News Release Archive

Early intervention for children at risk -that's the promise and
the intent of changes to provincial law introduced today by
Community Services Minister Jim Smith.

Changes to the Children and Family Services Act would allow
social workers, police and other authorities to step in when
there is "substantial risk" of abuse and neglect. The current law
requires that proof -- physical marks, bruising or other bodily
damage -- be present before authorities can intervene.

"We see what is happening elsewhere in our country. Our children
are vulnerable. We must act to protect them," said the minister.

The ability to detect cases of child abuse will be greater, the
minister said. The time frame for bringing a charge of failure to
report abuse will be expanded from one year to two. Police and
agencies that investigate child abuse will be given access to the
Child Abuse Registry and information will be shared across
provincial boundaries.

Other amendments propose greater scrutiny for all adoptions,
requiring that child care agencies be involved prior to adoptions
taking place.

Under the proposed changes all adoptions would be subject to a
home study, counselling and briefing for all parties on adoption
issues. "We cannot have different standards of care for our
children, - some for state-sponsored adoptions and others for
private adoptions. All children and birth mothers deserve the
same standard of care, the same safeguards. This change will
provide for that care," said Dr. Smith.

The bill, An Act to Amend Chapter 5 of the Acts of 1990, The
Children and Family Services Act, responds in large part to
recommendations of the advisory committee under the Children's
and Family Services Act and to requests from children's aid
societies and adoption experts.


Contact: Margaret Murphy  902-424-4880

trp                      Apr. 04, 1996 - 11:35 a.m.