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Toll Free: 866.607.KIDS (5437) Phone: 905.333.4441 Fax: 905.333.1844 TTY: 711 (TTY to Voice)
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Ontario strengthens legislation for child and youth services

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Comment Period Open: Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 – Phase 1 Proposed Regulatory Provisions

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services invites you to comment on the first phase of the proposed regulatory provisions and statements of policy to support the successful implementation of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017, which received Royal Assent on June 1, 2017. Comments are due no later than January 26, 2018.

CLICK here to learn more.

Executive Director of Halton Children’s Aid Society Announces Retirement

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

After 40 years of dedicated service in Child Welfare, Nancy MacGillivray has advised the Board of Directors that she will be retiring to pursue new adventures and spend more time with her family, especially her grandchildren.

Nancy will be retiring from the role of Executive Director, a post she has held with distinction for the past 12 of the 18 years she worked with the Halton Children’s Aid Society. Previously Nancy worked at the Hamilton-Wentworth CAS for 22 years.

During her tenure at the Halton Children’s Aid Society, the Society has celebrated many accomplishments including the full implementation of a community-based protection services model that supports early help and prevention programs for families in Halton. Under Nancy’s leadership, the Society took the lead role in being the first Ontario CAS to implement the province-wide Child Protection Information Network (CPIN). Nancy developed innovative approaches to support youth-in-care with the implementation of the Oakville Residence for youth transitioning to adulthood and supported service delivery methods that contributed to permanency within family-based settings. Nancy has been a strong proponent of leveraging data to inform sound decision making and implemented the Society’s first Balanced Scorecard and three subsequent Strategic Plans that were reflective of the voice of the internal and external stakeholders in the Halton community.

Nancy has been active in the provincial Child Welfare sector and supports thinking and working as a system while acting locally. She participated on the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) Outcomes and Accountability Committee, Executive Committee and Governance Committee of the OACAS Board of Directors. In Halton, Nancy was instrumental in developing and championing the Our Kids Network (OKN), which promotes healthy development, security and safety of all children, youth and families through collective action. She has supported OKN on various committees and currently is a member of the OKN’s Senior Executive Group, as well as the Co-Chair of the Halton Prevention and Intervention Committee.

Paul Bartu, Board Chair, notes, “On behalf of the Board of Directors and all Halton Children’s Aid Society employees, we would like to thank Nancy for her professionalism, dedication and unwavering commitment to the goals and objectives of the Halton Children’s Aid Society. We wish her the very best and will miss her.”

Over the coming weeks the Board of Directors will be developing a process for recruiting a new Executive Director for the Society and plans to have a new person in this leadership role in June 2018. The Board of Directors and Nancy are committed to making this transition as smooth as possible.

We will be planning an event to recognize Nancy’s contributions to the Halton community in June 2018 to wish Nancy and her family a wonderful retirement.

Class Action on Behalf of Crown Wards

Thursday, November 16th, 2017
  • Were you a Crown ward at any time from the period January 1, 1966 until March 30, 2017? If so, you may be a class member in the class action which has now been certified by the court.  The lawsuit seeks money (damages) and other benefits for class members.
  • Class Members are automatically included in the class action, unless they take steps to exclude themselves (opt out) by March 11, 2018.  If you want to stay in the class action, do not opt out.  
  • If you opt out, you will not be part of the lawsuit and you will not be able to share in any money or any other benefit obtained for the class if the lawsuit is successful. 
  • This lawsuit does not impact your ability to seek compensation now from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board or from any other person other than the Province of Ontario.

National Child Day is Monday, November 20, 2017

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Our Kids Network joins national campaign focused on a child’s right to be safe

Every year, the United Nations promotes children’s rights and welfare by recognizing Universal Children’s Day on November 20th. Here in Halton, Our Kids Network and its partners use the occasion to encourage everyone to think about and discuss children’s rights in our community and around the world.

In 1993, the Canadian government proclaimed November 20th as National Child Day to commemorate the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child in 1959, and the UN adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. It means that Canada is committed to ensuring young people are treated with respect, have a voice, are protected from harm, and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

The Educational Partnership Foundation (TEPF), based in Alberta and the organization behind the website nationalchildday.ca, identified “a child’s right to be safe” as the theme for 2017.

Elena DiBattista, director of Our Kids Network says everyone in the community has a role to play in protecting and nurturing “our kids.”

“Our Kids Network is based on the idea that no one person or organization can address all the needs of children and youth in the community. The same applies when we talk about children being safe, and feeling safe. Children are vulnerable and deserve everyone’s attention.”

DiBattista reminds us that safe environments, whether at home, at school, or in the neighbourhood, help children and youth develop self-confidence and strength.

