The CAS shortfall

TheStar.com – Opinion/Editorial – The CAS shortfall
Published On Mon Dec 21 2009

There is no better example of a failed system than this: a children’s agency serving remote native communities where 13 teenagers have committed suicide this year cannot afford to pay its social workers.

Payukotayno James and Hudson Bay Family Service is the most dramatic case, but the vast majority of Ontario’s children’s aid societies are facing budget shortfalls because the province altered the funding rules. Agencies will have to conduct mandated child protection in a more “sustainable” manner, says Children’s Minister Laurel Broten.

She has thrown the monumental task of figuring out just how to do that to a three-member panel. Their important work, as well as an internal government review of its own legislation, is just beginning.

Both these reviews must bear in the mind that native children’s aid societies face very different conditions than those in the rest of Ontario. A funding system that works for one will not work for the other.

Too many children in these communities are growing up without hope in appalling conditions of poverty and despair. Children’s aid workers alone cannot solve this. But, agencies like Payukotayno have a vital role to play. Without a workable funding system, we’re leaving our most vulnerable children without the help they need.

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