Disturbing revelations mean Liberals must end the secrecy surrounding care for vulnerable children

MPP Monique Taylor calls for open public review to improve care, following damning investigation

Today, Monique Taylor, the Ontario NDP Critic for Children and Youth Services, demanded that the Liberal government end the secrecy surrounding serious incidents involving vulnerable children in care.

 “The number of serious incidents involving children in care is truly staggering,” said Taylor, MPP for Hamilton Mountain. “The government has a job to make sure that kids in care are safe, but now we see that the Liberals have been turning a blind eye and letting down some of the most vulnerable children in our province. Today, the secrecy must end.”

According to reports based on Freedom of Information records, nearly 20,000 serious incidents occur each year involving the 3,300 children and youth living in group homes across Ontario. Incident reports and annual group home inspections are not made available to the public by the Ministry. In addition, the Ministry does not track crucial trends, such as the type of incidents reported, the use of physical and chemical restraints, or the rate of serious injuries.

On June 26, the Ministry announced that a panel would be appointed at a future date to review residential care services. It is now known that the announcement was made only after the Ministry was confronted with media inquiries about the extent of serious incidents in group homes.

“The Liberals tried to duck and dodge this investigation by promising another panel that meets behind closed doors, but that’s simply not good enough for the children in care who are counting on all of us,” said Taylor. “No one can trust that more secrecy will keep kids safe when this government has so clearly failed to do its job properly. 

“For the sake of every child in care, we need an open public review of residential services for children and youth so that MPPs from all parties can hear from all of the experts, including the children and youth who live in group homes. An open public review is the only way to ensure that it addresses all of the problems in the child protection system and delivers real change. Children in care deserve nothing less.”