Monday, October 19, 2009

OACAS on Foster Care Records and Changes to Legislation

The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) published information on page 16 of their 2008/09 Annual Report informing the public and the Children's Aid Societies in Ontario of the fact that the OACAS made proposals to the Government of Ontario for Child and Family Services Act amendments, that they submitted speaking notes, backgrounders, and submissions to Standing Committees of the Legislative Assembly regarding access to CAS records, Ombudsman Oversight, and pending Corporations Act changes, all of which are critically important issues affecting children, youth and their families who are involved with a Society.

It is important for citizens of Ontario to contact their Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) today, and ask how to obtain copies of, or access to the OACAS submissions to various Standing Committees on access to CAS records, Ombudsman Oversight, and pending Corporations Act changes and to find out from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services if you can get copies of the proposals submitted to them by the OACAS regarding amendments to the Child and Family Services Act.

Your questions to your MPP's office and to the Ministry could look similar to the following.


To your MPP's office:

"I am trying to find out if I can get copies of, or access to submissions which have been made to various committees of the Assembly by the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (the OACAS) regarding Access to CAS records, Ombudsman Oversight and pending Corporations Act changes.

You will more than likely be asked to make your submission in writing, so be prepared to do so after speaking with the MPP's staff.

To the Ministry of Children and Youth Services

"I am trying to find out if I can get copies of, or access to proposals which were submitted to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services by the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (the OACAS) regarding amendments to the Child and Family Services Act which might take place some time after the next five year review of the Act in March of 2010."

Why bother?

The reason you will want to do this, is so that you can learn ahead of time what changes might be coming down the road to the Child and Family Services Act after it's mandatory five-year review in March of 2010 and to the Corporations Act which governs Children's Aid Societies in Ontario so that you can prepare as early as possible to make a presentation on possible amendments at the committee of the Legislative Assembly which will be dealing with these statues.

If you have any questions or problems in attempting to get this information, please feel free to e-mail johndunn@afterfostercare.ca or call 613-220-1039 to ask for some guidance.

Related Poetry
Former foster child John Dunn wrote the following poem in 2003 regarding the inability for many foster children to get access to their CAS files and the systemic perpetuation of the negative stigma of life in foster care on foster children via section 45 (8) of the Child and Family Services Act.



CONFIDENTIALITY
The Children’s Aid abducted us from our friends and families
Using chainsaws of authority, they cut down our family trees
Once your stuck in foster care, you wind up living God knows where
Shipped around like a piece mail, till sixteen years when you can bail

To our natural families, were not allowed to speak
Group home staff are too afraid, us little rats will squeak
They make our file summaries in attempts to satisfy
But cut out all the crap they did and leave us with a lie

They keep our lives a secret, from the public and the press
So nobody can witness this manufactured mess
They say our files are secret so that they can protect us
But in reality, it’s so they can repress us

Bound by confidentiality, what a lovely phrase
Hiding sanctioned child abuse for 48,000 days
The longer they procrastinate in giving us our lives
The bigger and more fortified become the crown ward hives

-- John Dunn - Former Crown Ward


Download a copy of the 2008/09 Annual Report - OACAS - Download

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