Tag Archives: childrens aid

Today’s Child Newspaper Column– Helen Allen

Today’s Child Newspaper Column– Helen Allen

I’m the one with the head down, we were from the Kenora area , taken by a CAS worker to Toronto . We were shortly fostered to south of Sarnia , than CAS decided to split us up and I was adopted and my younger siblings were adopted to another family. 

Photo only— Sent to me and used with permission from Deb

Written in 1974

Four-year-old Mark was born with neither arms nor legs. Doctors could offer no explanation for the overwhelming deformity and handicap. The distraught parents decided they could not provide adequate care and attention in the family set-ting. They felt perhaps an institution offered the best possible future in the circumstances. But Helen Allen drew him to the attention of readers of her newspaper column Today’s Child, and more than 50 couples offered to adopt him. Today Mark, now 6 and attending kindergarten, is happily settled in his new home with his adoptive parents and two older brothers and a. sister.

“The most satisfying experience of my life and the highlight of my career in adoptive work.” says Miss Allen of the adoption of Mark. Helen Allen is not given to extravagant speech, but she adds: “The past years been the most satisfying and exciting years of my life.” She’s referring to the time that she has presided oer the column Today’s Child w hich has been responsible for the adoption of thousands of children. Mark’s case, though remarkable, is only one of a series of miracles in placing children. Seven Ojibwa children from a broken family in the Brantford area will look back with gratitude on Helen. They were featured with the hope that they could be adopted as a unit.

The usually optimistic columnist confessed: “This is an im possible dream.” Impossi. bleor not it happened. Stan and Gwena Morrill, of Brantford, read of the seven children (three of them adopted). They sub-mitted the adoption proposal to their “family hour,” pointing out that the adoption of seven children would mean major readjustments and the cancellation of the planned holiday to Arizona. The unanimous vote was to proceed, Stan Morrill, who is On-tario director of Christian ‘ Education for the Church of Jesus Christ of I alter Day Saints (Mormon Church), simply stales: “We can’t reject a child in need.”

The column originated in response to a suggestion of Dr. James S, Band, then deputy minister of social and family services in Ontario, Andrew MacKarlane, then managing editor of the Toronto Telegram, agreed to a three-week trial run of a column which would acquaint the public with hard-to-place children available for adoption, “We assigned Helen to the job because she was probably the best reporter in the place.” recalls Mad ‘aria ne. The Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario were not enthusiastic with the announced project. Only three of the 55 societies in the province would have anything to do w ith it. Miss Allen managed to line up pictures of 23 children who were to be featured over the trial period. Eighteen of the 23 were soon adopted.

The first column appeared on June 6, 1964. Helen Allen fondly recalls that first child. “She was part Negro, a beautiful child, 15 months old, and perhaps her name Hope was prophetic. We got 40 letters for her within a week.” Hope quickly found a home. When the three weeki trial period ended, there could be no turning back, Today’s Child was to be a permanent newspaper feature, Then 10 ye;irs have witnessed a remarkable record. , Four sets of seven children have been adopted by non-relatives, 208 persons answered one plea for a family to adopt a group of seven sisters. And mentally challenged children have also found homes through the column. In 1972, nine were adopted, Recently the first child with Down’s Syndrome found parents.

Since the inauguration of Today’s Child, there has been a steady increase in the number of older children who have been adopted in Ontario. Of the 5,880 adopted in 1972. for. instance, more than 5 per cent were over a year old. The whole adoption picture in Ontario has been radically altered and improved in those 10 years. Now older children, handicapped children, and those with mixed blood are routinely adopted. Large family groups are adopted intact. Ontario Children’s Aid Societies have come to recognize Helen Allen as a friend. Mrs: Victoria Leach, Ontario Adoptive Coordinator and Miss Allen’s closest collaborator, is candid. ‘Helen Allen has led the way in showing that adoption is the responsibility not only of the social agencies hut of the community at large,” she sas.

No one knows exactly how many children have been placed through Today’s Child. An extensive 17-month survey revealed that one of every three couples who wrote to the column did adopt some child. Using that yardstick, it is conservatively estimated that the column had been responsible for placing 6,500 children by the end of 1973. In addition, of course, other couples were doubtless motivated to consider adoption through reading the daily column but proceeded to apply for a child without reference to it, The Toronto Telegram, for which Helen Allen worked 42 years, and which provided a home for Today’s Child for its first years, ceased publication.

