Are there any reasonable grounds to be concerned for children in Ontario's care?

Are there any reasonable grounds to be concerned for children in Ontario's care?
Posted on September 22, 2019 | Derek Flegg | Written on September 22, 2019
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Author's Note:

Researchers have found that not only were psychotropic drugs prescribed to a clear majority of the current and former wards interviewed, but most were diagnosed with mental-health disorders by a family doctor, never visited a child psychiatrist or another doctor for a second opinion, and doubted the accuracy of their diagnosis.

A Toronto Star investigation has found Ontario’s most vulnerable children in the care of an unaccountable and non-transparent protection system. It keeps them in the shadows, far beyond what is needed to protect their identities.

“When people are invisible, bad things happen,” says Irwin Elman, Ontario’s now former and last advocate for children and youth with the closure of the Office.

In Ontario the CAS has turned themselves into a multi-billion dollar private corporation using any excuse to compel parents into submitting to a fake drug testing to justify removing children or keeping files open keeping that government funding flowing.

While the same time they've taking the thousands of children to specific CAS approved doctors who are all to happy to prescribe medication based on the workers assessments of the child's condition..

That's why there are no follow ups with qualified medical and psychiatric doctors and not because the CAS lack the funding, staff or attention span to care properly for the children.

(Another case of "The results they wanted when they wanted them..")

A disturbing number, the network's research director, Yolanda Lambe, added, have traded the child-welfare system for a life on the street.

"A lot of people are using drugs now," she said. "There's a lot of homeless young people who have been medicated quite heavily."

Marti McKay is a Toronto child psychologist was hired by a CAS to assess the grandparents' capacity as guardians only to discover a child so chemically altered that his real character was clouded by the side effects of adult doses of drugs.

"There are lots of other kids like that," said Dr. McKay, one of the experts on the government panel. "If you look at the group homes, it's close to 100 per cent of the kids who are on not just one drug, but on drug cocktails with multiple diagnoses.

"There are too many kids being diagnosed with ... a whole range of disorders that are way out of proportion to the normal population. ... It's just not reasonable to think the children in care would have such overrepresentation in these rather obscure disorders."

“There are lots of kids in group homes all over Ontario and they are not doing well — and everybody knows it,” says Kiaras Gharabaghi, a member of a government-appointed panel that examined the residential care system in 2016.

Should the Ontario government order all children's aid societies to immediately review the credentials of all experts throughout the child welfare system or should the police do it??

https://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/news-story/9565809-province-orde...

Between 2008/2012 natural causes was listed as the least likely way for a child in Ontario's care to die at 7% of the total deaths reviewed (15 children) while "undetermined cause" was listed as the leading cause of death of children in Ontario's child protection system at "43%" of the total deaths reviewed (92 children).

http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/sites/default/files/content/mcscs/images/...

http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/DeathInvestigations/office_corone...

“It is stunning to me how these children... are rendered invisible while they are alive and invisible in their death,” said Irwin Elman, Ontario’s advocate for children and youth. Between 90 and 120 children and youth connected to children’s aid die every year.

Irwin Elman says he still wants inquests for every child who dies while in care of child welfare. (2018: In order to avoid an inquest exposing children's aid societies to public scrutiny Ontario's Chief Coroner releases a special report that no doubt hides the worst of what was going on.)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/irwin-elman-11-youth-review-1...

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2018/11/19/eliminating-the-...

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/04/01/news/ontario-child-advocate-...

2009: Why did 90 children in care die?

https://www.thestar.com/life/health_wellness/2009/02/23/why_did_90_child...

https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ontario-child-advocate-stands-by-report-on-90-...

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Let’s have an independent review of child protection cases.

OPINION Aug 06, 2019 by Toronto Star Editorial Board.

No child should have to endure abuse, neglect or worse at the hands of their parents. For that very reason we give children’s aid societies broad powers to investigate and remove children from homes where they’re deemed to be at risk.

The courts play an important check on that extraordinary power by ensuring child protection workers have obtained the necessary evidence to intervene, including expert assessments of parents’ ability to care for their children.

That is why it’s troubling to learn that a psychologist who completed more than 100 parent capacity reports for Ontario children’s aid societies has been found to be unqualified to perform the work.

As reported by the Toronto Star’s Jacques Gallant, a recent Ontario Court ruling found psychologist Nicole Walton-Allen lied about her credentials and did not have the necessary expertise to make findings of parenting capacity.

The psychologist, who has offices in Hamilton and Etobicoke, “intentionally misrepresented her qualifications” since at least 2009, Ontario Court Justice Penny Jones said in a December decision. In the case, Walton-Allen had given an expert opinion supporting the Halton children’s aid society’s request that a mother’s five children should be placed in its extended care.

Walton-Allen testified that she had completed about 100 parenting capacity assessments going back to 1992 — some of which recommended that children be permanently taken from their parents and placed for adoption.

According to the College of Psychologists of Ontario, Walton-Allen is authorized to practise only in the area of school psychology. And yet the judge found she has repeatedly presented herself as a clinical psychologist to increase her credibility as a mental health professional in child protection cases.

The college says it does not set out specific qualifications or experience necessary to perform a particular type of assessment because the profession is engaged in a wide variety of fields.

Fair enough. But one would expect Ontario’s child protection legislation to spell out who should be conducting parent capacity assessments, especially since judges rely on them in their decisions. Apparently it does not. That should change.

Queen’s University law professor Nicholas Bala, a leading authority on child and family law, says court-ordered assessments in child protection cases are “among the most challenging forensic assessments that mental health professionals undertake” and can be heavily relied on by the courts.

Since 2008, Bala has been calling for the province to set up an independent body to set standards and ensure ongoing training of mental health professionals who conduct these critical assessments and give evidence in court. It’s time for the province to act.

The Halton mother, whose two youngest children were returned to her care after the December ruling, filed a complaint against Walton-Allen with the college last fall. In light of Justice Jones’s damning findings, the college should expedite its investigation and proceed to a discipline hearing.

The Ontario Association for Children’s Aid Societies, which represents the province’s 50 privately run societies, has instructed its members to stop using Walton-Allen’s services. But it should also make sure all mental health professionals doing this work are properly qualified.

Meanwhile, the province should launch an independent review of Walton-Allen’s child protection cases to see how many decisions were based solely or largely on her opinion. The review should probe systemic issues including how assessors are chosen, what practice guidelines are needed, how much weight a court should place on assessments, and what qualifications are required to do the work

As retired Justice Judith Beaman notes, parent capacity assessments are “often the kiss of death for parents.” Beaman led the 2016 commission into the Hospital for Sick Children’s Motherisk lab scandal, in which improperly tested drug and alcohol hair samples were admitted as evidence in thousands of child protection proceedings. The Walton-Allen case is yet another blow to public confidence in Ontario’s child welfare system.

It points to the glaring need for clearer rules and more provincial oversight of experts whose opinions are relied on in court. Parents’ and children’s lives depend on it.

https://www.ourwindsor.ca/opinion-story/9536903-let-s-have-an-independen...

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There’s no rule on who can write assessments that ‘effectively decide’ if an Ontario parent loses their child. Experts say that must change.

The fact at the heart of a damning recent ruling against a Hamilton-based psychologist points to a bigger problem in Ontario’s child protection system, experts say. NEWS Aug 02, 2019 by Jacques Gallant Toronto Star.

It's known among lawyers as the "capital punishment" of child protection proceedings.

But when an Ontario court must decide whether a child should be taken from their parents and placed up for adoption, there are no rules on which type of professional can offer an expert opinion.

https://www.ourwindsor.ca/news-story/9533794-there-s-no-rule-on-who-can-...

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Dr. Charles Randal Smith was long regarded as one of Canada's best in forensic child pathology. A public inquiry was called after an Ontario coroner's inquiry questioned Smith's conclusions in 20 of 45 child autopsies. 

In 1992, the Ontario Coroner's Office created a pediatric forensic pathology unit at Hospital for Sick Children and Smith was appointed director. He had become almost solely responsible for investigating suspicious child deaths in Ontario.

In this period he conducted hundreds of autopsies and testified in court multiple times. He conducted training sessions for lawyers on how to examine and cross-examine expert witnesses, and training for law-enforcement and medical staff on detecting child abuse.[5]

While at Sick Children's Hospital, Smith lived on a farm in Newmarket. His marriage collapsed around the time that his pathology work at Sick Children's received heavy scrutiny.[4] Smith was briefly relocated to Saskatoon and since 2007, he has lived in Victoria, British Columbia, with partner Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater, director of the Centre for Youth and Society at the University of Victoria.

In 1999, a Fifth Estate documentary singled him out as one of four Canadians with this rare expertise.

For more than a decade, Mr. Smith enjoyed a stellar reputation as the country's leading pathologist when it came to infant deaths giving lectures to law enforcement, medical students and other coroners. Several complaints about his work had little effect.

A 2008 inquiry on Smith’s work condemned his “flawed approach” and noted the he “lacked the requisite training and qualifications” to work as pediatric forensic pathologist.

