Monday, February 06, 2012

Ontario CAS and OACAS Lobbying To Remove Choice From Youth

The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies and Children's Aid Societies themselves have been lobbying the Government to increase the mandatory age of protection for youth from 16 up to 18 years of age.

It is important however that this not be confused with offering youth services until their 21st or 24th years. That is supported by us as long as it is optional for the youth. This is a different issue. This issue concerns CASs being able to apprehend youth or provide services against the wishes of the youth themselves between the ages of sixteen and 18.

Currently section 27 of the Child and Family Services Act already gives authority to CAS and to the courts to provide services to youth over sixteen if the youth want such services and enter into an agreement for such.

Section 27 reads as follows:

Consent to service: person over sixteen
27.  (1)  A service provider may provide a service to a person who is sixteen years of age or older only with the person’s consent, except where the court orders under this Act that the service be provided to the person. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 27 (1).
If you read it carefully it basically says that a CAS and a youth sixteen or older, if the youth wants it, can enter into an agreement for services (foster care or other services) if the youth wants it. It also says that even if the youth does not want the services, if the CAS convinces the court that the youth needs it, the court has the power to order those services.

If the OACAS and the CAS were to win changes to the legislation as they are asking government to do, it would take away the older youth's choice entirely making it mandatory that the sixteen and seventeen year olds go into care or receive forced services even if they don't want them. Basically throwing away the UN convention on the Rights of the Child to be heard and / or considered in the decision making process concerning their lives.

John Dunn of the Foster Care Council of Canada has sent an e-mail to the OACAS to ask for clarification on this issue.

E-mail below:



OACAS
Media Relations

According to the Home page of the OACAS, the OACAS and Ontario Children’s Aid Societies recommend raising the age of protection to 18 and they believe Children’s Aid should have the ability to intervene when older children are abused or neglected and be able to work with children and their families, and help them make connections in the community to access supports and services.

However, currently section 27 of the
Child and Family Services Act already gives the Societies and the courts authority to provide services to youth over the age of sixteen as long as the youth wants to receive those services and gives consent. (See below)

Consent to service: person over sixteen
27.  (1)  A service provider may provide a service to a person who is sixteen years of age or older only with the person’s consent, except where the court orders under this Act that the service be provided to the person. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 27 (1).

Can the OACAS please explain why they are lobbying the government to increase the age of protection to 18 when they already have the ability to do so under the current legislation if the youth consents to such services?



Sincerely

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



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