Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Canadian Politicians Discussion Board

Get and Give the scoop on your local MP's and MPP's at http://www.canadianpoliticians.ca

CBC Archive of Jeffrey Baldwin

For those interested in the story of Jeffrey Baldwin, you can see the CBC archived stories and interviews at the following URL

http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/failingjeffrey/

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Foster Care Survivor on Post Tramatic Stress from Child Abuse

Roch Longueepee, an institutional child abuse survivor who founded a Nationally Incorporated Non-Profit Organization named "Restoring Dignity" speaks on CTV's Canada AM.

View the video here:
[here]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CAS Membership Study Seeks Volunteers

The Foster Care Council of Canada is currently seeking volunteers across Ontario to assist us in conducting a study related to Children's Aid Society Memberships.

You can learn more by visiting the Wiki site where the study progress and results will be published as shown below.

http://afterfostercare.wetpaint.com/page/CAS+Membership+Study

Monday, December 08, 2008

Council Seeks Application for Membership with Ottawa Society

The Foster Care Council of Canada has applied to the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa for a membership application. The letter asking for an application from the Society and the Society's response will be posted below:



Barbara MacKinnon
Executive Director
The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa
1602 Telesat Court
Ottawa, ON
K1B 1B1

Date: December, 08, 2008

RE: Society Membership Application

Barbara MacKinnon,

The Foster Care Council of Canada (the Council) is an organization made up of of both current and former child-welfare service clients and their supporters which both carries on business and has its head office within the City of Ottawa.

It is the Council's understanding that in order for an organization to apply for a membership with the Society, the organization must conduct business within the City of Ottawa and it must uphold the Society's mission which reads as follows:

"The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa is committed to protecting the children and youth of our community from all forms or abuse and neglect. We work to keep them safe and secure, both within their families and the communities in which they live"

The Council's mission statement reads as follows:

"Involving current and former child-welfare service clients in the process of improving the quality and accountability of child-welfare services through a strong, united voice"

Since the quality and accountability of child-welfare services as provided by the Society to children and youth are essential to ensuring they are protected from all forms of abuse and neglect therefore keeping them safe and secure within their families and in the communities in which they live, communities which include foster homes, group homes, and other places of safety or custody as defined in the Child and Family Services Act, it is the genuine interest of the Council to support and become involved in ensuring that the Society meets its mission.

The Council also has a genuine interest in, and is dedicated to, helping raise awareness of the important work which is undertaken by the Society, in addition to promoting the notion that the well-being of children and youth is the responsibility of the whole community, a notion which is shared by the Society and which is central to the work the Council is engaged in.

Therefore, and in closing, I would like to request from the Society that a copy of the Society's most recent membership application be mailed to our head office, the address of which can be found in our letterhead.

Sincerely,


John Dunn
Executive Director
The Foster Care Council of Canada


The Society's response still pending.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Ottawa CAS Members Oppose Youth Oversight

The Ottawa Children's Aid Society, through their legal counsel, claims to only have 55 voting members overseeing their agency, 17 of which are on the Board of Directors leaving just 38 select members of the community who oversee the decisions, actions and inactions of the Board of Directors and the agency.

John Dunn, a local citizen and former foster child himself, attempted to communicate with the existing members of the Society as permitted under section 307 of Ontario's Corporations Act, to ask them to call a meeting and vote in favor of giving kids and youth in care a stronger voice and independent oversight of their Society through granting them the same rights regular members of the Society share, minus voting rights.

The Society refused to furnish the list of the members as required under the Act resulting in charges being laid against the Society.

After more than fifteen months of resolution discussions between Dunn and the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa a resolution was reached and his letter of advocacy was eventually sent to the members.

Of the 55 members, only 1 responded in favour of strengthening the voices and independent oversight of the Society by the children and youth who receive life altering services from them.

The purpose of this advocacy effort is to fill the oversight gap left by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services refusing to give Ontario's Ombudsman, Andre Marin oversight of CAS's across the province, something he has been very vocal and active on.

More information on the charges, including images of the charging documents can be found at the following URL.

http://www.afterfostercare.ca/enforcement.html


-- 30 --

John Dunn
Executive Director
The Foster Care Council of Canada
613-228-2178
johndunn@afterfostercare.ca
http://www.afterfostercare.ca
NEWS: http://www.fostercarenews.blogspot.com

Friday, December 05, 2008

Bill 103 - Public Hearings - Committee Transcript

The following persons or organizations made appearances and spoke at the Social Policy Committee of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario regarding Bill 103 (links at end) which amended the Child and Family Services Act.

MINISTRY OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES

OFFICE OF THE PROVINCIAL ADVOCATE FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

DAVID WITZEL

DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL-CANADA

YOUTH SERVICES BUREAU OF OTTAWA

JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH

CHRIS MCCALLUM

CHRIS CARTER

FOSTER CARE COUNCIL OF CANADA

You can read the hansard at the following link

Original Copy of the Bill - As Introduced at First Reading
http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/39_Parliament/Session1/b103.pdf

Social Policy Committee amended version of the Bill as reported to Legislature for 3rd reading
http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/39_Parliament/Session1/b103rep.pdf

Ottawa CAS Notified of Offence

The Ottawa Children's Aid Society and Canada Newswire Group have made public the photo of a youth in care in violation of section 45 (8) of the Child and Family Services Act. The Foster Care Council of Canada has given the Society and Canada Newswire Group a notice informing them of the fact that they have done so advising them of the fact that they should immediately remove it.

The letter to the Society is posted first below, followed by the letter to Canada Newswire Group, which in turn is followed by the original press release.



France Clost,
Communications
Children's Aid Society of Ottawa
1602 Telesat Court
Ottawa, Ontario
K2E 6J2

I read the enclosed press release and wanted to congratulate the Society on creating such a room in connection with Bank of America.

However, I must also remind the Society that the image which accompanies the press release is in violation of section 45 (8) of the Child and Family Services Act, which is an Offence according to 85 (3) of the Act which reads as follows:

"A person who contravenes subsection 45 (8) or 76 (11) (publication of identifying information) or an order prohibiting publication made under clause 45 (7) (c) or subsection 45 (9), and a director, officer or employee of a corporation who authorizes, permits or concurs in such a contravention by the corporation, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than three years, or to both"

The image clearly identifies a youth in care (name removed for publication) and can be found at the following link: [here] (if this link fails the photo has been removed in accordance with the law)


The edited photo above has had identifying information removed to protect the identity of the youth in care

The photo is accompanied by the following text which has the effect of identifying a youth in care. This image was distributed by the Society and should be removed immediately in order to comply with the law.

"The (name removed), Youth in Care takes CAS Ottawa Board member and Champions For Children board member on a tour of the new youth room. (CNW Group/Children's Aid Society of Ottawa)"



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





Canada Newswire Group
Waterpark Place
20 Bay Street, Suite 1500
Toronto, Ontario
M5J 2N8

To whom it may concern,

The following letter which has been sent to the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa contains information that Canada Newswire Group should be aware of and respond immediately to, else face the possibility of legal action.

The relevant provisions of the Child and Family Services Act are section 45 (8) and 85 (3).

They read as follows:

45 (8)
No person shall publish or make public information that has the effect of identifying a child who is a witness at or a participant in a hearing or the subject of a proceeding, or the child’s parent or foster parent or a member of the child’s family.

85 (3)
A person who contravenes subsection 45 (8) or 76 (11) (publication of identifying information) or an order prohibiting publication made under clause 45 (7) (c) or subsection 45 (9), and a director, officer or employee of a corporation who authorizes, permits or concurs in such a contravention by the corporation, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than three years, or to both

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



ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE BELOW

Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2008 14:09:30 -0500
From: portfolio@newswire.ca
To: portfolio@newswire.ca
Subject: Ottawa youth in care get their space - and their voices heard

CNW Group Portfolio E-Mail



CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY OF OTTAWA

Transmitted by CNW Group on : December 5, 2008 14:09
Ottawa youth in care get their space - and their voices heard


OTTAWA, Dec. 5 /CNW Telbec/ - Today the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa
launched the opening of a new Youth Room for youth in care. What started out
as a small idea pitched by employees of Bank of America with large hearts, the
renovation project inspired the youth and everyone involved, and it quickly
became more than just a meeting room. It became the Youth Room called 'My
Place' and with clear direction provided by the youth, the room became the
venue for the following purposes:

<<
- A location where various professional development and life skills
seminars and courses will be offered for youth in care
- A gathering place to engage and empower youth in care, providing
workshops on employment, budgeting, and other important independence
supports.
- A gathering place for youth to learn from one another through
peer-support, and a place for youth in care to learn from helpful
adults such as community partners and organizations, volunteers, and
youth workers.
- A place for youth to receive & give support to each other.
- A place for the youth in care of the Society can call their own and
have a sense of belonging.
- A place where youth can share their in-care experiences and everyday
adolescent issues.
- A place to give youth a voice and encourage problem solving to effect
positive change for other children in care, youth and families not only
in our Society but possibly provincially, nationally and
internationally
- A place to socialize & have some fun
- A place to celebrate their individual & group accomplishments
- A location to complete their volunteer hours
>>

Of the 750 children currently in care, 492 are over the age of 13. The
'My Place' Youth Room is for them, but can also be accessed by alumni, or
those who have moved out of the system and onto their own. "I am so glad that
we are finally here today. It looks great, but what I'm really looking forward
to are the programs that will be offered. Usually, when people think of
helping kids in care they think of the younger kids. I feel really lucky that
the community thought about us today", says (name removed), an 18-year old youth in
care currently involved with the project.

