Measures intended to overhaul Children's Aid
Four months after the release of a scathing report on the Ontario Children's Aid Society, the organization is taking major steps towards addressing the concerns that were raised.
The report from Auditor General Jim McCarter last December slammed slow response times by social workers for at-risk kids and highlighted a litany of spending abuses, including all-inclusive trips to Caribbean resorts and questionable overtime.
In one of the more startling findings, one employee was paid $21,000 to catch up on paperwork.
A long list of measures released Wednesday by the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies -- the body that represents the 53 societies across Ontario -- is intended to ensure such abuses never happen again.
Key measures include the following:
- Implementing the Ontario Risk Assessment Model to track, ensure, and document proof that referrals of children potentially in need are properly addressed in a timely fashion.
- A new computer program that would rate a child's risk of abuse to help monitor the needed help and steps taken.
- The implementation of fair and competitive processes for the purchase and acquisition of goods and services, with regularly scheduled reviews.
New credit card and travel policies that require documentation attached to all invoices filed to the company.
A proposal that the Ontario government create an agency to monitor children living in group homes.
The report released last December made 20 recommendations based on the auditor general's review of four of the provinces Children's Aid Societies.
After the report came out, some of the Children's Aid Societies formed working groups to review the recommendations and find solutions.
"Ontario's Children's Aid Societies have acted in a responsible and accountable manner to address the Auditor's recommendations," Dennis Nolan, President of the OACAS said in a news release.
"Our member agencies are working hard to change their administration practices without compromising the quality of service offered to thousands of vulnerable families and children."
Most of the proposals are the result of pressure from the Ministry of Family and Children's Services, said minister Mary Anne Chambers.
The auditor general's report also stated that monitoring was extremely lax, and government should put strict controls on agencies to ensure children get the help they need.