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» Children's Aid Society of Algoma fonds

Children's Aid Society of Algoma fonds

Start Date: 
End Date: 
Date Range: 
1905-1985, 1997
Physical Description: 

1.28 m of textual record and graphic material.

photographs: b&w and col.

negatives : b&w and col.

Fonds is arranged in series.
History Biographical: 

The Children’s Aid Society of Algoma / Societé de l’aide à l’enfance d’Algoma (CAS) was established in 1902 as the “Humane Society of Sault Ste. Marie.”  In 1937, the Society was formally titled Children’s Aid Society of Sault Ste. Marie and District of Algoma.  The Board of Directors changed Society’s name through Supplementary Letters Patent to the Children’s Aid Society of Algoma on March 6, 1987.

The Province of Ontario hired John Joseph Kelso in 1904 to administer the 1893 "Prevention of Cruelty To and Better Protection of Children Act."  Kelso came to Sault Ste. Marie from Toronto to assist a number of Sault Ste. Marie volunteers further establish the Society. At the time, 36 Societies were operating in Ontario.   Society council members John Dawson, Mrs. J.Y. Turner, and Minnie (Garrett) Ewing made major contributions in terms of fundraising, finding foster homes, and talking with children and their families. 

The Society’s operations grew under the leadership of J. P. Reed.  In 1912, the Society purchased the building of the former Wawanosh Indian Residential School and established its first children’s shelter there.  The Department of Education and the Tarentorus School Board facilitated the Society’s work giving it permission to create a school at the children’s shelter in 1918, under the authority of the board.  As the Society developed, Mr. Kelso also recommended that it hire a social worker to support Mr. Reed, but this recommendation was not followed.

A Liberal government replaced the Conservatives at Queen’s Park in 1934, which resulted in the replacing of Kelso by B.W. Heise at the head of the Child Welfare Department. Heise, a social worker who served as President of the Canadian Association of Social Workers (1914-1938) boldly implemented grading reports (A to E) as a radical new administrative tool for funding CASs and enforcing higher standards.

By 1944, the CAS under Superintendent Lorna Kraus, a professional social worker, had a staff of three social workers and a secretary.  The post Second World War era saw massive expansions and changes to legislation and funding for child welfare.  The "Child Welfare Act" (CWA) of 1955 caused a major shift of focus for the Society.   The Act identified foster care, rather than institutional care, as being in the best interest of children. In response to this shift, the CAS hired three new social workers for a total staff of a Director, six social workers, and a secretary.  In addition, the CAS closed the children’s shelter, foster care and receiving home placements being viewed as better alternatives.

In 1961, the Society created the Family Services Bureau (funded by the Welfare Federation) to be an independent counselling agency under the auspices of the Society’s Board of Directors. This service complemented the work of the Society by taking over some of its protection workload and dealing with a wide range of family problems.  In 1965, the Society recommended that the Bureau should lose much of its autonomy and function more as a department of the Society, which occurred after internal bitterness between the directors of the Society and the Bureau.  By 1968, however, the Bureau separated from the Society and established itself as an independent social service organization.   The 1965 amendments to the CWA covered mandatory reporting of child abuse and a two-year limit on temporary wardship. Beginning in 1970, the Society received 80% of its funding from the provincial government and 20% from the municipality, replacing the former 40-60 arrangement. 

The "Child Welfare Act" (1984) became the "Child and Family Services Act" (CFSA), which attempted to balance the protection of children and the integrity of the family unit.  The province amended the CFSA in 1990 and added rights related to Indigenous children and families and confidentiality of records.   In 1998, provincial government makes dramatic revisions to child protection services across Ontario including a provincial screening tool – Eligibility Spectrum and a standardized Risk Assessment Instrument. The province also introduced100% provincial funding for Societies and a standardized funding formula based on service volume and specific benchmarks.  Finally, in 2000, the province amended the CFSA to expand into areas of emotional harm, neglect, and duty to report.