Smith’s findings had helped convict more than a dozen people, some of whom spent years in prison and lost access to their children.

For 24 years, Smith worked at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. In the hospital's pediatric forensic pathology unit, he conducted more than 1,000 child autopsies.

But Smith no longer practices pathology. An Ontario coroner's inquiry reviewed 45 child autopsies in which Smith had concluded the cause of death was either homicide or criminally suspicious.

The coroner's review found that Smith made questionable conclusions of foul play in 20 of the cases — 13 of which had resulted in criminal convictions. After the review's findings were made public in April 2007, Ontario's government ordered a public inquiry into the doctor's practices.

That inquiry, led by Justice Stephen Goudge and concluding in October 2008, found that Smith "actively misled" his superiors, "made false and misleading statements" in court and exaggerated his expertise in trials.

Far from an expert in forensic child pathology, "Smith lacked basic knowledge about forensic pathology," wrote Goudge in the inquiry report.

"Smith was adamant that his failings were never intentional," Goudge wrote. "I simply cannot accept such a sweeping attempt to escape moral responsibility."

"Dr. Smith expressed opinions ... that were either contrary to, or not supported by, the evidence," Ms. Silver told the hearing Tuesday, reading from an agreed statement of facts.

Smith had been in search of his own personal truths. He was born in a Toronto Salvation Army hospital where he was put up for adoption three months later. After years of looking for his biological mother, he called her on her 65th birthday. But she refused to take his call.

Smith's adoptive family moved often. His father's job in the Canadian Forces took them throughout Canada and to Germany. He attended high school in Ottawa, and graduated from medical school at the University of Saskatchewan in 1975.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/disgraced-pathologist-char...

https://www.tvo.org/article/death-in-the-family-the-story-of-disgraced-d...

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Doctors who supervised disgraced pathologist Charles Smith never faced disciplinary hearing.

James Young and Jim Cairns voluntarily resigned in 2009, and the college struck a deal in exchange for dropping its probe. COMMUNITY Feb 28, 2015

Five years after the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario made controversial deals with two doctors who played central roles in Ontario’s pediatric forensic pathology fiasco, victims of miscarriages of justice are still steaming.

In 2010, the college entered into undertakings with former chief coroner James Young and former deputy corner Jim Cairns, agreeing to drop investigations into them if they promised never to reapply to practice medicine again.

https://www.mykawartha.com/community-story/5453706-doctors-who-supervise...

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Motherisk scandal highlights risk of deferring to experts without questioning credentials.

Lab's flawed hair testing echoes Charles Smith scandal, with similarly devastating effects.

The scene plays out daily in courtrooms across the country. An expert witness in forensics is sworn in. Their often lengthy resume is entered into the record. A lawyer and maybe the judge ask a few questions about qualifications. Then, in almost all cases, that expert is good to go, considered qualified to testify about a wide range of forensic evidence — from autopsy results to blood splatter patterns.

But a recent review of the Motherisk scandal at Toronto's SickKids Hospital has highlighted just how flawed that deference to "experts" can be.

Motherisk program shut down

Motherisk lab's hair drug testing 'inadequate and unreliable'

Hundreds of adoptions on hold amid Motherisk scandal

The review looked into hair analysis done at the Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory, whose hair strand testing was used to back up allegations of drug and alcohol abuse in thousands of child protection cases in several provinces and even some criminal cases. It found that neither the lab's director, clinical toxicologist Gideon Koren, nor his staff had the qualifications or expertise to do that kind of forensic work, and those findings have now thrown 16,000 child protection cases and six criminal cases into doubt.

Gideon Koren, the former head of the Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory at SickKids Hospital in Toronto, was a clinical toxicologist but had no training or experience in forensic toxicology. Nevertheless, he testified in court on several occasions as a forensic expert. (CBC)

It is the second time in a decade that a doctor at SickKids Hospital who had been serving as a forensic expert turned out to have no forensic experience or credentials that would qualify him to give expert testimony in court or analyze forensic evidence.

In the previous case, a lack of "basic knowledge about forensic pathology" and faulty analysis of autopsy results by Charles Smith, the former director of the hospital's pediatric forensic pathology unit, led to at least 12 wrongful convictions of parents or caregivers for the deaths of children, according to a 2008 public inquiry.

Systemic failure

So, how did two spectacularly unqualified individuals end up as respected forensics experts working at one of the world's most renowned pediatric medical facilities?

"It's a failing across the system. It's a failing of prosecutors, defence and, in some occasions, the judiciary," said James Lockyer, senior counsel to the board of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted.

Smith's testimony was so influential that lawyers would convince innocent clients to plead guilty because they were so sure his testimony would result in conviction, says Harold Levy, who covered Smith as a reporter for the Toronto Star. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

"Smith made himself into an icon despite warning signals. No one picked up on them. Koren has a terrible history."

While there are significant differences between the two situations, the similarities are striking: 

Both Smith and Koren were charismatic physicians whose charisma seemed to overshadow the fact that they were out of their depth when it came to doing forensic work, work that in both cases contributed to parents losing custody of their children or losing their own freedom and serving jail time. 

Officials ignored warning signs about both men. Early in Smith's career, a judge in a murder trial admonished him for his poor work and faulty autopsy conclusions. In Koren's case, he had a public spat with his colleagues over research into an experimental drug in the 1990s, sent them nasty, anonymous letters, then lied about it, resulting in a one-week suspension. Both Smith and Koren nevertheless went on to become the go-to forensics experts on certain types of cases.

In both instances, the hospital that housed their labs was found to have exercised scant oversight to ensure the labs were run by qualified experts and met international standards for forensics.

Name recognition played a part

Retired Ontario Appeal Court judge Susan Lang completed her exhaustive review of Koren's Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory (MDTL) last December and was struck by the similarities to the Smith case.

"That SickKids failed to exercise meaningful oversight over MDTL's work must be considered in the context of the hospital's experience with Dr. Charles Smith," Lang wrote in her report.

Richard Brant, left, pleaded guilty in the death of his infant son after Smith falsely testified that he died of shaken baby syndrome. Brant was acquitted a few months after Smith was stripped of his medical licence. (Pat Hewitt/Canadian Press)

She also pointed out how in both situations, the association with the hospital bolstered the doctors' reputations and others' assumptions about their qualifications.

"Just as the SickKids name assisted in positioning Dr. Smith to become a leading expert in pediatric forensic pathology, that name likely gave credibility to the work of MDTL, as well," Lang wrote.

Lawyer and retired newspaper reporter Harold Levy saw firsthand how Smith avoided scrutiny throughout his 15-year career by exuding charisma and confidence while testifying.

When Smith walked in, the legend walked in.

- Harold Levy, lawyer and former reporter

"He created such a powerful, holy, godly image of himself that people accepted him for what he held himself out to be," said Levy, who now writes a blog named after the disgraced pathologist that tracks examples of flawed forensic science.

"When Smith walked in, the legend walked in. And very few lawyers challenged him. Sometimes, innocent people, innocent parents, would plead guilty because they were told by their lawyers that his testimony was so powerful and influential that they would be convicted even though they were innocent."

Making conclusions based on preliminary results

Koren's testimony had similar heft and in 2009 helped convict a Toronto area mother accused of feeding her toddler cocaine of several serious charges, including administering a noxious substance with the intent to endanger life.

Lockyer first crossed paths with Koren while representing the mother during her appeal of the cocaine-related convictions.

Lockyer said he had never dealt with a case involving hair-sample testing before and decided to have the results from Koren's lab looked over by a certified forensic toxicologist in Alberta.

A lack of oversight by the world-renowned Hospital for Sick Children, known as SickKids, was cited as a contributing factor to a breakdown of accountability in both the Smith and Koren cases. The hospital says it has instituted new measures to ensure staff who will be working within the justice system receive adequate training. (CBC)

The forensic toxicologist found the original test results were not nearly good enough to have been used in court.

Lockyer says Koren argued his lab's testing methods were "gold standard," but it turned out the lab's work wasn't even worthy of a bronze.

Lang's review found the lab was drawing definitive conclusions about the presence of drugs and alcohol based on hair samples tested with a preliminary screening test that was meant to be used only as a first step to weed out negative results. Positive results were supposed to be confirmed with a more robust test and not passed directly on to authorities.

Motherisk drug tests should be reviewed in Nova Scotia, says lawyer

Dr. Charles Smith: The man behind the inquiry

Read the Motherisk report

Read the Goudge report into Charles Smith scandal

The lab used the test for five years between 2005 and 2010 even though the testing kits, as Lang writes in her report, "included an explicit warning for the user about the preliminary nature of the … results."

Lang's review notes that even when the lab began doing more robust confirmation tests in 2010, lab workers didn't conduct those tests properly, rendering the results inaccurate.

New oversight measures in place

Lang writes that both the Smith and Koren debacles at SickKids "highlighted the dangers associated with having a laboratory within the institution that routinely provided a forensic service yet was led by individuals who lacked any forensic training."

