Groups want CAS oversight
TheWhig.com – news/local
July 16, 2013. By Elliot Ferguson, Kingston Whig-Standard
The agency tasked with safeguarding children was in the sights of a coalition of protest groups Tuesday afternoon.
About 25 members of Idle No More, the Kingston Coalition Against Poverty (KCAP), the Kingston and Quinte Area Citizens for Accountability and End the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC) gathered on the lawn in front of the Division Street offices of the Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.
The groups were protesting a number of issues they have with the agency, including what they say is a lack of accountability and oversight, abnormally high numbers of First Nations children in care and policies that target children in families in poverty.
“Children’s Aid Societies are not held accountable to anyone. You can’t call up an organization to investigate them,” said Curtis Kingston of the Kingston and Quinte Area Citizens for Accountability.
“What we’re doing now is trying to promote ombudsman oversight,” he said.
“Ontario is the only province in the country that does not allow the ombudsman to investigate schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities, universities and police services.”
The organization is circulating a petition in support of Bill 42, Ontario New Democratic MPP Monique Taylor’s private member’s bill which would give the Ontario ombudsman more authority over child welfare organizations.
Beth Newell of Idle No More said the placing of native children with non-native foster families is one of the biggest issues facing First Nations in Canada.
“This might, to some, not seem like a big thing but the impacts are massive,” Newell said.
“It is considered an act of genocide under the Geneva Convention.”
“The CAS tends to target low income families and families obviously living in poverty,” said Aimee Van Vlack, president of KPAC.
“The CAS goes into these homes where they accuse people of not having enough food but their rates of disability or Ontario Works aren’t high enough that they can’t actually afford enough food so they rely on food banks.”
Van Vlack said money spent on foster families should be reallocated to better support families living in poverty.
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