Thursday, December 10, 2009

Toronto CAS Committed to Instruct Staff on How to Respond to Requests for Membership

The Toronto Children's Aid Society's Director of Communications, Rob Thompson has committed to instructing Society staff how to respond to citizen requests for regular memberships with the agency after being told by the Foster Care Council of Canada that switchboard operators were not aware of Society memberships and that they were redirecting them to volunteer services.

An applicant was informed by a staff member of the agency that they don't usually get requests for membership, however the agency does not advertise memberships on their websites, or in their lobbies.

The Foster Care Council of Canada, in an effort to increase the transparency and accountability of child welfare services in Ontario has successfully advocated for a private members motion to have CAS's make the public aware of Society memberships. The motion called Private Member's Motion 41 was brought forward to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario by MPP Andrea Horwath which reads as follows:

41. 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.

The Foster Care Council of Canada will continue to advocate for increased transparency and accountability of child welfare and will post updates to this issue on this blog.

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