On September 9 2010, a National Charitable Organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadian families, Invest in Kids, announced that it would be closing at the end of the month. The above link is to their facebook page, as their official website has been taken down. I had become familiar with Invest in Kids as a professional resource when I started at RRHC 4 years ago. I, and many other colleagues, referred to it often as a credible source of the latest information, studies and best practices when it comes to best serving children and families in a professional capacity.
Reason for Closure? Lack of necessary funding.
This came as a shock to its professional community as this was a huge, national, well respected organization, that had bee doing widely recognized work with and for Canadian families. This also came as a surprise to me personally, as they were in the midst of launching a new national website specifically for parents, not professionals, http://www.parents2parents.ca, a website they had asked me to contribute to as a parent blogger.
On October 7 2010 The Huron Perth Children's Aid Society publically announced that they were nearly bankrupt, and without additional funding would be ceasing all operations on Dec 15 2010. No other Children's Aid Society has ever threatened complete closure before. This came as a huge shock to the professional community as well. I am not going to go in to all the services Children's Aid Societies provide in their communities, but I will tell you the experience I have had with them.
I have made numerous calls to the intake department of CAS over the years, concerned about the well being of various children I have been in contact with, both personally and professionally. I made my first call when I was in highschool, from my guidance counsellor's office.
When in University, I volunteered at the Children's Aid Society of London and Middlesex and also worked within their Supervised Access Program. In the summer I worked as a Camp Counsellor at a sleepwaway camp in Dorchester for families served by, among other agencies, CAS.
I worked in all of the programs of Craigwood Youth Services, with teenagers serving dispositions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, many of whom were connected to Children's Aid Societies throughout Ontario.
I have worked as a Family Extention Worker in Foster Homes, Group Homes and specialized school classrooms in two different Boards of Education, with children and teens, all of whom were connected to CAS.
I have delivered Parent Education programming to families required by CAS to attend.
Through all of this, I have participated in Plan of Care Case Conferences with CAS Social Workers, conversed with them regularly over the phone, advocated to them on a child's behalf, and carried out plans they have put in place. I have sat in on court proceedings and my case notes have been used as evidence.
I have also twice been a character reference for a family going through the process of adoption with CAS.
Social Workers and all other staff employed by any CAS, do not have an easy job. I have never envied them or wanted to do what they do. Having seen first hand, over and over, the pressures and requirements connected to their job, I give them an enormous amount of credit.
This news about CAS also affects families in the midst of adoption proceedings. If CAS ceases operations in December, what happens to those families already partway through the process? What happens to children whose parents have chosen to put them of for adoption within their own county?
The reason Huron Perth CAS is threatening to close? Lack of Funding.
Invest in Kids, a national, well known, well respected charitable organization did in fact close on Sept 30, as they did not recieve any additional funding.
I do not believe our CAS will close, I fully expect the Government to come up with some sort of plan. But that they threatened to, due to lack of funding, is more than troubling.
Do you know how much money was spent by this country for the G8 and G20 summits?
For the Olympics?
How much money has been sent to Haiti?
Of course, of course, this is all necessary. But, I feel, very strongly, that we should be taking care of our own first. Children and families in our own country, our own province, our own town, on our same streets, are struggling. This is not news. But what is happening to their support services, the services they, and we, rely on to help children and families through hard times, help them stay safe, help them get back on their feet, and help them to be the best that they can be, that is news. Some families have never needed support services before and you would never know. But with more and more plant closures, lay offs and economic downturns, the numbers are growing. Everyday families are there, everywhere, needing help, support and protection.
With these 2 announced closures, jobs are lost, the latter job losses right within our community. Again. And right at Christmas time. What are the odds that some of those families, in this community, have already been affected by the closure of Volvo, or Sifto layoffs?
It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and there is a lot for me to be thankful for. I am thankful for my family, my health, and my job...which, sadly, is more than a lot of other people in this community can say right now.
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