Shelter Worker Receives Stand Up for Kids Award

Contact: Media only

Rob Thompson 
Director, Communications 
Children’s Aid Society of Toronto 
(416) 924-4646 ext. 2086

Anne Rappé 
Manager, Communications 
Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto 
(416) 395-1506 

Award recognizes those who take action against child abuse

(TORONTO, ON) – Dhurata Beqo makes sure that children and their moms stay out of the line of fire.  By explaining the role of child welfare workers to abused women, Dhurata paves the way so that mothers get the help they need and their children are protected from abuse and neglect.  Ms. Beqo, Program Manager of The Red Door Shelter, was recognized for her efforts at The 8th annual Stand Up for Kids Award, sponsored by Toronto’s four Children’s Aid Societies and presented by the Honourable Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth Services as part of October’s Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“Dhurata Beqo’s efforts demonstrate that by working together, we can keep Ontario’s kids safe.  Child welfare professionals depend on community partners like the Red Door Shelter to break down barriers which ultimately mean children get the help they need sooner,” said Minister of Children and Youth Services, Laurel Broten.

Domestic violence is a factor in approximately 40% of cases that are referred to Toronto’s Children’s Aid Societies.   Exposure to domestic violence was the second highest category of maltreatment after neglect according to the Ontario Incidence Study of Abuse and Neglect in 2003.  

“Leaving an abusive relationship is terrifying.  By explaining that child welfare professionals are there to help, Ms. Beqo breaks down the stereotype that we break apart families.” said David Rivard, Chief Executive Officer, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.  “Women are more receptive to our help and in turn, we can work with them to create a plan to keep their children safe,” added Rivard. 
“Child safety is paramount,” said Mary Juric, Director of Service, Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.  “Children have a right to live free of violence and the emotional harm that comes with it,” she added.  We can connect women and children to the resources they need to be safe.  Once children and their moms are safe, they can focus on the future without fear.”
Dhurata Beqo has worked at Red Door since 2001.  “Victims of domestic violence risk everything for the safety of their children,” said Beqo.  It’s our job, shelter staff and CAS staff, to work together effectively so that these women do not feel victimized all over again.”  

Since 1982, the Red Door has provided services for families and individuals who need safe and supportive emergency shelter. These include women who have experienced violence at home, families who get evicted, refugees, or young mothers who may have nowhere to go. The people who use Red Door are moms with children; followed by intact families, and dads with children. 

The Stand Up for Kids Award was presented at Queen’s Park today.  Since 2002, the award has recognized local heroes who take action to prevent child abuse and neglect.   

Over the past year, the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, (CAS of Toronto), Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CCAS), Jewish Family and Child Service and Native Child and Family Service of Toronto have investigated more than 10,000 cases of suspected child abuse or neglect, and provided care for more than 40,000 area children.