(This is an interview and article I wrote and pitched for my final assignment last year in my Journalism class)
Alicia Boisvert, a 27-year old mother of two children, had her world torn apart when her children were wrongfully taken into the care of MCFD (Ministry of Children and Family Development) on April 8th, 2014.
Her baby at the time was returned to her care more than 30-days later. The oldest, however, was ripped from the only home he had ever known, forced to be apart from his mother and brother for five years in an abusive foster home and was finally returned to Boisvert on
March 7th, 2019, after a long and gruelling battle with the MCFD.
“Our family is very busy today, a lot of fixing, to be honest, re-cooperating. We didn’t have any involvement with our oldest son because of the MCFD; the whole family needed to adjust to Trayton being home again,” Boisvert said.
In 2014 Boisvert was at a crucial point in her health, battling a tumour and other serious health issues that needed surgery and recovery time. She had no family alive, to help so she took advice from a good friend and reached out to MCFD by writing them an email on
April 6th, 2014. Two days later, there was a knock on her door; a social worker came into her home asking her to take a drug test and said they would go over the paperwork of the agreement.
“I told the worker that I don’t have a problem with getting a drug test. I said, “let’s go,” the kids were at daycare; I got in the car with the social worker. Thinking back over my youth file, the only time I had anything was only for survival as a child, so this information should never come into play in this case, to begin with. I thought, let’s clear whatever they need clearing, then let’s focus on my son,” Boisvert said.
Trayton, who was 4.5-years old at the time, suffered from behavioural issues. The daycare informed Boisvert that he needed a higher level of care than what they can provide. They said she needed to find him a suitable place. Her youngest baby was fine and did not have any issues. Trayton’s birth was traumatic; they had to use forceps, which caused some brain damage. With Boisvert’s upcoming surgeries, Trayton needed to be placed somewhere fast, plus he needed to be assessed, but the waitlists were long. Both she and her partner Frank Chartrand agreed that calling the MCFD was the best choice at the time.
On that traumatic day, the worker pulled out the paperwork that Boisvert signed. It was a VCA (voluntary care agreement), on the basis that she had the right to revoke it at any time; the second part of that agreement was to have full involvement in all of Trayton’s appointments.
The workers had her VCA agreement, and on April 8th, 2014, they picked her children up. That was the last she saw of her son Trayton except for sporadic supervised visits for the next five years, the drug testing results eventually came back clear.
“I had no idea where my children were. At this point I am calling around desperately asking what is going on. The response I got was well, the file’s changed. I said, what are you talking about? They said well, the file has been changed to a ‘removal’ and they gave me a court date, with no other explanation.” Boisvert said.
The battle had just begun, not only was Boisvert fighting for her life, she was fighting to get her oldest child back. After years of court dates and mediations, many adjournments and custody hearings, MCFD was taking her to court for a CCO (continuing custody order) so they could adopt her son out. They lied to her, and bullied her the whole time despite the odd social worker who was kind and tried to help. She ended up getting a better legal aid lawyer who got an adjournment which was crucial to getting her son back.
Trayton is now 9-years old. He has unspecified neurodevelopmental disorder with ADHD-Combined Type, which is a very tough diagnosis. that one can have, they can work with Trayton using various combined skills. The family is relieved that Trayton is finally getting the help they wanted years ago.
“I have recently seen a lot of people who got their child back who agreed to the MCFD’s terms even though they didn’t do what they were accused of. They got their child home, they agreed that they did something that they didn’t do that follows them for the rest of their life. I adjourned that CCO case I sacrificed time because at the end of the day although my son’s back home there’s a lot of trauma we are working through, it is really about holding the ministry accountable.” Boisvert said.
I made a genuine and reasonable effort to contact Katrine Conroy, MLA for the Ministry of Children and Families, and John Horgan, Premier of BC, for comment and MCFD policy verification; however, they did not get back to me despite many attempts. The MCFD client relations referred me to contact one of their front-line social workers, who stated; she is not to talk to the media.