Do good intentions trump the lives of children suffering in Ontario's child protection system?
William and Lila Young would have been considered pioneers of child welfare in Canada - until they couldn't hide the bodies anymore and they didn't have a PDRC to absolve them.
Don’t ‘blow up’ Ontario’s child welfare system.
BY SCARY MARY BALLANTYNE, CEO/OACAS. Fri., Jan. 1, 2016
Those who call for the overhaul of Ontario's children's aid societies fail to understand the many ways in which our system excels.
Let's compared the Coroner’s Death Investigations in Ontario to the children's aid society PDRC report.
But first: Is the PDRC really an independent committee when the CEO of OACAS holds a seat on it?
How did 92 children in care die between 2008/2012 according to the Ontario PDRC report? The PDRC say it's a complete mystery and no further investigation is required. Between 2008/2012 natural causes was listed as the least likely way for a child in care to die at 7% of the total deaths reviewed while "undetermined cause" was listed as the leading cause of death of children in Ontario's child protection system at only 43% of the total deaths reviewed.
Ontario Coroner's Report.
47,308 Total Investigations between 2012/14
28,103 Total Cases
3,875 Total Suicide Cases
13,407 Total Accident Cases
518 Total Homicide Cases
197 Total Human Remains Investigations
1,208 Total Undetermined Cases
The Ontario Coroner was unable to determine the cause of death only 2% of time out of total number of deaths in Ontario. See PDF below.
The death of a child is a tragic event and perhaps all the more so when it could have been prevented. Major causes of death in childhood and adolescence in Canada include sudden death in infancy, congenital and medical disorders, unintentional injuries, suicide, homicide, child maltreatment and other undetermined causes. 51
There are currently no national standards in Canada for child death investigations, data collection around the circumstances of a child’s death, or death review processes. Only a few provinces have formal child death review systems. Several other jurisdictions have a child death review committee, but these groups tend only to review cases of children in foster care or whose care is overseen by an appropriate government ministry. Such committees may not have proper or consistent data collection mechanisms. The lack of standardized data makes it difficult to implement effective prevention and intervention strategies, provincially or nationwide.
To ensure evidence-informed injury prevention programs and policies, the Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that a comprehensive, structured and effective child death review program be initiated for every region in Canada. Processes should include systematic reporting and analysis of all child and youth deaths and mechanisms for evaluating the impact of case-specific recommendations.52
The importance of having a child death review process – including data collection – is well established in many countries. Research shows that standardized approaches have significant positive outcomes, such as effective injury prevention campaigns and legislative changes that truly safeguard the lives of children and youth.53
As per the Joint Directive for the reporting and reviewing of all child deaths known to a children’s aid society within 12 months of the death.
THE PDRC PROCESS: "CAS INTERNAL DEATH REVIEW," REVIEWED?
The CAS that provided service to the family submits a serious occurrence report and within 14 days of the death submits a Child Fatality Case Summary Report to the PDRC. The Executive Committee of the PDRC screens these reports and, within 7 days, a decision is made whether the CAS will be required to complete an - Internal Review - for the purposes of a future PDRC review.
Should the children's aid society be entrusted to conduct any part of a child in care death investigation/review?
By the end of the reports and the PDRC process all relevant data about the deaths of children in care has been reduced to a pile of quantitative data and a bunch of pretty pie charts. Quantitative Data Definition: Data that can be quantified and verified, and is amenable to statistical manipulation.
The decision to request an Internal Review is based on the criteria set out in the Joint Directive.
Explanations: Executive Review Only: Are cases which, when reviewed by the Executive Committee of the PDRC (Chair and Coordinators), it is determined that no further review by the CAS or PDRC is required, as the death could not reasonably have been prevented or predicted by a CAS or medical intervention.
In cases where the cause of the death of a child in Ontario's care frequently can not be determined, should the PDRC recommend...
A - Calling in an expert on mystery deaths and re-examine the body.
Or, B - Closing the report and say nothing.
Which one do you think the PDRC chooses every time, A or B?
ARE SUICIDES, HOMICIDES, "ACCIDENTAL DEATHS" AND MYSTERIOUS UNDETERMINED CAUSES A PREVENTABLE CAUSE OF DEATH AND ARE THESE DEATHS PREDICTABLE?
“It is stunning to me how these children... are rendered invisible while they are alive and invisible in their death,” said Irwin Elman, Ontario’s independent advocate for children and youth. Between 90 and 120 children and youth connected to children’s aid die every year.
Are Deaths in Custody Treated Any Differently Than Deaths In Care?
Death of an Inmate: Notifications and Funeral Arrangements - CSC-SCC
Following the death of an inmate, the Institutional will not interfere with a crime scene or investigation.
Jump to Responsibilities and Procedures -
RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCEDURES
The Institutional Head/District Director will ensure:
staff comply with processes identified in:
CD 568-1 ’ Recording and Reporting of Security Incidents
CD 568-4 ’ Preservation of Crime Scenes and Evidence
CD 784 ’ Information Sharing Between Victims and the Correctional Service of Canada
In a ten year period from 2001-2002 to 2010-2011, 530 offenders died in federal custody from a range of known causes, including natural death, suicide, accident and homicide. During this period, suicides accounted for 17.4% (or 92 deaths) of all federal offender deaths. Another 5.5% (or 29 deaths) were homicides. The suicide rate is approximately 70 per 100,000 for federally incarcerated offenders, which is 6 times higher than Canada's 2009 rate of 11.5 suicides per 100,000 people. The homicide rate for incarcerated federal offenders was approximately 22 per 100,000, compared to the national homicide rate of 1.6 per 100,000 in 2007. (2011 Corrections and Conditional Release Statistic Overview) There were 5 inmate homicides in FY 2010-11.
WHEN A CHILD IN ONTARIO'S CARE DIES THE CORONER EXAMINES THE BODY BUT WHO WRITES THE REPORT THE ONTARIO PDRC REVIEWS?