Katelynn Sampson was a beautiful little girl whose life ended tragically early. She died on August 3, 2008, at the age of seven years old at the hands of her caregivers, who had been granted custody of her under the Children’s Law Reform Act (CLRA), on the consent of her mother. Both of Katelynn’s caregivers had a history with child welfare services, and Katelynn came into contact with Children’s Aid on several occasions. The entire child welfare sector was devastated by Katelynn’s experience and has been working since then to address the factors that contributed to her death, and remains committed to learning from the tragedy.
The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) and Children’s Aid Societies welcome the release today of the jury’s findings from the inquest into the death of Katelynn Sampson. “We are grateful to the jury for the tremendous effort and care they have put into reviewing all the factors that led to Katelynn Sampson’s tragic death,” says Mary Ballantyne, CEO of OACAS. “We will honour Katelynn by reviewing the recommendations carefully. We are deeply committed to improving our practices so that we can better protect Ontario’s children.”
Since Katelynn’s death in 2008 the child welfare sector has made several changes to the way child protection is practiced. Protocols are also now in effect that govern the transfer of records from one CAS to another. Katelynn’s death has also influenced changes to the new Child Protection Standards, which govern the work of child protection workers and will come into effect in June 2016. The CLRA has also been amended to require that Children’s Aid Society records are checked when non-parental custody applications take place.
OACAS and its members will be providing a more detailed response to the recommendations once they have had a chance to review them in greater depth.
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About the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies: OACAS is the trusted voice of child welfare in Ontario. Since 1912, OACAS has represented Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario and provided service in the areas of government relations, communications, information management, education and training to advocate for the protection and well‐being of children.