As a community we would like to bring your attention to the critical lack of funding that the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton has received as a result of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services new funding formula for child welfare services in Ontario. Due to this initiative the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton’s funding will be reduced by approximately 4 million over the next three years.
Given that the current funding formula is not sufficient to adequately provide support to families, the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton will struggle to meet the needs of our community. Due to the most recent announcement of additional funding cuts to child welfare services, the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton will be looking at reducing staff and support services across the agency- which currently supports the most vulnerable children and families in the Hamilton area. Our community feels that this will have a profound and detrimental effect on families receiving support and could result in numerous children being placed at increased risk of harm.
In 2012, the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton received 6,703 calls regarding children’s safety and well-being. Of these, 1,368 families developed an ongoing supportive relationship with the Society in order to alleviate child protection concerns and promote positive family dynamics. The Society also supported 887 children placed in care who were unable to remain with their families. As a whole, the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton operates under a Signs of Safety model where by balancing risks with strengths, child protection workers are able to keep children with their families as much as possible.
The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton serves a population of children and families from diverse backgrounds that are not only impacted directly by the child welfare system but also by other social disparities including but not limited to: mental health issues, substance use issues, domestic violence, racism, and poverty. In responding to a wide range of social assistance needs, the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton currently provides protective services to work towards mitigating the risk’s associated with the above mentioned issues to ensure the overall safety and well-being of children.
Given the above, we do not feel that the funding received from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services reflects the needs of our community and importance of children’s safety in our community. Cuts to the Society’s services would be detrimental to children and families and affect the way that the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton currently provides service and the quality of these services. The children that the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton protects are often the most vulnerable and marginalized of our community. We respectfully ask you to advocate on our behalf for funding that will ensure effective service delivery and support, and ensure that children and families continue to feel protected and that their voices are heard.