Saturday, October 22, 2016

they're just Indians after all-----------“Can Premier (Kathleen) Wynne please explain why she is allowing children to be placed in homes when the abuse register hasn’t been checked?” asked New Democrat MPP and children’s services critic Monique Taylor. “How is it possible that we aren’t learning from mistakes after children in care die?” she added in a statement. Children and Youth Services Minister Tracy MacCharles told the CBC her office has ordered societies to check the child abuse register, describing failure to do so as “unacceptable.”--

and when you arrive here
do as I do
and keep going
for the way is difficult
but must be traversed
with relentless will
and determination


and when you arrive here
take care of the children first
then devote yourself to those who
are next in line
this is to say
there are different forms of success

and when you arrive here
decide which form of success is yours
will  you choose the epaulettes of the uniform
of the profession you choose?
will you choose the minor life in the family?
or can you somehow do both well   and be the route for others?


and when you arrive here
upon choosing the form of the success
think calmly about the way to the goal you have set
without fuss  or any sort of wavering   move forwards
in the path you have decided upon   ignore everybody
and change the world   for it is possible for ordinary citizens to do this work


and when you arrive here
look upon all you encounter as fallible and deeply human
but while consideration is given   do not stop the work
we are not sheep after all  and our families are not donkeys either
we are human beings and need to be thought of as the elite are
we are working for our families    and we will keep on doing this


and when you arrive here
understand that the surface is shiny
but below the metallic exterior everything is fragile
eruptions happen   and the ground gives way
all the information vanishes   and somehow there are political and 
bureaucratic expediency decisions that are made   this is the government way

and when you arrive here
read the auditor general reports to discover
nothing changes all over Canada  for the people are in disarray
no one considers the children in the system
they're just Indians after all
and who cares about them? I guess only their families


http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/756938/richard-cardinal-fatality-inquiry-report-1984.pdf


The movie on this child is here:
https://www.nfb.ca/film/richard_cardinal/

Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child


Nothing appears to have changed since the time of Richard Cardinal.

Thirty years later, little done to address suicide rate among aboriginal teens in care

DARCY HENTON, CALGARY HERALD  01.08.2014
Métis youth Richard Stanley Cardinal killed himself in 1984. The 17-year-old, who had been placed in 28 different homes during his 14 years in the child welfare system, hanged himself from a cross bar he had nailed between two trees near his last foster home in Sangudo, northwest of Edmonton.
Métis youth Richard Stanley Cardinal killed himself in 1984. The 17-year-old, who had been placed in 28 different homes during his 14 years in the child welfare system, hanged himself from a cross bar he had nailed between two trees near his last foster home in Sangudo, northwest of Edmonton.SUPPLIED / EDMONTON JOURNAL
Métis youth Richard Stanley Cardinal killed himself in 1984. The 17-year-old, who had been placed in 28 different homes during his 14 years in the child welfare system, hanged himself from a cross bar he had nailed between two trees near his last foster home in Sangudo, northwest of Edmonton.
Métis youth Richard Stanley Cardinal killed himself in 1984. The 17-year-old, who had been placed in 28 different homes during his 14 years in the child welfare system, hanged himself from a cross bar he had nailed between two trees near his last foster home in Sangudo, northwest of Edmonton.STAFF
Veteran filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, pictured here in 2002, did a documentary about the suicide of Alberta Métis youth Richard Stanley Cardinal, who hanged himself in 1984.
Veteran filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, pictured here in 2002, did a documentary about the suicide of Alberta Métis youth Richard Stanley Cardinal, who hanged himself in 1984.FRANK GUNN / THE CANADIAN PRESS