The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa has been aggressively attending to
the youth agenda both locally and provincially, and this project is an example
of the Society's commitment to supporting youth engagement. "We are very
fortunate to have such a committed community organization in Bank of America
and generous support from the Champions For Children Foundation," says Barbara
MacKinnon, Executive Director of the Children's Aid Society. "It is everyone's
hope that the youth will feel supported through this initiative and will take
the opportunity to further participate in the youth agenda".

<<
/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
members of the media/

>>



-30-

/For further information: France Clost, Communications, The Children's
Aid Society of Ottawa, (613) 747-7800 ext. 2033, (613) 851-1584 (cell),
fclost@casott.on.ca; www.casott.on.ca/

Monday, December 01, 2008

Child Advocate Takes Government to Court

Below is the Hansard from Monday December 1st, 2008 of the Ontario Legislature.

It will also be followed by a link to the Social Policy Committee hearings which listened to members of the public as they made presentations regarding Bill 103 - The Child and Family Services Statute Amendment Act, 2008


ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Ms. Andrea Horwath: My question is to the Premier: Why was the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth forced to seek legal action against the McGuinty government to obtain documents involving a young person who asked for his help?

Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Minister of Children and Youth Services.

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Let me begin by saying I have enormous respect for the advocate as an individual and for the office of the advocate. The commitment that this government has to children and youth is clearly evidenced by our record. In fact, we were the ones who established the independent office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, which provides advocacy and an independent voice to some of the most vulnerable kids in this province.

The confidentiality and privacy provisions of the legislation were crafted in consultation with the Information and Privacy Commissioner to protect the privacy and legal rights of the child. Given that the advocate is now independent, it represents a new relationship. We're working very closely with the advocate to develop the protocol for information sharing as we go forward. This protocol-

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?

Ms. Andrea Horwath: This is an unprecedented action that's happening here. The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth was repeatedly stonewalled and had no choice but to go to the courts to seek information. This is an officer of this Legislature. He has a job to do. It took this government long enough to get him to be an independent officer, and now all this government is doing is stonewalling his work. Why is it taking so long for the ministry to provide the child advocate with the information he needs, and why won't this government facilitate his important job, instead of hamstringing him?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: We are absolutely facilitating the work. I think it's important that I can't speak to this particular case, but I can speak to the request for information. The request for this information was received on November 5, 2008, and the ministry has been working to compile the information requested while aligning the privacy requirements of the YCJA and FIPPA. The ministry will be contacting the office of the advocate today to inform him that that information will be forthcoming this week.

As I said earlier, we are working to develop the protocol. It is a new relationship. He is newly independent. We want him to have the information he needs, but we must also abide by the privacy requirements.



ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Mrs. Julia Munro: My question is to the Minister of Children and Youth Services. Last Thursday, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth wrote to tell me that your ministry will not provide him information about a young person allegedly beaten while in custody. Your repeated refusals to provide the information he needs to protect young people have now led to his taking legal action against your ministry. Minister, why do you need to wait for the threat of legal action before you take action?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Thank you for the question. I am glad to have a second opportunity to discuss this issue.

The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, the independent officer, was something that was created for this government. We take great pride in having an independent advocate for children and youth. It's an important position, and I'm proud to be part of a government that made that priority.

Let's be really clear about what this issue is. It's about a request for information. As a government, we have a responsibility to balance the privacy interests of the child with the request for information from the advocate. The confidentiality and privacy provisions of the advocate's legislation was something that was negotiated-crafted in consultation with the Information and Privacy Commissioner. We are working on how to-

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mrs. Julia Munro: Minister, your government created the advocate's office. You appointed the advocate as an officer of this Legislature. In the answer that you gave a moment ago, you indicated the fact that this was a problem that you had been working on, so my question to you is, why did you not create that balance that you refer to in the creation of this legislation? Either the legislation is flawed or you really don't want to protect children. Which is it?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: Let me completely reject the idea that we don't want to protect children. Let me tell you that we have-

Interjections. (this means everyone in the Assembly started yelling or heckling the Minister causing her to have to pause until it quiets down.

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Minister?

Hon. Deborah Matthews: We are working very closely with the advocate. They met on October 31 and have continued to meet thereafter to establish the protocol for information-sharing. It is not simply a matter of xeroxing the reports and sending them over to the advocate. We have to be careful. We have to respect the FIPPA regulations; we have to get the permission of the youth. There is a protocol that is involved. We are working very closely with the advocate to make sure he has the tools he needs to do the job.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ministry Attempts to Interfere with Solicitor Client Privilege

Letter to Mario Marchese MPP regarding today's Legislative Assembly debate on Bill 103

For Mario Marchese,
My name is John Dunn and I am the Executive Director of the Foster Care Council of Canada, an organization made up primarily of people who have lived in foster care which advocates for improved quality of service and accountability in child-welfare services across the country.

I am deeply concerned about the proposed sub-section 8 (4)(c) of Bill 103 which if left as-is would be the first step in eroding Canada's well-established Solicitor-Client Privilege which exists in the legal community across the country by allowing communications between Solicitors and their youth clients to be opened at the whim of a service provider or a member of the service provider's staff in the young person's presence and may be inspected for articles prohibited by the service provider.

As this is worded it is extremely dangerous in that first it allows for the violation of Solicitor-Client Privilege and secondly it allows the persons authorized to determine by their own policy what is to be deemed "prohibited" including, quite possibly, legal advice.

If a youth in custody were to be reporting abuse, this communication could be intercepted including any response from the youth's solicitors.

I hope that Ontario does not become the first province to allow such a violation which would begin to erode any democratic society's cornerstone of freedom.

(END OF LETTER)





Deb Matthews, in her position as Minister of Children and Youth Services has introduced a Bill (Bill 103) which proposes to allow child-welfare and youth justice staff and officials to intercept, open and withhold mail between a youth's lawyer and the youth.

The Bill also proposes to allow these people to read and withhold mail sent by children and youth in care and in custody from being mailed out.

Here is a quote from Hansard (discussions at the Legislature) by MPP Andrea Horwath with respect to this issue:

We have found out that not only was he not consulted-this is Mr. Elman, our new child advocate-but in fact the staff of the advocacy office have no recollection of having been contacted or approached at all in regard to putting this bill together

and

But one of the things that the bill allows authorities to do which is new is to open up e-mail and mail from children. Children are sending an e-mail or writing a letter, and this act now allows authorities to open that mail or read that e-mail before it gets sent.

and

There's no mechanism at all to ensure that the child is aware that mail is being held. Not only is this broadening the opportunity to intercept mail and keep it, but also there's no obligation or no recognition or acknowledgment that needs to be provided to the young person that says that their mail has been intercepted and kept from them. So the child's right to send and receive mail is being replaced by the facility's right to intercept their mail. Previously, the law said mail "shall not be examined or read by the service provider or a member of the service provider's staff if it is to or from the child's solicitor." But the proposed law states that mail "shall not be examined or read under clause (b) if it is to or from the young person's solicitor, unless there are reasonable and probable grounds to believe that it contains material that is not privileged as a solicitor-client communication."

You can't tell by the outside of a letter whether what's inside it is going to be covered by solicitor-client privilege. I mean, how do you tell by the outside of a letter what's on the inside; right? So who determines whether or not correspondence or communication is privileged? What rationale exists to interfere with mail between a young person and their legal counsel? I don't know. I don't know what that rationale is, and that's another reason why we need to get to committee, to try to explore where the government's mind was-collective mind, I guess-when they came up with this, because I really don't understand it at all.



