/Working Groups etc. meetings for each year and if so, how?
SOCIETY MEMBERSHIPS

  1. What classes of membership does the Society currently offer to the members of the local community (ie: 'General', 'Honourary', 'Life Time', 'Youth')
  2. How does the Society currently promote Society memberships to the members of the local community?
  3. What is the difference between a Society membership, and being on the Board of Directors of the Society?
  4. How does a member of the local community become a member of the Society?
  5. How does a member of the local community become a member of the Society's Board of Directors?
  6. What is the annual cost of membership with the Society?
  7. When are annual memberships to be renewed each year?
  8. What are the rights and privileges of members of the various classes of membership available? (non-Board members)
  9. What written instruments (By-laws, statutes/regulations/policies etc.) outline the rights and privileges of the various classes of members of the Society?
  10. How can members of the local community gain access to the instruments mentioned in question 9 above?
SOCIETY BY-LAWS AND POLICIES

  1. What is the title of the document which contains the policies and procedures of the Society?
  2. Who is responsible for the creation and upkeep of the Society's policies and procedures?
  3. Does the Society provide access to its policies and procedures for members of the local community and if so, how?
  4. Does the Society provide access to its policies and procedures for its clients (both children/youth and their families) and if so, how?
 ACCESS TO RECORDS FOR CLIENTS POLICY

  1. Does the Society have a policy which governs client access to their records held by the Society?
  2. Does the Society make public its policies on client access to their records held by the Society and if so, how?
  3. If the Society does not have, or does not make public its policies regarding client access to their records held by the Society, please explain why not.
  4. Will you provide the Foster Care Council of Canada with a copy of the Policies regarding client access to their records held by the Society
  5. Will you make public copies of the Society's policies regarding client access to their records held by the Society, and if so, how?

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Monday, December 10, 2012

OACAS Spreads False Information in Child Welfare Report 2012

The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) released a report titled 'Child Welfare Report 2012'  wherein Recommendation #3 contains blatant lies to the public, to the Minister of Children and Youth Services, to the Media, and to MPPs, by spreading false information regarding Children's Aid Societies (CAS) inability to protect 16 and 17 year old youth.

In the recommendation, the OACAS knowingly, falsely claims that "Incredibly, Children’s Aid Societies are not permitted to protect children who come to their attention after their 16th birthday" and that "If a new case of possible abuse or neglect comes to the attention of a Children’s Aid and the youth is 16 or older, the agency is powerless to act."

Currently section 27 of the Child and Family Services Act already gives authority to CAS and to the courts to provide services to youth over sixteen if the youth want such services and enter into an agreement for such.

Section 27 reads as follows:


Consent to service: person over sixteen
27.  (1)  A service provider may provide a service to a person who is sixteen years of age or older only with the person’s consent, except where the court orders under this Act that the service be provided to the person. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 27 (1).
If you read it carefully it basically says that a CAS and a youth sixteen or older, if the youth wants it, can enter into an agreement for services (foster care or other services). It also says that even if the youth does not want the services, if the CAS convinces the court that the youth needs it, the court has the power to order those services.

If the OACAS and the CAS were to win changes to the legislation as they are asking government to do, it would take away the older youth's choice entirely making it mandatory that the sixteen and seventeen year old youth go into foster care or receive forced services even if they don't want them.

Basically throwing away the UN convention on the Rights of the Child to be heard and / or considered in the decision making process concerning their lives.

John Dunn of the Foster Care Council of Canada has sent the following e-mail to the OACAS to ask for clarification on this issue and the OACAS refuses to respond to it.

OACAS
Media Relations

According to the Home page of the OACAS, the OACAS and Ontario Children’s Aid Societies recommend raising the age of protection to 18 and they believe Children’s Aid should have the ability to intervene when older children are abused or neglected and be able to work with children and their families, and help them make connections in the community to access supports and services.

However, currently section 27 of the
Child and Family Services Act already gives the Societies and the courts authority to provide services to youth over the age of sixteen as long as the youth wants to receive those services and gives consent. (See below)


Consent to service: person over sixteen
27.  (1)  A service provider may provide a service to a person who is sixteen years of age or older only with the person’s consent, except where the court orders under this Act that the service be provided to the person. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 27 (1).

Can the OACAS please explain why they are lobbying the government to increase the age of protection to 18 when they already have the ability to do so under the current legislation if the youth consents to such services?



Sincerely

John Dunn
Executive Director
Foster Care Council of Canada
http://www.afterfostercare.ca



 As an MPP, please ensure youth in care or under the eye of a CAS can continue to choose whether they want to be apprehended or not, or to receive services against their wishes by default. Currently the CAS can do so with checks and balances in place via the courts. Don't take away the choice of youth in care to stay at home if they so wish.

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ottawa CAS Blocking Memberships Again

The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa appears to be acting with corporate oppression tactics again by blocking members of the community from obtaining memberships with the Society. The letter below is yet another attempt by John Dunn to obtain a membership with the local Children's Aid Society in order to advocate for changes to the policies and practices of the Society through the proper channels.