“Children have the right to grow up free from violence and bullying,” she said. “They have the right to safe spaces, where they have positive relationships with people who respect and listen to them. This is how they build the assets they need to face whatever comes and develop to their full potential.”

One way Our Kids Network promotes safety for Halton’s young people is through iparent (haltoniparent.ca), an online, searchable database of local programs and resources, designed to make it easy for families to find information about topics that help them provide the best care possible. Searching “safety” in the program listings or information hub brings up pages of options – everything from CPR training, to a video showing proper car seat installation, to a web link about internet safety for kids.

“There are plenty of resources in Halton to help parents and caregivers.” DiBattista said. “Even if you’re not a parent, you can nurture and support the children in your life by being approachable, a good listener, and advocating for their safety and wellbeing. Let’s all learn about children’s rights and recognize this important day.” 

Here are some statistics on the safety of children in Halton.

  • 29% of 12-year-olds have been seriously injured in the past 12 months. (OKN Data Portal, Halton Youth Survey 2009-2012)
  • 7.8% of 5-year-olds have been seriously injured in the past 12 months. (OKN Data Portal, Kindergarten Parent Survey 2003-2015)
  • 9% of 12-year-olds have been involved in some type of criminal activity. (OKN Data Portal, Halton Youth Survey 2009-2012)
  • 3% of 12-year-olds reporting at least one episode of heavy drinking in 2012. Down from 10% in 2006. (OKN Data Portal, Halton Youth Survey 2006-2012)
  • 28% of 12-year-olds have been bullied in the past 12 months. (OKN Data Portal, Halton Youth Survey 2006-2012)
  • 91% of 12-year-olds feel safe at school, at home and in their neighbourhood. (OKN Data Portal, Halton Youth Survey 2009-2012)

November is Adoption Awareness Month

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

During November, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) and Children’s Aid Societies (CASs) across Ontario are promoting Adoption Awareness Month to raise awareness about the importance of life-long relationships for children and youth in care. Adoption is one of a range of permanency options CASs consider when making decisions about the best setting for a child or youth. Other permanency options include kinship service, kinship care, customary care, legal custody, and transition to adulthood.

Children’s Aid Societies are looking for families with the right fit to match the special needs of children available for adoption. This requires finding adoptive parents with the strengths and skills to deal with children who may have complex needs because of the experiences that brought them into care, behavioral issues, mental health, and medical issues. Prospective adoptive families are often surprised to find out that the average age of crown wards who have been in care for more than two years is over 14 years old, and that children often want to be adopted with their siblings.

Adoptive families also increasingly need to have the flexibility, commitment, and skills to facilitate ongoing contact with persons of significance from their child’s life prior to adoption. The Child and Family Services Act includes “Openness” provisions that lay out a process for setting up parameters for a child to have continuing contact with birth parents, birth siblings, other birth family members, or a significant person or community member in the child’s life. In 2016/17 there were a total of 767 adoptions completed through a CAS and over a third of these adoptions included “Openness” as part of the adoption arrangement.

“Openness now occurs in 99 per cent of adoptions in the private system” says Mary Polgar, senior policy analyst at OACAS. “Public adoptions are increasingly moving in this direction, though it is more complex. But child welfare recognizes that “Openness” helps children to stay in touch with their roots, makes them better able to acknowledge and resolve their loss, and helps them understand their story.”’

During Adoption Awareness Month OACAS will be sharing materials that increase understanding about how “openness” works in public adoption.

Bikes for Kids Program – PACEperformance

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

2017 marks the 13th year of the Bikes for Kids program by PACEperformance. Each year PACEperformance strives to give a local child, entrusted to the Halton Children’s Aid Society, a brand new bike for Christmas!

Our goal for 2017 is to provide 75 bikes and/or sports/activity equipment to the Halton Children’s Aid Society. The approximate cost per bike, helmet and lock is $195. Any and all contributions are appreciated. Help us make 75 children in our community over the moon happy this Christmas!

For more information or corporate support, contact Greg: greg@paceperformance.ca

 

 

Don’t neglect reporting cases of child neglect

Friday, October 27th, 2017

Published by the Milton Canadian Chamption

No one should hesitate to report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. That’s the all-important message the Children’s Aid Society of Halton is looking to drive home to residents this month. As October is Child Abuse Prevention Month, it’s an especially timely message that should go without saying.

But what constitutes neglect? A child who is neglected, according to the Children’s Aid Society of Halton, is one whose vital needs aren’t consistently met. That could mean poor nutrition, lack of attention, hygiene or unattended physical and medical needs. “From a child welfare perspective, neglect is a concern because it ultimately affects a child’s ability to thrive,” explained Mary Ballantyne, CEO of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS).