At that time, the column appeared in 20 other papers in the province, The Ontario government recognied that the column must not die. The Ministry of Community and Social Services took over the column and newspaperman Helen Allen became an employee of the provincial government. Today’s Child now appears in 24 daily newspapers and 155 weeklies.

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada21 Apr 1981, Tue  •  Page 58

Helen Allen didn’t get married until last fall, by which time she was in her early 70s. Allen, as Citizen readers and hundreds of thousands of other people know perfectly well, is the woman who finds parents for Today’s Child. One estimate is that as a result of the column more than 12,000 children have been adopted since 1964. This is the second time Helen Allen has been Mother of the Year, but she figures the first one was a joke. “It was in Centennial Year, and Mike Pearson sent me a telegram complete with roses, but I still think some friends of mine put him up to it. He loved a good joke.”

No thought of retiring Both Allen and her husband, historian C. P. Stacey, continue with their work without so much as a nod in the direction of an official retirement age. Every working day finds her out on field work or in her office in the downtown quarters of the Ministry of Community and Social Services (children’s services). Charley Stacey, who will be 75 in July, is just as busy as his wife. He is the author of the popular A Very Double Life, a revelation of the off-beat personal life of former prime minister Mackenzie King, and this spring sees publication of the second volume of Stacey’s The Age of Conflict.

He is working on his memoirs, as well. Stacey was a widower for some years, and since Allen had been independent for most of her life, it seemed reasonable to wonder if there was a lot of adjusting to do when they began sharing the toothpaste. “We’re very lucky we have a place with two bathrooms,” Allen says. “So we have each taken possession of one. “However, last fall we did some travelling, and when we were in hotels, I must say I did think Charley made rather a muck of the toothpaste.” The age of tolerance “I think there’s something to be said for a later marriage,” Allen says. “Certainly you are more tolerant. You overlook things that at 18 or 22 would have had you flying off the handle.”

Does Charley Stacey share the cooking with his working wife? No way. “Charley likes to eat out, and I encourage him in it,” says his bride, The young Charley Stacey and Helen Allen dated occasionally in college, back in the late 1920s. Nothing serious. “Neither of us was left languishing, or anything like that,” she says. “He was ahead of me, and he married, went off to Oxford and Princeton. We lost touch.” Stacey, now a retired colonel, was in the army for 19 years, as official historian, before coming back to University of Toronto in 1959 to become a history professor.

They finally met again, after nearly 50 years, at a Varsity reunion. “I was with a cousin and another friend, and it was raining when we came out. Charley said he’d drive us to our car. “Later, when I called that cousin to tell her Charley and I were going to be married, I reminded her that it was all because of an umbrella. “I had left my umbrella in Charley’s car that day, and when he phoned later to say he had it, he asked me to lunch. . . .”

Today’s Child all began with a request to promote adoptions. It came from the Department of Welfare, which approached the managing editor of the Toronto Telegram, where Helen Allen worked for 42 years from her graduation in 1929 to the collapse of the Tely in 1971. “I was handed the assignment, and this was what we came up with. “There was considerable opposition from social workers at first. They felt it was too much like ‘selling’ children. “We planned to work closely with the Children’s Aid societies, but only three were prepared to take a chance at first: Toronto, Hamilton and Kenora. “We ran one column a day for three weeks 18 days. It was a real scramble to find enough children.

Actually, 23 youngsters were shown in those first three weeks, and 18 were adopted. “We took the summer off, on the assumption that people weren’t likely to undertake anything as critical as adoption in the summer.” There was an election coming up, too, and Allen, who had been a political reporter, was needed back on the beat. Today’s Child resumed in November. “For six weeks, they told me. That was 1 7 years ago.” Helen Allen smiles. “Out of every three letters we get, we figure there is one adoption. Not necessarily of the child inquired about in the letter, but the spark is activated.”

Allen sees and talks with as many of the children as possible, as well as with social workers, foster parents and the potential adoptive parents. “You never know what will trigger the adoption. The couple who have specified ‘a little girl, not over three,’ see a 13-year-old boy and the chemistry is right.” Did she ever consider adopting one of Today’s Children herself? “Certainly if this kind of thing had been going on when I was young, and if single parents were being considered, yes, I would have. “We have a single-parent adoption in the works right now. A single father. We have a boy who has said specifically that he wants a dad, and we’ve got some terrific ones!”