RELATED

Nearly 30 years after a fatality inquiry into a high-profile suicide generated sweeping recommendations to prevent similar deaths, aboriginal teens in care in Alberta continue to kill themselves, fatality inquiry judges continue to repeat the same recommendations and the government hasn’t developed a plan to deal with the issue.
According to internal government records obtained by the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald, 14 teens in government care committed suicide between 1999 and 2013. Of those, 10 were aboriginal and two were Métis.
“It’s sad to say we’re still at the same place in terms of the amount of suicides that are happening among our people,” said filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, who made a National Film Board documentary about the tragic life of Métis youth Richard Stanley Cardinal, who killed himself in 1984.
The 17-year-old, who had been placed in 28 different homes during his 14 years in the child welfare system, hanged himself from a cross bar he had nailed between two trees near his last foster home in Sangudo, northwest of Edmonton. The documentary, Cry from the Diary of a Métis Child, lamented that he “never got what he needed most — to go home.”
At the time, the fatality inquiry report into Cardinal’s death noted that the only way to try to reduce the high suicide rate among aboriginal people was “to take a very broad approach to the problem.”
The report contained 22 wide-ranging recommendations addressing the courts, the provincial government, schools, hospitals, aboriginal organizations and even the media. It called for child care workers and foster parents to be better trained in aboriginal culture, suicide and depression, and for the government to establish mental health facilities for children. It also called for the recruitment of more aboriginal child welfare workers and foster parents.
Fatality inquiry reports and death reviews have been making variations of the same recommendations ever since. Many have repeatedly stressed the critical need for accessible, local in-patient mental health and addictions treatment facilities for teens and the need for communities and child protection workers to ensure aboriginal children retain strong ties to their culture.
But the recommendations, which are not binding on government and are not even tracked for implementation, have largely been ignored.
A confidential 2005 special study on suicides involving Alberta children in care, which was obtained by the Journal and the Herald, cited depression, mental health problems, prolonged grief, early childhood loss, violence and social isolation as contributing factors to the suicide rate.
It also pointed out that little had been done to address the issue.
“At this time, Children’s Services does not have any suicide prevention initiatives directed to the children and youth who are receiving intervention services,” the report noted, adding suicide was the second leading cause of injury death among First Nations people in Alberta.
Just this year, Alberta’s child and youth advocate’s investigation into the suicide of another Métis teenager produced a report called “Remembering Brian,” which reiterated some of the previous recommendations.
Among the suicide cases since 1999 was the death in a group home of a 17-year-old boy who made a suicide pact with his mother in 2000. He had repeatedly attempted to kill himself, and caseworkers had discussed the need to remove the closet bar in his room from which he eventually hanged himself. There was miscommunication, however, and the bar was left in place.
That same year, a 13-year-old Métis boy from northern Alberta hanged himself shortly after moving with his foster family to northern Ontario. Like Cardinal, he had been in and out of foster homes most of his life — 25 homes in 12 years.
Although he had attempted suicide previously, had spoken of suicide at least seven times and scored extremely high on a suicide probability test, he was placed with foster parents who hadn’t been trained in suicide prevention. A special case review following his death revealed that Ontario Children’s Aid Society workers were not advised of the possibility he could commit suicide. But there was no fatality inquiry for him and no newspaper headlines.
A 16-year-old aboriginal teen from northern Alberta hanged himself in the home of his aunt in Regina. He had been moved 30 times during his short life. There was no special case review of his death and no recommendations made to prevent similar deaths.
In addition to the 12 documented suicides, there have also been two cases in which suicidal aboriginal teens died — one by running into traffic and the other by overdosing on drugs — but the cause of death was listed as accidental or undetermined.