This year, the Halton-based society has teamed up with the OACAS and other agencies to highlight the devastating impact of neglect in the hopes of raising awareness of child neglect in our community — and beyond.

Child neglect can be difficult to assess, say experts, as harm caused by the absence of something is not always readily apparent.  A parent’s or caregiver’s inability to provide a child with his or her basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, education, supervision, medical care and safe surroundings, however, can have tremendous impact on the community’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens. While it is hard to fathom how anyone could neglect a child, some external factors are often at play.

Provincial research shows that approximately 90 per cent of those who receive protection from Children’s aid live in families that are struggling with chronic needs, including poverty, mental health and addiction. But those factors aren’t synonymous with abuse and neglect.  Far from it. “It is important to understand that although poverty can be a risk factor for both neglect and abuse, children and youth are also abused and neglected in families with higher socio-economic status,” says the local Children’s Aid Society.

Children’s Aid Societies and schools across the province DRESS PURPLE on October 24 to support Child Abuse Prevention Month

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

On Tuesday October 24th, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS), Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) and key partners will mark Child Abuse Prevention Month (CAPM) with a provincial DRESS PURPLE DAY to raise awareness about how it takes a community to prevent child abuse. The provincial hashtag for the campaign is #IBREAKthesilence.

This year, hundreds of schools across the province will be using specialized classroom resources developed by OACAS to support teachers to engage in conversations about safety and well-being with students from JK to Grade 5. The resources are also intended to support schools in their participation in DRESS PURPLE DAY.

“A teacher may be the only ‘helping’ adult that a child encounters on a daily basis,” Mary Ballantyne, CEO of the OACAS said. “This vital link between teachers and a child who may be abused or neglected means that they are one of our most important partners in keeping children safe.”

The OACAS classroom resources are built around the theme “It takes a village to keep kids safe.” OACAS worked with Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre and Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society to create the Dress Purple Classroom Resources, which have been developed to support key recommendations from the Inquests into the tragic deaths of Jeffrey Baldwin and Katelynn Sampson. Inquest recommendations included the need to develop age appropriate curriculum for students about child abuse and neglect, and to support collaborative projects between CASs and Boards of Education.

“Schools have a unique window into the lives of children and youth, and so play an important role in keeping children safe,” Mary Ballantyne, CEO of the OACAS, said.

Ontario’s 48 CASs are an essential part of the provincial safety net for children, but they rely heavily on professional and public referrals to do their work. Schools are one of the leading sources for child protection referrals made to CASs.

“Speaking up and sharing the message that child abuse and neglect can be prevented, and that help is available, is an important message for all of us to share – not just today, but every day,” Honourable Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism said. “We all have a duty and responsibility to our next generation, and ensuring they are supported to reach their best and full potential.”

We are also excited to have the CN Tower, a provincial landmark, light up in purple on the evening of October 23rd to usher in DRESS PURPLE DAY. The CN Tower will be lit in purple from sunset on the 23rd to sunrise the next day, in addition to the standard light show.

Foster Family Week – October 15-21, 2017

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

Foster Family Week highlights the critical role foster families play in the safety and well-being of children and youth.

When children and youth cannot remain at home due to safety concerns, the preferred option is to place them with their immediate or extended family, or a member of their community. If that is not possible, foster care may be the best alternative.

Foster parents work closely with us, opening both their hearts and homes to provide care for children and youth going through an immensely difficult time in their life and who often have complex needs. Foster families provide a nurturing and supportive home for children and youth in care for a few days, weeks, months or possibly years.

Many Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario, including the Halton CAS, are facing a foster parent crisis. In fact, the need for foster families to open their homes to teens, siblings and children or youth who may have special needs has never been greater.

CLICK here to learn more about fostering with the Halton Children’s Aid Society.

October is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

October is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Ontario and 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of this campaign.

This year, the Halton Children’s Aid Society is joining the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) and Children’s Aid Societies to raise awareness about the importance of calling Children’s Aid with concerns about the safety or well-being of a child or youth. This year’s campaign specifically highlights the devastating impact neglect—which is classified as a type of abuse—can have on a child or youth.

As part of this campaign, Dress Purple Day will take place October 24, 2017. To launch this provincial day of action, the CN Tower will be lit purple on October 23rd from sunset to sunrise. (A standard set light show will run for eight minutes at the top of every hour.)

We want to thank the City of Burlington, ON for proclaiming October as Child Abuse Prevention Month and October 24, 2017 as Dress Purple Day in the City of Burlington.