NDP’s Taylor: Ombudsman Should Oversee Children’s Aid Societies

June 12th, 2012

Queen’s Park – NDP Children and Youth Services Critic Monique Taylor MPP says the Ontario Ombudsman must have the power to investigate decisions made by children’s aid societies.

The Hamilton Mountain MPP will today introduce a private members’ bill that, if passed, would grant the Ombudsman, Andre Marin, the same oversight authority for children’s aid societies as he currently has for other government organizations.

“Children’s aid societies play a huge role in the welfare of Ontario’s children. They have a significant responsibility and immense powers to help them fulfil that responsibility” said Ms. Taylor. “As such, it is essential that the public trust and respect the work they do.”

“Part of building that trust and respect is to establish clear independent oversight and accountability,” Ms. Taylor continued.

Ontario’s 47 independent children’s aid societies receive about $1.5 billion in government funding each year but there is no independent oversight of the administrative decisions they make. Of all the provinces,Ontariois the only one that has no independent oversight of its child protection services.

“The decisions required of children’s aid societies can have, literally, a life-and-death impact on our most vulnerable children. At the very least, they can be life changing” said Ms. Taylor. “Families need an independent route they can take if they have a complaint and the public needs to know that an independent body can investigate when things go wrong”

Andre Marin,Ontario’s Ombudsman, has repeatedly supported the call to bring children’s aid societies under his watch. Outlining his case in his most recent annual report, released in June, 2011, Mr Morin was quoted as saying “I can’t think of any area more ripe for oversight than child welfare. Children die and no one takes responsibility, no one answers the important questions. It’s just so sad.”

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Media contact: Eddy Evans,Ontario’s New Democrats, 416-325-1702