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TORONTO — Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) from the child welfare sector are among the parties granted the opportunity to participate at a coroner’s inquest in Toronto touching the death of five year old Jeffrey Baldwin. Jeffrey died on November 30, 2002 while in the custody of his maternal grandparents.

The inquest, which began today, Monday, September 9, 2013, comes after a decade of significant changes to child protection legislation and government policy intended to better protect at-risk children. The circumstances surrounding Jeffrey’s death, as well as the changes that have been made in the years since will be examined at the inquest. Ultimately, it is hoped that the inquest jury hearing evidence may make recommendations aimed at preventing the death of a child in similar circumstances.

In February 2013, Dr. Peter Clark, the presiding coroner, granted CUPE 2190 the local union that represents 315 child welfare staff at the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CCAST) standing at the Jeffrey Baldwin inquest. Child protection workers, delivering child welfare services, are uniquely positioned to offer insight about how the system can be improved to ensure greater safety for children.

CUPE welcomes the opportunity to participate in this important process aimed at ensuring that the lessons from Jeffrey’s death are learned, and that no other child suffers a similar tragedy.

In Ontario, CUPE represents nearly 4,000 child welfare staff and is a key stakeholder in the child protection sector. Child welfare workers have a deep commitment to improving the safety of children. They are committed to acting progressively and proactively to ensure future tragedies can be avoided.

Please direct media inquiries throughout the inquest to:

Sarah Declerck
CUPE Coordinator, Social Services                    

Stella Yeadon                     
CUPE Communications