- You are here:
- Child Abuse Prevention Month – October 2016
Child Abuse Prevention Month – October 2016
Ontario’s Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign raises awareness about the importance of speaking up when you are concerned about the safety and well-being of children, youth and families in your community. The campaign targets professionals and those who work with children, the media and communities.
In 2016, the campaign will focus on:
- Community members, professionals and those who work with children/youth who can help keep children, youth and families safe by calling their local Children’s Aid Society. The call they make leads to an offer of help.
- Children’s Aid Societies work first and foremost to keep families together. Ontario’s leading academic study on child abuse and neglect shows that children remained at home in 97% of CAS investigations. (Source: Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect, 2013)
- Children’s Aid Societies are uniquely placed to help families where there are protection concerns by providing and connecting them to a wide range of services.
- Communities and schools across Ontario will Go Purple on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 to signal their commitment to child and youth safety in their community.
- Schools play an important role in keeping children and youth safe and in helping families that may need support to keep their children and youth safe.
Last year, over 165,000 Ontarians reached out to Children’s Aid with a child protection concern, with teachers and police making the most referrals. But the inquests into the tragic deaths of Jeffrey Baldwin and Katelynn Sampson revealed that there is still a lack of awareness among professionals and in the community about their “duty to report” safety concerns to Children’s Aid, as described by Section 72 of the Child and Family Services Act. The Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign addresses jury recommendations from both inquests for continued education about this legal and ethical obligation.
Leading child welfare researchers say there needs to be more education about what a referral to Children’s Aid means because many people feel guilty after they make that call. “There is a public misconception about what child welfare services do,” says Nico Trocmé, Director of the School of Social Work at McGill University. “People are concerned that Children’s Aid Societies are child snatchers. They do not realize connecting to Children’s Aid means getting access to a level of in-home, on-site services that no other social service will provide the way Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) do.”
In 2013, children remained with their families in 97% of CAS investigations, a statistic that comes as a surprise to many people. This focus on in-home, early intervention services is part of the transformation of the Ontario child welfare system that started a decade ago.
The approach is based on the recognition that early intervention can reduce the need for more intrusive services later and that children flourish in a caring family setting.
Early intervention services offered by Children’s Aid include counselling and parenting programs and substance abuse treatment. “I had my back up when I learned a teacher had called with some concerns,” says a mother of four children. “But I had no idea how much a CAS could help. I also had no idea how much I needed help.” The support this family received included frequent visits from a family service worker, anger management classes for the children’s father and summer camp opportunities.
Teachers, followed by police, make the highest number of referrals to Children’s Aid. Professionals as well as the public are required by law, as described in the Child and Family Services Act, to promptly report any suspicions.
“Ontario citizens have a duty to report suspected child abuse and neglect. It is important to raise awareness of this responsibility so we can keep our children safe,” says Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services.
How to Report Abuse
If you suspect a child or youth is being abused or neglected, it’s your legal duty to report the situation to a children’s aid society, even if you’ve already reported it on a previous occasion. For the child/youth’s sake, don’t delay; call the children’s aid society immediately. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In Halton, call us at 905.333.4441.
- Seven Facts You Should Know about Exposure to Domestic Violence
- Seven Facts You Should about Sexual Abuse
- Neglect is One of the Most Common Child Protection Concerns in Ontario
- Human Trafficking Represents a Growing Form of Child Abuse in Ontario