A 17-year-old boy who jumped from a child protection worker’s vehicle, stripped off his clothes and ran into oncoming highway traffic in 2005 had numerous mental health issues and behavioural problems. His death was linked to an organic brain disorder resulting from his mother being “high on solvents throughout the pregnancy.”
The fatality inquiry judge called for child protection workers to be trained in suicide prevention, urged the ministry to “expand and improve” mental health services and drug treatment, and advised the ministry to establish a task force to study the issue of how to treat youth who refuse treatment.
Other cases also have connections to mental health and addictions problems. An acutely psychotic 17-year-old boy was crushed by a train after going missing from Alberta Hospital in 2006 and a 15-year-old boy hanged himself at a northern Alberta healing centre last year.
-
Del Graff, Alberta’s child and youth advocate, said the only way to change the pattern of teen suicides is for the government to have a plan — “a plan that is in partnership with aboriginal stakeholders and a plan that is committed to by everyone.”
“Otherwise, significant movement just doesn’t seem to happen,” he said.
Graff conceded one of the stumbling blocks thus far has been the complexity of the issue.
Human Services Minister Dave Hancock said the province has been active in efforts to reduce aboriginal suicides and provide better access to mental health treatment, but acknowledges more can be done.
“In terms of access on a timely basis to the right kind of resources, we can do a lot better job and we are actively engaged in that work now,” he said.
Hancock also promised to begin tracking the implementation of fatality inquiry recommendations.
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The most comprehensive fatality inquiry report on aboriginal teen suicide prevention stemmed from a “suicide cluster” on Calgary’s Tsuu T’ina First Nation in which three teens — two of them siblings — killed themselves between 2004 and 2006.
In the 2007 report, the judge noted the suicide rate for aboriginals remains three to four times the rate for other Canadians.
The report stressed the need to teach youth about their culture and to train adults who work with teens to recognize those who are at risk for suicidal behaviour and get them help. It also called for crisis response measures in communities where multiple aboriginal suicides occur within a short period.
Tsuu T’ina wasn’t the only aboriginal community hit with multiple teen suicides in a short span.
Around the same time, a 15-year-old girl on the Siksika reserve, east of Calgary, hanged herself while on the phone talking to her boyfriend after he had ended their relationship. Her Jan. 2, 2006, death was part of another suicide cluster, and triggered the establishment of a mental health and addictions in-patient treatment centre on the reserve — the first of its kind in Alberta.
Also in southern Alberta, the Blood Tribe or Kainai First Nation works with troubled youth at a teen ranch where they teach academic subjects and life skills with an emphasis on healing through cultural teachings. They also operate a treatment centre.
Improving aboriginal teens’ connection to their culture does seem to help with suicide prevention.
The province’s 2005 suicide study noted that Canadian researchers reviewing teen suicides in British Columbia had identified six measures of maintaining cultural continuity and found communities in which all six measures were in place recorded no teen suicides, while communities where there were only a few or no measures in place recorded a suicide rate above the national average.
In 2004, Alberta launched the Aboriginal Youth and Communities Empowerment Strategy, in which the province provides grants to aboriginal communities to help them develop such youth programs as cultural camps, after-school activities and hockey leagues.
An evaluation six years ago provided feedback from youth, elders and community leaders that the program was inspiring hope, said Calgary medical officer of health Dr. Richard Musto, who is responsible for Alberta Health Services’ aboriginal suicide prevention efforts.
The program involves about 24 communities and four urban organizations, and has provided suicide prevention training to more than 650 people in aboriginal communities across Alberta, he said. However, he couldn’t say if the programs have reduced aboriginal youth suicides or suicide attempts.
For her part, Obomsawin remains hopeful the teen suicide trend can be reversed by aboriginal young people themselves adopting a new outlook on their place in society.
“I have talked to a lot of young people who have gone through hell and many of them have tried to kill themselves, but something is going on now that’s very, very encouraging,” the filmmaker said. “Young people themselves are realizing who they are. There is a very strong movement walking a different road now.”
dhenton@calgaryherald.com

