If you have concerns about a child call: 905.333.4441

Meet Graham

"You don’t see the thousands of kids they help"

“The only time we hear about children’s aid is when something bad happens, when something goes wrong. But it’s like an iceberg. You don’t see the thousands of kids they help. I can’t say enough about the children’s aid and Jennifer C. in particular.”

Graham is a father and grandfather. He has a daughter who left home at 15 and fell into an addict’s life: heroin, crack, and alcohol. In her early 30s she met a fellow, things got better for a while, and she had a child. But then she went back to drinking, and when her son was about three, he got out of the apartment building one day in his pyjamas and wandered across the street where neighbours saw him and called the police. The children’s aid got involved. That was his grandson’s first contact with CAS. More followed when his mother broke up with his father.

“My daughter moved around—she was always on the move because she couldn’t pay her rent,” said Graham. “There was a new boyfriend. The CAS received more complaints from neighbours. The CAS visited and warned her. One night the police came and there was violence. Everyone was arrested. Jennifer at the Halton CAS called me. My grandson was to be part of his school Christmas play that night. She asked me if I would take him, and I said I would. He was seven. And he did a great job in his play—he showed great fortitude!”

“I looked after him temporarily then, and when his mother got out of jail he was allowed to go back to her. The boyfriend had a record a mile long, so he wasn’t there. My own mother was dying, so I focused on her, but then everything erupted again so I went and got my grandson without the CAS. But there was more fighting with my daughter and this time CAS came with legal force. They had a temporary order to remove my grandson and give me custody. They were compassionate but strong.”

“I worked with the CAS provided others to help me. I’m 63 and my grandson was eight at the time. I was self-employed, recently divorced, my mother had just died and my grandson was emotionally damaged. He’d seen so much violence and he was very traumatized. And then my daughter went back to jail for drunk driving. So I took courses, went to the school, enlisted the help of teachers, the principal, the school board—everyone I could—to help my grandson. He wouldn’t speak, refused to do anything. He was in the office every day, fighting. I probably didn’t work for at least the first three or four months, but just focused on saving my grandson.”

“Then our worker asked if I would take my grandson permanently. This was after my daughter’s third jail sentence. Our worker’s support allowed me to protect my grandson. Then I could make decisions for him, like switching schools for a fresh start. I could enroll him in camp. I could let him find himself and keep him in positive activities. Now he’s ten. There are no office visits. The principal says ‘he’s normal.’ We go to the Y. He still spends some time with his mom, but he can tell when she’s using, and he’s angry with her. But now he can do something about it—he can call me and leave.”

“They saved his life. The children’s aid saved his life. But my grandson gets the real credit. He had to do the hard work.”