Statistics show that there were over 15,000 children in foster or group homes in 2014-2015 because of their involvement with the child protection system in Ontario. Reports also indicate that there may have been several thousand more investigations of possible child abuse. However, residents and child-centered organizations throughout Ontario are accusing the child protection system of failing too many and claiming reform needs to happen soon.
Claims of failure to conduct appropriate background checks before placing children in foster home and too-long investigations have plagued the child protection system, and an auditor’s report confirmed many of these allegations. The report found that more than 50 percent of the cases reviewed in the auditor’s report showed a failure to check the adults involved against the Ontario Child Abuse Register, which can result in disastrous consequences for the children.
The report also found that many child abuse investigations take longer than the maximum of one week to begin reviewing the case and can take months longer than the 30-day deadline to complete. Most investigations took around seven months to complete, but at least one investigation in the auditor’s report took more than two years to end. Other cases ended up having to be reopened later on, indicating a failure to investigate completely the first time.
If you or your children are involved in a child protection system investigation, it’s important to have legal counsel throughout the process. Talking with a lawyer as soon as possible can ensure you are fully aware of your rights and understand what to expect from the family courts and the caseworkers involved.
Source: Hamilton Spectator, “Liberals under pressure to fix Ontario’s child protection system,” Sandro Contenta and Jim Rankin, Dec. 03, 2015