The post-war years saw the CAS expand beyond Sault Ste. Marie to serve the Algoma District.   The CAS established offices at Blind River (1956) followed by offices at Elliot Lake and Thessalon 1971.  In 1974, the Society established an office in Wawa and hired an on-site counsellor for Hornepayne in 1978.   In 1991, CAS purchased land in Wawa, built a small office on Algoma Street, and hired a full-time secretary for North Algoma. In 2005, the Society acquired an office building at 29 Manitoba Road in Elliot Lake.

In Sault Ste. Marie, the CAS central office moved to Willow Avenue in 1974 from 123 March St; the central office moved again in 1993 to its current location on Northern Avenue. The Society purchased a home on Pim Street (1978), which housed its Receiving and Assessment service, as well as a house on Kingsford Road to meet the needs of a group home for adolescents. The CAS established its Intake and Protection Services at 405 Queen Street in 2005.  The Society located Fostering Services and Family Connections programs at 93 Pilgrim Street in 2006.

The CAS of Algoma is an independent organization approved, funded, and supervised by the provincial government’s Ministry of Child and Youth Services to provide child protection services.  Despite this relationship with the Ministry, the CAS is considered an autonomous, non-governmental organization.  The Ministry’s Child and Family Services Review Board has the authority to investigate complaints against and issue orders to the Societies.

The current (2015-2016) mission of the CAS is “the Children’s Aid Society of Algoma is committed to protecting children and promoting their well-being by working collaboratively with children, families, and communities through service excellence.

The CAS offers a wide range of services to families to ensure that all children will be safe from harm, including adoption services, after hour’s services, children’s services, family services, foster care services, and intake services.

Presidents of the Society: John Dawson, President of the Society (1905-?); Daniel Wood-Salomon (?-2008); David Kirk (2008-2012); Wes Moore (2012-)

Local Superintendents/Local Directors/Chief Executive Officers/Executive Directors: The Rev. J. P. Reed (1910-1939); Herb Dawson (1939-1942); W. H. Bury (1942-1944); Lorna Kraus (1944-1953); S.C. Hossie (1953-1954); Ian Sutherland (1955-1975); Ron Luciano (1975-1979); John Hayes (1980-1985); Dr. Larry McConnell (1986-1997); Hugh Nicholson (1998-2003); Jim Baraniuk (2004-2012); Kim Streich-Poser (2013-)

The CAS of Algoma is a member of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) formerly the Associated Children’s Aid Societies of Ontario, founded in 1912.  The OACAS was promotes the welfare of children and to co-ordinate the work of all the Societies. The OACAS aims to facilitate and enhance the work of Societies through collective action, public relations, dissemination of information, uniformity of standards, and assistance to individual Societies.

Scope Content: 

Fonds arranged in eight series: Photographs series, Annual meetings series, Annual reports series, Board series, Local Director's reports and diaries series, Administration series, Financial records series, and Histories and media series.

Fonds comprises photographs and documents relating to the activities of the Children' Aid Society of Algoma. Includes photographs, financial records, minutes and other material.

Custodial History: 

Accruals 2010-049 and 2013-090 are parts of two deposits made by the Children's Aid Society of Algoma and Executive Director John Hayes to Algoma University College between 1982 and 1986. The records remained in the university library's storage until 2010 and 2013 when they were accessioned.  Accrual 2016-049 comprises records gathered from the Children's Aid Society of Algoma and former employees by Ms. Sandra Paul in the late 1980s and early 1990s to facilitate her writing her undergraduate honour's thesis and her master's thesis. Ms. Paul discovered these records in her house in September 2016 and donated them to the university archives in the same month. Ms. Paul was involved in the earlier accruals of CAS fonds records.

Access Restriction: 

The Children's Aid Society of Algoma retains ownership of those documents that contain personnel or client information.  Access to these records is restricted to appropriate officers of the CAS and are bound by all relevant legislation.   All other documents are closed and access and use require the written consent of the CAS for the purposes of research and study.

Repro Restriction: 

Permission of the donor is required for reproduction where applicable. Reproductions are dependent on the fragility of the originals. Researchers must adhere to applicable copyright law and privacy legislation and permission of the copyright holder is required to publish from the fonds.


Minor conservation performed on fonds.  String and staple binding removed from photo album, pages of album placed in acid free folders. Scrapbook was taken apart - string binding removed and pages placed in acid free folders.

Description Level: 
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