Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Ontario Branch of Foster Care Council of Canada Launches 2011 Election Campaign

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ONTARIO BRANCH - 2011 WORK PLAN

John Dunn
Executive Director, Foster Care Council of Canada
Ontario Branch Director

Introduction
Hello everyone. As you are all aware, children and youth services are the responsibility of the provincial and territorial governments in Canada. Therefore in order to effectively advocate for transparency and accountability of children and youth services we need to focus on those who are directly responsible for those services, the provincial/territorial governments via their appropriate Ministries or Departments.

In Ontario, those responsible for children and youth services are the Ontario government. The Ontario government delegates its responsibility to its Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The Ministry then designates approved agencies (privately incorporated, non-profit corporations called Children's Aid Societies) as a "Society" under subsection 15 (2) of the Child and Family Services Act.

The Functions of a Society are laid out under subsection 15 (3) of the Act and they include the following; to


(a) investigate allegations or evidence that children who are under the age of sixteen years or are in the society’s care or under its supervision may be in need of protection;

(b) protect, where necessary, children who are under the age of sixteen years or are in the society’s care or under its supervision;

(c) provide guidance, counselling and other services to families for protecting children or for the prevention of circumstances requiring the protection of children;

(d) provide care for children assigned or committed to its care under this Act;

(e) supervise children assigned to its supervision under this Act;

(f) place children for adoption under Part VII; and

(g) perform any other duties given to it by this or any other Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 15 (3).

If you have noticed, Children's Aid Societies in Ontario are "designated" by the responsible Ministry to provide child welfare services on behalf of the Government as sub-delegates. When a body who is responsible for a certain portfolio or jurisdiction delegates or sub-delegates the administration of that portfolio to a delegate or sub-delegate, the responsible body does not lose their responsibility for that portfolio.

Therefore, ultimately, the government, via their responsible Ministry, is still responsible for providing children and youth services in the province. They can not delegate or sub-delegate their "responsibility", only the administration thereof. This is the key to advocating for transparency and accountability in children and youth services. Focusing on the responsible Ministry.

2011 Elections
This year is important to us in that we have a provincial election coming up, which means we can get an important public eye to focus in on the fact that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services has not, and still refuses to ultimately be responsible for how Children's Aid Societies conduct themselves. The Ministry has the power to revoke "Society" status from any Society at any time according to the Act, or in the alternative to step in an "take over" the operation and management of a Society by appointing a supervisor to oversee the operations of that or all Societies. (we have seen this done with the Huron Perth Children's Aid Society in 2010-11)

The Ministry can also issue directives to Societies, conduct reviews and much more. We know that the Ministry ignores its duty to do so when it has been given evidence of the need to do such. This year, the Ontario Branch of the Foster Care Council of Canada will make this our 2011 Public Awareness Campaign.

Volunteers
To get started, we are going to need volunteers who are interested in working together on developing and executing this campaign. I am calling on you to contact anyone you know who might be interested in getting involved in this campaign to increase the transparency and accountability of child and youth services in Ontario to e-mail "volunteers@afterfostercare.ca" with a subject line of "Ontario 2011 Campaign".

You can copy this e-mail to send to your appropriate friends and contacts, or to all of them at once!

If you are interested in volunteering to work with the Ontario Branch of the Foster Care Council of Canada in their province-wide 2011 campaign to ensure that the government is living up to its responsibility to protect the safety and well-being of Ontario's children and youth by advocating for transparency and accountability of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, please send an e-mail with the subject line of "2011 Ontario Campaign" to volunteers@afterfostercare.ca


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

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