'We have reached the stage where we have no alternative but to take to the streets.' Barb Hutchings.
Kapuskasing (9 April 2010) - Demonstrations by Children’s Aid Society (CAS) workers are being held this week and next week across northeastern Ontario to draw attention to the crisis in child protection services.
“We have reached the stage where we have no alternative but to take to the streets so that the public can learn directly from front-line workers how bad the situation has become for at-risk children and young people,” says Barb Hutchings, president of Local 639 of the Ontario Pubic Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).
The local represents more than 80 CAS workers in Kapuskasing, Hearst, Cochrane, Smooth Rock Falls, Moonbeam, Timmins and Val Rita.
A $211,000 operating deficit at Service Familiaux Jeanne Sauvé Family Services in seven communities has resulted in job losses and the prospect of further staff cuts. The result in some cases could mean that reports of abuse are delayed.
Programs like the popular Camp Cadanac in Moonbeam, which provides summer activities for more than 200 children and young people, are being slashed.
OPSEU is calling on Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten to restore funding to programs serving at-risk children.
“The children and youth our workers serve already come from disadvantaged situations,” says Hutchings. “The funding crisis amounts to re-victimizing them once again.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE
Photos: CAS demos sweep northeastern Ontario