OACAS Media Statement

This week there have been several reports in the media regarding statements made by a lawyer who formerly represented Kenora-Rainy River Districts Child and Family Services. The statements made in an affidavit suggested that a former youth-in-care should be considered “sexually mature” and not a child at the age of 14. These comments are abhorrent and in direct contradiction to both the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA), as well as the mandate, practice, and mission of every Children’s Aid Society in the province. The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) fully supports Kenora-Rainy River Districts Child and Family Services’ decision to terminate the lawyer’s services. The person at the centre of this case should never have been subjected to these comments, and we apologize that the lawyer’s comments worsened an already traumatic situation.

OACAS states categorically that its members fully endorse and operate under the intention of the CYFSA, which provides for protection services for all children and youth up to the age of 18. Ontario’s Children Aid Societies are fully committed to the protection of all children and youth in this province. We were disheartened by some of the comments made by Minister MacLeod yesterday that suggested Children’s Aid Societies may be turning a blind eye to children and youth in need of protection. Child welfare professionals work tirelessly every day to carry out their mandate of keeping children and youth safe. The child welfare sector is deeply committed to delivering excellent service and acting when any child is at risk.

Nicole Bonnie
Chief Executive Officer
Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies