The McGuinty government’s continued underfunding of Children’s Aid Societies (CASs) across the province is forcing front line staff to spend less time helping at risk children and families and more time filling out forms.
This week, staff at Durham Children’s Aid Society were informed 31 positions are being lost. The cuts mean virtually half of Durham CAS’ administrative staff will disappear.
“These cuts will have a huge impact on our ability to spend time with at risk children,” warns Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3223 president Gigi Goary representing Durham CAS front line and clerical workers.
“Ministry standards are very labour-intensive. We welcome accountability, but these cuts will mean protection workers will be spending more time meeting ministry needs than kids’ needs,” she added.
“When you lose clerical, it tips the balance. Workers with already overwhelming caseloads will be stretched beyond the hours in any one day and this will hurt children and their families,” said Goary.
“Family service caseloads have been skyrocketing in Durham Region and will probably continue to do so until the Region’s economy begins to recover from the recession. High unemployment and other economic difficulties have put increased pressure on families. This is a time when service should be bolstered, not cut,” Goary added.
As of February 2010, the estimated funding shortfall for CAS agencies across the province is approximately $32.5 million. The response of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) to many CAS employer requests to review their inadequate funding was the January announcement of some ‘mitigation funding.’ This funding did not address the growing crisis in the child protection sector. Service and supports for at risk children and youth are being cut.
“With these cuts at Durham CAS, some of Ontario’s most vulnerable children are being hurt by this provincial government’s chronic underfunding,” said CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn.
“The solution is for Premier McGuinty’s government to provide stable, adequate long-term base funding for these programs, not short-term, ‘band-aid’ mitigation measures,” Hahn added.
For more information, please contact:
Gigi Goary CUPE Local 3223 President 905-718-1553
Kevin Wilson CUPE Communications 416-821-6641