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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70339 Find in a Library
Title: Viking Homes Saga - Group Home Placements for Juveniles
Journal: Canadian Journal of Family Law  Volume:1  Issue:1  Dated:(1978)  Pages:126-148
Author(s): M F McLellan
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 23
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: The article examines a 1977 ruling by the Ontario High Court that juvenile courts have no jurisdiction to place a juvenile in a group home operated by a private corporation.
Abstract: Group homes for juvenile delinquents have been used in the United States and Canada since World War II to fill the gap between foster homes and institutional care. In Canada, private corporate bodies have been more successful than Government agencies in developing imaginative group programs, and many judges have preferred placing children in these facilities. Furthermore, juvenile court judges have the statutory power to provide funding for such placements, and since families rarely are able to pay for this care, the financial burden falls on the municipality. In 1975, two Ontario municipalities challenged the authority of the court to order placements in Viking Homes, group facilities run by a large corporation. The decision of the appeal court favoring the municipalities could seriously limit group homes as an alternative program for juveniles. By analyzing provisions of the Juvenile Delinquents Act, the paper criticizes the rationales underlying the judicial decision, giving particular attention to the definitions of a person, the application of ejusdem generis rule, and whether a probation officer can constitute a genis. Court decisions in the United States and Canada which defined a family home are discussed, as is the basket clause in the Act which appears to grant the court the widest possible discretion in juvenile dispositions. The appeals judge ruled that the basket clause premitted the court to impose conditions other than committal or placement orders because they were covered by other sections of the law. This interpretation is challenged by two cases which concerned the exhaustiveness of statute subsections in relation to a basket clause and which found that the latter was not limited. Significant restrictions in the remedial statutes could destroy the corporate run group homes as a proven rehabilitative tool in the juvenile system. Footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Canada; Judicial decisions; Juvenile courts; Juvenile group houses; Ontario; State courts
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