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TORONTO, Ont. – Child welfare workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employee (CUPE) will wear blue ribbons on National Child Day (November 20) as symbols of their commitment to improving child protection services in Ontario.
This year, the focus is on key jury recommendations from past coroners’ inquests into the deaths of children. CUPE members have warned that the government’s failure to implement these recommendations increases the likelihood of tragedies among at-risk children.
“Too often in the past, the recommendations that come out of coroners’ inquests are left on the shelf. On National Child Day, we want to highlight the ways that adopting these recommendations would benefit children and children’s welfare in Ontario,” said Aubrey Gonsalves, chair of CUPE’s Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) Workers’ Coordinating Committee.
Following the release of the jury recommendations earlier this year from the coroner’s inquest into the death of Jeffrey Baldwin, CUPE’s CAS (Children’s Aid Societies) workers resolved to direct their efforts toward ensuring the implementation of inquest juries’ recommendations that would improve child protection in Ontario and help to prevent future deaths of at-risk children.
They have endorsed specific recommendations that have emerged from the inquests into the deaths of Jeffrey Baldwin, Matthew David Reid and the family of Diane Anderson and have called on the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to address common areas of concern in each of these juries’ recommendations.
Common jury concerns included increased CAS funding to allow co-teaming for child-protection workers; a provincially-funded campaign to increase public awareness of child abuse; and additional funding for community agencies for mental health services. Jury recommendations have also called for the full implementation and funding of the Child Protection Information Network (CPIN), a system that would allow frontline workers across the province to share data on children in the care of CAS.
CUPE members also call for a comprehensive review of all inquest recommendations to allow them to provide greater safeguards for vulnerable children and youth in Ontario.
“If implemented, these recommendations would play a vital role in our ability to safeguard child welfare in Ontario,” said Gonsalves. “We are urging the government to take responsibility for the system changes that are needed to prevent future tragedies.”
For information, please contact:
Mary Unan, CUPE Communications: 905-739-3999 ext. 240 or 647-390-9839