Press Release ...
Children's Aid Societies are Addressing the Auditor General's Recommendations
TORONTO, April 4, 2007 – Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies have developed policies and measures to address each of the 20 recommendations made by Ontario’s Auditor General in his first-ever value-for-money audit of four of the province’s 53 Children’s Aid Societies, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) announced today.
“Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies have acted in a responsible and accountable manner to address the Auditor’s recommendations,” said Dennis Nolan, President of the OACAS. “Our member agencies are working hard to change their administration practices without compromising the quality of service offered to thousands of vulnerable families and children.”
When the report was released last fall, Children’s Aid Societies (CASs) formed working groups to review each recommendation and develop solutions. CASs are currently updating their policies in the areas of purchasing, procurement, fleet management, travel and hospitality expenses. These policies are being implemented concurrently with other directives, standards, guidelines and reporting requirements from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services as part of the Transformation Agenda.
“The field has worked hard to identify and disseminate best practices for delivery of high-quality child welfare services, for prudent management of resources, and for public accountability,” said Jeanette Lewis, Executive Director of the OACAS. “However, too many layers of administration and standards may compromise the amount of time workers spend trying to help children and families.”
The Transformation Agenda is a massive change in child welfare service delivery, supported throughout the children’s service system in Ontario. Major changes are being implemented beginning in April 2007 in the areas of differential response (a more child-family-centered approach: the right service at the right time), better permanency planning (including kinship and foster care, adoption, custody arrangements), and alternatives to court processes (mediation, talking circles). This approach will be supported by research, information systems and an outcomes approach to accountability. The Transformation Agenda also includes special Aboriginal provisions for Aboriginal and First Nations children to be served by their own communities.
“Our member agencies are embracing these changes, but need public support and confidence in the work they do to protect our children,” said Lewis. “Child protection workers play a vital role in our society. Much like police officers, firefighters and doctors, they protect and save lives by helping vulnerable children.”
Children’s Aid Societies rely on professionals and members of the community to report child abuse or neglect. It is important that the public trusts CASs and have faith in their ability to help children and families – this could be hard to achieve in the face of frequent and inaccurate messaging and lack of support.
About Children’s Aid Societies
CASs provide critical services and are legislated to exclusively perform certain functions under the provisions of Section 15 of the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA). Their mandate includes the following: to investigate allegations that children are in need of protection; to protect children; to provide guidance for protecting children and for the prevention of circumstances requiring the protection of children; and to provide care for children assigned to its care under this Act.
The legislation, regulations, directives and standards prescribe very specific and detailed requirements for what CASs must do for children and families, how they must provide services, including French language services, and the timelines in which critical services must be provided. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services oversees CASs’ operations in detail and Local Boards of Directors have oversight responsibility for agencies to ensure that services provided are tailored to the community’s needs.
In 2005/006 Children’s Aid Societies completed 82,346 investigations and cared for 29,385 children.
About the OACAS
OACAS is a membership organization representing 52 of the 53 Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario. The Association has served its members, the community, the public and the government in a variety of ways since 1912. These services have included the promotion of child welfare issues, member services, government liaison and policy development, research and special projects, quality assurance in child welfare practice and training for all protection workers throughout the province.
For more information:
Marcelo Gomez -Wiuckstern
Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies