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New board, new director for PE Children’s Aid

Mark Kartusch

A new board and executive director will lead the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society as it moves toward amalgamation with the Highland Shores Children’s Aid.

PECAS Executive Director Bill Sweet, has left the society. Mark Kartusch, currently executive director of Highland Shores Children’s Aid has taken on the duties. PECAS announced the transition of leadership and the make-up of its new board of directors Tuesday.

The two societies announced their intention to merge Nov. 9 but the process won’t be complete until early 2013. The Highland Shores Children’s Aid Society is an amalgamation of the societies in Northumberland and Hastings.

The PECAS has been under fire due to several charges and two convictions of County foster parents, involving children in their care. Numerous charges related to sexual offences are currently in the court system.

Recognizing Sweet’s more than 30 years of service to the field of child welfare, PECAS board chair Darcey French said his “dedication to the children, youth and families of the County has been seen in the many programs and services that developed under his leadership.”

Kartusch also recognized the many years of service Sweet has given to the children and families of Prince Edward County.
“I look forward to working with PECAS staff to build the confidence and support of the community,” Kartusch said. “Together we will work to ensure that children and families receive the same opportunities to benefit from programs and services offered to those currently residing in the counties served by Highland Shores Children’s Aid.”

The newly constituted PECAS board includes Darcey French, president; Karyn Kennedy, vice-president; Elaine Philip, past president; Phillip Peters, treasurer; Jay Taugher, secretary; Marilyn Curson and Lorraine Hyatt. Philip and Hyatt were members of the previous board. Four additional members are to be elected to the board at its Nov. 28 meeting.

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  1. Paul says:

    I understand your anger Andrew and you have the right to express your oppinion just like every other person in this thread. Whats happened has happened and that can’t be changed. I truly feel horrible for what these Children have had to go through and even worse for what they will have to endure and deal with as time goes by. I hope the system and anyone capable will offer the support these Children will need to help them heal over time.The system needs to be fixed to prevent this from happening to any other Child in the care of the CAS. What it all boils down to is Children being provided a SAFE CARING SUPPORTIVE enviroment to grow up in without worry of being sexually assaulted.Safeguards and failsafes need to be implemented at those points where the system failed.It needs to be ALL about the CHILDREN, that is the most pressing issue at this point.

  2. Marnie says:

    I am not an insider, Andrew. I am not a vigilante either. This is a matter for the courts or for an inquiry. Without all of the facts at our disposal how can we assign blame where it properly belongs? You must be a real “insider” if you have this information. I don’t believe anyone here is defending the wrongdoers but until we know who they are and what their role was in this sad situation it is unfair to tar everyone connected with the CAS with the same brush.

  3. Andrew says:

    All the people in this thread minimizing these crimes are employed by the system and as always have failed these children and their families miserably.

    They should be ashamed, but can only go on the defensive and try to minimize, deflect, and disassociate. Very sick people… I guess its their interest before children.


  4. Paul says:

    I don’t think a witch hunt is the answer lining the administrators up in front of a firing squad isn’t the way to go either.That being said something in the system failed I think its very important that those points of failure be found and fixed.The best thing that could possibly come out of this is preventing it from happening again.After alls said and done it the Children standing there depending on us to keep them safe…

  5. Louise says:

    From what I have observed I would think there are more than 35 children in care. However I think it is necessary to publish the number of children in care and the number of foster homes, This would keep people from quessing about percentage of children that would be

  6. Marnie says:

    Curtis, some of your remarks regarding “evil” people who should be imprisoned and others whom you declare are “crazy” could be construed as libelous. In your zeal to attack the CAS you are losing credibility with such vitriolic remarks. Keep it civil. A lot of people are angry but it’s a matter for the courts to decide.

  7. Mark says:

    Mr.Kingston, there are policies and laws that require the reporting of suspected abuse. If what you state is factual then why haven’t the police, ministry and agency been held accountable? Are you suggesting a conspiracy by all 3 of these bodies? Something seems amiss.

  8. If people where to read my original comment they would understand that there is a rough statistic based on an estimated number of children that the PECCAS would likely have in care as they have not made the real number public. The number of children would be roughly 33 children and if that is the case, assuming there are 4 children per home and the fact that there have been 5 foster parents charged and three convicted of sexual offences against children, then it is possible that 80% of all foster children in the care of the PECCAS have been in the care of a child molester!

    This is not just a simple mistake or something that they would not have been able to stop, this is a total failure and in my opinion they not only failed the children but were complacent in the sexual abuse of children.