In an emailed statement, hospital spokeswoman Matet Nebres said SickKids now has mandatory training for any staff who have dealings with the justice system. Subpoenas and summonses now have to be reviewed by the hospital's legal department. 

The hospital shut down the Motherisk lab last spring, and Koren has retired from SickKids. But the ordeal is not over for parents who may have lost custody of their children based on the lab's faulty work. The province of Ontario has appointed a commissioner to look back at 25 years' worth of cases to determine which ones need to be re-examined.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ron Charles

CBC News

Ron Charles has been a general assignment reporter for CBC News since 1989, covering such diverse stories as the 1990 Oka Crisis, the 1998 Quebec ice storm and the 2008 global financial crisis. Before joining the CBC, Ron spent two years reporting on Montreal crime and courts for the Montreal Daily News.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/02/22/former-head-of-sick-kids-mot...

https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/motherisk-experts-forensic-testimony-1.34...

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The Ontario government has ordered all children's aid societies to immediately review the credentials of experts used to assess whether parents should lose their children.

The directive comes in the wake of an ongoing Toronto Star investigation into parenting capacity assessments — expert reports that can be heavily relied on in child protection proceedings when deciding whether children should be permanently removed from their parents' care.

The assessments typically examine parents' ability to address the needs of their children and whether there are supports available.

As the Star's investigation has found, there are no qualifications required to do a parenting capacity assessment, no rules around methodology and testing, and no oversight body that tracks assessors' performance.

The investigation was sparked by a Halton region child protection case in which a judge found that psychologist Nicole Walton-Allen — who testified she has done more than 100 parenting capacity assessments — had lied about her credentials for years.

Walton-Allen is authorized by the College of Psychologists to practise in school psychology but, the judge noted at the time, materials including her CV and website listed her as a clinical psychologist.

"I became convinced that she had been intentionally using the clinical designation to increase her credibility as a psychologist," Ontario Court Justice Penny Jones wrote in her December ruling.

The ruling tossed Walton-Allen's assessment, which had supported the society's position that five children in one family should be placed in CAS care.

Jill Dunlop, associate minister of children and women's issues, said the ministry directive was sent to the societies Thursday.

It is "unacceptable" that children and families may have been affected by Walton-Allen's misrepresentation of her credentials, Dunlop said, speaking at the Jewish Family & Child CAS in North York on Friday.

She shared news of the directive while announcing a government review of the child welfare system that will include an online survey for youth, families and front-line workers.

The government will also be bringing on a third party to provide independent advice "on modernizing services," according to a news release.

The directive — which advocates have already criticized as inadequate — orders societies to identify all parenting capacity assessments that are in progress or that have been completed in cases still before the courts, and to verify the assessor's credentials.

For example, if an assessor is a psychologist registered with the College of Psychologists or a psychiatrist registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the CAS must verify with the college that the individual is who they say they are, and are in good standing with their regulatory body.

If the society has concerns with an assessor's credentials, and remains concerned after speaking with the individual, the society must file a complaint with the assessor's respective college, the directive says.

The society must also keep a record of the steps it has taken to verify the credentials, as well as a record of any complaint filed and its outcome.

In the Halton case involving Walton-Allen, it was lawyer Novalea Jarvis, representing the mother in the case, who discovered on the College of Psychologists' website that Walton-Allen was only authorized to practise in school psychology.

Despite being told of this find, Halton CAS still tried to have Walton-Allen's assessment admitted, but the judge rejected her opinion.

Halton deferred to the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS), which declined to comment on the case.

Going forward, each society must have a process in place for verifying an assessor's credentials, the directive says.

All societies are required to report back to the ministry by Sept. 30 that they have followed the directive's requirements.

In a statement to the Star, the CEO of the OACAS said the association and CAS leadership have been reviewing measures to improve the process for finding qualified professionals who do parenting capacity assessments and "these measures are well-aligned with the ministry's recent directive.

"We are confident that Ontario's children's aid societies are well-positioned to undertake the actions described in the ministry's directive efficiently and effectively," said Nicole Bonnie.

Tammy Law, the president of the Toronto chapter of the Association of Child Protection Lawyers, said the directive fails to address many of the concerns around parenting capacity assessments, including the qualifications necessary to do an assessment in the first place and the types of tests that should be used on the parents and children.

"It's like putting a Band-Aid on a cut on a broken arm, and not treating the broken arm," she told the Star. "It doesn't address the root issues."

Meanwhile, the ministry said in a statement it is continuing "to understand the scope of the work conducted by this individual," referring to Walton-Allen.

The ministry has so far refused to say whether it will launch an independent review into parenting capacity assessments, which lawyers, advocates and the official opposition have said is necessary.

Irwin Elman, the former provincial advocate for children and youth, said he was struck by the fact that such a directive was not already in place.

Elman's office was abolished by the Ford government last year; its investigative powers were transferred to the ombudsman's office, but not its advocacy mandate.

He said an independent, restorative inquiry into the child welfare system could help come up with guidelines and qualifications for these assessments.

"For me, the fact that there was no such directive or thinking in the past, and the fact that the ministry has still not made any declarative statement about what our children and families connected to child welfare can expect, is a sign that the government yet again has not taken the whole child protection system seriously," he told the Star.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/08/23/province-orders-childrens-ai...

https://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/news-story/9565809-province-orde...

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Expert who gave more than 100 assessments in Ontario child protection cases lied about credentials for years, judge finds.

Why lie if "There’s no rule on who can write assessments that ‘effectively decide’ if an Ontario parent loses their child" unless she knew she was doing something wrong?

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/07/31/expert-who-gave-more-than-10...

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Calls grow for independent review of child protection cases involving Ontario psychologist who ‘misrepresented’ credentials and as with everything else CAS no one checks anything....

A judge found Nicole-Walton Allen unqualified to complete a specialized assessment that is often “the kiss of death” for parents fighting to keep their children. She testified she has completed more than 100 since 1992.

An Ontario psychologist testified she lied about her credentials and was unqualified to perform the work.

Nicole Walton-Allen had "intentionally misrepresented her qualifications" since at least 2009, according to a December ruling by Ontario Court Justice Penny Jones in a case in which the Hamilton-based psychologist gave an expert opinion supporting the Halton children's aid society's request that all five children in one family should be placed in its extended care.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/08/01/calls-grow-for-independent-r...

https://www.thespec.com/news-story/9528224-hamilton-based-expert-who-gav...

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Ontario psychologist used ‘obsolete’ tests in expert opinion calling for parents to lose their kids, judge says

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/08/15/ontario-psychologist-used-ob...

Discredited hair-testing program harmed vulnerable families across Ontario: report.

BY PAOLA LORIGGIO, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Posted Feb 26, 2018.

https://www.680news.com/2018/02/26/discredited-hair-testing-program-harm...

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Mandatory registration and regulation by the College is not in the best interest of child protection workers and ultimately, not in the best interest of vulnerable children, youth and families.

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Merton coined the term “self-fulfilling prophecy,” defining it as:

“A false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the originally false conception come true” (Merton, 1968, p. 477).

In other words, Merton noticed that sometimes a belief brings about consequences that cause reality to match the belief. Generally, those at the center of a self-fulfilling prophecy don’t understand that their beliefs caused the consequences they expected or feared—it’s often unintentional,  unlike self-motivation or self-confidence.

https://positivepsychology.com/self-fulfilling-prophecy/

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"Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 proclaimed in force."

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2234353/

The new regulation was updated to only require Local Directors of Children’s Aid Societies to be registered with the College.

http://www.ocswssw.org/resources/legislation-submissions/

The majority of local directors, supervisors, child protection workers and adoption workers have social work or social service work education, yet fewer than 10% are registered with the OCSWSSW.

Unfortunately, many CASs have been circumventing professional regulation of their staff by requiring that staff have social work education yet discouraging those same staff from registering with the OCSWSSW.

Ontarians have a right to assume that, when they receive services that are provided by someone who is required to have a social work degree (or a social service work diploma) — whether those services are direct (such as those provided by a child protection worker or adoption worker) or indirect (such as those provided by a local director or supervisor) — that person is registered with, and accountable to, the OCSWSSW.

As a key stakeholder with respect to numerous issues covered in the CYFSA and the regulations, we were dismayed to learn just prior to the posting of the regulations that we had been left out of the consultation process. We have reached out on more than one occasion to request information about regulations to be made under the CYFSA regarding staff qualifications.

A commitment to public protection, especially when dealing with vulnerable populations such as the children, youth and families served by CASs, is of paramount importance. In short, it is irresponsible for government to propose regulations that would allow CAS staff to operate outside of the very system of public protection and oversight it has established through professional regulation.

Regulations under the CYFSA:

The College has worked with government to address its concerns about regulations under the new CYFSA which set out the qualifications of Children’s Aid Society (CAS) staff. Upon learning in late November that the proposed regulations would continue to allow CAS workers to avoid registration with the College, the College immediately engaged with MCYS and outlined its strong concerns in a letter to the Minister of Children and Youth Services and a submission to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services during the consultation period.

The new regulation was updated to require Local Directors of Children’s Aid Societies to be registered with the College.

