The provincial ombudsman will now be able to look into any complaints about a cash-strapped Children's Aid Society in southwestern Ontario.
Andre Marin's office said the ombudsman has jurisdiction over the Huron-Perth Children's Aid Society, now that the provincial government has appointed a supervisor for the agency.
Children and Youth Services Minister Laurel Broten announced this week that she has appointed an interim manager to replace the Stratford, Ont.-based society's board of directors.
Normally, the ombudsman does not have jurisdiction over children's aid societies in Ontario.
But Marin's office said that changes when the provincial government takes direct control, since the ombudsman has jurisdiction over the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
The Huron-Perth agency — which serves almost 450 families each month — has said it's not getting enough money from the province and expects to shut down Dec. 15.
It says the province's funding formula is flawed, leaving it with a projected $1.3-million deficit and a large debt, despite program and staff cuts.
Marin's office said in a release that Ontario is the only province in Canada whose ombudsman does not have a mandate to oversee child protection services.
"Despite this, the ombudsman's office receives many serious complaints about these agencies every year that cannot be investigated," the release said.
A total of 296 complaints about children's aid societies were received in fiscal 2009-10, the ombudsman's office said.Complaints about the Huron-Perth Children's Aid Society or any provincial government service or agency may be made to the ombudsman's office at 1-800-263-1830, or via an online complaint form.