http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/content/annualreports/arbyyear/ar2006.html

2006 Annual Report


Below you will find an online version of our Annual Report. You can browse through each section of the publication or quickly link to another Annual Report from the Index list.
For information on reports from earlier years, please contact us at (416) 327-2381.
You will need Adobe Reader to read PDF files. If you do not already have this software, click here to download.


Tabled in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on December 5, 2006.








Table of Contents
Background 5
Scope and Timing of Review 6
Overall Assessment 6
Part 1 — Follow-up of Child Welfare 
Services Program 7
Review Methodology 7
Detailed Observations 7
PROgRAM FunDing 7
Funding Framework 7
Effect of Revised Risk Assessment 9
Service-and-financial-data Review 10
Per Diems for Residential Care 10
Group Homes and Outside Paid Foster Care 10
Society-operated Foster Care 11
Quarterly Reporting 12
Annual Program Expenditure Reconciliation 12
Oversight OF Services 13
Risk Assessment 13
Children’s File Reviews 13
Crown Wards 13
Non-Crown Wards 14
Licensing of Children’s Residences 15
Reporting of Serious Occurrences 16
Complaints 17




Tabled in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on December 2, 2015.


CMAS – Childminding Monitoring Advisory & Support Page 1/4 
17 Fairmeadow Avenue, Suite 211 Toronto, Ontario M2P 1W6 
Phone 416-395-5027 Fax 416-395-5190 info@cmascanada.ca www.cmascanada.ca 
Project Funded by Citizenship & Immigration Canada 2008-01 
BACKGROUND CHECKS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW 
This document outlines what you need to know about background checks – police records 
checks, child abuse registry checks, and reference checks. 
A background check policy is part of your commitment to providing a safe environment for 
children. Acting on that policy is part of fulfilling the duty of care – your legal obligation to care 
for and protect the children in the childminding program. 
You must thoroughly check references for all staff and for volunteers who will come into contact 
with the children. 
National LINC Childminding Requirements specify that you must develop written policies and 
procedures for carrying out background checks on all current and prospective staff and 
volunteers and that these background checks must include, but are not limited to, 
1. A police records check, 
2. A child abuse registry check – where available – and 
3. Reference checks. 
Police Records Checks 
WHAT IS A POLICE RECORDS CHECK? 
A police records check reveals whether the applicant has a conviction for a criminal offence. 
Depending on the police force, this check is also known as a Clearance Letter or a Certificate of 
Conduct. 
WHY DO CHILDMINDERS AND VOLUNTEERS NEED A POLICE RECORDS 
CHECK? 
A police records check is part of gathering information about an applicant’s suitability as a 
childminder or as a volunteer. 
WHAT DOES A POLICE RECORDS CHECK DO FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION? 
Requiring a police records check is part of the duty of care. Before hiring an applicant with a 
conviction, or accepting a volunteer with a conviction, first exercise due diligence: think carefully 
about whether the conviction indicates that the person could be a risk to children. 
  
CMAS – Childminding Monitoring Advisory & Support Page 2/4 
17 Fairmeadow Avenue, Suite 211 Toronto, Ontario M2P 1W6 
Phone 416-395-5027 Fax 416-395-5190 info@cmascanada.ca www.cmascanada.ca 
Project Funded by Citizenship & Immigration Canada 2008-01 
WHAT KIND OF POLICE RECORDS CHECKS IS NEEDED? 
There are two kinds of police records checks – checks for those working with the non-vulnerable 
population and checks for those working with the vulnerable population: 
1. The non-vulnerable population includes people who are least likely to be at risk for 
serious physical or emotional harm – that is, adults. 
2. The vulnerable population includes people who are most likely to be at risk for serious 
physical or emotional harm – that is, children, senior citizens, and people with 
disabilities. 
Your background check policy should specify that the police records check be for the 
vulnerable population. 
WHAT IS THE COST OF A POLICE RECORDS CHECK? 
The costs vary from city to city and are decided by the local police service. 
HOW OFTEN IS A POLICE RECORDS CHECK REQUIRED? 
A police records check is required once an applicant is offered paid work or a volunteer position. 
You can, however, set a policy that also requires police records checks at specific intervals. 
HOW DOES THE APPLICANT APPLY FOR A POLICE RECORDS CHECK? 
The applicant applies personally or through the Service Providing Organization. 
If the applicant is applying personally, he or she must go directly to the local police service and 
