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Child Welfare Advocate Calls For ‘DUTY TO REPORT’ Campaign

TORONTO, ON, October 7, 2021 — With Child Abuse Prevention Month among us, a long-time child welfare advocate is calling on the government to implement long-overdue recommendations meant to prevent the deaths of children.

The recommendations in question came from the coroner’s inquest into the death of Katelynn Sampson, a seven-year-old child who was involved in the child welfare system and who was chronically abused until the point of her death on August 3, 2008. At the time of her death, Katelynn had about 70 injuries to her body. During her dying weeks, it would have been difficult for her to walk, brush her teeth, go to the bathroom, or sleep.

Criminal court proceedings, as well as a coroner’s inquest into Katelynn’s death, found several failures on the parts of the education, child welfare and family court systems that allowed Katelynn’s abuse to continue. On November 29, 2017, the jury from Katelynn’s Inquest made 173 recommendations to prevent other children from dying like this, including several recommendations on the Duty to Report.

“Wherever there was a crack in the system, Katelynn Sampson fell through it. There were warning signs, but nobody acted on them,” says child welfare advocate Landy Anderson. “Our government must do everything in its power to ensure that not one more innocent child is left without anybody to protect them.”

Anderson is calling on the Government of Ontario to regulate two of the recommendations from the coroner’s inquest:

·         #6 The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services fund and carry-out a comprehensive, ongoing, public awareness campaign on the Duty to Report

·         #8 The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services establish a mandatory annual training program for those professionals with a higher responsibility surrounding the duty to report under s. 125 of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (2017)

“Whether an educator, health care professional, social worker, or simply someone who notices a child who might be in trouble, we all have a role to play in protecting our children,” Anderson says. “We must learn from our collective mistakes of the past and speak up when we suspect a child might be in trouble.”

Media Contact
Landy Anderson

About Duty to Report

Under Section 125 (1) of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act , every person who believes a child has suffered abuse, is at risk of suffering harm, or has been sexually exploited, has a duty to report their suspicions to a child welfare agency. This includes but is not limited to educators, health care professionals, childcare workers, police, and lawyers.
About Duty to Report Petition
Anderson urges “By signing the Duty to Report petition to legislate Duty to Report training, you can prove to the Ontario government that the Duty to Report is an important campaign for our government to take seriously.” “When we stand together, it proves that we care.”
About Landy Anderson
Landy Anderson is an authorized child protection worker in Ontario with over 30 years of child welfare experience. She has attended several trainings/inquests into the deaths of children under Children’s Aid supervision, including that of Jennifer England (1998); Jordan Heikemp (2001); Jeffrey Baldwin (2014); and Katelynn Sampson (2017).