Friday, January 23, 2009

Peterborough Letter to Editor on on Ombudsman Oversight of CAS

You can read a Letter to the Editor regarding Ombudsman Jurisdiction over Children's Aid Societies in Ontario at the following link. [here]

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Durham CAS Keeping Mother from Plan of Care Meetings

RE: Name Removed
From: John Dunn (johndunn@afterfostercare.ca)
Sent: January 22, 2009 8:26:47 PM
To: Name Removed (Mother); nigelee.burnett@durhamcas.ca; omah.levere@durhamcas.ca
Cc: mborden@bordengoddard.com; DurhamCAS Media (andrea.maenza@durhamcas.ca); TheresaDucey DurhamCASSupervisor (theresa.ducey@durhamcas.ca); WandaSecord ExecDirDurhamCAS (wanda.secord@durhamcas.ca); Susan McNeilDurhamCAS (susan.mcneil@durhamcas.ca); Lana PryceDurhamCASCounsel (lana.pryce@durhamcas.ca); Durham CAS (durhamcas@durhamcas.ca); DurhamNews News (newsroom@durhamregion.com); MinCentralEast RegionalOffice (debra.isnor@ontario.ca)


Note to the media: Please remember that you can not publish information which has the effect of identifying a child in foster care, his parents and foster parents, however nothing in law prevents you from publishing information which identifies staff, volunteers or others professionally involved in child-welfare proceedings.

(See section 45 (8) Child and Family Services Act)


Name Removed (Mother)

I am monitoring this situation with the Durham Children's Aid Society preventing you from attending the Plan of Care meetings with your son. I am also preparing a press release in relation to this matter and will distribute it to the local Durham media, Ministry Officials, Members of Parliament such as Child and Youth Services Critic Andrea Horwath, Julia Munro, the Ombudsman for submission to their child-welfare portfolio, the Ontario Auditor General's Office, Child and Youth Services Sector, and others within the wider area press, and ultimately on my blog.

As you are aware, I have offered the Durham CAS an opportunity to correct the content of our blog as archived so far and have not yet received any response, therefore verifying it's accuracy, and again, I extend the same offer to anyone at the Durham Children's Aid Society on a permanent basis.

For now, I will be posting a brief update in regard to this matter and hope that the Society acts in a professional manner and responds to you as soon as possible regarding your request.





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

Friday, January 16, 2009

2009 - A New Year

During the Foster Care Council of Canada's November, 2008 board meeting it was decided that the advocacy efforts of individual members would be posted to their own personal blogs as opposed to the Council blog. Only official Council business will be posted to the Council blog. Therefore in 2009 you will see more advocacy related postings added to this blog accompanied by my general thoughts and experiences I wish to share with you.

Durham CAS Invited to Ensure Accuracy of Posts

The following e-mail was sent to Wanda Secord (Executive Director Durham CAS) Susan Mcneil, Lana Pryce (Durham CAS Counsel), Theresa Ducey (Durham CAS Supervisor), and the Durham News.


Durham Children's Aid Society
Oshawa Ontario

Date: Thurs. January 16, 2009

Attention: Society Board members, staff, and counsel,

Invitation for Detailed Corrective Submission
In the interests of ensuring that all parties have an opportunity to have their voices heard and to ensure the information as posted on our News blog is accurate according to all parties, I would like to extend an invitation to the Society, their staff, and counsel to make any detailed corrective submission they wish to see added to our News blog.

Relevance of Society Submissions
In a similar fashion to the way an appeal court works, we will not post unrelated information. Otherwise, in the interests of fairness, we will accept and post any unrelated submission the Society makes and will make a determination as to its appropriateness for public consumption in relation to this matter.

Please be aware that similar to the way Societies allow their clients to make additional rather than destructive amendments to their own records all information submitted by the Society will be posted publicly to our News blog by way of additional as opposed to destructive amendment.

Reminder: Nothing in the Child and Family Services Act(the Act) prevents the Society from talking to the public about their operations or cases. The Act only prevents people from making public information which has the effect of identifying a child who is the subject of a proceeding under the Act, the child's parent, or foster parent. All Societies are also exempt from any other Privacy Legislation in Canada therefore they can not claim to be restricted by such when referring to their operations and cases. Our News blog does not contravene section 45 (8) of the Act since none of the information made public on it has the effect of identifying a child who is the subject of a child-welfare proceeding, the child's parent or foster parent.

Corrective Submission Deadline Date
The Society is required to send a corrective submission to johndunn@afterfostercare.ca by 4:30 pm, Friday, January 23, 2009 for publication to our News blog.

Confirmation of the Accuracy of Information Posted
In the alternative, if the Society believes the information posted to our News blog to be accurate as posted, there is no requirement for the Society to respond by the stated deadline date and the Society understands, agrees, and permits me to understand and truly believe that the information posted to our News blog is accurate as posted if they do not make a corrective submission to me as instructed.

Simple Denial not Acceptable
The Society is also to understand that a simple statement asserting the information posted on our News blog is not accurate -- without giving a corrective submission -- will not convince me to believe so.

Defining Corrective Submission
A "Corrective Submission" is to be understood in the context of this communication as having three distinct parts.

