Monday, May 25, 2009

(Cornwall) Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry CAS and Memberships

Rachel Daigneault - Executive Director
Kevin Lydon - President
The Children’s Aid Society of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry
150 Boundary Road
Cornwall ON
K6H 6J5

Attn: Board of Directors

RE: Society Web Site and Memberships

I am writing to you as the Executive Director of the Foster Care Council of Canada, a non-profit organization made up of former wards of a Society and their supporters which advocates for improved quality and accountability of child-welfare services across Canada.

We have been reviewing various Children's Aid Society web sites in Ontario and have become aware of the fact that your web site ( http://www.cassdg.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=146&Itemid=246〈=en )does describe Board membership requirements fairly well, however, we noted that there is little to no information regarding regular memberships which are extended to members of the community.

As the web site is currently worded, it appears to only speak to people who wish to become a member of the Board of Directors of the Society as opposed to those who would simply like to become regular members.

It is our hope that the Society would expand upon regular memberships as a separate category under their 'About Us" link directly above or below the link to the Board of Directors so that members of the community realize they can become regular members without having to become a member of the Board of Directors.

We would also encourage the Society to publish its By-Laws on the web site as a means of both attracting and educating the public of their privileges and obligations in connection with regular memberships in order to work toward increased transparency and accountability.

In our efforts to improve quality and accountability in child-welfare in Ontario, the Foster Care Council of Canada successfully advocated for the creation of a private member's motion (Private Member's Motion 41) at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario which reads as follows:

Ms. Horwath - That, in the opinion of this House, the Government of Ontario should instruct all Children's Aid Societies to publish information electronically on their websites, where available, and in print format, readily accessible in the lobby area of each CAS office, which informs the public of their ability to attend and make presentations at the regularly scheduled Board of Director's meetings, the schedule and Minutes of those meetings, and further, in the same manner as mentioned above, to inform the public of the fact that CAS memberships are available to people who reside in, or who conduct business within the jurisdiction of each CAS, to provide details on how to apply for membership, and to provide access to the Society's By-Laws in the same manner.

We would like to request a response to this letter of suggestion for publication in our newsletter, the Crown Ward News and are looking forward to hearing from you.

As a general guide, our advocacy efforts have resulted in changes to the Ottawa Children's Aid Society web site as you can see at the following link

http://www.casott.on.ca/en/board_director.cfm


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

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