1994 Board policies were first in Ontario
TORONTO, Oct. 16, 2014 /CNW/ - Board members past and present, community advocates, service providers, equal rights legal champions, resource parents, staff and alumni will be celebrating and reflecting on two historic policies passed by the Board of Directors of the Children's Aid Society two decades ago.
In February 1994 the CAS of Toronto Board of Directors initiated the brave step of being the first CAS in the province to pass a policy that permitted same sex couples the opportunity to become foster parents. Four months later the Board adopted the position that same sex couples should have the right to be considered to adopt without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, even though the law at the time limited joint applications for adoption to spouses - defined as a man and a woman.
"What is commonplace now was highly contentious at the time and underscored this agency's place as a leader", said David Rivard, Chief Executive Officer, Children's Aid Society of Toronto.
CAS of Toronto Board Chair Anthony Fralick commented, "The courage and leadership of the 1994 Board has to be applauded. Their commitment to inclusivity, and to ensuring that children be placed in safe and loving homes put them at the forefront of the dramatic social change towards equality that the LGBTQ community has seen over the past 20 years".
Foster parent Stephen Tran said "These policies and the advocacy that accompanied them helped open the door to a new and enlightened way of thinking in child welfare. My partner and I would never have had the opportunity to provide a permanent loving home to children if the Toronto CAS did not take such a bold position at the time".
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, sent her greetings to the gathering saying, "This special evening marks two decades since the Children's Aid Society of Toronto took the progressive and historic policy that permitted same-sex couples the rights of adoption and fostering. The inclusive policy has played an integral part in establishing a climate of compassion and equality in Ontario".
Since 1998 the Children's Aid Society of Toronto has placed 152 children for adoption in the homes of same sex couples. Currently there are six same sex families providing foster care for the Society.
The Children's Aid Society of Toronto works with children and their families when children have been or are at risk of being emotionally, physically, or sexually abused or neglected. CAS Toronto is one of 46 children's aid societies in Ontario, and is the largest Board governed child welfare agency in North America. There are approximately 750 staff, 600 volunteers and over 250 foster families at the Society. In 2013-14, we worked with more than 11,200 families and almost 24,000 children.
SOURCE: Children's Aid Society of Toronto
For further information: Rob Thompson, Director, Communications, Children's Aid Society of Toronto, 416-924-4640, ext. 1-2086