Allen has six godchildren, including two of Today’s, and has sponsored children through the Canadian Save the Children Fund. She sees no end to the need for a service like Today’s Child: “Babies, of course, are scarce, but there will always be children needing parents.” It’s because she has helped so many children and parents find one another that on April 28 the Pioneer Women of Toronto will present her with a plaque that acclaims her Spiritual Mother of the Year

Adoption crusader Helen Allen died in Toronto on Nov. 9, 2006 at the age of 99.

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa JournalOttawa, Ontario, Canada01 Sep 1967, Fri  •  Page 29

Today’s Child — A Look Back

Newspaper Columns of the Past- Today’s Child- Helen Allen

A Day With Children’s Aid in “Squatter’s Paradise” Tunney’s Pasture

Adoption 1960’s Style –MJ Whittaker

Today’s Child — A Look Back

Today’s Child — A Look Back

1979 Ottawa Citizen

The Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada28 Mar 1983, Mon  •  Page 13

Is Today’s Child still active?

Today’s Child

Today’s Child is a monthly photolisting feature published in the Toronto Star. It is a Ministry of Children and Youth Services program, supported by AdoptOntario™.

As a child-focused recruitment strategy, Today’s Child is intended to help raise awareness about the need for permanent families for children in foster care while also seeking a family for a specific child.

All Today’s Child publications in the Toronto Star must be approved by an adoption officer of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Private and International Adoption Unit, and a designate from the Communications Branch of that Ministry. The Toronto Star editorial department reserves the right to edit the profiles as some privacy laws dictate how a child is presented and may also dictate the wording that can be used to describe a child. AdoptOntario clinical coordinators work with the ministry staff to complete the column each month.

Newspaper Columns of the Past- Today’s Child- Helen Allen

Adoption 1960’s Style –MJ Whittaker

Sad Memories of the Waifs and Strays Society

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

Laundry Babies – Black Market Baby BMH 5-7-66

Did You Know About Dr. Barnardo’s Baby’s Castle? British Home Children — Home Boys

More Unwed Mother Stories — Peacock Babies

British Home Children – Quebec Assoc click

Ontario East British Home Child Family click

British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association click

The Wright Brothers– British Home Children

Home Boys and Family–Mallindine Family — Larry Clark

Clippings of the Barnardo Home Boys and Girls

Lily Roberts of Drummond The Rest of the Story

Remembering Evelyn Clark — Larry Clark

Remembering Evelyn Clark — Larry Clark
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
01 Feb 1969, Sat  •  Page 1

There was an attempt at some point to have my mother being given credit for her heroics for the house fire in 1969, but nothing came of it. ( read-The Heroine of Lake Ave East — 1969) Personally I just wanted to forget about it. All my efforts were directed to getting Dad back on his feet. The community helped considerably. As long as I can remember she looked after the children of others; in some part to supplement her income, but mostly because of her love of children in distress. It seemed to run in the family as her father Alfred was a “Home Boy” (Barnardos). (Read Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid)

Afred- The first photo is of my grandfather taken on his entry into Barnardos care–photo Larry Clark courtesy Lost and Found by BY JESSICA ROSE | NOVEMBER 27, 2017

My mother’s mother died of typhoid in 1917 (Smiths Falls Hospital but they lived on Moffat St) and a year later my mother and an older brother were put up for adoption. An older daughter was kept another 4 years, I believe the Spanish flu may have been a factor as my grandfather became ill and had trouble keeping the family together. Long story being chronicled somewhat by my granddaughter, currently living in Lisbon engaged in writing a book about her adoption and includes the Mallindine family history.  We were not told of this granddaughter until she was 38. She was adopted by a Jewish family and her name is Jessica Rose.. ( Lost and Found by BY JESSICA ROSE | NOVEMBER 27, 2017)

Larry Clark and his wife Beth 1958-photo Larry Clark courtesy Lost and Found by BY JESSICA ROSE | NOVEMBER 27, 2017 The other is of Beth and I taken in an upstair’s neighbours apt (above us)-first hame in France Aug 1959.