Part I - Assertion of Innacuracies
An assertion that a particular word, sentence, or paragraph contains inaccuracies

Part II - Reason for Belief of Inaccuracies
Reason(s) the Society believes the word, sentence or paragraph contains inaccuracies

Part III - Corrective Information
Corrective information which expresses the Society's version of the information which is to be clarified.

Having said this, the Society is encouraged to carefully review the information as posted to our News blog to ensure its accuracy and to enable it to appropriately respond by the stated deadline date if so required.

The News blog is located on the Internet at http://www.fostercarenews.blogspot.com

I am looking forward to hearing from the Society in relation to this matter.

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

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Durham CAS Showing Signs of Cooperating with Client

It has been reported to the Council that the Durham Children's Aid Society is showing signs of co-operating with their client recently in relation to the previously posted issues, in that they have met with her personally to discuss the issues of concern to her and appear to be making some progress however we are still monitoring the situation.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Durham CAS Lawyer Lana Pryce Refuses to Talk Despite Client Permission

NOTE TO MEDIA: Nothing in the Child and Family Services Act prevents the Society from talking to the media about their operations. They are only prevented from making public information which has the effect of identifying a child who is the subject of a child-welfare proceeding, a parent, or a foster parent. See Section 45 (8) CFSA If they refuse to talk about this case based on "Privacy Legislation" contact John Dunn at 613-228-2178. All CAS's are exempt from any other Privacy Legislation


At their Annual General Meeting on September 11, 2008 the Durham Children's Aid Society and their Board of Directors officially launched their new Vision, Mission, and Strategic Priorities which they claim are important to ensuring that the Society works with the families they serve collaboratively to build on their strengths rather than to focus on their weaknesses, something child-welfare services have been known for over the years, but have been trying to move away from more recently.

Their claim asserts that their Vision, Mission, and Strategic Priorities were the result of the collaborative hard work of their Board members, staff and many other stakeholders, however, it appears a few of the Society's staff members and legal counsel may not have been involved in the collaborative process.

Despite the Durham Children's Aid Society receiving a written authorization from one of their clients which permits them to speak openly with the client's support person John Dunn of the Foster Care Council of Canada, the Society's legal counsel, Lana Pryce still refuses to contact Dunn, in essence, preventing the Society's client from being heard as is their right even if through a support person.

This client is not someone who has abused their child rather the client appropriately reached out to the agency for help during a time of temporary crisis, doing what the client thought was the right thing to do at the time in the best interests of the child.

Unfortunately, the client was not provided with counseling or information on what could be done as a temporary measure, and instead has been informed by the Agency that they are making a summary judgment motion in court to have the child adopted out without even the chance to defend it at a trial.

The client reports that the Society's Carmella Lanzillotti, (client's former worker) told the client 'We are the Children's Aid Society not the Parents Aid Society. We are here to help the children not the parents" A statement which does not appear to uphold the Society's Vision, Mission and Strategic Priorities.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Durham CAS Client Authorizes Communication Regarding Case

The Durham Children's Aid Society client who has been seeking access to her files for several days has given written authorization to the Society, their Directors, Staff and Legal Counsel to openly communicate with John Dunn of the Foster Care Council of Canada to facilitate advocacy on her behalf in her attempts to get access to personal information the Society has in their care and control about her.

Prior to obtaining the written authorization from the Durham CAS client, Dunn contacted the Society's internal Legal Counsel, Lana Maria Patricia Pryce at 905-433-1551 x2318 to ask if she would explain why the Society is refusing to allow this one particular client to have access to her files in contravention of Society policy and common practice.

Policies and practices which have been previously confirmed by the Society's Supervisor, Theresa Ducey as being established. Upon receiving a return call from Pryce, and after starting to ask about the Society's practice regarding clients accessing their files, Dunn was met with an abrupt response from Pryce stating simply that she is not going to discuss the matter and referring me to the Society's media relations department staff.

Dunn then obtained the written authorization from the client enabling the Society to discuss the case with him and then left a message on Pryce's voice-mail asking her to respond. So far, there has been no response, although someone from the Society has visited this blog as confirmed by our stats counter.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Durham CAS Supervisor Theresa Ducey Denies Client Access to Files

UPDATE Monday January 05, 2009

A Durham Children's Aid Society supervisor, Theresa Ducey is refusing to allow a client to review their own files, something clients have a right to do, and which is a fairly standard practice within most child-welfare agencies and departments across the Country.

John Dunn, the Executive Director of the Foster Care Council of Canada talked on the phone with Ducey approximately a week ago and Ducey informed him that file access is a fairly regular procedure where a worker will accompany the client while they review their files.

Dunn is also in the process of trying to obtain a copy of the Society's policy on client access to their own files so the client is aware of their rights.

"It is extremely frustrating to see that a Supervisor at the Durham Children's Aid Society is choosing to be contentious on such a simple matter, which will end up costing hundreds or thousands of tax-payer dollars for legal counsel as the Society is unnecessarily dragged through the complaints procedure of the Child and Family Services Review Board" Dunn said.

The Council is currently working on a press release regarding this matter and will make a report available to the provincial Auditor who now has jurisdiction over Children's Aid Societies, the Ombdusman of Ontario, child-welfare critics at the Legislative Assembly, the local Regional Office of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the Minister of Children and Youth Services and to the media in the hopes of bringing the appropriate attention to this matter.

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Contact
John Dunn
613-228-2178