We are pleased to note that, while the new regulation does not currently require CAS supervisors to be registered, we have received a "commitment" FROM THE OUTGOING WYNNE GOVERNMENT to work with the College and the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies toward a goal of requiring registration of CAS supervisors beginning January 2019.

Key concerns:

The absence of a requirement for CAS child protection workers to be registered with the College: ignores the public protection mandate of the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998 (SWSSWA); avoids the fact that social workers and social service workers are regulated professions in Ontario and ignores the College’s important role in protecting the Ontario public from harm caused by incompetent, unqualified or unfit practitioners; allows CAS staff to operate outside the system of public protection and oversight that the Government has established through professional regulation; and fails to provide the assurance to all Ontarians that they are receiving services from CAS staff who are registered with, and accountable to, the College.

Since it began operations in 2000, the OCSWSSW has worked steadily and completely unseen to silently address the issue of child protection workers.

Unfortunately, many CASs have been circumventing professional regulation of their staff by requiring that staff have social work education yet discouraging those same staff from registering with the OCSWSSW.

The new regulation was updated to only require Local Directors of Children’s Aid Societies to be registered with the College.

The majority of local directors, supervisors, child protection workers and adoption workers have social work or social service work education, yet fewer than 10% are registered with the OCSWSSW.

The existing regulations made under the CFSA predated the regulation of social work and social service work in Ontario and therefore their focus on the credential was understandable.

However, today a credential focus is neither reasonable nor defensible. Social work and social service work are regulated professions in Ontario.

Updating the regulations under the new CYFSA provides an important opportunity for the Government to protect the Ontario public from incompetent, unqualified and unfit professionals and to prevent a serious risk of harm to children and youth, as well as their families. 

As Minister Coteau said in second reading debate of Bill 89, "protecting and supporting children and youth is not just an obligation, it is our moral imperative, our duty and our privilege—each and every one of us in this Legislature, our privilege—in shaping the future of this province."

A "social worker" or a "social service worker" is by law someone who is registered with the OCSWSSW. Furthermore, as noted previously, the Ontario public has a right to assume that when they receive services that are provided by someone who is required to have a social work degree (or a social service work diploma), that person is registered with the OCSWSSW.

The OCSWSSW also has processes for equivalency, permitting those with a combination of academic qualifications and experience performing the role of a social worker or social service worker to register with the College. 

These processes address, among other things, the risk posed by "fake degrees" and other misrepresentations of qualifications, ensuring Ontarians know that a registered social worker or social service worker has the education and/or experience to do their job.

The review of academic credentials and knowledge regarding academic programs is an area of expertise of a professional regulatory body. An individual employer will not have the depth of experience with assessing the validity of academic credentials nor the knowledge of academic institutions to be able to uncover false credentials or misrepresentations of qualifications on a reliable basis.

Setting, maintaining and holding members accountable to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. These minimum standards apply to all OCSWSSW members, regardless of the areas   or context in which they practise. Especially relevant in the child welfare context are principles that address confidentiality and privacy, competence and integrity, record-keeping, and sexual misconduct.

Maintaining fair and rigorous complaints and discipline processes. These processes differ from government oversight systems and process-oriented mechanisms within child welfare, as well as those put in place by individual employers like a CAS. They focus on the conduct of individual professionals.

Furthermore, transparency regarding referrals of allegations of misconduct and discipline findings and sanctions ensures that a person cannot move from employer to employer when there is an allegation referred to a hearing or a finding after a discipline hearing that their practice does not meet minimum standards.

Submission-re-Proposed-Regulations-under-the-CYFSA-January-25-2018. OCSWSSW May 1, 2018

https://www.ocswssw.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/OCSWSSW-Submission-re...

If you have any practice questions or concerns related to the new CYFSA, please contact the Professional Practice Department at 416-972-9882 or 1-877-828-9380 or email practice@ocswssw.org.

Regulation of child protection workers by Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers: CUPE responds. 

I am aware that OACAS, the organization that represents my employer, is planning to make it mandatory for me to register with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers in order for me to do my job.

http://cupe2190.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/SSWCC_CAS-letters-re-colle...

One of the reasons given for introducing this requirement is that it will provide more oversight Children’s Aid Societies and child protection workers. Regulation through the College is entirely appropriate for social workers who are in private practice and whose work is not overseen by an employer. But I would like to remind [CAS] that my colleagues and I already answer to more than enough people, processes, and outside bodies in the course of our work, as the following list shows:

• CAS in-house management structure, including supervisors, managers, lawyers, and case conferences; (not public)

• a society’s internal standards, policies, procedures and protocols, some of which are governed by the Children and Family Services Act; (not public)

• a society’s internal disciplinary and complaints procedures; (not public)

• Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, which has new powers to investigate CAS workers; (defunct)

• ministry audits in almost every area of service, including Crown Ward Reviews and Licensing; (see links below)

• Child and Family Services Review Board, which conducts reviews and hearings of complaints against a CAS worker; (by the ministry that funds them so there's no potential for conflicts of interests)

• family courts; (see links below)

• Ontario’s human rights tribunal; (see links below)

• the provincial auditor general; (see links below)

• child death reviews, including the Paediatric Death Review and internal reviews; (see links below)

• coroner’s inquests. (see links below)

How could anyone look at this list and possibly think that child protection workers need more oversight?

How about the long list of well publicized scandals ,tragedies, a one sided court system, fake experts, fake drug tests, sex cults and unexplained child deaths in care?

SEE LINKS BELOW

Asking for more ways to regulate and oversee the work of child protection workers is clearly unnecessary and leads me to think there is another agenda at work in this exercise.

I wanted to share some facts and figures that I have learned along the way; I think they point to significant problems for the sector and for [CAS] in particular:

Common sense is sound practical judgment concerning everyday matters, or a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge that is shared by nearly all people. The first type of common sense, good sense, can be described as "the knack for seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done." 

• There are over 5,000 child protection workers in Ontario

• The College regulates about 17,000 social workers and social service workers

• In Ontario, only 7% of College-registered social workers are employed by a CAS

• Only 4% of members of the Ontario Association of Social Workers work for a CAS

• Between 30% and 50% of Ontario’s child welfare workers do NOT hold a BSW

• Only 63% of direct service staff in CASs have a BSW or MSW (in 2012, it was 57%)

• Only 78% of direct service supervisors have a BSW or MSW (in 2012, it was 75.5%)

• The 2013 OACAS Human Resources survey estimates that 70% of relevant CAS job classifications would qualify for registration with the College

• From 2002 to 2014, 41 child welfare employees who did not hold a BSW or MSW submitted equivalency applications to register as social workers; only 16 were successful and 25 were refused.

Multidisciplinary child protection teams are a strength. Working alongside child protection workers who have taken a couple of years of education in psychology, sociology or mental health enriches the services they provide to children, youth and families, as well as the working environment we all share. 

Similarly, those colleagues with backgrounds in such areas as children and youth justice offer insight and knowledge that would not normally form part of BSW or MSW. Sometimes a colleague has gained qualifications outside the country and brings unique cultural or community perspectives to our work.

What happens when those with backgrounds in youth justice start acting like they have BSW/MSW education in psychology, sociology or mental health?

Currently, workplace disciplines, complaints and other personnel matters at [CAS] are treated confidentially. But if child protection workers become subject to regulation by the College, previously confidential workplace matters will become matters of public record.

My membership in the College would mean that anyone can see information about my status or complaints made against me – and under the College’s rules, there is no time limit in which to make a complaint. Disciplinary hearings are open to the public and once a complaint is made, it is on file forever. 

There is no process for appeal.

Employers must also file a written report with the College if one of its registered members is terminated. This requirement conflicts with an employee’s right to grieve a termination under the collective agreement or appeal it through arbitration, where a termination may be overturned.

I also have concerns for my personal safety and that of my family, since college registration is open to public scrutiny and provides no protection from potentially violent clients.

None of the ways that the College deals with personal information, complaints, and discipline allow for a fair or safe process for "child protection workers." (ad hominem)

There are any number of measures that can be and ought to be taken to restore public confidence in child protection and keep at-risk children and youth safer. Regulation by the college is not one of them.

I am not a social worker; I don’t want to be a social worker. Had I wanted to be a social worker, I would have trained as one.

If regulation through the College of Social Work is introduced, what will happen to us child protection workers who don’t have degrees in social work (a BSW or MSW) or a social service worker diploma? After all, we make up to 50% of the child protection workforce. (50%)

None of the options currently available to us is appealing: we can try to upgrade to the qualifications that will allow up to keep our jobs. We can move to a different job class. We can accept termination or layoff. (considering the job market what else aren't they qualified to do)

What doesn’t seem to be an option is “grandfathering,” something that would allow child protection workers already in post to keep doing their current jobs. The College is quite specific that grandfathering is not on the table. (so employees with decades of experience are off the table)

These facts seem to present some insurmountable problems for the child protection sector and represent another compelling reason that regulation by the College is a bad move for the child protection sector and for child protection workers.