Please call her office and express your opinion on this matter contained within Bill 103.

I have contacted Clayton Ruby as well to inform him of this matter and he called me back to let me know he is aware of it and will be watching it.

Constituency Office
242 Piccadilly St.
London ON N6A 1S4
Tel 519-432-7339
Fax 519-432-0613
dmatthews.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org


Ministry Office
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
14th Flr, 56 Wellesley St W
Toronto ON M5S 2S3
Tel 416-212-2278
Fax 416-212-7431
dmatthews.mpp@liberal.ola.org

FIPPA Requests

If you want to know how to obtain information from a Government body / agency / etc. (exept CAS who are exempt from FIPPA) you should read this.

A FIPPA request is nothing more than a letter seeking information from the government agency/ministry/body.

You also have to include a five dollar fee (Money Order / Cheque) made payable to THE ONTARIO MINISTER OF FINANCE in each request.

For example, a sample FIPPA Reqeust Letter would be as follows:


Ministry of ____________
Freedom of Information Officer
Address
Phone:


Date: _________

RE: _________

FIPPA Officer Name Here,

Example 1 - Communications between Ministry and a CAS regarding a matter
I would like to obtain any and all communications between the Eastern Regional Office of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa which pertain in any way to the Ministry's latest Accountability Framework

Example 2 - Directives from Ministry to CAS's
I would like to obtain a copy of any and all Directives which have been issued to the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services over the past two years.

Example 3 - Serious Occurance Reports
I would like to obtain a copy of all Serious Occurance Reports which have been filed with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services by the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa in the past twelve months. I understand that any information which could lead to identifying a child or youth in care shall be removed and do not have issue with this type of information being removed, however the names of any staff or Ministry staff are required to be left in as this does not in any way identify a child or youth in care.

Example 4 - Society By-Laws
I would like to obtain a copy of all of the By-Laws and any amendments thereto of the Children's Aid Society of (_________) which have been filed with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in accordance with section 13 of the Child and Family Services Act which states the following:

Approved agency

13.(1)An approved agency shall file a certified copy of its by-laws and of any amendment to them with the Minister forthwith after they are made.

Idem

(2)The by-laws of an approved agency shall contain the prescribed provisions.



Sincerely,
Your Signature
Your name here

When there is a lot of information which results from a FIPPA request you can be informed that charges will apply for copying etc. It is at this point that you can contact the FIPPA Co-Ordinator you are dealing with and seek to "Narrow Down" your request to the most important parts of it in order to reduce or eliminate the fees.

Monday, November 10, 2008

OACAS threatens legal action against John Dunn

INTRODUCTION
On Monday November 10, 2008, Ontario citizen, John Dunn received a letter in the mail from the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) who retained the services of Swadron Associates Barristers & Solicitors of Toronto, Ontario ( http://www.swadron.com ) for the purpose of requesting that Dunn "cease and desist from using the name Ontario Association of Children's Aid Society Members" for his online support and discussion group which he created to unite all citizens of Ontario who are, or who wish to become, or who would like to learn more about becoming a member of a Children's Aid Society in Ontario.

The reason given within the November 06th, 2008 cease and desist letter (Swadron Associates File Number: 89-1161) was that the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS), an Association which represents, and advocates on behalf of Ontario's Children's Aid Societies advised their solicitors that the name of the support and discussion group is "deceiving" in relation to the OACAS, and is "likely to cause confusion in the minds of members of the public". The letter was signed by Swadron Associates' Solicitor Barry B. Swadron, Q.C.

Late that same evening, in response to the Swadron's cease and desist letter, Dunn wrote the following letter, and has since reported that he is looking forward to resolving this matter as soon as possible.

--RESPONSE LETTER TO OACAS COUNSEL--

November 11, 2008

Jeanette Lewis, Executive Director
Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies

care of;

Swadron Associates Barristers & Solicitors
115 Berkeley Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 2W8

Barry B. Swadron, Q.C.,

NOTE: Let it be known that all communication between myself and any person in relation to this matter will be made public and distributed to various individuals at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and several committees thereof, the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman, the Auditor General's Office, the Provincial Child and Youth Advocates Office, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the Cabinet of the Ontario Government, select members of the media and via various internet based news wires and resources. This is done strictly as a measure of accountability in relation to the expenditure of public funds.

Cease and Desist Letter:
As of the evening of Monday, November 10, 2008, I am in receipt of your cease and desist letter dated November 06, 2008 (Swadron Associates Barristers & Solicitors File Number 89-1161) requesting that I cease and desist from using the name "Ontario Association of Children's Aid Society Members" as the name of the support and discussion group which was created for people who have, or who wish to become members of a Children's Aid Society in Ontario.

Purpose of Group:

The purpose of the support and discussion group is to enable those who join it to communicate with other like-minded individuals regarding matters related to Children's Aid Society memberships, including, but not limited to, what they can do with a Children's Aid Society membership, and what to do should their application for a membership to a Children's Aid Society in Ontario be denied for any reason.

OACAS Sources of Funding:

It is my understanding from reading the "About OACAS" ( http://www.oacas.org/about/index.htm ) page of the OACAS's website, and from reading the Income Statement dated March 31, 2007 located within the OACAS's 2007-08 Annual Report ( http://www.oacas.org/pubs/oacas/annual/08annual_web.pdf ) that Children's Aid Societies in Ontario and/or their representatives paid over 2.4 million dollars in annual membership fees to the OACAS in 2008, and that the Government of Ontario transfered over 6.4 million dollars to the OACAS in 2008.

Therefore, my calculations lead me to understand that in 2008 alone the Ontario Government has paid a total of at least 6.6 million dollars of Ontario tax-payer's hard-earned dollars to the OACAS directly through Ministry allocated transfer-payments, and indirectly through the membership fees which have been paid to the OACAS by Ministry funded OACAS member Children's Aid Societies.

OACAS use of Charitable Donations and Government Funds:

The OACAS, with what I assume to be approval from members of their Board of Directors, has apparently chosen to divert important charitable funds which have been entrusted to the OACAS for the delivery of charitable purposes on expensive, unnecessary, legal services which have resulted in legal action being threatened against me, without the OACAS even attempting to first contact me in any attempt to discuss the matter decently and to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution.

OACAS's Abuse of Power
Unfortunately, now that the OACAS has made the choice to lead this matter in a legally threatening manner, a manner in which I believe would be seen by any other reasonable person as being an unnecessary, and aggressive abuse of power and resources over a person who is greatly disadvantaged, I therefore feel compelled to respond in a way which I believe will afford me some legal protection while simultaneously working co-operatively with the OACAS, through their legal counsel, to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution to this matter.

Mutually Satisfactory Resolution
I am now undertaking to attempt in good faith to resolve this matter to our mutual satisfaction by first asking you to provide me with the relevant Statutes, Regulations and provisions thereof that you are relying on in your threat of legal action against me so that we can discuss them and my obligations under them so that I may base my decision on how to proceed in this matter on our discussions and on the law.

I am looking forward to your immediate response so that we can hopefully resolve this matter to our mutual satisfaction.

Sincerely,

John Dunn

===

November 13, 2009

1st Response to OACAS legal threat letter‏

From: John Dunn (afterfostercare@hotmail.com)
Sent: November 13, 2008 8:01:12 PM
To:
info@oacas.org; jlewis@oacas.org

Jeanette Lewis,It appears that you have authorized a law firm to make a legal threat against me regarding the name of a support group I created on the internet and I just wanted to keep you informed of the response I gave to your Counsell, Barry B. Swadron by forwarding a copy of my response to you.If you do not wish to be kept informed of our communications please just let me know


Sincerely

John Dunn

===


Monday December 08, 2008

RE: Swadron File Number: 89-1161

I am awaiting a response from Barry Swadron in connection with my November 13th letter which was emailed to email@swadron.com

If I do not hear from Barry, or anyone else in connection with his client the OACAS, by the end of today, I will understand from the lack of response that the issue is moot and that I have permission to carry on using the name "Ontario Association of Children's Aid Society Members" for our non-profit support / advocacy group.

Sincerely,

John Dunn

===========

From: Barry Swadron (bbs@swadron.com)
Sent: December 8, 2008 2:21:04 PM
To:
afterfostercare@hotmail.com

John Dunn,

Your e-mail dated December 8, 2008, although incorrectly addressed, has been brought to my attention. In the future, kindly note that my e-mail address is bbs@swadron.com.

Not only do your not have permission to use the name “Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Society Members”, you are prohibited from using that name.

