CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY AGENDA MUST BE CHALLENGED
BY DEREK ROGUSKY AND MICHAEL H. MARTENS
The unanimous decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal to uphold the law that allows parents to use reasonable physical force to discipline their children is a victory for parental rights. But it is also a signal for parents and MPPs to rein in the power that the Children's Aid Societies wield. The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies helped challenge Canada's "spanking" law in an attempt to further impose its views on Canadian families. Fortunately, all three judges hearing this case concluded that there is a big difference between spanking and abuse and that most parents are capable of making the distinction.
When the studies on corporal punishment are carefully reviewed the weight of evidence shows that spanking is a positive complement to other parenting techniques. This should come as no surprise. Common sense and experience tell us that spanking is not a criminal activity. Over 70% of Canadian parents have admitted to spanking their children. Nearly every Canadian adult was spanked as a child. Yet, the vast majority of Canadians are good and decent people who make a valuable contribution to society. They are not violent. They are not criminals. And they are certainly not child abusers.
Given their track record, CAS really had no business telling loving parents how to raise their children in the first place. These are, after all, the same people who last year alone felt nearly 16,000 Ontario children were better off in government care than with their parents. Certainly some of these children are legitimate victims of serious abuse. However, it is hard to imagine that in one province 16,000 children a year are so mistreated as to warrant the trauma of being forcefully removed and separated from their parents. There is no compelling evidence that the majority of children are better off in foster care than staying with their own families and in fact there is evidence to the contrary. Who better to care for children than their own loving parents? Despite the growing list of horror stories involving children in government care the number of children removed from families in the province continues to grow at a staggering rate of nearly 10% per year.
This is an agenda that is quite frankly out of control. The CAS and like-minded welfare agencies believe that they alone know what is best for children. They have decreed that spanking is wrong; in fact, they think it should be criminalized and they view parents who disagree as a danger to their own children. As a result, they have physically ripped children from caring parents and have rejected qualified loving families from public adoption simply because they have admitted to spanking. These social workers may be well intentioned, but that does not justify the tragedy they continue to inflict on too many Ontario families. It is time they are reined in.
Loving, law-abiding parents should not have to fear that the government will come and take their children away. These social workers need to be held accountable. They need to know that their actions impact real people and that there will be consequences when lives are needlessly damaged. When they tear a family apart they had better be absolutely sure that it is in the best interest of the children. While the CAS has thumbed its nose at the law time and again, the Ontario government has doubled its funding of Children's Aids Societies over the last five years. The government can no longer turn a blind eye to the situation. In light of the Court's recent decision parents should be demanding that their MPP keep the CAS accountable and under control.