Related stories-The Heroine of Lake Ave East — 1969

Lost and Found by BY JESSICA ROSE | NOVEMBER 27, 2017

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
01 Feb 1969, Sat  •  Page 1

A woman and her 21-month-old granddaughter were killed and two other children thrown to safety near here Friday when fire tore through their frame farmhouse. Dead are Mrs. Evelyn Clark, 53, and Darlene Warren, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Warren who live in a farmhouse adjacent to the Clark home about one-half mile east of here.

Two foster children who had been living with the Clarks, Gilbert Warwick, 4, and David . Forget, 2, were flung from a second-storey bedroom window by Mrs. Clark before flames reached them. The children both were permanent wards of the Perth District Children’s Aid Society were not seriously injured. Gilbert is staying with friends of the family and David is under observation in Carleton Place and District Hospital.

Mrs. Clark was not seen at the bedroom window again and it is presumed she was engulfed in the flames as they spread through to the second floor as she was trying to rescue her granddaughter. The wood-frame house was an inferno in a matter of minutes, firemen from Beckwith volunteer fire department reported. Two hours after the 1.30 p.m. blaze was reported, the building was razed. . Mrs. Clark’s husband, Norman, 54, two of their own children and two other foster children were away from home at the time of the fire. Relatives said the granddaughter was staying with Mrs. Clark because her mother was undergoing surgery in hospital here. Fire Chief Bob Brooks said that by the time firefighters arrived at 1.40 p.m. there was little they could do. Cause of the fire is under investigation by the Ontario. Fire Marshal’s Office. Lanark County Coroner Dr. W. J. Hanham has ordered an inquest into the deaths.

Larry Clark Memories : Billings Bridge, Willow Trees and the Orange Lodge

Glory Days in Carleton Place– Larry Clark

Larry Clark — Your Veribest Agent

A Personal Story — Caught in the Ice– Rocky Point- Larry Clark

A Day With Children’s Aid in “Squatter’s Paradise” Tunney’s Pasture

A Day With Children’s Aid in  “Squatter’s Paradise” Tunney’s Pasture

North end of Parkdale Avenue shanties. Photo CA-19803 courtesy of the City of Ottawa archives

Author’s Note- Aside from a few photographs there is hardly a trace that remains of the Tunney’s Pasture shanty village (the north end of Tunney’s along the Ottawa River) that existed for 25 years.

The poor constructed makeshift homes with cardboard, tar paper, and were built with earth floors, no electricity, no water, and of course no sanitation. The residents of Squatters Paradise as it was called, scoured Hintonburg and Wellington Village for anything they could use to improve their homes.

1943- It was under friendly compulsion that I spent a day with the Children’s Aid Society. Mrs. M. Jean Henshaw, executive director, had been “hounding” me for months to see the clinic and travel with the social service worker on her rounds. 

It was an experience I will never forget, and my admiration for the social service worker has grown by leaps and bounds. Unless one has actually visits the Children’s Aid Society when a clinic is in progress, and travelled on their regular rounds, there really is no conception of the type of service offered the community by this society.  

In the clinic chubby and very thin little children who looked worried were coming in for their regular examination by the clinic doctor. There was much crying at first. But the woman doctor in charge who is also a mother, intrigued the youngsters with a doll and a rattle, and soon gurgles and laughter were heard as the child was weighed and given a check-over. 

The increase in the work of the Children’s Aid Society in Ottawa may be gauged by the figures since the outbreak of war. Prior to September, 1939, the Children’s Aid Society cared for 140 families a month, and during the past month there were 773 families, involving 3,000 children. Members of the staff have doubled. In Ottawa and Carleton county there are some 400 foster homes, and some of these people have been persuaded to care for as many as six children at a time. 

They receive $15 to $18 a month per child and the society clothes them and provides for additional expenditures. Considering the number of children that pass through the agency in a day, it is extraordinary the amount of sympathy and personal supervision that is given them. If the child comes in for examination, each foster mother has to bring the child in at stated intervals. If the child is found to be underweight, cod liver oil and vitamins are supplied. Teeth are examined and, if necessary, the foster mother is told to take the child to the dental clinic. 

When an underweight child is found to have taken a dislike to porridge, orange juice and the necessary vitamin foods, other means are found to give them to her. Sometimes a child is being cared for by a foster mother, and her own parents are able to have her home again. Prior to this she is given a thorough examination and checking. 