UPDATE: Nov 21, 2012: I contacted the Society again to ask if they were sending an application and I have now received one. In the past the Society has rejected my membership applications. I am going to fill it out and I expect them to reject it again without a proper explanation.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Letter to Green Party - Speaking Out for Youth in Care

The following letter has been sent out by the Foster Care Council of Canada to Ontario's Green Party leader Mike Schreiner and Green Party of Ontario, Children and Youth Services Shadow Cabinet member Jennifer Mooradian.


Mike and Jennifer (Children and Youth Services Shadow Cabinet)

Good morning. I read the action request e-mail from the GPO this morning and was impressed. I will go and watch the video as well on Mike's presentation regarding Nuclear also.

However, at this time, I wanted to ask if the GPO would consider putting out a similar announcement to all of it's members regarding an issue which often is overseen by other parties and that is the issues of Ombudsman oversight of Children's Aid Societies to protect youth in foster care.

Right now, is a critical moment for this movement. We have had several Bills for Ombudsman oversight pass first reading (all bills pass first reading by tradition) but usually they die on the table before they see the light of day through a second reading.

This time however,  a Bill for oversight of CAS by the Ombudsman -- Bill 110 -- has made it to second reading and has been sent to the Justice Committee.

The current Ombudsman, Andre Marin has been very outspoken on the need for Ombudsman oversight of CAS. Hundreds of protests have occurred over the past few years across Ontario to get Ombudsman oversight of CAS (see link to lists following this message). People always speak of the children being our future, and it taking a community to raise a child, yet when it comes to a simple step such as giving truly independent oversight of CAS by the Ombudsman for foster kids to protect them from poor decisions and/or negligent or systemic failures which harm them in the long run, we tend to over look them instead of oversee them.

This issue is ripe for a GPO action letter to its members just like the one the GPO did for the nuclear issue. It is supported by the Ombudsman himself, Andre Marin (amarin@ombudsman.on.ca) and by thousands of Ontarians, including foster parents (who are often scared to speak out for fear of reprisals and removal of their foster children and/or ability to continue caring for children) the youth themselves, the family members of kids in care, and foster care survivors like myself who grew up in the system which claims to have oversight mechanisms which are either completely toothless by design (cfsrb.ca a tribunal intentionally made exempt from the Statutory Powers and Procedures Act which would give it enforcement powers), alleged Ministry oversight which if you bring issues to them, they state that they do not enforce their own Regulations under the Child and Family Services Act, as well as grandparents and professionals in child welfare.

A Film has been done by Esther Bukareff which is supported by Ryerson University (the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies complained and Ryerson defended it). The Film and tonnes of related research can be found regarding the foster care system in Ontario and the lack of oversight. There are associated short videos by her at the following link which are great for a quick educational background including illegal apprehensions, and abuse in foster care by a lawyer who deals with foster care/institutional abuse of children in Ontario.

PLEASE view these short videos 1) http://vimeo.com/blakout and the overall website at http://www.blakout.ca to learn more.

Then, please dedicate the time the GPO puts toward environmental issues toward our children. The most vulnerable children in our province whose natural guardians (their family) have been removed from watching over them. The PC party supports Bill110, the NDP introduced the Bill (and previous ones) and the Liberals voted against them in the past.

This is an opportunity for the Green Party of Ontario to be a leader with the people who are going to vote for them in the near future. The children who have the government of Ontario as their legal parent. (Crown Wards/Foster Children).

Will the GPO commit to sending out an announcement to its members similar to the ones sent out in the past on environmental issues and other issues?

I suggest listening to my short CBC Radio documentary on my life in foster care (16 years/13 moves/abuse etc.) which takes you on a virtual subway ride through the life of an Ontario foster child and his brother. (myself and my brother Ron, a bike courier in Toronto of 20+ years) before you respond. You can hear it by clicking on the following link:

http://www.afterfostercare.ca/subway.html (It received a second airing by CBC as a "listener favourite".

I thank you for considering speaking out actively for my "little brothers and sisters" who are in foster care today, and those who will inevitably end up there tomorrow by making an announcement regarding the passing of Bill 110 and urging members of the GPO and others to call their MPP to ask that they vote YES to #Bill110 for #Ombudsman oversight of Children's Aid Societies.



Sincerely,

John Dunn
Executive Director (Volunteer)
Foster Care Council of Canada

Website: http://www.afterfostercare.ca
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/afterfostercare
News Blog: http://www.fostercarenews.blogspot.com
Child Welfare Discussion Forum: http://www.fostercare.proboards.com

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Court Orders Case Closed - CAS Keeps File Open - Parent Files Motion to Restrain Society and to Close File



The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa has been involved with a parent in Ottawa for approximately two years. The parent complied with Society's requirements and the Society recently moved to close his file with the court.

The court ordered the Society's supervision order to be terminated and full custody of the child returned to the parent, however, since then, we have been told by the parent that the Society, through one of it's workers, Mohammed Said, a child protection worker who is not registered with the College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, called the parent to say that they want to come to the parent's home for a visit, to see how that child was doing, and if the parent does not comply, things won't go well for the parent and his child.