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Unaccountable Child Welfare Agencies in Ontario Continue Their ‘Reign of Terror’ Unabated!

July 11, 2008
Without full public accountability, these agencies are completely void of integrity and do not deserve the respect or trust of the Canadian public.

 

Unaccountable Child Welfare Agencies in Ontario Continue Their ‘Reign of Terror’ Unabated!

 

Province continues to stonewall attempts by the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario to obtain jurisdiction over and provide independent oversight of the 53 out-of-control Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario.

July 9th, 2008  

By Tom Thompson*, Justice Reporter

For over 25 years now, The Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario has been seeking jurisdiction over the Province’s 53 Children’s Aid Societies to permit the independent oversight of these out of control and morally corrupt Child Welfare agencies, yet to date, has been met with  nothing but outright refusals from the  Ontario Provincial Government 

Bound by the Corporations Act, the Children’s Aid Societies are considered private corporations and receive most of their funding from the public coffers and their employees act as agents of the state when removing children from their homes and interfering with parent/child relationships.

 

Unlike most other organizations in Ontario whose employees act as agents of the state, the conduct of the Children’s Aid Societies and their employees still remain unmonitored or independently overseen by the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario. Even convicted criminals having concerns relating to their treatment inside correctional facilities, are able to have their complaints heard by the Office of the Ombudsman ,sadly still  today families being mistreated by Children’s Aid Societies have nowhere to turn.

 

If a citizen of Ontario wishes to file a complaint about the actions of a Children’s Aid Society they are forced to complain to management of that very same Children’s Aid Society whom they are lodging a complaint against.    It is hard to imagine the existence  of any agency that is self regulating  dealing with complaints in a fair and impartial manner and  it is abundantly clear the same can  be said for the Children’s Aid Societies.

 

The Ontario Provincial government in their attempts to window dress the problems within the Children’s Aid Societies, saw fit to create the Child and Family Services Act Review Board (CFSRB) to deal with swelling numbers of complaints regarding the conduct of a Children’s Aid Society.

 

The CFSRB is comprised of various current and former employees of Children’s Aid Societies, Lawyers, Social Workers and many other individuals who are anything but unbiased and fair to complainants. A serious conflict of interest is present as once again the people dealing with the complaints have a vested interest in the outcome being favourable to the Children’s Aid Societies.

 

The current Ombudsman for Ontario is Mr. Andre Marin.  In his annual report for 2007/2008 Mr. Marin makes the following remarks in his opening statement to the public “Last but not least, I would be remiss in my reporting duties if I did not once again use this opportunity to comment on the dismal state of oversight of the MUSH sector. Municipalities, universities, school boards, hospitals, long-term care facilities and children’s aid societies in the province have become almost a law onto themselves. They have carved themselves a nice, comfortable niche – a zone of immunity against oversight. It continues to baffle me that the provincial government can talk out of both sides of its mouth on this. How can it assume control over badly managed areas of the MUSH sector while at the same time refusing to subject it to the checks and balances that could have potentially prevented scandals from developing in the first place?”

 

 In an attempt to rein in this blatant imbalance, Andrea Horwath, Hamilton MPP and NDP critic of the Children’s Aid Societies  has recently brought forth a private members bill referred to as Bill 93- The Ombudsman Amendment Act ,which if passed, would give the Ombudsman’s Office much needed authority to investigate complaints involving Children’s Aid Societies. Ms. Horwath’s commitment should be praised by us all.

 

Our government is failing the citizens of Ontario and failing them badly. There is a simple remedy available to the government to clean up this mess but they are choosing to ignore it and have done so for far too long.

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