Demonstrations planned to protest CAS crisis in northeast Ontario

KAPUSKASING, ON, April 7 /CNW/ - Demonstrations by Children's Aid Society workers are being organized this week and next across northeastern Ontario to protest the crisis in child protection services.

"We have reached the stage where we have no alternative but to take to the streets so that the public can learn directly from front-line workers how bad the situation has become for at-risk children and young people," said Barb Hutchings, president of Local 639 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) representing more than 80 CAS workers in Kapuskasing, Hearst, Cochrane, Smooth Rock Falls, Moonbeam, Timmins and Val Rita.

A $211,000 operating deficit at Familiaux Jeanne Sauvé Family Services in seven communities has resulted in job losses and the prospect of further staff cuts. The result in some cases could mean that reports of abuse are delayed and programs are being slashed, like the popular Camp Cadanac in Moonbeam which provides summer programs for more than 200 children and youth.

OPSEU is calling on Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten to restore funding to programs serving at-risk children.

"The children and youth our workers serve already come from disadvantaged situations," said Hutchings. "The funding crisis amounts to re-victimizing them once again."

Demonstrations are scheduled for the following communities:

    
        -  Wednesday April 7, 12 noon, Hearst, Familiaux Jeanne Sauvé Family
           Services office
        -  Thursday April 8, 12 noon, Cochrane, Post Office
        -  Thursday April 8, 4:30 p.m. Timmins, Familiaux Jeanne Sauvé Family
           Services office
        -  Thursday April 15, 4:30 p.m. Kapuskasing, Familiaux Jeanne Sauvé
           Family Services office
    

SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

For further information: For further information: Barb Hutchings, OPSEU Local 639, (705) 272-8186; Norm Pilon, OPSEU Staff Representative, (705) 561-3570


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