Thursday, March 27, 2008

Who's watching the watchers?

I might even agree with the Star if I hadn't already witnessed numerous stunning examples of outright stupidity and waste by the local CAS.

I have friend who rented an apartment to a ward of the CAS. This young 16 year old moved in with the approval of his caseworker. Within 6 weeks there had been so much damage done to the apartment that it was comprising others within the building. In that entire 6 weeks the ward was never once visited by his caseworker. The "tenant" left after 7 weeks, leaving the CAS with a bill of over $30,000 for damages. In order to rehabilitate the unit, the owner literally had to take it back to the studs and start over throughout the entire apartment. Nothing was left undamaged, including the shattered toilet and broken bath tub and shower. To make things worse, the only way the owner was able to actually collect for damages was to threaten to take his problems to the local media. I watched for months as my friend tried to get Mr. Bevan and his agency to accept responsibility for the problem. Thankfully, he was smart enough to have not only the tenant but his caseworker sign the lease. Without that second signature, he was certainly on a path to "to bad, so sad" as far as the agency was concerned.

Another case of ineptitude concerned two wards of the CAS and their lack of supervision. An apartment across the road from mine was rented for two young wards of the CAS. One Saturday evening an employee of mine was assaulted on his way into work, to the extent that he has never worked for me again (he actually ceased employment with two companies due to the severity of his injuries). This man was swarmed by a group that included the two wards and their friends who were partying with them at their CAS provided apartment. For the simple offense of stepping out of his vehicle this man was beaten senseless and literally left for dead. Ultimately, only two people were held to account and their sentence was less than a slap on this wrist. The whole neighbourhood celebrated the departure of these individuals following the incident. I'm not sure what the CAS did with these ladies after the incident, and you can call me crass or hard-hearted for feeling so, but I was overjoyed for seeing the back side of them when they left.

The CAS, much like many other government agencies, is a bureaucratic monster out of control. Until it is reigned in and controlled, I really don't have much sympathy for their stories of woe as portrayed by the Star. BTW, please don't misconstrue this mini-rant as an attack on the front line workers, who I believe we don't have enough of. This is most certainly pointed at the middle and upper management, who in my belief, we have far too much of.