Wednesday, August 19, 2009

2010 Ride for Accountability of Children's Aid Societies

The Foster Care Council of Canada
12-1160 Meadowlands Drive East, Ottawa, ON, K2E 6J2
613-220-1039
www.afterfostercare.ca
racas@afterfostercare.ca


Dear Friends,

There are fifty-three Children’s Aid Societies which have the mandate of protecting children and youth from abuse and neglect. Although the Children’s Aid Societies are often successful at meeting their mandate, many professionals are familiar with the fact that there are flaws at times in the way Children’s Aid Societies and their staff conduct themselves which have had negative impacts on the children they serve.

For several decades, the office of Ontario’s Ombudsman has been fighting for jurisdiction over Children’s Aid Societies in an attempt to improve transparency and accountability within the Societies, however the Ministry of Children and Youth Services has actively, openly, and successfully, blocked the Ombudsman from having any effective oversight of Children’s Aid Societies in the Province.

Politicians, professionals, and media alike have expressed publicly that there is a lack of accountability and transparency of Children’s Aid Societies, as evidenced by the following quotes:

“Children’s Aid is out of control, there’s absolutely no accountability whatsoever” … “Let’s understand this is a private corporation”… “it’s not a part of the government, more accountability, I say it’s time to shut it down, the government should be directly delivering child protection services” … “Why would the government vote down oversight by the Ombudsman? What are they afraid of?”


MPP -- Peter Kormos


“Well, one of the problems we have of course is that this [child welfare hearing] is not an open court”… “the problem is we don’t know when the case is and the names are not disclosed”


Hamilton Family Law Lawyer – Gordon Morton


“A 2006 CBC investigation uncovered Ontario caseworkers drugging a seven-year-old Ontario boy into a stupor with massive doses of psychotropic medications, which a psychiatrist would later find had “no actual treatment value,” except making him more compliant in his group home. While in his drugged state, he was sexually abused by fellow residents.”

Kevin Libin – Reporter – National Post



The Foster Care Council of Canada, a non-profit organization made up of former foster children and their supporters, whose mission is to involve current and former child-welfare service clients and their supporters in the process of improving the quality and accountability of child-welfare services through a strong and united voice brings awareness of these and other related issues to the tax paying public, who, through their taxes, provincial fees, and Social Transfer Payments from the Federal Government, unwittingly fund such practices by Children’s Aid Societies.

We achieve our mission by utilizing Internet based information campaigns, our foster care newsletter “The Crown Ward”, the media, and in certain circumstances, case-based advocacy and legal actions.

In order to reach the broader public in the hope of facilitating increased transparency and accountability in Children’s Aid Societies, we are embarking upon a bike ride which will be known as “The Ride for Accountability of Children’s Aid Societies” or “RACAS” which will take place late in the summer or early fall of 2010.

The ride will take former foster child John Dunn, hopefully accompanied by a banner-clad vehicle, from Ottawa to Cornwall, along the north shore of Lake Ontario through to Durham Region, Toronto, Hamilton, and other locations in South Western Ontario, finally concluding in Windsor.

Our goal is to have John distribute information/resource kits, speak with the media, and to visit local MPP’s offices in order to gather support and momentum to pressure the Ontario government into enabling the Ombudsmen to obtain oversight of Children’s Aid Societies, including speaking with MPP’s who oppose Ombudsman oversight so we can learn of the reasons why anyone would oppose such a measure of accountability to better work toward resolving or working around those issues.

Along the way, John will be collecting signatures on a dual purpose petition which will seek Ombudsman oversight of Children’s Aid Societies and to request that the Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s Standing Committee on Social Policy initiate a study into the conduct of Children’s Aid Societies, their staff, and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services who are supposed to monitor them, as permitted under the Legislature’s Standing Orders 111 and 126.

John plans to ride 5 hours a day, for approximately 10 days. During the ride, we hope to raise funds from the public to assist the Foster Care Council of Canada in meeting its objectives which are as follows:

• conducting child-welfare related research and reporting our findings to government officials and the public

• providing information about child-welfare related legislation and on-line legal tools

• launching public awareness campaigns regarding important child-welfare issues

• assisting child-welfare clients in acquiring access to their own personal records held by the various child-welfare agencies

• publishing our periodic newsletter, The Crown Ward

• endorsing, intervening in, or initiating legal action where it is deemed necessary and appropriate to do so in the public interest

However, before this ride can become a reality, we need to raise funds to cover the costs of the ride which will include accommodation, food, materials, and so forth. Your support will make this possible.

Donations can be made anonymously, or, if requested your donation / logo will be published on our website as a supporter. Please make your donation by cheque or money order made payable to The Foster Care Council of Canada, 12-1160 Meadowlands Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K2E 6J2 or call 613-220-1039.

In time, we will be creating a web site for the ride, but in the mean time, updates will be posted to the News Page of the Foster Care Council of Canada at www.afterfostercare.ca.

Once the pre-ride fundraising has been completed, we will “shift gears” and launch a website for the ride itself. We sincerely believe that the RACAS will help “pave” the way for positive change in Children’s Aid Societies across the province.

Sincerely,
The Foster Care Council of Canada

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