Annual Awards presented by Toronto's 4 Children's Aid Societies recognizes those who take action against child abuse and neglect
Chris Paulson, a Toronto Transit Commission bus driver, whose actions potentially saved a toddler from serious harm and Dr. Johanne Roberge, Director of the Psychiatry Emergency and Crisis Service at The Hospital for Sick Children, will both be recognized for their contributions in protecting children from abuse and neglect at a ceremony that concludes Child Abuse Prevention Month.
"We all have a responsibility to take action when we see children in need - from looking out for a child who is alone or neglected to improving services for all vulnerable children and youth. I commend both of these deserving recipients and the Children's Aid Societies honouring them for their unfailing compassion and commitment," said Minister of Children and Youth Services, Dr. Eric Hoskins.
Paulson was driving a TTC bus on a busy downtown route just before noon on a Saturday earlier this fall, when he noticed a very young child who appeared to be wandering unsupervised on the street, wearing only a diaper. Pulling over his bus, Paulson stepped out of the vehicle to further investigate and to pick up the child to ensure no harm came his way. The police soon arrived, and took the child into their care until a CAS worker arrived. It is entirely likely that others saw this young child as he was in a very busy neighbourhood on a Saturday morning, but only Paulson chose to do something about it rather than assuming that somebody else would and that the child would be safe.
Dr. Roberge leads a team of psychiatric professionals that provide prompt response to children and adolescents who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others or who are in crisis. Dr. Roberge has made an enormous and positive contribution to the health and well being of at-risk children and youth who have expressed suicidal ideation and is able to successfully connect with them to address these thoughts. She also provides direct consultations with child welfare workers, providing them with practical guidance and clinical advice to help achieve positive outcomes for children and families.
"Both Mr. Paulson and Dr. Roberge have demonstrated their strong commitment to not just our community but to looking out for the well being of the children in our community. My hope is that others will hear their stories and become inspired to get involved when a child, young person or family needs help," said David Rivard, Chief Executive Officer, Children's Aid Society of Toronto.
"Protecting children in the community is an important responsibility," said Mary A. McConville, Executive Director, Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto. "This year's Stand Up for Kids Awards winners are local heroes in every sense of the term. They embody the spirit of caring and compassion for children and youth that make our community a better place for everyone," Ms. McConville added.
The Stand Up for Kids Awards will be presented on Tuesday, November 8th, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the head office of the Children's Aid Society of Toronto at 30 Isabella Street.
Over the past year, Jewish Family & Child, Native Child and Family Service of Toronto, the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto and the Children's Aid Society of Toronto have investigated more than 10,000 cases of suspected child abuse or neglect, and provided care for more than 40,000 local children.
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