must request a police records check for the vulnerable population. 
If the applicant is applying through your organization, you must first have a Memorandum of 
Understanding (MOU) with the local police service. The MOU is a written agreement between 
the organization and the local police service. To arrange for an MOU, contact the local police 
service. The MOU should specify that the check be for the vulnerable population. 
HOW DO WE GET THE RESULTS OF A POLICE RECORDS CHECK? 
The police service issues a letter to the applicant and to the Service Providing Organization. 
The letter to the organization states either “no convictions” or “convictions.” If the applicant has 
a conviction, the letter to the organization states only that there is a conviction. The details of 
the conviction appear only in the applicant’s letter. The applicant is responsible for disclosing 
what the conviction was for. You then use that information as part of deciding whether the 
applicant is suitable.  
CMAS – Childminding Monitoring Advisory & Support Page 3/4 
17 Fairmeadow Avenue, Suite 211 Toronto, Ontario M2P 1W6 
Phone 416-395-5027 Fax 416-395-5190 info@cmascanada.ca www.cmascanada.ca 
Project Funded by Citizenship & Immigration Canada 2008-01 
Child Abuse Registry Checks 
WHAT IS A CHILD ABUSE REGISTRY? 
A child abuse registry includes the names of persons found to have abused a child. 
HOW DO WE CHECK THE CHILD ABUSE REGISTRY? 
The Acts noted below govern child protection in the provinces that offer LINC programs. Not 
every province has a child abuse registry. Where there is a registry, the conditions for access 
depend on the province. 
Alberta – Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act 
Where the position involves working directly with children, prospective employees and 
volunteers can be required to provide a Child Intervention Record Check, also known as a Child 
Welfare Information System check, or a Child Welfare Check. The check states whether the 
person has been “involved in a Child Intervention investigation” or has “placed a child under the 
protection of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act.” The results of the check go 
directly to the person undergoing the check. Forms are available at any Child and Family 
Services Authority office. 
New Brunswick – Family Services Act 
New Brunswick requires a Family and Community Services Record Check for programs and 
services that are “part of the legislation, within the scope of the policy or have a contractual 
agreement” with the Ministry of Family and Community Services. To find out if your childminding 
program falls within the scope of the policy, contact the Ministry of Family and Community 
Services. 
Newfoundland & Labrador – Child, Youth and Family Services Act 
No child abuse registry. 
Nova Scotia – Children and Family Services Act 
Nova Scotia provides for the screening of “prospective employees or volunteers who are or 
would be working with children.” To find out how to make arrangements, contact the nearest 
District Office of the Department of Community Services. 
Ontario – Child and Family Services Act 
Only police and child protection agencies have access to the child abuse registry.  
CMAS – Childminding Monitoring Advisory & Support Page 4/4 
17 Fairmeadow Avenue, Suite 211 Toronto, Ontario M2P 1W6 
Phone 416-395-5027 Fax 416-395-5190 info@cmascanada.ca www.cmascanada.ca 
Project Funded by Citizenship & Immigration Canada 2008-01 
Prince Edward Island – Child Protection Act 
PEI has been revising its child protection legislation over the past few years and those revisions 
may not be complete. The regulations for the Act provide that the Minister may create a child 
abuse registry. For more information, contact Child and Family Services. 
Saskatchewan – Child and Family Services Act 
The prospective employee or volunteer fills out a request for a Child Abuse Record Check, 
available at Community Resources offices. It is up to the prospective employee or volunteer to 
give the results to the organization requesting the check. 
Reference Checks 
WHAT IS A REFERENCE? 
An applicant for paid work or for a volunteer position provides the names of people who can 
give information about the applicant’s ability and character. The information given is known as a 
reference. 
WHAT IS A REFERENCE CHECK? 
Reference checks help you assess the applicant. When checking a reference, be sure to 
describe the position clearly and to ask specifically about the applicant’s suitability and skill. 
Please note … 
CMAS strongly recommends that Service Providing Organizations review their background 
check policies. All childminders and volunteers must undergo police records checks for the 
vulnerable population. 
Disclaimer 
Please review our disclaimer before using any information in this document: 
http://www.cmascanada.ca/servicesresources/cmasresources/. 