    That is not even mentioning the fact that in at least one case witch I do have in depth knowledge of as an advocate, two of the victims complained to the CAS over and over again as they were being sexually abused but not only did the CAS not listen but they forced these innocent children to stay in the care of the abuser for years and tried their best to cover up the abuse rather than to attempt to do the right thing because they did not want to look bad.

    The people that are directly responsible for the abuse of children in the PECCAS need to go to prison for their complacency in these cases and anyone that says otherwise is crazy!

  9. Marnie says:

    You may be right, Paul. Maybe we will never know how it came about.

  10. Paul says:

    In my oppinion and this is just my oppinion I don’t think PECAS made the decision to amalgamate I think the Ministry of Childrens and Youth Services played a huge part in that decision.

  11. Marnie says:

    Yes, Paul, an inquiry would be a positive step but again I think it is wrong to declare its findings before it has even taken place. It should be held to find the truth.

  12. Marnie says:

    Are you an insider? How do you know all that transpired leading to the amalgamation? It was proposed long before there was a hint of what lay ahead. Yes. the CAS rejected the idea initially but its recent acceptance may have reasons in addition to the one you suggest. Perhaps it was decided that in the interests of the greater good it was the best way to go. There is so much anger right now that good people are being blamed along with those who need to explain their actions. Sorry but I still believe that Bill Sweet is a decent person cared about the work that he did. Vigilante justice is never pretty. Why not wait to make sweeping judgements until after all of the charges have been heard in court? Until then how can we know the whole truth or make any informed decisions about who failed these children?

  13. Paul says:

    One more thing, would you agree Marnie an Inquiry would answer alot the questions being asked and accusations being made.Would you support an Inquest into why and how the system failed these Children ?

  14. Paul says:

    So I don t understand Marnie do you disagree with the amalgamation ? Do you wonder why the Administration has been pretty much completely replaced ? With everything thats gone on in the last year it must be pretty obvious,especially when a year ago PECAS claimed they were better off going it alone and not amalgamating with the 2 other Childrens Aid Societies. Is it coincidence that these changes are happening now.Regardless of how the PECAS looks its about Kids being protected and provided for.

  15. Marnie says:

    Well, Paul, you are condemning this one and I refuse to believe that its board members are all part of a big conspiracy to cover up wrongdoing by the administration. There may have been bad apples – the foster parents who now face charges – and those who may have failed to properly investigate complaints should be called to account but there were and are also some caring people in our CAS. Our local CAS has done a lot of good in the community and it’s a shame to think that it is likely to be remembered only for this chapter in its existence.

  16. Paul says:

    The facts speak for themselves Mark historical cases that were not initially acted upon resulting in charges and convictions years later, Ya the Administration erred and continued to place Children in homes where complaints had been filed.Just think those are facts that have been established imagine the facts that haven t come to light…

  17. Mark says:

    Whoaaaa! Unless you know something the rest of the public doesn’t its a little early to state the PECAS administration erred. Suspect perhaps,condemn right now, no.

  18. Paul says:

    Well Marnie nobody is condemning every Childrens Aid Society just the “bad apple” that being PECAS which by being amalgamated will hopefuly help prevent whats happened in the past.So your “blanket condemnation” does not make sense. No one is saying Foster Families are “evil” The article was about a Childrens Aid Society who s administration failed in its most basic mandate.Amlgamation should help provide better care for the Children who need it.

  19. Marnie says:

    People tend to write about what concerns them most. What’s so sad about that? Some comments on municipal government strayed into the thread about the CAS. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s a bit of a relief. Perverts have been found in the Boy Scout movement, church choirs, nursing homes, and the Catholic church but we do not give blanket condemnation to these institutions because of the rotten apples in the barrel. For sure the CAS should be held to account but this does not mean that everything they have done is wrong and all foster families are evil. When we tar everybody with the same brush and refuse to see any good then that is kinda sad. There are a lot of terrific foster parents out there who have made a real difference in children’s lives.

  20. Paul says:

    Im not sure if there is a Moderator or Administrator to keep discussions on topic.Topics get highjacked all the time here..

  21. Paul says:

    Most topics on this news site end up off topic sab and ussually end up being about municipal government or windmills.Its kinda sad actually.

    As far as the Police being held responsible I think you’ll find sab that not all CAS investigations are turned over to Police. CAS determines which cases require Police involvement.