Govern yourself accordingly.


Barry B. Swadron, Q.C.

Swadron Associates
Barristers & Solicitors
115 Berkeley Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 2W8
Tel: (416) 362-1234
Fax: (416) 362-1232
Email: bbs@swadron.com
Website: www.swadron.com

===

RE: OACAS‏
From: John Dunn (afterfostercare@hotmail.com)
Sent: December 8, 2008 5:42:34 PM
To:
bbs@swadron.com

Can you let me know when you first became aware of my correspondence and when you think you will be formulating a written response to it so we can proceed to discuss the matter and come to a resolution.


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


--OACAS STEALTH VISIT--

After receiving this email, on the 14th of November someone from the OACAS attempted to visit our site while using a "Proxy Server" which is used to attempt to hide who you are when you visit a website so that the person you visit can not track you.

Our logs showed the "Proxy Server" used was called "hidemyass.com". (Click on the image below to get a larger version" for closer examination.





In order to check that source of the visit was actually from the OACAS, an IP Resolution service located at Arin.net confirmed that the IP number of the computer operator who visited us using the "Proxy Server" was definitely from the OACAS as shown below.

Cogeco Data Services Inc. CDSI (NET-66-241-128-0-1)
66.241.128.0 - 66.241.143.255

Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies THTI-OACAS (NET-66-241-132-224-1)
66.241.132.224 - 66.241.132.255

# ARIN WHOIS database, last updated 2008-11-13 19:10
# Enter ? for additional hints on searching ARIN's WHOIS database.

===

From: John Dunn [mailto:afterfostercare@hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, December 29, 2008 5:46 PM
To: Barry Swadron; info@oacas.org; Jeanette Lewisoacas
Subject: RE: Website Names

Barry Swadron, Jeanette Lewis, et al,

I have informed the Foster Care Council of Canada to change the link on their web site so that it now clarifies that the Support Group (OACASM) is not the OACAS and instead gives a link to the OACAS website in addition to the support group site to avoid any confusion. You can see the links at http://www.afterfostercare.ca

I have taken this action voluntarily to attempt to resolve this issue since it appears you are not willing to discuss it any further from the latest correspondence I have received from you (enclosed)

It is my sincere hope that this resolves the issue with the OACAS, the client you represent. If I do not hear from anyone regarding this, and if I do not hear any attempt to discuss it with me I will understand that we have resolved this issue with my latest effort to alleviate any confusion in the names.


Sincerely

John Dunn
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Subject: RE: Website Names
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 10:40:50 -0500
From: bbs@swadron.comTo: afterfostercare@hotmail.com

Dear Mr. Dunn,

Your e-mail of December 29, 2008 has been received.

I will obtain instructions from my client and will, after I have them, write to you again.

Barry B. Swadron, Q.C.
Swadron Associates
Barristers & Solicitors
115 Berkeley Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 2W8
Tel: (416) 362-1234
Fax: (416) 362-1232
Email: bbs@swadron.com
Website: www.swadron.com

===
From: afterfostercare@hotmail.com
To: bbs@swadron.com
Subject: RE: Website Names
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 12:32:25 -0500

Thank-you I look forward to your response.

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

===
From: John Dunn [mailto:afterfostercare@hotmail.com]
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2009 8:01 AM
To: Barry Swadron
Cc: Jeanette Lewisoacas

Subject: RE: Website Names

Barry,

I wanted to know if you have obtained instructions from your client (OACAS) in relation to the updated disclaimer on the http://www.afterfostercare.ca web site which clarifies the alleged possible confusion between the name of the on-line support group for people who wish to learn more about Children's Aid Society memberships and that of the multi-million dollar funded Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies.

Sincerely

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

===

Subject: Website Names

Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 10:01:55 -0500
From: bbs@swadron.com
To: afterfostercare@hotmail.com
CC: jlewis@oacas.org

Dear Mr. Dunn,

Unfortunately, I have been extremely busy and unable to obtain instructions. Hopefully I will get them soon. I should tell you I will be out of the country and not be available until late this month.

Barry B. Swadron, Q.C.
Swadron Associates
Barristers & Solicitors
115 Berkeley Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 2W8

Tel: (416) 362-1234
Fax: (416) 362-1232
Website: www.swadron.com

===
RE: Website Names
‏From: John Dunn (afterfostercare@hotmail.com)
Sent: January 16, 2009 10:41:28 AM
To: Barry Swadron (bbs@swadron.com)
Cc: Jeanette Lewisoacas (jlewis@oacas.org)

Barry et al,

Thank-you for this update, until you return I will continue to leave the information as posted.
Have a safe journey and hopefully it is somewhere warm! SincerelyJohn Dunn Executive DirectorThe Foster Care Council of Canada http://www.afterfostercare.ca

===
Website names
‏From: Barry Swadron (bbs@swadron.com)
Sent: January 16, 2009 4:39:29 PM
To: 'John Dunn' (afterfostercare@hotmail.com)

Dear Mr. Dunn,

I now have instructions from my client.

While it is recognized that you have taken a step in an attempt to clarify the situation, unfortunately the concern and confusion remain.

The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies is an organization that has existed for many years. It is composed of “member” agencies. The use of the term Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Society Members will, in the eyes of the public, be equated or at least confused with my client, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies.

It seems to me that you could easily rename the organization that you represent to avoid any mixup. While it would be presumptuous of me to suggest a substitute name, now that you are aware of my client’s concern, I urge you to take the appropriate action.

Barry B. Swadron, Q.C.
Swadron Associates
Barristers & Solicitors
115 Berkeley Street
Toronto, OntarioM5A 2W8
Tel: (416) 362-1234
Fax: (416) 362-1232
Website: www.swadron.com

Friday, November 07, 2008

Delegates from Beijing meet Council

A group of Delegates from Beijing is meeting with the Council's John Dunn and Gary Curtis in Ottawa on Monday November, 10, 2008 to discuss our work as a means of informing them of the ways we work at the grassroots level to bring positive changes to child-welfare services.

The Letter to Council is posted below accompanied by a list of the Delegates from Beijing.


Hello John:

It was very nice talking to you on the phone just now. I am very glad that I am able to get in touch with you and learn about your work for child-welfare service in Canada. It's even more encouraging that you are also concerned about international adoption and particularly these
children (to be) adopted from China. I wish I personally am able to be of help in the future.

As far as the Beijing guests are concerned, here I'd like to give you their names and some relevant information about the group.

The group consists of 20 members from Office of Letters and Calls of Beijing Municipal People's Government (OLCB). The OLCB is a special office that was established to take complaints from the grassroots people and organizations in Beijing City and help to resolve the issues and disputes.

It'll be really wonderful if you can give them an overview of your work at FCCC, the efforts that the grassroots people/organization have made, the challenges that they have faced and the hope and expectation that they are in pursuing from the government.

As far as the new issues about the adoption in China go, I would suggest that you also bring up the issues at the meeting for discussion. It's an interesting topic that the group would love to exchange the views with you.

Since there are 20 people, I am thinking to invite you to meet with them at a hotel conference room if your office can hardly hold all of them.

We are trying to acquire a conference room now and will let you know the updates later today. I wish that we can make the meeting happen on Nov.10 at 9:00AM either at your place or in a hotel. Please do not hesitate to contact me either via this email or at ###-###-#### or my mobile ###-###-#### if you have any concerns. I deeply appreciate your time and really enjoy our conversation just now.