Liberals under pressure to fix Ontario’s child protection system

In more than half of child abuse investigations reviewed by auditor general Bonnie Lysyk’s office, the children’s aid societies failed to make mandatory checks of the Ontario Child Abuse Register.

Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk’s report describes a ministry ignorant about the quality of care provided for the $1.47 billion it gave to children’s aid societies in Ontario last year, and uninformed about how children in care are doing.
Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk’s report describes a ministry ignorant about the quality of care provided for the $1.47 billion it gave to children’s aid societies in Ontario last year, and uninformed about how children in care are doing.  (ISTOCK)  
The Ontario government is under pressure to fix a child protection system criticized by the auditor general for putting some children in “serious risk.”
In her report, Bonnie Lysyk describes a child protection system riddled with problems, from badly conducted abuse investigations to a floundering Ministry of Children and Youth Services that fails to oversee Ontario’s privately run children’s aid societies.
At stake are the lives of 15,625 children who, on average, were in foster or group-home care in 2014-15, and the well-being of thousands more investigated for possible abuse.
In more than half of child abuse investigations reviewed by Lysyk’s office, the children’s aid societies failed to make mandatory checks of the Ontario Child Abuse Register. The register would note if caregivers had a history of abuse.
“Failure to conduct these crucial history checks puts children in serious risk of being placed or left in the care of individuals with a history of abusing children,” Lysyk’s report states.
This unacceptable practice continues, Lysyk’s report notes, despite lessons that should have been learned at least 13 years ago. It recalls the tragic case of five-year-old Jeffrey Baldwin, who died in 2002 after years of mistreatment at the hands of his maternal grandparents. The Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto failed to check its own internal records, which would have flagged the grandparents’ previous convictions for child abuse.
“Can Premier (Kathleen) Wynne please explain why she is allowing children to be placed in homes when the abuse register hasn’t been checked?” asked New Democrat MPP and children’s services critic Monique Taylor.
“How is it possible that we aren’t learning from mistakes after children in care die?” she added in a statement.
Children and Youth Services Minister Tracy MacCharles told the CBC her office has ordered societies to check the child abuse register, describing failure to do so as “unacceptable.”
But societies are pushing back. Mary Ballantyne, head of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, says societies use a different database, called Fast Track, to check child abuse histories. She says societies want to discuss with MacCharles whether the added check of the Ontario registry should continue to be mandatory.
Much of the auditor’s findings confirm the results of an ongoing Star investigation, including a patchwork of practices and child protection services across Ontario.
Lysyk’s report describes a ministry ignorant about the quality of care provided for the $1.47 billion it gave to children’s aid societies last year, and uninformed about how children in care are doing.
The ministry often failed to enforce compliance with regulations when its inspectors identified problems in group or foster homes. In some cases, it didn’t even inform caregivers of the problems inspectors found, the report adds.
Lysyk’s office audited cases investigated by seven children’s aid societies in Toronto, Durham, Kingston, Sudbury, Muskoka, Hamilton and Waterloo. A total of about 70 cases were audited, a sample so small that some societies question the reliability of the results, says Ballantyne.
“We are constantly trying to improve the system,” Ballantyne adds, citing internal initiatives examining practices that have come under scrutiny.
Lengthy investigations are also putting children at risk, the report adds. Societies often failed to start investigating abuse allegations within the required time — no more than seven days. And, on average, investigations took more than seven months to complete — far more than the 30-day deadline imposed by government standards. One investigation took more than two years to complete.
Lysyk seemed especially concerned by the number of child protection cases investigated, closed and then reopened. In almost half of the reopened cases reviewed, factors that placed the children’s safety at risk were still present when the case was initially closed.
“We found that societies may be closing cases prematurely, risking the well-being of children,” the report says.
The report also criticizes societies for failing, in many cases, to draft or review plans of care, designed to address the health, education or behavioural needs of children placed in foster or group homes.
“When it comes to child protection standards, there is little to no practice by the child-welfare system in using them, other than for perhaps a nice thought,” said Irwin Elman, Ontario’s Advocate for Children and Youth.
“It feels like every week, there’s another story about the child-welfare system in crisis,” he added in a blog post Thursday.
The auditor also found that about half of children’s aid societies had their funding reduced in 2013-14, forcing some to cut frontline staffing and eliminate programs for children receiving protection.
Societies also had to use money from operating budgets to fully cover the cost of implementing The Child Protection Information System, a standardized province-wide database linking all societies. Its $150 million price tag is expected to balloon by another $50 million by the time it’s fully in place in 2019-20.
Delays and cost overruns were due, in part, to “poor project planning and management” by the ministry, the Auditor General found.

From children’s aid societies to long-term care, auditor finds Ontario leaves most vulnerable in the lurch

