Children’s Aid Societies looking out for most vulnerable

The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies and its member agen­cies remind Ontarians to make the most vulnerable children and families a priority particu­larly this month.

Many children and youth are denied the basics of a safe home, adequate food and cloth­ing, necessary community sup­ports, and opportunities to de­velop.

– 40% of food bank clients in Ontario are children;

– one in six children in On­tario live in poverty;

 – over the past year, more than 77,000 allegations of abuse and neglect  were inves­ti­gated by Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies (CASs). More than 27,000 children were in CAS care;

 – almost 40% of women as­saulted by spouses said their children witnessed the vio­lence; in many cases the vio­lence was severe.

– one-third of children seek­ing mental health services in 2007 were still waiting at the end of the year.

"We recognize the rights of all children to be protected. Despite the current economic environment, we must remain committed to securing a pros­perous future for our children," said Jeanette Lewis, Executive Director of he society.

Children’s Aid Societies support families when parents cannot provide proper care, housing and nutrition for a child. CASs must respond when a downturn in the eco­nomy affects children and families. Job loss, family stress, poverty and depression are among the causes of child abuse and neglect. Community social service programs and ini­tiatives designed to support families coping with these stres­ses need to be sustained, especially during a slowing eco­nomy.

"When families face in­creasing hardships like un­employ­ment, extreme financial need, and housing crises, the programs and services they rely on must be available to support them," added Lewis. "As Cana­dians, we all promised to pro­tect children from harm and ensure their safety. It is time we kept our promise to our most vul­nerable citizens." For more information, visit