Children's Aid Societies funding formula needs fixing

CAS Toronto supports a review of provincial allocations

TORONTO, Oct. 14 /CNW/ - Protecting the well being of Ontario's most vulnerable children is becoming increasingly more challenging, as the funding shortfall that has already affected 49 of the province's 51 children's aid societies deepens.

The provincial government has stated that there will not be any additional funds made available to Children's Aid Societies (CASs) this year, and that all agencies will have to operate within their existing allocations. Some CASs in Ontario are facing a serious financial crisis and their ability to deliver protection services and care for children may end in November. Other agencies will likely be in a similar position in January 2010.

"Over the past two years, the CAS of Toronto has diligently worked to increase our overall effectiveness, improve our community representation on the Board of Directors and ensure our financial sustainability. Our budget shortfall for 2009/10 will be less than 1 per cent, "said David Rivard, Chief Executive Officer of the Children's Aid Society of Toronto." However, many agencies across the province have not been as fortunate, creating a 'have and have-not' situation within the field of child welfare. This ultimately leaves many children, families and communities at risk, and this is simply unacceptable," Rivard added.

Ontario's child welfare organizations are the only agencies that have a statutory responsibility to protect children from abuse and neglect, and unlike other sectors, cannot reduce or stop service, turn children away or maintain waiting lists for protection services when funding is insufficient. Agencies must fulfill their statutory obligation and respond when a child or family is in need. The reality of child welfare is that needs of a community change and can be unpredictable, impacting if and what type of service a child might require from a CAS.

"We support a review of the current funding formula that improves not only CAS Toronto's ability, but the ability of every children's aid society in the province, to protect and prevent children from abuse and neglect in a sustainable way, " said Janet Morrison, Chair of the Children's Aid Society of Toronto Board of Directors. "We look forward to working with the government to identify and implement solutions", Morrison added.

In addition to investigation of abuse and protection of children, the functions of a children's aid society include, providing guidance, counseling and other services to families for protecting children or for the prevention of circumstances requiring the protection of children. Services provided help keep families together.

The Children's Aid Society of Toronto is one of the largest child welfare organizations in North America. It is an incorporated not-for-profit agency governed by a volunteer board of directors and funded by the Province of Ontario. Last year CAS of Toronto served more than 25,000 children and over 11,000 families across the City of Toronto.

SOURCE Children's Aid Society of Toronto

For further information: For further information: Rob Thompson, Director, Communications, Children's Aid Society of Toronto, (416) 924-4646 ext. 2086, rthompson@torontocas.ca

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Children's Aid Society of Toronto

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