One of the reasons given for this change is that regulation will result in higher quality services and bring greater professionalism to the field and that this will improve the standard of child protection work in Ontario.

I would like to point out that a failure to meet standards of care in child protection work is very rarely the result of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity on the part of individual child protection workers.

The stated purpose of the College is to protect the public from unqualified, incompetent or unfit practitioners.

But children’s aid societies already set those standards and ensure their adherence: they determine the job qualifications. They deal with employees they deem to be unqualified or

incompetent. And CASs decide whether child protection work in their area can be performed by someone who holds a Bachelor’s degree and has child welfare experience.

I may not hold a BSW or MSW degree, enjoy membership in the College or be subject to its regulation. But I feel like professional practitioner in the child protection sector and, as such, I cannot countenance this move toward the regulation of the child protection workforce. I am resolved to fight it at every step of the way and instead campaign for the measures that will bring real benefits to at-risk youth, children and families.

• Regulation with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers is entirely inappropriate for workers subject to employer oversight

• CAS employees are already subject to adequate oversight at several levels

• Without degrees in social work (BSWs or MSWs), many CAS child protection workers aren’t eligible to join the College

• College requirements for members are unfriendly to workers who take breaks from the field, especially women workers

• College discipline procedures require mandatory reporting by employers of an employee’s termination, regardless of whether the termination will be the subject of a grievance or arbitration

• Workers’ safety and privacy is at risk, since a college registration is open to the public

• Regulation shifts responsibility for system failures to individual workers

http://cupe2190.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/SSWCC_CAS-letters-re-colle...

https://unpublishedottawa.com/sites/unpublishedottawa.com/files/letter/1...

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/beef-up-information-laws-o...

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/commissioner-cavoukian-calls-on-go...

Under suspicion: Concerns about child welfare.

http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/under-suspicion-concerns-about-child-welfare

"Passing the buck..."

CAS funded research indicates that many professionals overreport families based on stereotypes around racial identities. Both Indigenous and Africa-Canadian children and youth are overrepresented in child welfare due to systemic racism but for some reason a document called “Yes, You Can. Dispelling the Myths About Sharing Information with Children’s Aid Societies” was jointly released by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario and the Ontario Provincial Advocate.

The document, targeted the same professionals who work with children that CAS research indicated already over-reported families, and was a critical reminder that a call to Children’s Aid is not a privacy violation when a professional claims it concerns the safety of a child.

http://www.oacas.org/childrens-aid-child-protection/duty-to-report/

:::

You can hear former MPP Frank Klees say in a video linked below the very reason the social worker act was introduced and became law in 1998 was to regulate the "children's aid societies."

FORMER ONTARIO MPP FRANK KLEES EXPLAINS A DISTINCTION WITHOUT A DIFFERENCE WORKS.

I'M NOT A SOCIAL WORKER, I'M A CHILD PROTECTION WORKER!

https://youtu.be/SA1YyWO0RTQ?list=PLsYhw09i3If44rMBDuZQ0ztayzSQU35Fy

TWO DECADES LATER.

The union representing child protection social workers is firmly opposed to oversight from a professional college and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, which regulates and funds child protection, is so far staying out of it.

The report Towards Regulation notes that the “clearest path forward” would be for the provincial government to again legislate the necessity of professional regulation, which would be an appallingly heavy-handed move according to OACAS/Cupe.

http://joincupe2190.ca/files/2015/10/Professional-regulation-at-children...

:::

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Bumps on the Road and a Long List of Totally Random Coincidences..

A coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances that have no apparent causal connection with one another. The perception of remarkable coincidences may lead to supernatural, occult, paranormal or blatant corruption claims.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/motherisk-child-protection-1.4559905

Junk Science Lab "Tested" For Drugs in a Strand of Hair. A "positive" result was enough to take kids away from their moms FOREVER! 03/06/2018.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIJqYz91ceU

If you think back to the Satanic panic of the late 1980s, when court after court listened to self-described experts claiming that their impeccable research proved kids were being ritually abused by animal-sacrificing, blood-drinking, orgy-organizing day care workers, you know that expert testimony sometimes isn't. In fact, sometimes it's completely, outrageously wrong.

That turns out to be tragically true again, this time in Canada, where from 1990 until 2015, family courts trusted the results of drug testing done on strands of hair by the Motherisk test lab. (The name is so insulting, it should have tipped everyone off. But no.) Ontario authorities were taking the kids away from mothers based on Motherisk's "hair-testing," which supposedly revealed the moms were alcoholics or drug abusers.

"The results they wanted when they wanted them.."

Motherisk made millions while the children's aid societies raked in tens of billions of taxpayer dollars.

https://letgrow.org/junk-science-lab-tested-drugs-strand-hair-positive-r...

:::

5 REASONS WHY THE MOTHERISK SCANDAL SHOULDN’T HAPPEN AGAIN

1. The tests were preliminary

The tests performed by Motherisk relied on the unconfirmed results of its enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay (ELISA) tests.

ELISA is often used as a screening tool before more in-depth tests are undertaken. It can be used in toxicology as a rapid presumptive screen for certain classes of drugs. It’s useful if you need to screen a large number of samples when the presumption that only a small percentage will test positive. But it’s not definitive and the results can be erroneously interpreted.

The Motherisk Lab did not follow-up its presumed positive ELISA results with follow-on in-depth tests. Therefore, the results simply could not be relied upon to provide the absolute certainty needed.

As Craig Chatterton, a forensic toxicologist and a proponent of hair sample testing, correctly explains in the CBC report on Motherisk, a preliminary test like ELISA can be spot on - but, tragically for the families implicated, it can be 100% incorrect, too.

Susan Lang’s report went on to say "No forensic toxicology laboratory in the world uses ELISA testing the way MTDL [Motherisk] did."

2. Motherisk had no written standard operating procedures

Having standard, professional operating procedures in place is one of the central pillars of any testing environment, not just hair sample testing.

In this regard, Motherisk failed egregiously. The Lang report found no evidence of any written standard operating procedures at Motherisk. This raises serious doubts about the reliability and, crucially, the standardisation of its testing procedures.

Both forensic and clinical laboratories should have standard operating procedures in place for each of the tests they perform. Motherisk had no clear, documented procedures which means the processes could have varied substantially in each individual case, calling into question, rightly, the integrity of the lab’s results.

3. No transparency

Motherisk’s next misstep was the lack of formal process and documentation meant that it was almost impossible for any third party to robustly assess its results.

When the entire process isn’t adequately captured, it becomes easy for the lab to skirt over anomalies and simplify conclusions.

At Cansford Labs, for instance, we share the evidence in full. This is an absolutely vital component when the test will be involved in a highly sensitive matter like child custody.

The fact that Motherisk offered no insight into how its results were arrived at beggars belief.

4. Inadequate training and oversight

The inadequacy and transparency issues within Motherisk seeped all the way into the employees at the lab.

From reading the Lang report, Motherisk scientists were operating without any forensic training or oversight. The ELISA tests were inadequate, but even if they weren’t, the individuals interpreting the results weren’t properly trained.

Nobody at Motherisk, including, rather incredibly, Dr. Koren himself, had the proper training.

The lack of training manifested in all manner of amateurish mistakes. Staff routinely failed to wash hair samples before analysis, for example. One mother tested positive for alcohol because her alcohol-laced hairspray had not been washed off the sample. With the right training and process, these issues could easily have been avoided.

5. A compromised chain of custody

In the CBC report into Motherisk, one mother recalls how her second test was conducted after she disputed the first test’s results: “With my second test, the hair was done in the social worker’s office with the scissors out of her desk, tape off her desk and cardboard from the trash.”

Her sample tested positive for crystal meth, but laughably when she next saw her “hair sample”, the hair that allegedly belonged to her was longer and a different colour.

It should go without saying, but any robust testing process requires professionalism throughout. It’s not just about testing the sample, but also about how the sample is collected and treated.

The chain of custody is of paramount importance. Trusted professionals need to be present at every stage of the process, guided by the lab that will do the testing, and the procedures need to be the same for every single case.

The science of hair sample testing remains a powerful tool when the analysis is done correctly, appropriately, with quality control and assurances and interpreted by qualified experts.

Indeed, it’s only right that for vulnerable individuals, that nothing but the best will do. A fact that Motherisk seemingly forgot.

https://blog.cansfordlabs.co.uk/5-reasons-why-the-motherisk-scandal-shou...

:::

A report cites poverty as a key factor in families who come into contact with the child protection system.

The effect of provincial policies on struggling families was especially apparent in the late 1990s, when the conservative government slashed welfare payments and social service funding at the same time it introduced in child protection the notion of maltreatment by “omission,” including not having enough food in the home. The number of children taken into care spiked.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

“Reasonable grounds” refers to the information that an average person, using normal and honest judgment, would need in order to decide to report. This private corporate standard has been recognized by courts in Ontario as establishing a lower threshold for reporting suspicions. (Can there really be two standards for reasonable grounds and still be reasonable?)

http://www.oacas.org/childrens-aid-child-protection/duty-to-report/

Reasonable suspicion is a reasonable presumption that a crime or a violation of government child care standards has been, is being, or will be committed. It is a reasonable belief based on facts or circumstances and is informed by a police officer’s or workers training and experience. 

