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TORONTO, Ont. – The union representing hundreds of Children's Aid Society (CAS) Toronto workers is warning that at-risk families need to be supported, not abandoned.
"Last month's cancellation of the Family Support Program's prevention and crisis components will only increase the chances at-risk families will fall through the cracks, I fear, with tragic results," said Aubrey Gonsalves, President of Local 2316 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 2316).
Citing budgetary pressures, CAS Toronto announced the end of the vital prevention and crisis intervention components of its Family Support Program early last month. The program offered intensive, one-on-one support services to at-risk families to prevent the admission of children into care, as well as aiding in reunification of families through supports and programs for children, youth and families.
"This program played a major role in helping those families who face the greatest risk of encountering neglect and/or abuse. We feel CAS has a choice – it can bemoan the shortage of funds, or it can mobilize to secure the funding necessary to restore this and other programs that help people in need," said Gonsalves.
"Our choice will be to mobilize and to organize, and we hope CAS Toronto will join us in applying pressure on the Wynne government to appropriately fund the CAS sector here in Toronto and across Ontario," he added.
Across the province, a $50.6 million funding ‘gap' between identified needs and budgeted funds exists in the CAS sector. CUPE continues to work with agencies across Ontario to lobby for adequate funding in the sector.
"Locally, we will be working with our supporters and allies to draw attention to the profound impact the loss of this program is having on people who, in many cases, need the most support," said Gonsalves.
For more information, please contact:
Aubrey Gonsalves, CUPE 2316 President, 416-463-5967
Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641