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk.
Frank Gunn / The Canadian PressOntario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk.
From cradle to grave, Ontario is failing to protect its most vulnerable, the auditor general finds in her annual report.
Peter Redman / National Post
Peter Redman / National PostQueen's Park, the seat of the Ontario legislature.
Bonnie Lysyk’s yearly audits tackle a broad range of government programs and assess how well they’re being delivered and their value for money. She finds massive gaps in the electricity system — from billions in consumer costs for green energy programs to blackouts caused by failures at Hydro One to maintain the transmission system — and rings alarm bells about Ontario’s net-debt-to-GDP ratio of 39.5 per cent, the second highest in the country behind Quebec. She also highlights that the government has double counted $1 billion in corporate welfare since 2004 by re-announcing the same money in different flashy press conferences under different program names.
But the hard numbers are easier to swallow than Lysyk’s findings that Ontario is failing some of the weakest in the province. Her audits into children’s aid societies, home and community care and long-term care facilities display disturbing trends. All three display a lack of proper reporting, insufficient oversight and unequal access to care depending on the region of the province.
Children’s aid societies not helping the helpless
Not only is the ministry failing to properly track and oversee its children’s aid societies, but those agencies might be leaving children in danger, closing cases too soon and starting investigations too late. The report notes that societies did not always run proper background checks on those who have contact with children who might be abused. Children with a previous history of abuse or adults connected to it are on the Ontario Child Abuse Register, and failing to check it means “children could be left in the care of people with a history of child abuse.”
The societies also routinely fail to meet their own internal timelines:
  • None of the investigations reviewed were completed within the required 30 days after a report or allegation of abuse was made.
  • In more than half the files reviewed, caseworkers were only able to conduct home visits once every three months instead of once a month.
  • A review of cases that were closed and reopened found that more than half of them indicated the same risks that led to the files later being reopened. On average, it took 68 days for the same problems to prompt a second look at the same case
Lysyk also notes that services vary greatly between the 47 children’s aid societies. In some agencies, caseworkers have eight files a month, in others, they have 32.
“This means that children in need of protection can receive different degrees of support depending on where they live,” Lysyk said in a press release.
A response from the children’s aid societies says it has a “number of initiatives underway” to address the challenges highlighted in the report, but it also stresses the “challenging funding environment for child protection.”
Minister of Children and Youth Services Tracy MacCharles said in statement it’s clear the government has more work to do and is currently working with children’s aid societies to improve protections for children in care.
The provincial advocate for children and youth Irwin Elman tweeted he will strive to have the report entered into evidence in the ineuqest into the death of Katelynn Sampson, who died in the care of a couple who were granted custody despite past domestic incidents in their home.
Health care not at the right time unless you’re in the right place
Earlier this year, Lysyk lambasted the Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) that deliver home care in Ontario. Health Minister Eric Hoskins has recently indicated he is considering folding them into existing structures, but the annual report notes even deeper problems with the province’s home care:
  • It can take up to a year in some areas just to get an initial assessment for home care and 65 per cent of initial assessments aren’t conducted in time
  • The law says patients are eligible for up to 90 hours of care a month but most CCACs only allow 60 hours max
  • The third-part contractors who provide home are inconsistently inspected
  • A lack of provincial standards means different levels of care are provided in different parts of the province.
  • The promised wage increase for personal support workers is not rolling out as intended and “better oversight and planning was needed”
Problems at the province’s Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) suggest that wait times in the province are only down if you live in the right place. Better care coordination and a move towards home care was supposed to reduce costs and provide “the right care, at the right time, in the right place” as former health minister Deb Matthews used to say. But across the province, the report shows health care “has either stayed relatively consistent or deteriorated”:
  • Patients who no longer needed acute hospital care, but still required home care or physiotherapy, stayed more extra days in hospital in 2015 than 2007
  • In 2012, patients in the worst-performing LHIN waited an average of 194 for semi-urgency cataract surgery, five times longer than in the best-performing region. “Three years later, this performance gap widened from five times longer to 31 times longer.”
  • None of the LHINs visited could verify whether third-party providers provided accurate performance information
Hoskins said in a statement the government is working on a framework to standardize access to care across the province and it remains committed to lowering waiting times for home care.
The long list of problems in long-term care
Long-term care in Ontario is beset by similar investigation delays and lack of oversight as children’s aid. The 630 homes in the province were all inspected early in the year, but Lysyk says, “much more need to be done to keep residents safe.” And in this health care sector, progress also appears to be marching backward:
  • Thirty per cent of long-term care homes still don’t have adequate sprinklers. Legislation passed to retrofit all homes (drafted in the wake of deadly fires) won’t require all facilities to have automatic sprinkler systems until 2025.
  • There is no province-wide standard for staffing rations. On average, homes provided 3.4 direct hours of care per resident per day.
  • The province funds just $7.87 per resident per day for food, which the Ontario Association of Non-profit Homes and Services for Seniors says is insufficient
  • The backlog of investigations into incidents where residents were put at risk or injured grew from 1,300 in December 2013 to 2,800 in March 2015.
  • High-risk complaints — over an incident where someone was actually hurt — are supposed to trigger immediate investigation, but the report finds they can take three days or more.
  • Orders to make changes after an incident are inconsistently applied and follow-up on by the ministry. In one 2014 incident involving a sexual assault, it took the ministry eight months to follow up, when it found the home was still not in compliance
  • Homes are inconsistently held to account for fixing issues identified in earlier reports. In one home, 40 per cent of compliance orders were not met, in another just 17 per cent.
  • In most cases the health ministry responses accept the auditor’s recommendations to address these issues and highlight ongoing work to review and renew policies across the health care sector.
Associated Minister of Health Dipika Damerla, who oversees long-term care, says part of the reason she was specifically given that portfolio was to improve the sector and the government is looking to strengthen enforcement in homes.

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