Reasonable suspicion is seen as more than a guess or hunch but less than probable cause.

Probable cause is the logical belief, supported by facts and circumstances, that a crime has been, is being, or will be committed.

The difference between the two terms is that probable cause means there is concrete evidence of a crime, whereas reasonable suspicion is open to broader interpretation. 

Reasonable suspicion indicates that it appears that a crime has been committed; the phrase often is used to justify investigation into suspicious behavior when a crime may have been committed.

WHAT IS LOWER THAN REASONABLE GROUNDS FOR SUSPICION?

Simple suspicion is a lower threshold than reasonable grounds to suspect and is synonymous with a “gut feeling” or “hunch”. In other words, simple suspicion means that you have a feeling that something is unusual or suspicious, but do not have any facts.

Reasonable grounds to suspect is the required threshold in child protection legislation and is a step above simple suspicion, meaning that there is a possibility of government child care standards are not being met.

This means that you do not have to prove the facts that led to your suspicion. However, you do have the obligation to assess the facts that led to your determination of reasonable grounds to suspect the occurrence in front of a judge. The decision as to whether or not to grant a warrant and decide if a violation government child welfare standards has actually occurred should determined by a fair and impartial judicial system under the same rules of evidence used by most every other court in Canada.

Reasonable grounds to believe is a higher threshold than reasonable grounds to suspect and is more than what is required to conduct a investigation without delay. Reasonable grounds to believe means that there is a probability, supported by verified facts. In other words, there is enough evidence to support a reasonable and trained person to believe, not just suspect a child or children are at risk.

For example, law enforcement must reach reasonable grounds to believe that criminal activity has occurred before they can obtain judicial authorizations, including a production order..

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

“We’re able to tell a story of maltreatment, but we have not done a very good job in telling a story about poverty,” Goodman said, referring to Ontario’s 47 privately run children’s aid societies.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/03/14/in_leaked_memo_peel_cas_staf...

Goodman suggests silence suited the provincial government more than it suited the society's funding goals, in particular the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, which regulates child protection and funds societies with $1.5 billion annually.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/03/15/province_in_talks_with_peel_...

On average, 15,625 Ontario children were in foster or group-home care in 2014-15. The latest figures indicate if your still willing to blindly take the society's word for it that only 2 percent of children are removed from their home due to sexual abuse and 13 percent for physical abuse. The rest are removed because of neglect, emotional maltreatment and exposure to violence between their parents or caregivers.

“The ministry has been pretty clear with us that advocacy is not part of our mandate,” Goodman said. “It’s not like they’re asking for the (poverty) data. They’re not.”

The poverty removal rates were extracted from the government-funded Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect, compiled in 2013. A team of (independant?) researchers examined a representative sample of 4,961 child protection investigations conducted by 17 children’s aid societies. The cases involved children up to 14.

Co-author Kofi Antwi-Boasiako, a PhD student at the University of Toronto’s faculty of social work, will be expanding the report into a full-fledged study.

http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en15/3.02en15.pdf

Goodman credited the report with revealing “the elephant in the room.” Children’s aid societies have long witnessed the grinding effect of poverty on families but have rarely spoken out about it or pressured policy makers.

(Another case of "The results they wanted when they wanted them..")

https://www.ourwindsor.ca/news-story/6810640-report-shines-light-on-pove...

:::

“I Am Your Children’s Aid” campaign is a provincial campaign designed to educate/deceive Ontarians about the role of CASs in their community and ways they can get involved in protecting children and building stronger families. It is also to be used as a tool to recruit foster, adoptive parents and volunteers. This campaign brings to life stories of the young men and women.

http://www.torontocas.ca/sites/torontocas/files/communicate_2010spring.pdf

http://www.oacas.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/1011annualreport.pdf

You can hear former MPP Frank Klees say in a video linked below the very reason the social worker act was introduced and became law in 1998 was to regulate the "children's aid societies."

FORMER ONTARIO MPP FRANK KLEES EXPLAINS A DISTINCTION WITHOUT A DIFFERENCE WORKS.

I'M NOT A SOCIAL WORKER, I'M A CHILD PROTECTION WORKER!

https://youtu.be/SA1YyWO0RTQ?list=PLsYhw09i3If44rMBDuZQ0ztayzSQU35Fy

TWO DECADES LATER.

The union representing child protection social workers is firmly opposed to oversight from a professional college and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, which regulates and funds child protection, is so far staying out of it.

The report Towards Regulation notes that the “clearest path forward” would be for the provincial government to again legislate the necessity of professional regulation, which would be an appallingly heavy-handed move according to OACAS/Cupe.

http://joincupe2190.ca/files/2015/10/Professional-regulation-at-children...

:::

In the wake for calls for an independent review - province orders children’s aid societies to review credentials of experts used in child welfare cases.

(And another case of "The results they wanted when they wanted them..")

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/08/23/province-orders-childrens-ai...

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/08/23/province-orders-childrens-ai...

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/08/01/calls-grow-for-independent-r...

:::

Poacher noun. a person who trespasses on private property, especially to take fish or game (or children) illegally.

Poaching has been defined as the illegal hunting or capturing of wild animals, usually associated with land use rights but can easily be adapted to explain what's wrong with Ontario's unregistered child protection social workers..

Child poaching funding predators...

:::

Researchers have found that not only were psychotropic drugs prescribed to a clear majority of the current and former wards interviewed, but most were diagnosed with mental-health disorders by a family doctor, never visited a child psychiatrist or another doctor for a second opinion, and doubted the accuracy of their diagnosis.

A Toronto Star investigation has found Ontario’s most vulnerable children in the care of an unaccountable and non-transparent protection system. It keeps them in the shadows, far beyond what is needed to protect their identities.

“When people are invisible, bad things happen,” says Irwin Elman, Ontario’s now former and last advocate for children and youth with the closure of the Office.

In Ontario the CAS has turned themselves into a multi-billion dollar private corporation using any excuse to compel parents into submitting to a fake drug testing to justify removing children or keeping files open keeping that government funding flowing.

While the same time they've taking the thousands of children to specific CAS approved doctors who are all to happy to prescribe medication based on the workers assessments of the child's condition..

That's why there are no follow ups with qualified medical and psychiatric doctors and not because the CAS lack the funding, staff or attention span to care properly for the children.

(Another case of "The results they wanted when they wanted them..")

A disturbing number, the network's research director, Yolanda Lambe, added, have traded the child-welfare system for a life on the street.

"A lot of people are using drugs now," she said. "There's a lot of homeless young people who have been medicated quite heavily."

Marti McKay is a Toronto child psychologist was hired by a CAS to assess the grandparents' capacity as guardians only to discover a child so chemically altered that his real character was clouded by the side effects of adult doses of drugs.

"There are lots of other kids like that," said Dr. McKay, one of the experts on the government panel. "If you look at the group homes, it's close to 100 per cent of the kids who are on not just one drug, but on drug cocktails with multiple diagnoses.

"There are too many kids being diagnosed with ... a whole range of disorders that are way out of proportion to the normal population. ... It's just not reasonable to think the children in care would have such overrepresentation in these rather obscure disorders."

“There are lots of kids in group homes all over Ontario and they are not doing well — and everybody knows it,” says Kiaras Gharabaghi, a member of a government-appointed panel that examined the residential care system in 2016.

Nearly half of children in Crown care are medicated.

Psychotropic drugs are being prescribed to nearly half the Crown wards in a sample of Ontario children's aid societies, kindling fears that the agencies are overusing medication with the province's most vulnerable children.

According to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail under Ontario's Freedom of Information Act, 47 per cent of the Crown wards - children in permanent CAS care - at five randomly picked agencies were prescribed psychotropics last year to treat depression, attention deficit disorder, anxiety and other mental-health problems. And, the wards are diagnosed and medicated far more often than are children in the general population.

"Use of 'behaviour-altering' drugs widespread in foster, group homes."

Almost half of children and youth in foster and group home care aged 5 to 17 — 48.6 per cent — are on drugs, such as Ritalin, tranquilizers and anticonvulsants, according to a yearly survey conducted for the provincial government and the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS). At ages 16 and 17, fully 57 per cent are on these medications.

In group homes, the figure is even higher — an average of 64 per cent of children and youth are taking behaviour-altering drugs. For 10- to 15-year-olds, the number is a staggering 74 per cent.

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/12/12/use_of_behaviouraltering_...

:::

What’s worse is that the number of children prescribed dangerous drugs is on the rise. Doctors seem to prescribe medication without being concerned with the side-effects.

Worldwide, 17 million children, some as young as five years old, are given a variety of different prescription drugs, including psychiatric drugs that are dangerous enough that regulatory agencies in Europe, Australia, and the US have issued warnings on the side effects that include suicidal thoughts and aggressive behavior.