With all my best regards,


The list of Delegates is as follows:


Liu,Zhihong Mr. Deputy Director Office of Letters and Calls of Beijing Municipal People's Government

Sun,Shaowu Mr. Division Director Office of Letters and Calls of Beijing Municipal People's Government

Guan,Liben Mr. Division Director Office of Letters and Calls of Beijing Municipal People's Government

Lv,Ruili Ms. Director Office of Letters and Calls of Dongcheng District, Beijing Municipal People's Government

Zhao,Hongwei Mr. Director Office of Letters and Calls of Chaoyang District,Beijing Municipal People's Government

Di,Dongxu Mr. Deputy Division Director Office of Letters and Calls of Beijing Municipal People's Government

Shang,Shuhuai Mr. Office of Letters and Calls of Beijing Municipal People's Government

Sun,Tong Ms. Deputy Director Office of Letters and Calls of Chongwen District,Beijing Municipal People's Government

Chen,Hongyu Ms. Deputy Director Office of Letters and Calls of Shunyi District, Beijing Municipal People's Government

Sun,Zhongguo Mr. Deputy Director Office of Letters and Calls of Changping District, Beijing Municipal People's Government

Mao,Yanlin Mr. Deputy Director Office of Letters and Calls of Fangshan District, Beijing Municipal People's Government

Wang,Chunye Ms. Deputy Director Office of Letters and Calls of Huairou District, Beijing Municipal People's Government

Mao,Lifu Mr. Deputy Director of General Office Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning

Zhou,Jie Ms. Deputy Division Director Beijing Municipal Bureau of Personnel

Wang,Haitao Mr. Deputy Director of General Office Beijing Municipal Administration of Re-Education Through Labor

Zong,Wenli Mr. Deputy Director Tanzhesi People's Government of Mentougou District of Beijing Municipality

Pan,Jianhui Mr. Principal Staff Member Office of Letters and Calls of Xuanwu District, Beijing Municipal People's Government

Liu,Weifang Ms. Principal Staff Member Beijing Municipal Commission of Construction

Jiang,Xi Ms. Director Fangshan District Industry Corporation of Beijing

Guo,Li Ms. Staff Member Office of Letters and Calls of Beijing Municipal People's Government

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Toronto CAS Website - Comments

The Toronto CAS website has sections which accept comments at this time. I have posted a couple of comments on their website in response to a couple of their postings.

Hopefully these comments will not be removed. If they are, the media will definitely be contacted in response to such removals.

Below are some screen shots of the posts which I made on the CAS Toronto's website.

Whole Page (Part I)


My Comment (Part II)




My Comment to Dr. Wilkes Award


Test link here

Ottawa CAS - Transparency in Governance Position Paper

Today, Tuesday, October 15, 2008, The Foster Care Council of Canada's John Dunn attended the Ottawa CAS monthly Board meeting and learned from their agenda and subsequent discussion that they are now drafting a Position Paper on Transparency in CAS Governance.

Although the Board did not mention why they drafted the Position Paper it appears to have been done as a result of the Foster Care Council of Canada's advocacy efforts and the Private Member's Motion #41 which the Council advocated for through Andrea Horwath's (MPP) office at the Ontario Legislature to open and advertise CAS meetings/minutes and By-Laws had something if not everything to do with this sudden change in the Society.

The Ottawa CAS Board did not distribute publicly the draft position statement mentioned above, however they talked about it briefly and it appears that information about the Society's By-Laws, Meetings, Meeting Minutes and such are going to be more open to the public in some way and a publicly available leaflet will be made available regarding such matters. The Executive Director mentioned the need to "sanitize" the information before public consumption.

This is just the first step in the right direction toward improved quality of service and accountability in child-welfare which demonstrates that persistence, and patience alway pay off.


UPDATE:

On November 05, 2008, John Dunn sent the following letter to the Executive Director of the Ottawa CAS in relation to this matter.

Correspondence below:

Barbara MacKinnon
Executive Director
The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa
1602 Telesat Court
Ottawa, Ontario
K2E 6J2

Date: Nov 05, 2008
RE: Position Paper on Transparency in CAS Governance

Barbara MacKinnon,

During the October 2008 meeting of the Society's Board of Directors discussion was held regarding a Draft being made of a Position Paper on Transparency in CAS Governance which from what I was able to understand pertains to the public having access to Society Board and or Committee minutes, Agenda's, By-Laws and other items of importance to the Society's local constituents.

I would like to ask if you could please answer the following questions for me.

1. What can you say generally about the status of the Draft Position Paper on CAS Governance and what is it's official title?

2. When do you expect the Draft to be complete and reviewed by the Board for approval?

3. If it is approved by the Board will it be available for review by the public and if not, why not?



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


Barbara MacKinnon's response:

Re: [QUARANTINE] Position Paper on Transparency in CAS Governance‏
From: barbara.mackinnon@casott.on.ca
Sent: November 10, 2008 4:51:08 PM
To: John Dunn (afterfostercare@hotmail.com)
Cc: mparisien@casott.on.ca

Hello John,

Thank you for your interest in our work. We are in the process of developing a communication leaflet that reflects the intent of the paper.

It should be ready in the near future and I would be happy to provide the leaflet to you.

Rick is happy to have you present in December to the Board but was not sure we will have quorum as December is generally a very busy month for members.

You may be more interested in the New Year--January or February.

Let me know.

Barbara MacKinnon
Executive Director
Children's Aid Society of Ottawa
1602 Telesat Court,
Ottawa K1B 1B1
747-7800 ext 2600

Friday, October 24, 2008

Child Advocate Report Evidence in Class Action Legal Action by Foster Kids

The controversy engulfing Alberta's child welfare system has unearthed valuable ammunition for a lawyer spearheading a class-action suit on behalf of foster kids.

Robert Lee told Sun Media that the provincial child advocate's internal quarterly reports, which detail a litany of complaints against the foster-care system, are "evidence" in his lawsuit involving 400 former foster kids.

"I didn't know they existed," Lee told Sun Media.

"They're going to be very helpful for me, but whether they create enough pressure for the government to fix the system remains to be seen."

The reports were released to the public this week by NDP MLA Rachel Notley after she acquired several years' worth of them through an access to information request.

They reveal complaints of illegal restraint techniques used on kids in care, kids sexually assaulting other kids, and children being placed in inappropriate or even dangerous homes because nothing better was available.

If you were a foster child in Alberta and suffered abuse or neglect while in foster care, please contact Lawyer - Robert P. Lee 780-438-4972 (ext. 306) to join the Class Action lawsuit. Don't be afraid, just call.


Read more here:

From Edmonton Sun

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Child and Family Services Review Board Speaks of it's own Redundancy

Start reading this publicly available case law from Lines 138 to the end and all of the foot notes to see how the Board discusses how redundant the complaint procedure and the Board itself is in relation to complaints brought to the Board about CAS issues.

Remember, move down to line 138 to start reading

Here

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Children's Aid Society of Sudbury Manitoulin Charged

The Children's Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin and its Executive Director have been charged by a local area resident with failing to furnish a list of their members as required by law.

The Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto also committed the same Offence but no charges were laid due to ongoing litigation with the Ottawa CAS.

The Charges against the Ottawa CAS for the same Offence were resolved by the person charging them as shown in the post after this one. (below)




and

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

CAS Charges Resolved

NOTE: Documents linked at end (.doc and .pdf formats)
NOTE 2: THIS MATTER HAS BEEN RESOLVED AS OF OCTOBER 8, 2008 AS STATED BELOW

EARLY NOTICE OF RESOLUTION
The charges against the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa and their Executive Director are set to go to Trial on WED OCT 08, 2008. However, after fifteen months of resolution discussions between Dunn and the Society's legal Counsel an agreement appears to have been reached which when finalized will result in the charge against Barbara MacKinnon as Executive Director of the Society being withdrawn (dropped) and the charge against Ontario Corporation 37637 (The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa) being "stayed" only to be reinstated at the Crown's discretion should any party breach the terms of the agreement within the 12 month period following the stay of the charges.

BACKGROUND
Approximately three years ago, John Dunn attempted to obtain a membership with the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa and was redirected to the Society's externally retained legal Counsel who has informed Dunn that the Society never intends to accept an application for membership from him.

Therefore, since Dunn was unable to advocate for changes to the Society from within as a member, Dunn was forced to use Section 307 of the Corporations Act to request a list of and contact the existing members of the Society to ask them if they support his advocacy efforts, and if so for them to call a meeting of the members as allowed in section 13 of the Society's By-Law and 295 of the Corporations Act.

On February 05, 2007 Dunn filed a request with the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa for a list of their members so that he could contact them to advocate for changes to the agency's By-Laws which if successfull would give children in foster care a stronger voice in, and improved oversight of the agency they receive services from.

The letter to the members will be asking them to call a members meeting to advocate for a new class of non-voting members which would afford all Society and Crown Wards equal rights as other members of the Society less voting rights therefore strengthening and protecting their voices in relation to the services they receive from the agency and giving them the ability -- among other privileges -- to review corporate documents, meeting minutes and financial records of the Society if requested.

The Society, through its Board of Directors and with the support of its Executive Director, Barbara MacKinnon failed to furnish the list of members as required by statute. Dunn, after almost six months of attempting alternate means of bringing them into compliance with the law was forced to press private charges against them on August 08, 2007 under section 307 (5) of the Corporations Act.

After the charges were laid, the Society, through legal Counsel requested to enter into resolution discussions. Dunn agreed to enter into resolution discussions because his intent was to get his "letter of advocacy" to the Society's members so that they could call a members meeting if they support the proposed By-Law amendment.

