Monday, April 06, 2009

Ontario's Ministry of Children and Youth Services Initiates Quiet CAS Complaints Research Project Sending Surveys to CAS's on Complaints

Originally posted March 03, 2009

UPDATES AT END OF POST (3)

The Foster Care Council of Canada (Council) has been told by a citizen of Ontario -- Chris Carter -- that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services has initiated some kind of research project into Children's Aid Society complaints as confirmed by a Ministry Regional Office Staff. (Name withheld for his or her protection from retaliation although we are keeping in touch to report if any retaliation does come down upon the staff member for revealing the information)

Upon receiving the information, John Dunn of the Council contacted Chris Shantz, Special Assistant to the Minister who when asked whether he was aware of any such project replied that he can't say whether or not any such project had been launched.

In response to a request for further clarification as to whether he has knowledge of any such project or if he is not allowed to say anything about it, his response was again, a restrained sounding "I can't say".

We will continue to look into this matter and ask any Ministry staff to contact us (with assurance of anonymity) with further details as to who initiated heads the research project, what it is titled, why it was initiated, when a report is due and what use the outcome of the project will be put to.

UPDATE 1: John Dunn has since confirmed with a CAS staff member that surveys were sent out to the CAS's regarding complaints and the staff member is going to ask the Ministry if a copy of the survey can be sent to John.

The CAS staff member has since contacted John Dunn informing him of the fact that he or she is not allowed to give a copy of the survey to the public.


UPDATE 2: John Dunn has sent a letter for information to Ministry staff Chris Shantz (Special Assistant to the Minister) regarding the Surveys to CAS's. The letter is enclosed below.

UPDATE 3: The Foster Care Council of Canada is considering making a Freedom of Information Request to obtain a copy of the survey.


Hi Chris,
Special Assistant to the Minister
Children and Youth Services
Toronto, Ontario

Chris Shantz,

I have been made aware of the fact that the Ministry has sent surveys around to the CAS's in Ontario seeking information regarding complaints. I wanted to ask the following questions regarding the Ministry of Children and Youth Services sending out surveys to CAS's regarding complaints.

1. Can I obtain a copy of the survey which has been sent to CAS regarding complaints

2. Could you tell me what the Ministry is researching in relation to these surveys or what are they being used for

3. Do these surveys have anything to do with the review of the CFSA

4. Do these surveys have anything to do with possible amendments to the regulations subordinate to section 68 of the CFSA

5. What is the name or title of the research project in relation to the surveys as distributed to CAS's regarding complaints.



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


From: afterfostercare@hotmail.com
To: McGowan, Sally (MCYS)
Cc: Horwath - QP, Andrea ; Julia Munro ; Andre Marin ; Irwin Elman
Sent: Mon Aug 03 14:58:03 2009
Subject: Ministry Review of CFSA Section 68
I received your letter dated June 23, 2009 wherin you stated that the purpose of the Ministry's review of several Societies in relation to section 68 of the CFSA was to assess whether CAS's have established policies and practices as required by the amendments to the CFSA and the client complaint process created by the Ministry and to determine whether those policies and practices were operating effectively.

In addition, your letter mentioned that the Ministry will work with individual Societies to resolve any issues that were identified in this review.

I wanted to ask what the results of the Ministry's review have been, and if that information will be made available to the public at any time and if so, how, where, and when can the public obtain the related materials.



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


Ministry Response
From: McGowan, Sally (MCYS) (Sally.Mcgowan@ontario.ca)
Sent: August 4, 2009 7:11:54 AM
To: johndunn@afterfostercare.ca
Cc: ahorwath-qp@ndp.on.ca; julia.munro@pc.ola.org; amarin@ombudsman.on.ca; irwin.elman@provincialadvocate.on.ca; Clark, Maureen (MCYS) (Maureen.Clark@ontario.ca); Crossman, Will (MCYS) (Will.Crossman@ontario.ca)

Mr. Dunn, thank you for your email.

In fact, information was gathered from all 53 societies regarding their complaint processes as part of the ministry's ongoing monitoring of the implementation of policy initiatives. At this time, there is no plan to release the data collected.

Sally McGowan
Director, Client Services Branch
Service Delivery Division
Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

Council reply

From: John Dunn (johndunn@afterfostercare.ca)
Sent: August 4, 2009 7:23:36 AM
To: Sally McGowan MinCYS - Director - Client Services (sally.mcgowan@ontario.ca)
Cc: Horwath - QP, Andrea (ahorwath-qp@ndp.on.ca); Julia Munro (julia.munro@pc.ola.org); Andre Marin (amarin@ombudsman.on.ca); Irwin Elman (irwin.elman@provincialadvocate.on.ca); Maureen (CSS) Clark (maureen.clark@ontario.ca); will.crossman@ontario.ca
Thank-you for your quick response.

You stated that there is no plan at this time to release the data collected in relation to the Ministry's review of Societies' compliance with section 68 complaints.

Does this mean that you have been actively told by someone that you are not allowed to release this information? If not, I specifically wanted to ask if

a) the Ministry had identified any issues in relation to the compliance review and if so,

b) whether you can let me know what those issues were and how the Ministry has or intends to respond to them



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

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