According to Fight For Kids, an organization that “educates parents worldwide on the facts about today’s widespread practice of labeling children mentally ill and drugging them with heavy, mind-altering, psychiatric drugs,” says over 10 million children in the US are prescribed addictive stimulants, antidepressants and other psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs for alleged educational and behavioral problems.

In fact, according to Foundation for a Drug-Free World, every day, 2,500 youth (12 to 17) will abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time (4). Even more frightening, prescription medications like depressants, opioids and antidepressants cause more overdose deaths (45 percent) than illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and amphetamines (39 percent) combined. Worldwide, prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death.

https://dailyhealthpost.com/common-prescription-drugs/

:::

Standards of Care for the Administration of Psychotropic Medications to Children and Youth Living in Licensed Residential Settings.

Summary of Recommendations of the Ontario Expert Panel February 2009.

http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/documents/specialneeds/resi...

:::

“Harmful Impacts” is the title of the Motherisk commission's report written by the Honourable Judith C. Beaman after two years of study. After reading it, “harmful” seems almost to be putting it lightly. Out of the over 16 000 tests the commission only examined 56 cases of the flawed Motherisk tests, administered by the Motherisk lab between 2005 and 2015 and were determined to have a “substantial impact” on the decisions of child protection agencies to keep files open or led to children being permanently removed from their families.

WHAT ARE THE HARMFUL IMPACTS?

Wrongfully Separating kids from parents a 'textbook strategy' of domestic abuse, experts say — and causes irreversible, lifelong damage.

“Being separated from parents or having inconsistent living conditions for long periods of time can create changes in thoughts and behavior patterns, and an increase in challenging behavior and stress-related physical symptoms,” such as sleep difficulty, nightmares, flashbacks, crying, and yelling says Amy van Schagen - California State University.

The Science Is Unequivocal: Separating Families Is Harmful to Children

In news stories and opinion pieces, psychological scientists are sharing evidence-based insight from decades of research demonstrating the harmful effects of separating parents and children.

In an op-ed in USA Today, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff (University of Delaware), Mary Dozier (University of Delaware), and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek (Temple University) write:

“Years of research are clear: Children need their parents to feel secure in the world, to explore and learn, and to grow strong emotionally.”

In a Washington Post op-ed, James Coan (University of Virginia) says:

“As a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist at the University of Virginia, I study how the brain transforms social connection into better mental and physical health. My research suggests that maintaining close ties to trusted loved ones is a vital buffer against the external stressors we all face. But not being an expert on how this affects children, I recently invited five internationally recognized developmental scientists to chat with me about the matter on a science podcast I host. As we discussed the border policy’s effect on the children ensnared by it, even I was surprised to learn just how damaging it is likely to be.”

Mia Smith-Bynum (University of Maryland) is quoted in The Cut:

“The science leads to the conclusion that the deprivation of caregiving produces a form of extreme suffering in children. Being separated from a parent isn’t just a trauma — it breaks the relationship that helps children cope with other traumas.

Forceful separation is particularly damaging, explains clinical psychologist Mia Smith-Bynum, a professor of family science at the University of Maryland, when parents feel there’s nothing in their power that can be done to get their child back.

For all the dislocation, strangeness and pain of being separated forcibly from parents, many children can and do recover, said Mary Dozier, a professor of child development at the University of Delaware. “Not all of them — some kids never recover,” Dr. Dozier said. “But I’ve been amazed at how well kids can do after institutionalization if they’re able to have responsive and nurturing care afterward.”

The effects of that harm may evolve over time, says Antonio Puente, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington who specializes in cultural neuropsychology. What may begin as acute emotional distress could reemerge later in life as PTSD, behavioral issues and other signs of lasting neuropsychological damage, he says.

“A parent is really in many ways an extension of the child’s biology as that child is developing,” Tottenham said. “That adult who’s routinely been there provides this enormous stress-buffering effect on a child’s brain at a time when we haven’t yet developed that for ourselves. They’re really one organism, in a way.” When the reliable buffering and guidance of a parent is suddenly withdrawn, the riot of learning that molds and shapes the brain can be short-circuited, she said.

In a story from the BBC, Jack Shonkoff (Harvard University) discusses evidence related to long-term impacts:

Jack P Shonkoff, director of the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, says it is incorrect to assume that some of the youngest children removed from their parents’ care will be too young to remember and therefore relatively unharmed. “When that stress system stays activated for a significant period of time, it can have a wear and tear effect biologically.

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http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/03/27/daycare-operator-sued-for-cal...

https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2014/12/12/losing_a_child_to_cas_sh...

https://www.insideottawavalley.com/news-story/5926359-cas-watchdog-opens...

https://kmlaw.ca/cases/crown-ward-class-action/

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2019/08/23/in-a-rare-legal-case-toro...

https://nypost.com/2019/06/12/childrens-aid-society-in-canada-turned-a-b...

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/chris-selley-motherisk-is-the-ontario-l...

https://globalnews.ca/news/5360057/teen-sexual-cult-ontario-foster-home-...

https://www.intelligencer.ca/2014/10/21/three-cas-cases-settled/wcm/3fd0...

https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/cornwall-sex-abuse-victims-given-large-settlem...

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/suit-settled-in-horrific-c...

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/barbara-kay-childrens-aid-societies-gon...

https://lfpress.com/2014/04/14/cas-vows-to-defend-ruling-of-bad-faith/wc...

https://www.osler.com/en/blogs/appeal/october-2014/children-s-aid-societ...

https://globalnews.ca/news/5360057/teen-sexual-cult-ontario-foster-home-...

https://nypost.com/2019/06/12/childrens-aid-society-in-canada-turned-a-b...

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/03/27/daycare-operator-sued-for-ca...

https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/homeless-youth-foster-care-1.4240121

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/12/12/use_of_behaviouraltering_...

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/nearly-half-of-children-in...

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2019/05/13/a-system-should-...

https://www.intelligencer.ca/2014/08/27/former-foster-parent-conviction-...

https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ontario-child-advocate-stands-by-report-on-90-...

https://aptnnews.ca/2018/03/14/ontario-coroner-finds-potential-crime-rev...

https://blackburnnews.com/windsor/windsor-news/2017/09/01/layoffs-windso...

https://lfpress.com/2015/03/16/child-welfare-agency-found-to-have-wasted...

https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/11/10/cas-managers-charged-mor...

https://windsorstar.com/news/childrens-aid-gets-4-3-million-cash-boost-f...

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/08/23/province-orders-childrens-ai...

Discredited hair-testing program harmed vulnerable families across Ontario, report says.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/motherrisk-commission-1.4552160

https://blog.cansfordlabs.co.uk/5-reasons-why-the-motherisk-scandal-shou...

http://projects.thestar.com/motherisk/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/motherisk-child-protection-1.4559905

2013: Nancy Simone, a president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local representing 275 workers at the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, argued child protection workers already have levels of oversight that include unregistered unqualified workplace supervisors, family court judges, coroners’ inquests and annual case audits by the ministry and the union representing child protection workers is firmly opposed to ethical oversight from a professional college, and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, which regulates and funds child protection, is so far staying out of the fight.. Nancy Simone says, “Our work is already regulated to death.”

YET BAD THING KEEP HAPPENING TO CHILDREN...

A sociopath is a term used to describe someone who has antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). People with ASPD can't understand others' feelings. They'll often break rules or make impulsive decisions without feeling guilty for the harm they cause. People with ASPD may also use “mind games” to control friends, family members, co-workers, and even strangers. They may also be perceived as charismatic or charming.

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The Slippery Slope: A slippery slope argument (SSA), in logic, critical thinking, political rhetoric, and caselaw, is a logical fallacy in which a party asserts that a relatively small first step leads to a chain of related events culminating in some significant (usually negative) effect.

Distinction without a Difference: A distinction without a difference is a type of logical fallacy where an author or speaker attempts to describe a distinction between two things where no discernible difference exists. It is particularly used when a word or phrase has connotations associated with it that one party to an argument prefers to avoid. 

Either/Or Fallacy (also called "the Black-and-White Fallacy," "Excluded Middle," "False Dilemma," or "False Dichotomy"): This fallacy occurs when a writer builds an argument upon the assumption that there are only two choices or possible outcomes when actually there are several.

Red Herring: Attempting to redirect the argument to another issue to which the person doing the redirecting can better respond. While it is similar to the avoiding the issue fallacy, the red herring is a deliberate diversion of attention with the intention of trying to abandon the original argument.

False Dilemma Examples: False Dilemma is a fallacy based on an "either-or" type of argument. Two choices are presented, when more might exist, and the claim is made that one is false and one is true-or one is acceptable and the other is not. Often, there are other alternatives, or both choices might be false or true.

Circular Argument: In informal logic, circular reasoning is an argument that commits the logical fallacy of assuming what it is attempting to prove. ... "The fallacy of the petitio principii," says Madsen Pirie, "lies in its dependence on the unestablished conclusion.

What is a Logical Fallacy?

A logical fallacy is an error in reasoning common enough to warrant a fancy name. Knowing how to spot and identify fallacies is a priceless skill. It can save you time, money, and personal dignity. There are two major categories of logical fallacies, which in turn break down into a wide range of types of fallacies, each with their own unique ways of trying to trick you into agreement.

