TORONTO – This week’s announcement by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services that $26.9 million has been found to keep Children’s Aid Society operations afloat is a short-term fix that fails to meet the long-term needs of the province’s most vulnerable young people.
“While we are satisfied that this infusion of last-minute cash will prevent further lay-offs in some CAS offices, it does nothing to bring back staff that have been previously laid off and it does little to address the critical need for a sustainable funding model,” said OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
“The child welfare system is chronically broke and we see no evidence that a solution is being put into place that will prevent this annual crisis in under-funding. As usual, the biggest victims of this mismanagement are the children and families who rely on core services of the CASs.”
Until this week’s announcement, the York Region CAS faced the prospect of laying-off its entire staff in March. The funding announcement will not allow the agency to re-hire 18 staff previously laid off, nor does it cover $2.2 million in remaining debt.
Thomas warned the crisis in CAS funding threatens service to more than 27,000 children and 42,000 families. He reminded Minister Laurel Broten that the CAS is a provincially-mandated service which means the provincial government is required by law to protect the well-being of children, investigate allegations of abuse and to provide care, guidance, prevention and adoption services.