The Crown offered to mediate the discussions and after approximately fifteen months of tense moments and communications a resolution has finally been reached. The Society was not comfortable releasing the list of their members to Dunn and subsequently agreed to supply the mediating Crown with postage-paid envelopes addressed with the members personal addresses so that Dunn would then provide the Crown with his "letter to the members" who would then mail the letter to each member at their place of residence.

The members who support calling a meeting would mail the enclosed response form to the Crown who, once the deadline date of November 16, 2008 has passed will count the responses and forward them to the Society.

If 1/10th of the members respond in support of calling a meeting for the purpose of dealing with the matter, the Society shall call a members meeting for that purpose. It is then up to the members to vote on the issue at the meeting if they want it to pass. Doing so would make the Ottawa Children's Aid Society the first in Canada to allow the children and youth in their care to be truly involved in monitoring and participating in the direction of the agency which controls their lives.

Letter to the Society's Members
Click MS Word or PDF formats

Thursday, August 28, 2008

CAS Causes Mother to Commit Suicide

More on this story will come but for now, here is the mother's suicide note who has been getting harassed aggressively by CAS.

The full story will folllow:

Instead of being supported in her situation, she was aggressively pursued to the point where workers lied in affidavits.

Mothers Suicide Note:

My mind just doesn’t make sence no more
Its like I’m hurting deep to the core
Please dear god make these thoughts go away
Please dear god I don’t want to live today
I look into my little boys eyes
Is our world built on lies
I feel like I can’t love him as much as I loved my little girl
It just hurts to much to think, I lost the fight for this world
Please dear god make these thoughts go away
Please dear god I don’t want to live today
I just can’t love you the same way, I can’t love the way I did
So long ago before I lost my baby girl to SIDS.
Please baby Michael don’t feel my hurt and anger
Just lay back my little baby in a manger
I’m sorry for bringing you into this horrible place
I’m sorry for the tears running down my face
My dear Michael I am sorry I can’t be the best mom like before
My baby boy I am so sorry I am so sore
My little boy I am just an addict I’m no good for you
That’s what they say and I’m thinking it’s true
Please my little boy if I have to go don’t be sad
Please understand these people think I’m bad
And I think I am too, all I think about is drugs
When I should be giving you kisses and hugs
Please my little boy don’t you ever miss me
Please just remember I love you please don’t cry for me
Little one I’ll always love you
Forever and for always that’s the truth

Please give this song a listen. It was written about a former client of the Ottawa CAS who recently committed Suicide.

Former CAS Ottawa Client - "Dee" Laura Lee Doupe
http://www.archive.org/details/DeesSong (The Song)

Her 2006 Ottawa Municipal Election Campaign Site
http://voteforlauralee.tripod.com/id5.html

In memory of a former CAS client

More to come as the story develops

Peace to you Dee.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Recent News

* Meeting Agenda's and Minutes and more [ More ]
* Listen to a foster care life story from CBC Radio [ Documentary ]
* Watch the Child Abuse Inquiry daily at 9:15am (EST) [here]
* The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa and its Executive Director Barbara MacKinnon plead to charges and go on trial on Wednesday, October 08, 2008. For details call John Dunn at 613-228-2178

Friday, August 15, 2008

Letter to Editor (The National Newspaper)

Letter to Editor:

Any time the media contact a Children's Aid Society to ask questions about a child they hide behind section 45 (8) of the Child and Family Services Act which prevents any person from publishing any information which has the effect of identifying a child who is the subject of a child protection proceeding, the child's foster parents or family members. This was put in place for the protection of the child, not for the protection of a child-protection agency.



As tragic as this situation is, the child in question is no longer with us in her physical and legal sense, therefore the child and family services act no longer applies to her case.



Regardless of whether these particular agencies were involved with her or not, does not give these agencies the legal right to refuse to confirm or to deny their involvement. Tax payers put 1.3 Billion dollars a year into child protection in Ontario and deserve to have certain questions answered.



When Jeffrey Baldwin starved to death after being emotionally and physically abused and neglected for years while under the "watch" of the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, the judge became frustrated by the agency not co-operating with the court in connection with their disclosure of records.



Thousands of foster children in care have records which are still unable to be obtained by them because the agencies refuse to allow them to have copies of their own lives. Does this sound like the practice of an agency who is looking out for the interests of the children who are ordered to live under their authority?



What about the Millions of Serious Occurrence reports in the custody of these agencies and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services? These are reports which provide evidence of abuse and neglect of children under their care. They won't even allow current or former foster kids to access them. They claim it is to protect them from emotional harm since they might read something about themselves which might upset them -- something that these victims remember all too well.



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

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ombudsman Act

According to section 14(5) of the Ombudsman Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.6, the Ombudsman, if he has any question as to whether he/his office has jurisdiction over any case or class of cases (CAS cases or the entire MUSH SECTOR) he can apply to Divisional Court for a declaratory order to determine the question.

If the Ombudsman were to hire lawyers, the main issue for the lawyers to keep in mind is that under "Administrative Law", no governmental body can absolve itself of responsibility 100% by sub-delegating its duty to someone else. Ultimately the Government is still responsible.

IE: The Ministry of Children and Youth Services is responsible for the decisions of a CAS because the Ministry can not wash its hands of its own responsibility or duty by sub-delegating its work to another body.

The principal I am talking about is evidenced or demonstrated in the Terms of Reference of the Legislative Assembly's Standing Committee on Social Policy. The Terms of Reference clearly state that it "is empowered to study and report on all matters relating to the mandate, management, organization or operation of the ministries and offices which are assigned to it as well as the agencies, boards and commissions reporting to such ministries and offices. These studies are conducted according to either Standing Order 110 or 125"

Those two standing orders -- 110 and 125 read as follows:


Standing Order 110:


Under Standing Order 110, the policy field committees may conduct relatively unlimited studies. The only restriction is that the study must relate to a ministry assigned to that committee. The subject-matter and duration of the study are left to the committee to decide. This Standing Order is usually used when the committee agrees on what it wishes to study.

Standing Order 125:


Once in each Session, each member (including the Chair), of the Standing Committee on General Government, the Standing Committee on Justice Policy and the Standing Committee on Social Policy is entitled to propose a matter to be considered by their particular committee. The matter must relate to the mandate, management, organization or operation of the ministries and offices assigned to the committee as well as the agencies, boards and commissions reporting to such ministries and offices (this list is found as an appendix to the Standing Orders).

The proposal of a member under this Standing Order must be adopted by at least two-thirds of the members of the committee, excluding the Chair.

A study by the committee under the terms of this Standing Order cannot take precedence over consideration of a government public bill.

The committee may present a substantive report to the House and may adopt the text of a draft bill on the subject matter.

At least one Sessional day, or three hours, of debate, will be allowed on the bill in the House at a time decided upon by the House Leaders of the recognized Parties.

Friday, August 08, 2008

CFSRB Affirms Decision - CAS Memberships Not a Child - Welfare Service

The Child and Family Services Review Board has affirmed its decision that memberships within a Children's Aid Society are not a "service" or a "child welfare service" under the Child and Family Services Act and therefore are not elligible for review by the Board. Yet another level of accountability thwarted.

Original Appeal letter to CFSRB:
here

CAS Executive Director says youth should protest in a Gymnasium

Youth in the community protested outside of the Children's Aid Society because of their concern about a freind of theirs.

The Executive Director of the Sudbury Manatoulin Children's Aid Society, Colette Provost, said she would have preferred to see the demonstration held in a venue such as a school gymnasium. "My concern is that this process really flirts with the danger of children being exploited by other people for their own purposes," she said. "I would have preferred to see this take place in a more child-friendly forum."

So much for our Rights to public protest. Imagine that, an Executive Director of a Children's Aid Society saying that youth should protest in a venue where their voices will not be heard and where they will not be seen. Very disturbing.

Article from http://www.manitoulin.ca

Peaceful protestors ask for change

in demonstration at Island CAS_office

by Michael Erskine

LITTLE CURRENT-Mason Dugas and his young friends picked up placards and marched chanting back and forth outside the Manitoulin offices of the Children's Aid Society (CAS) in Little Current for about an hour last Friday.

Mr. Dugas and his friends were joined by around 30 fellow protestors of all ages, although some admitted to being there to support the young man's right to express his concerns in a peaceful and democratic way. Others clearly had their own agendas with the Children's Aid Society, although for the most part Mr. Dugas's message remained coherently his.

The protest proceeded despite a meeting held between the children and CAS executive director Colette PrŽvost on Tuesday. Perspectives on how that meeting went were decidedly different.

