• How to overhaul child care in Ontario: A road map for revolution

    This child-care institution needs a tear down, not a renovation. With wait-lists, poorly compensated early childhood educators, a separate market of unlicensed child-care operators and parents who either essentially work to pay daycare bills or put careers on hold to stay home and look after their children becoming part of the rule, not the exception, it’s clear several structural problems plague the current system.

  • The Trudeau government should not delay on sentencing reforms

    The Harper government’s crackdown on crime, even as crime continued its steady, decades-long decline, drove up the cost of the criminal justice system by billions of dollars and increased the federal prison population by 25 per cent… They have clogged our prisons, drained the public coffers, unnecessarily criminalized minor offenders and contributed to a national crisis of court delays that profoundly undermines both justice and public safety.

  • Full-day kindergarten works, and should be extended across the country

    … two-year, full-day kindergarten are well-worth the initial investment. Here’s why: First, it found children in the two-year, full-day learning program scored higher on reading, writing and number knowledge than those in a half-day program, and remained ahead until the end of Grade 2. Second, the children also scored higher on self-regulation… “Existing research shows that self-control, an aspect of self-regulation, predicts long-term health, wealth and even a reduction in crime.”

  • Stop dumping kids in care onto the street

    … 60 per cent of homeless youth have had some involvement with child protection services over their lifetime, a rate almost 200 times greater than that of the general population. Moreover, of those with a history in the child welfare system, almost two of every five respondents “aged out” of provincial or territorial care. That means they lost access to supports – such as financial or job programs – before they were ready.

  • Elizabeth Wettlaufer murder inquiry must confront struggling long-term care system

    The key reason why no one suspected foul play, I suspect, is that nursing home patients are expected to die… The government’s political aim is to get eligible seniors off the waiting list and into long-term care beds as quickly as possible without spending too much… nursing homes face no financial loss if a resident dies. There are always people anxious to fill the beds of those who pass on… neither has a material incentive to look too closely if seemingly natural deaths do occur.

  • Solo living is the new norm. Let’s learn to deal with it

    The main reason people live alone today is because they can afford it. Generations ago, few people had the means to go solo. Families formed to pool resources, which they used to feed, shelter and protect each other. But two things – the welfare state and the market economy – combined to generate unprecedented levels of personal security. And how did people use their new-found affluence? They got places of their own… The other major social change that makes living alone possible is the rising status of women.

  • Reforming child welfare first step toward reconciliation

    Currently, the federal government funds child welfare services for Indigenous children living on reserve. Through decisions made by bureaucrats in Ottawa about what is funded and what is not, it effectively makes policy unilaterally and sets the level of service. There is no clearer example of the “colonial systems of administration and governance”… It extends colonialism beyond the Indian Act system as the government cannot even be held to standards and rules set by Parliament.

  • In cases of sexual violence, justice can come from outside the courts

    The evidence is clear. Many survivors of sexual violence experience the criminal justice system — with the intense public scrutiny and victim blaming that often come with it — as causing them further trauma…. Given the limitations of the system, survivors should be given access to meaningful alternatives to criminal justice so they can make an informed choice about which process is right for them. One option is “restorative justice,” which is increasingly being offered in sexual violence cases across the country.

  • Ontario’s children’s aid societies grappling with how to monitor privacy breaches

    CPIN gives workers access to care history information in a youth’s file within their department. The youth’s health, criminal and legal records are blanked out in the file and require special permissions to access… Only restricted files, which are few in number, trigger email notifications to a children’s aid society supervisor when an unauthorized person views a record. Youth who have “aged out” of the system are also searchable because there is no retention period for child welfare files.

  • How severe, ongoing stress can affect a child’s brain

    … researchers are discovering… that ongoing stress during early childhood — from grinding poverty, neglect, parents’ substance abuse and other adversity — can smolder beneath the skin, harming kids’ brains and other body systems. And research suggests that can lead to some of the major causes of death and disease in adulthood, including heart attacks and diabetes… pediatricians, mental health specialists, educators and community leaders are increasingly adopting what is called “trauma-informed” care.