A Formal Fallacy is a breakdown in how you say something. The ideas are somehow sequenced incorrectly. Their form is wrong, rendering the argument as noise and nonsense.

An Informal Fallacy denotes an error in what you are saying, that is, the content of your argument. The ideas might be arranged correctly, but something you said isn’t quite right. The content is wrong or off-kilter.

For the purposes of this article, when we say logical fallacies, we refer to informal fallacies. Following is a list of the 15 types of logical fallacies you are most likely to encounter in discussion and debate.

Appeal to Ignorance (argumentum ad ignorantiam)

Any time ignorance is used as a major premise in support of an argument, it’s liable to be a fallacious appeal to ignorance. Naturally, we are all ignorant of many things, but it is cheap and manipulative to allow this unfortunate aspect of the human condition to do most of our heavy lifting in an argument.

An appeal to ignorance isn’t proof of anything except that you don’t know something.

Interestingly, appeal to ignorance is often used to bolster multiple contradictory conclusions at once. Consider the following two claims:

“No one has ever been able to prove definitively that extra-terrestrials exist, so they must not be real.”

“No one has ever been able to prove definitively that extra-terrestrials do not exist, so they must be real.”

If the same argument strategy can support mutually exclusive claims, then it’s not a good argument strategy.

An appeal to ignorance isn’t proof of anything except that you don’t know something. If no one has proven the non-existence of ghosts or flying saucers, that’s hardly proof that those things either exist or don’t exist. If we don’t know whether they exist, then we don’t know that they do exist or that they don’t exist. Appeal to ignorance doesn’t prove any claim to knowledge.

Ad Hominem Fallacy

When people think of “arguments,” often their first thought is of shouting matches riddled with personal attacks. Ironically, personal attacks run contrary to rational arguments. In logic and rhetoric, a personal attack is called an ad hominem. Ad hominem is Latin for “against the man.” Instead of advancing good sound reasoning, an ad hominem replaces logical argumentation with attack-language unrelated to the truth of the matter.

More specifically, the ad hominem is a fallacy of relevance where someone rejects or criticizes another person’s view on the basis of personal characteristics, background, physical appearance, or other features irrelevant to the argument at issue.

An ad hominem is more than just an insult. It’s an insult used as if it were an argument or evidence in support of a conclusion.

Verbally attacking people proves nothing about the truth or falsity of their claims. Use of an ad hominem is commonly known in politics as “mudslinging.” Instead of addressing the candidate’s stance on the issues, or addressing his or her effectiveness as a statesman or stateswoman, an ad hominem focuses on personality issues, speech patterns, wardrobe, style, and other things that affect popularity but have no bearing on their competence. In this way, an ad hominem can be unethical, seeking to manipulate voters by appealing to irrelevant foibles and name-calling instead of addressing core issues. In this last election cycle, personal attacks were volleyed freely from all sides of the political aisle, with both Clinton and Trump facing their fair share of ad hominem fallacies.

Ad hominem is an insult used as if it were an argument or evidence in support of a conclusion.

A thread on Quora lists the following doozies against Hillary Clinton: “Killary Clinton,” “Crooked Hillary,” “Hilla the Hun,” “Shillary,” “Hitlery,” “Klinton,” “Hildebeest,” “Defender of Child rapists,” “Corporate Whore,” “Mr. President,” “Heil Hillary,” “Wicked Witch of the West Wing,” “Robberty Hillham Clinton,” “Mrs. Carpetbagger”, and the decidedly unsubtle, “The Devil.”

The NY Daily News offers an amusing list of insults against Donald Trump: “Short fingered Vulgarian,” “Angry Creamsicle,” “Fascist Carnival Barker,” “F*ckface von Clownstick,” “Decomposing Jack-O-Lantern,” “Chairman of the Saddam Hussein Fanclub,” “Racist Clementine,” “Sentient Caps Lock Button,” “Cheeto Jesus,” “Tangerine Tornado,” and perhaps the most creative/literary reference, “Rome Burning in Man Form.”

The use of ad hominem often signals the point at which a civil disagreement has descended into a “fight.” Whether it’s siblings, friends, or lovers, most everyone has had a verbal disagreement crumble into a disjointed shouting match of angry insults and accusations aimed at discrediting the other person. When these insults crowd out a substantial argument, they become ad hominems.

Strawman Argument

It’s much easier to defeat your opponent’s argument when it’s made of straw. The Strawman argument is aptly named after a harmless, lifeless, scarecrow. In the strawman argument, someone attacks a position the opponent doesn’t really hold. Instead of contending with the actual argument, he or she attacks the equivalent of a lifeless bundle of straw, an easily defeated effigy, which the opponent never intended upon defending anyway.

The strawman argument is a cheap and easy way to make one’s position look stronger than it is. Using this fallacy, opposing views are characterized as “non-starters,” lifeless, truthless, and wholly unreliable. By comparison, one’s own position will look better for it. You can imagine how strawman arguments and ad hominem fallacies can occur together, demonizing opponents and discrediting their views.

With the strawman argument, someone attacks a position the opponent doesn’t really hold.

This fallacy can be unethical if it’s done on purpose, deliberately mischaracterizing the opponent’s position for the sake of deceiving others. But often the strawman argument is accidental, because the offender doesn’t realize the are oversimplifying a nuanced position, or misrepresenting a narrow, cautious claim as if it were broad and foolhardy.

Read more:

https://thebestschools.org/magazine/15-logical-fallacies-know/

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A sociopath is a term used to describe someone who has antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). People with ASPD can't understand others' feelings. They'll often break rules or make impulsive decisions without feeling guilty for the harm they cause. People with ASPD may also use “mind games” to control friends, family members, co-workers, and even strangers. They may also be perceived as charismatic or charming.

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/sociopath

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Industry self-regulation is the process whereby members of an industry, trade or sector of the economy monitor their own adherence to legal, ethical, or safety standards, rather than have an outside, independent agency such as a third party entity or governmental regulator monitor and enforce those standards.[1] 

Self-regulation may ease compliance and ownership of standards, but it can also give rise to conflicts of interest.

:

Youth homelessness linked to foster care system in new study

The study, to be released Wednesday, found nearly three out of every five homeless youth were part of the child welfare system at some point in their lives, a rate almost 200 times greater than that of the general population.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/homeless-youth-foster-care-1.4240121

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If any organization, such as a corporation or government bureaucracy, is asked to eliminate unethical behavior within their own group, it may be in their interest in the short run to eliminate the appearance of unethical behavior, rather than the behavior itself, by keeping any ethical breaches hidden, instead of exposing and correcting them.

An exception occurs when the ethical breach is already known by the public. In that case, it could be in the group's interest to end the ethical problem to which the public has knowledge, but keep remaining breaches hidden.

Another exception would occur in industry sectors with varied membership, such as international brands together with small and medium size companies where the brand owners would have an interest to protect the joint sector reputation by issuing together self-regulation so as to avoid smaller companies with less resources causing damage out of ignorance.

Similarly, the reliability of a professional group such as lawyers and journalists could make ethical rules work satisfactorily as a self-regulation if they were a pre-condition for adherence of new members.

 

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2016/08/15/childrens-aid-soci...

 

An organization can maintain control over the standards to which they are held by successfully self-regulating. If they can keep the public from becoming aware of their internal problems, this also serves in place of a public relations campaign to repair such damage.

SEE: “I Am Your Children’s Aid” campaign is a provincial campaign designed to educate/deceive Ontarians about the role of CASs in their community and ways they can get involved in protecting children and building stronger families. It is also to be used as a tool to recruit foster, adoptive parents and volunteers. This campaign brings to life stories of the young men and women.

http://www.torontocas.ca/sites/torontocas/files/communicate_2010spring.pdf

http://www.oacas.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/1011annualreport.pdf

The cost of setting up an external enforcement mechanism is avoided. If the self-regulation can avoid reputational damage and related risks to all actors in the industry, this would be a powerful incentive for a pro-active self-regulation [without the necessity to assume it is to hide something].

Self-regulating attempts may well fail, due to the inherent conflict of interest in asking any organization to police itself.

If the public becomes aware of this failure, an external, independent organization is often given the duty of policing them, sometimes with highly punitive measures taken against the organization.

The results can be disastrous, such as a child welfare society with no external, independent oversight, which may commit human rights violations against the public. Not all government funded private businesses will voluntarily meet best practice standards, leaving some or most families exposed.

Governments may prefer to allow an industry to regulate itself but maintain a watching brief over the effectiveness of self-regulation and be willing to introduce external regulation if necessary. For example, in the UK, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee in 2015 investigated the role of large accountancy firms in relation to tax avoidance and argued that "Government needs to take a more active role in regulating the tax industry, as it evidently cannot be trusted to regulate itself".

About The Author

Advocates for family preservation against unwarranted intervention by government funded non profit agencies and is a growing union for families and other advocates speaking out against the children's aid society's... More