Ms. PrŽvost said that while she met with the young protestor, it was difficult to answer many of his questions because they were very specific to one particular case-thereby being interdicted by the requirements of protecting the privacy rights of a ward of the CAS.

Mr. Dugas, in turn, was adamant that from his perspective the meeting was a complete wash. "They couldn't answer any of my questions," he said. He said that he could not recall receiving answers to his questions even in general terms. "I asked the questions expecting answers," he said. "They said, 'We can't tell you that.'"

Mr. Dugas said that the CAS had sent out a letter (a copy of which was provided to the Expositor) warning foster parents that the demonstration might be an inappropriate place to bring children. "They said they were afraid bad people might come by," said Mr. Dugas. When asked if he had seen any 'bad people' at the protest, Mr. Dugas shook his head in the negative.

Mr. Dugas maintains that his primary concern is ensuring that the Children's Aid Society investigates where they place children thoroughly to ensure they are not putting the child at risk. His particular concern was about a young friend of his who was placed in a home where he understands there were drugs and alcohol being used. He maintains that the CAS did not act in a timely enough fashion to protect his friend and to remove the friend from that environment.

"I asked them why they won't ever admit they were wrong," said Mr. Dugas. "Their answer was 'I know I do, but I can't speak for other people.'"

In her interview with the Expositor, Ms. PrŽvost said that the decision processes under which the CAS operates are very complex, and difficult even for more experienced adults to understand. "There are very many levels of sophistication in our system," she said. "Even adults have a difficult time."

Ms. PrŽvost noted that the requirements of protecting and respecting the privacy of children can make communication in situations like these very frustrating for all parties involved. But she stressed that, contrary to the impression being given by the protesting children and their supporters, there does exist a very stringent system of accountability for the CAS.

While claims have been made that the CAS does not have a system of independent oversight, Ms. PrŽvost said that nothing could be further from the truth. The CAS internal complaint process provides a first level in an attempt to deal with a complainant's concerns. When that process does not solve the issue, Child and Family Services will review the matter in a provincially-mandated legal process.

"There is a third-party review whereby an agency with no connection to the CAS will come and hear the matter," said Ms. PrŽvost.

In addition, every year a number of cases of the CAS receive a random audit to ensure that legal standards are being met by the CAS. "We have no control over which cases are reviewed," noted Ms. PrŽvost.

Ms. PrŽvost clarified that the CAS concerns with the demonstration were more to do with the appropriateness of the venue as a means of communication. "The information picket, as I understand it to be, is about kids having something to say," she said. "I am not sure they have said it in a way that they feel confident they have been heard."

Ms. PrŽvost said she would have preferred to see the demonstration held in a venue such as a school gymnasium. "My concern is that this process really flirts with the danger of children being exploited by other people for their own purposes," she said. "I would have preferred to see this take place in a more child-friendly forum."

Larry Killens, a Providence Bay resident and Rainbow School Board trustee, joined the children on the picket line.

"I support these kids," he said. "I am proud of these kids, not only just our Island kids, for standing up and speaking out about things that concern them in a peaceful way."

Mr. Killens went on to say that he is in support of an initiative to have the CAS placed under the purview of the Ontario Ombudsman's Office. "Basically, every province in Canada has a process of oversight for child and family services," he said. Ontario, he claims, does not.

Ms. PrŽvost was adamant that that point of view is not reflective of reality. The CAS, she maintained, is very closely monitored and reviewed. "We are looking after the welfare of children," she said. "That is how it must and should be."

Mr. Killens, in his capacity as school trustee, is currently working on a protocol for interaction between the CAS and the Rainbow board. He said he had been concerned over liability issues as there was no formal policy in place. He praised the school board administration for their diligence in getting the policy in place. "My compliments to the director of education for confronting this huge concern," he said. "Without this commitment by the board we would not now have it."

Mr. Killens expressed his disappointment at Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Brown and the premier of Ontario, suggesting that the region's member of the Ontario legislature should have been at the protest and that the province needs to step in to ensure proper care is being given to the province's youth.

Off-Island media attended the event. With television cameras whirring, a TV journalist interviewed the young protestor and others on the scene.

Although a police cruiser drove past the demonstration twice during the hour, there was no overt police presence at the demonstration. Occupants of other offices at the building complex which houses the CAS were requested by the agency to park their cars at the far end of the parking lot to help ensure the children's safety.

Another group of young people was holding a demonstration at the corner of Highway 6 and Meredith Street-where they continued to wave their placards long after the central picket had closed down and everyone had gone home.

Mr. Dugas said he was pleased with the turnout for the demonstration he had organized. He expressed some confusion over the online petition to have the CAS overseen by the Ontario Ombudsman. "I just want them to be more careful about where they are putting kids," he said. "I don't want anymore kids being put in places that aren't safe."

He also wanted to share the credit for the demonstration's success. "I want to thank my friend Zack," he said. "He has been with me every step of the way-and my brother."

Many of the cars passing in front of the demonstration slowed to a crawl, their drivers craning to see what the signs were saying, and then honking support before driving away. Other vehicles simply honked in support as they drove past.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Lennox and Addington Family and Children's Services places child in abusive home

Child made Crown Ward abused in care by adoptive parents

http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onscdc/doc/2007/2007canlii38120/2007canlii38120.html

Former CAS Workers Speaks Out

A former CAS worker is in the process of starting an online discussion forum to expose information about CAS's and promote better understanding of the system. The discussion forum can be found online at http://talkcas.forumotion.net/forum.htm

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Case for Ombudsman Jurisdiction over Children's Aid Societies

DRAFTING NOTES

Lack of Accountability:
Jeffrey Baldwin - Judge ordered CCAS to disclose information - Frustrated with CCAS - was worker who supposedly supervised child held accountable?

CFSRB - quotes from decisions on Canlii - CAS's always fight jurisdiction

Board meeting of CASOTT discussing too many levels of accountability

OACAS Letter to me by Merv Bernstein (now child advocate in alberta) - discussing too many levels of accountability

Social Workers sworn to secrecy under oath not to discuss anything to do with the Societies during or after they leave / fired / quit

Introduction
This document has been written to impress upon Ontario's Legislators the extreme importance of voting in favour of providing Ontario's Ombudsman the ability to oversee Children's Aid Societies.

Regardless of which political party introduces such legislation, voting in favour of it is ultimately in the best interests of Ontario's children and youth who deserve your vote for the protection of their rights and well-being.

Keeping this in mind, it is more important than ever to put partisanship aside when considering such legislation because of the fact that approximately 30,000 children and youth under the authority of the province's Children's Aid Societies are legally -- and without choice -- the Government of the day's children.

Having said that, depending on which party you are a member of -- these children and youth may be your children today, or they will become your children tomorrow.


BACKGROUND

Internal Oversight Mechanisms of Children's Aid Societies
In Ontario, there are 53 non-profit corporations which have been granted licences under the Child and Family Services Act and approved as "Children's Aid Societies" by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services -- a subdelegate of the Ontario Government -- to provide child-welfare services to Ontario's children and youth and their families.

The governing By-Laws of Ontario's 53 Children's Aid Societies have been drafted by the founding Directors of each of the Societies between 75 and 130 years ago. The By-Laws allow members of the local community to apply for and become "Regular Members" of the Societies so that they can provide oversight of the Board of Directors of each Society, vote on the decisions which have been made by the Directors during the Annual General Meeting of the Regular Members each year, and generally hold the Directors accountable for their actions and decisions or lack thereof.

The By-Laws of a Society afford the Regular Members certain rights and priviliges that non-members are not privy to such as the ability to review certain books of the corporation, meeting minutes, and financial records, and according to the By-Laws of the Socities if any of the Regular Members have a concern about an issue connected with the Corporation they can request from their Society a list of their fellow members so that they can contact them by mail and explain the issue of concern to the general membership in the hope of drumming up enough support among them -- usually 1/10th of the Regular Members -- to call a meeting of the members for the purpose of dealing with the matter by discussing and voting on a By-Law change or some other resolution to the satisfaction of the membership.

In order for the Regular Members to call a meeting of the members, 1/10th (10%) of the members are required to file with the Society at their head office a requisition letter stating thier desire to call a meeting regarding the issue of concern to them. Once 10% of the Regular Members have submitted such a requisition, the Board of Directors are required by law to call a meeting of the Regular Members so that they may deal with the matter however the Regular Members see fit.

