ABOVE: In 2002, five-year-old Jeffrey Baldwin fell through the cracks of the system. Now a coroner’s jury has made a wide variety of recommendations to make sure it never happens again. Cindy Pom reports.
TORONTO – A coroner’s jury hearing the inquest into the death of Jeffrey Baldwin, a five-year-old who was starved to death by his grandparents, delivered 103 recommendations Friday. Many focused on improving the child welfare system.
Here are 10 key recommendations:
– The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services should “fully deliver on its pledge” to implement the Child Protection Information Network (CPIN) within two years to all children’s aid societies across the province, permitting societies to access each other’s information.
– The ministry should allow access to CPIN and its other information system without the requirement of consent of the person subject to an investigation and/or for the intended placement of a child.
– The ministry should study the feasibility of amalgamating all of Ontario’s 46 children’s aid societies into one co-ordinated agency.
– Amend the Child and Family Services Act to allow workers to access databases such as the child abuse registry when they are assessing an alternate caregiver, such as a relative, and not just when investigating a child protection concern.
– The province should enact a regulation requiring caregivers, prospective alternative caregivers and other adults in a home to surrender identification so a child protection worker can inspect it.
– The ministry should amend kinship service standards to require annual home visits after the file is closed in cases of children five and under who are living with alternate caregivers.
– The ministry should develop a public awareness campaign about the duty to report concerns about child abuse or neglect.
– Revise the Child and Family Services Act to introduce penalties for non-professionals (members of the community) who have direct and substantive knowledge of child abuse and neglect and fail to report.
– The ministry should establish and fund an authorization process for new child protection workers, including a competency-based curriculum, and at the end of the authorization process new workers must pass oral and/or written exams.
– School boards should implement a procedure to address situations in which children are eligible to be enrolled in school but are not yet required to attend, and explore including sibling and family composition on registration forms.
WATCH: Provincial child advocate hopes Baldwin recommendations will lead to larger conversation on protecting vulnerable children in Ontario