  22. Louise says:

    The cost of water sewer is out of this world and now if you are 7 days late off goes the water and $200 to get it back on. my water bill was nearly the same for sept oct as it was fir july aug and i did noy water any flowers in oct
    back to CAS Bill sweet has been in that job for a long time–why is he suddenly not capable
    Re the 4 or5 families who turned out bad –does one or two rotten apples spoil the whole barrel it might be interesting to know how many foster families there are in the county–quite afew i would think based on the number of children who are in foster care–maybe someone should put the figures on here

  23. m york says:

    Things will never change in the water/sewer dept. because they kept the same top dogs in this dept. The same people who had proven to know nothing in this dept. The only thing they did in this dept. was hire a supervisor from across the bay who had no previous experience. The director stayed in his position a man who no one knows his name,you never see him out, and if you call him before 8:30 or after 3:00 he’s gone home for the day.And if you need an answer to a question well don’t call him because he never returns his calls. Believe me I know I have tried tracking this guy down for over two weeks now.

  24. Mark says:

    The only difference may be the level of corruption you personally are able to accept and live with. Lives have been ruined in both scenarios.

  25. Marnie says:

    Dear SAB – Neither do I but council comes out smelling like a rose compared to the CAS these days. Here’s a case where amalgamation is a good solution.

  26. Marnie says:

    And why do you think any of this will change with amalgamation, Louise? The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. This is the county and amalgamation would be a sure way to rob it of its identity. Do you honestly believe we would have a strong voice in our future? What we have now is far from perfect but as they say “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know”. Local government would become remote if amalgamation were to take place. Give a little credit to some of the people who sit on council. They live here and understand what the county is all about.They are not all involved in some evil conspiracy to hire Merlin’s friends from his old stamping grounds.

  27. sab says:

    I am sorry, but I do not understand what council has to do with the CAS

  28. Louise says:

    Our identity is now tied up with the 2M’s and some out of town people they have hired to tell us what to do with our lives. We the taxpayers have no control over what happens in our community. we just pay the bills and big salaries to people who do not care anything aboutthe people of the county

  29. Marnie says:

    If we were to amalgamate how long would it be before we lost our identity? Remember when we went from a two-tier system to one-tier government to “save money”. Look how that turned out. Chances are we would save very little and find ourselves on the short end of the stick. We need to reduce the size of council and hopefully this will happen soon.

  30. Mark says:

    At last council staff tried to push through a bylaw allowing them to take immediate sanctions for an overdue water @ wastewater account. It didn’t fly at this time. I can very well see how some residents would struggle with these extravagant water charges. But we have to pay the cost overun for the new waste plant that pumps uphill! Not to mention the discoloured and stinking water that comes out of the tap.

  31. Louise says:

    Having 16 councillora ia totally rediculous and all the high powered help. Join hastings and quinte west and do away with all the people we do not need.
    people are going there to build too costly to build in PEC
    I saw a notice that we only have 7 days grace to pay our water bill. I paid mine on time but they did mot cash it right away and they gave me a good sized fine this time.
    I wish I was in a poistion to move out of the County, i don’t need to deal with all the nonsense that goes on here

  32. sab says:

    Does anyone feel that maybe the police should also be held responsible for their part in the investigations?

  33. Mark says:

    Actually an amalgamation of municipal governments would make a lot of sense and generate significant savings particularly in high end management and administration. It’s not like we would suffer from losing services or local decision making. And I would feel safe in sayiny a lot fewer than 16 council members could oversee this small County. In fact we might even get some services like Quinte West is providing this week, with the free pickup of yard waste for all residents. When would you ever see anything like that in our present County structure and governance?

  34. Louise says:

    We have amalgamated the school board the CAS–how about amalgamating PEC with Hastings and then we could get rid of the present council and shire hall employees and then maybe we would not get charged extra every time we turned around

  35. I do have a feeling that with this new
    amalgamation, all of the horrors that the Prince Edward County CAS are
    directly responsible for may very well be covered up and lost forever
    and this is unacceptable!

    So far, the Prince Edward County

    CAS has had 5 foster parents charged and three are already convicted
    with sexual offences against children in just the past two years and the
    Prince Edward County CAS still has absolutely no legitimate response as
    to why this has happened. What allot of people don’t understand is that
    the Prince Edward County CAS only looks after a population of 25,258

    A pro-rata allocation of Ontario’s foster children
    to Prince Edward County’s 25,258 residents would give them 33. At four
    kids per home, 80% of Prince Edward’s foster kids could have been in the
    care of sexual abusers.

    This is absolutely insane and the
    Prince Edward County CAS needs to be held accountable for their absolute
    failure and complete disregard to the protection of children.

    People in this organization do not only need to admit their mistakes but
    they need JAIL TIME for at best their failures and neglect but in my
    opinion their complacency in the sex crimes against innocent children!

    This is not just a simple breakdown of protocol and mistakes, the Prince
    Edward County CAS is just as responsible and at fault as the abusers
    themselves and the only word that I can use to explain it is that they
    are evil and all need jail time or much worse for all of the severe
    damage and trauma that they have caused to innocent children and

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