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.