External Oversight

Modernization of the By-Laws

In keeping with the spirit and intent of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, John Dunn, a former foster child who now advocates for increased quality and accountability of child-welfare services attempted on February 05, 2007 to advocate for children and youth in foster care to have

a) stronger voices concerning; and
b) oversight of;

the services they receive from their respective Children's Aid Societies across Ontario.



The By-Laws and the Corporations Act require
the Board of Directors of each Children's Aid Society could add a section to the "Membership" articles of its By-Laws creating a special class of "members" defining all Society Wards or Crown Wards

Beginning with the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa, Dunn filed a request for a list of people who vote for changes in a Children's Aid Society called "Regular Members".

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ministry Directives - Letter to Minister CYS

Hon. Minister Deb Matthews,

I have noticed that the Ministry of Community and Social Services posts their Policy Directives on their website for the public to review as it is in their interests to do so and since they are paid for by the public as well.

See here: [ link ]


My question to you as Minister of Children and Youth Services is will you ensure that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services Policy Directives and Directives issued to Children's Aid Societies are posted on the Ministry of Children and Youth Services Web Site?

If so, when do you think that would be possible?

If not, why not and could members of the public have physical access to review them at or through the regional Offices of the Ministry?



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

Friday, July 18, 2008

Kawartha-Haliburton CAS leads Public Accountability

The Kawartha-Haliburton Children's Aid Society appears to be leading the way in ensuring they are accountable to the Public they serve by making many of their Governing Policies and Documents available to the public.

See more at http://www.khcas.on.ca/board_business.html

The Council will be sending a letter of recognition to the KHCAS for their dedication to community and stakeholder transparency and accountability.

Ontario Appoints Expert Panel On Infertility And Adoption

There appears to be a lack of children who grew up as adoptees on the board of all opinions

Ontario has appointed an expert panel on fertility treatment and adoption to help find solutions for people who are trying to start or expand a family. The panel will recommend ways to help make both fertility treatment and adoption more accessible and affordable.

The 12-member panel will provide advice to the government on:


  • Improving access to infertility treatment and making fertility monitoring available to women so they know if they are likely to have problems conceiving a child.

  • Improving Ontario's adoption system so that more children can become part of families more quickly.


Panel members include adoptive parents, people who have had personal experience with infertility, and representatives from the medical and adoption communities. The panel is expected to report back to the Minister of Children and Youth Services with its recommendations within a year....

[Read more]

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ottawa's Kindness

We recently posted a request for a file cabinet on a resource for exchanging free items known as http://ottawa.fullcircles.org/ and we have been fortunate to receive already, one two drawer file cabinet and two offers for two other file cabinets.

We will make delivery arrangements and soon will have file cabinets to organize our work.

A special thanks to Ottawa's residents for their generousity and support of our mission.

Sincerely,

John Dunn

Monday, July 07, 2008

July 9 & 10 Ottawa Parliament Hill Rally - CAS



NOTE: IMAGE IS LIVE - NO LONGER OF THE PROTEST (LINK WAS TIME LIMITED BUT YOU CAN SEE PARLIAMENT REGARDLESS LIVE FOR FUN)

Child Welfare Rally: On July 09, & 10, 2008 a Rally on Children's Aid Society abuses will begin at 11:00am. Feel free to view the event through the Parliament Webcam below. Refresh your browser for the latest image (about each minute) by hitting the F5 key on your keyboard! Also visit the related Facebook site [ here ]

Friday, July 04, 2008

Council Request's Meeting with Minister of CYS

The Foster Care Council of Canada has requested an opportunity to meet with the Minister of Children and Youth Services to discuss several issues in and around mid August, 2008.

The issues to be discussed pertain to unproclaimed portions of the Child and Family Services Act which deal with disclosure of foster care records to those they relate to, public disclosure of CAS board meetings, minutes and By-Laws, a Ministry document/initiative to give kids a voice, the privitization of foster parenting to private organizations, expanding the child-welfare stakeholder list for Ministry related Directives and consultations to include the Council, and increasing visibility and access to the Provincial Child and Youth Avocate on the Ministry web site.

The request letter and response can be found below:

Request Letter (MS Word .doc) (Sent Friday, July 4, 2008)
Request Letter (Adobe PDF .pdf) (Sent Friday, July 4, 2008)

Ministry Response
Minister's response (Pending)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Dunn v. CAS Ottawa Resolution Discussions Break Down

After almost a year of attempting to resolve the charges between Dunn and the Ottawa Children's Aid Society, the talks have come to an end.

Dunn says "the entire time we have attempted to resolve this matter as requested by the CAS, their legal Counsel has been threatening me with unwarranted charges of 'unauthorized practice of law' and 'abuse of process' and telling me that I should not inform Society's members of the procedures they have a right to know about in order to change the By-Laws if they so desire. In the end, when I offered as part of the resolution agreement to stay the charges rather than drop them their Counsel said that he would be advising his clients that this is not acceptable. Their behaviour throughout this entire procedure has been nothing but abusive and authoritarian when it is them who have committed the Offence and them asked to enter into the resolution discussions in the first place. Unless there is a significant change I do not intend to continue with the resolution discussion procedure."

Trial is set for October 08, 2008 at the court house near Algonquin College (Baseline Station) in court room 102 at 1:30pm on October 08, 2008, 100 Constellation Crescent, Ottawa, Ontario.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Provincial Child Advocate

Ontario's Child Advocate
If you are a child or youth in care or a family member, contact the Advocate [here]

5 Year Legislative Review of CFSA (the Act)

The Child and Family Services Act will be under review in 2010. We'll hold online meetings regarding this review so get involved!

Ottawa CAS Board Vetos Recommendation for Whistleblower Policy

During a regular Board meeting of the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa on June 10, 2008 the Board voted down repeated recomendations from their auditors to create a whistle blower policy to protect staff who report alleged wrongdoing

Parent Finders New Website

Parent Finders has a newly renovated web site if you are interested in visiting it at this here

Friday, April 18, 2008

CAS Board Meeting Presentations

Public Presentations - Monthly Board Meetings‏
From: lcarriere@casott.on.ca
Sent: April 17, 2008 9:28:37 AM
To: afterfostercare@hotmail.com
Cc: Tracy EngleKingCASOtt (tengelking@casott.on.ca); Kathy (CSS) Neff (kathy.neff@ontario.ca); mparisien@casott.on.ca

Mr. Dunn,

This is response to your query of April 15th, 2008.

The following is the process for public delegation. The request is sent to President Rick O'Connor through the secretary to the Board,

Mary Parisien
1602 Telesat Court
Ottawa, K1B 1B1

Becoming a delegation

Anyone wishing to become a delegation to the Board gives notice at least ten days prior to the date of a regular Board meeting, with a written statement as to the subject matter of the presentation and those who will be in attendance. It is desirable that a written summary of the presentation be provided for distribution to the members of the Board before the meeting.

Delegations from without the jurisdiction of the Society are required to notify the Society of same and to specify, in their written statement, how the proposed subject matter is relevant to this community and to the Society.

Time allotment

Generally, delegations are given five minutes to make the presentation, however the time may be extended by the Chair of the meeting, but not beyond ten minutes in total. It is expected that the speakers will be limited to two persons as representatives on behalf of the delegation.

Relevance of the subject matter of a presentation

The subject must have some relevance to the mandate of the Society.

However, the Board will not hear matters that are:

  • the subject of labour negotiations;
  • the subject of contractual negotiations or service agreements with
    service providers;
  • in relation to a specific client, employee or volunteer of the Society.

Generally, matters that are subject to the requirement to be heard in camera will not be heard by the Board. However, there may be circumstances where the Chair believes that the Board should receive representations on such an issue and accordingly such representations shall be heard in camera, subject to the same limitations of time.

Questions

Following a delegation's presentation, a question period of a maximum of five minutes will be allowed for the purpose of seeking clarification from the delegation.

Similar matters

The chair may limit the number of delegations that are to appear respecting
the same issue.

A delegation that has been heard on an issue may not appear again on that same issue within the twelve months following the presentation, except that it may be given an opportunity to comment should the issue raised come back to the Board for a report following consideration of the initial representations.

General

Matters not otherwise covered by the above rules and guidelines are within the jurisdiction of the Chair, subject to any decision of the Board.


Louise Carrière
Executive Administrative Assistant
Children's Aid Society of Ottawa/La Société de l'aide à l'enfance d'Ottawa
1602 Telesat Court
Gloucester ON K1B 1B1

Tel: (613) 747-7800 ext. 2074
Fax: (613) 747-4540
email: lcarriere@casott.on.ca