Each morning a member of the May Court Club helps in the clinic at the Children’s Aid Society. An average of six new complaints are received and investigated each day by the society. By law these complaints have to be investigated, regardless of the person involved. If objections raised are too strong, the police assist and it has been found that the people who object the most are usually those who are guilty of neglect. 

Children’s Aid Society officers have been chased with knives and threatened with everything “under the sun”– but they remain placid “under fire,” and never give in. They see terrible sights. Children neglected, neither fed nor clothed, while the mother is out drinking or playing cards. They are on duty day and night, because complaints of crying children from neighbours’ houses often come in the middle of the night. Emergency placements are now often made by families who ordinarily would never have called on the Children’s Aid Society.

The mother may be taken seriously ill and with no maid in the home is helpless unless aid is given to her by the society. When we started on our visit we went first to a “squatter’s pasture” which is situated more than half a mile from the street, and we had to tramp through slush to see these children. The plight of the people living in these hovels is appalling. There are about 10 of them; drinking water is unavailable and they carry their water from the Ottawa river, having cut holes in the ice. Sanitation, of course, is lacking. 

shanty Village at Tunney’s Pasture

The people in “Squatter’s Pasture” have been forced to live there because of the housing shortage in Ottawa. The trip was made, essentially, to see that children in one family are attending school. High rubber boots were needed and the people in the huts were living in veritable individual Noah’s Arks. The water was at least three feet deep. 

Some of the “houses” are made of tar paper, over soft wood; some with a window, some without and one with a blanket for a door. I could imagine how the wind howled through the blanket when the weather was registering about 25 below zero. In one eight by twelve house a man, his wife and newborn babe exist. It has a door, but no window. The home we called at was about 18 by 18 which sheltered a father, mother and four children. They sleep on a three-quarter bed and a cot. The father has a job and receives about $12 a week. To go to school in Nepean, the children have to walk three miles. If they attend an Ottawa school, and because they live “over the line,” the father has to pay $4 per month per child and he finds this price prohibitive. 

A boy of 14. with dirty face and unkempt hair, opened the door at the next house visited. He was staying home from school to keep the children, while his parents were out working. The call had been from the neighbours that the younger children were not being properly looked after. The worker found that one child, lying in an untidy cot had hurt her hand. “She just ran a nail into it,” casually said the boy and the worker recommended that it be thoroughly washed and cleaned and said she would get in touch with the parents when they came home from work.

Dec 2, 1952 Ottawa Journal

Another way in which society helps is to budget civilians’ and soldiers wives. The next call was made to a soldier’s wife, whose husband is overseas, and who had asked for aid. She had been sick and has a couple of children going to school, and just wasn’t making ends meet. So the worker called to give aid in budgeting.

 An adoption case was the next on the program of the worker and a sympathetic hearing was given to the mother in the case, who did not want her child adopted. The child wanted to be adopted by the people who had “raised” him. Each problem presented to the society is an individual one, and has to be worked out to suit its own situation. Children are cared for from the time they are born until they are 16 years of age if necessary. 

A typical recent emergency is one of a boy aged 14, who arrived in town from another province. He had an accident and was taken to a hospital. The society was notified and after much trouble finally located the boy (who certainly might be termed as “difficult”) in a foster home on a farm. Finally his uncle was located and he was put on the train and sent home. This is just a typical day at the Children’s Aid trying to deal with the shanty town.

North end of Parkdale Avenue shanties. Photo CA-19803 courtesy of the City of Ottawa archives

Also read-When Low Income was Really Low Income– Tragedy in Lanark County– the 60s

Tragedy of the 60s — Cole Family Fire

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
15 Aug 1942, Sat  •  Page 19


Relief of the Destitute Poor in Ireland — Names Names Names

When Low Income was Really Low Income– Tragedy in Lanark County– the 60s

Some Memories of Irishtown

Union Almonte and Ramsay Contagious Hospital — “The Pest House”

Tragedy of the 60s — Cole Family Fire

Dark Moments in Ottawa History- Porter Island

Did Typhoid Come from Sinks? Lanark County Dilema..

Canadians Just Wanted to Use me as a Scullery-Maid

Irish Immigrant Girls Were in Demand Despite Hard Times

Poor Journalism or Mistaken Identity?

He Fired the Barn! The Orphans of Carleton Place

Great Social Evils —The Contagious Diseases Act of Canada