Essay 3 Part 2

by Christine Reeves

Blackhole within the Ministry of Children and Family Development for Some Families

Millions of dollars are used in court, battling parents in public hearings, adjournments, and trials. The Ministry of Children and Families (MCFD) must go to court to assume guardianship until the matter is set for another public hearing to prove the child/children need protection.

“Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) Total expenditures in MCFD for 2019/20 will reach $2.06 billion—increasing a further $272.3 million (+15.2%) over last year. The budget will increase again.” (5) (6)

“While the above measures account for the bulk of new ministry spending in 2019/20, expenditures in child safety, family support and children in care services also increased by $41.8 million, in 2019/20 (+6.5), and by a further $8 million (+1.2%) in each of the two remaining years of the fiscal plan,” (5) (6) BCGEU Budget Analysis 2019/20 BC Government Employee Union.

I read an article in Globe and Mail about a mother named S; she lost custody of her children over a fight with her husband, the father, which cost them their three children to MCFD. One would have to read their entire story to understand the grave blackhole this family is enduring due to the social workers who bulldozed their way in and have her newborn. Their baby’s name is M; the province owns her. Mother S breastfed her baby in a room at the hospital. It cost $60,000 to remain in the hospital, but because of violence and MCFD not trying to work out a solution, instead, they removed baby M and placed her in care and mother S was not allowed to bring her baby home.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-bc-indigenous-child-welfare-fight/

I cannot catch my breath when my heart lies outside my body, the sheer beauty of a woman is to bear a child in her womb. Yet, the evil in the world destroys the very hope of a unified grace of ‘family.’ The government is legally stealing babies and children by a higher system in the MCFD. They bully their workers and have the power over the innocent. What happens is that they adopt children who are loved and foster children out who are not unwanted or unloved. Who are these wolves in sheep clothing that bear gifts to the innocent and destroy the hearts of mothers while running from violent husbands? As soon as you are in an abusive relationship, you are immediately on the MCFD radar.

“Total Revenue: $681,101; MCFD (Ministry of Children and Family Development), contracts and grants $650,293, grants, donations and other income $30,808. Total expenses: $715,834; staff run great programs $401,293, supplies for great programs $120,501, lights and everything working, $194,087. Thank you, everyone, for your contributions to another wonderful year for our community and the youth in care movement.” Federation of Youth in Care – Pamphlet

Fbcyicn.ca annual report 2016-217, Debbie Cox Board Chair

Women get free makeovers and a free card to get their hair done. Meanwhile, the battered women’s husband hires a lawyer to fight for custody of their child. Mothers get passes to go swimming and a safe place to be; meanwhile, the ex-husband, who has a lot of money, begins to build a case against the mother. She, of course, must represent herself, then when that fails, she gets legal aid. Unfortunately, most legal aid lawyers are incompetent in the courts or end up siding with the MCFD. Why is that? I don’t know? The very government was against one particular mother who we will call D regardless of the truth. You see, places like the women’s shelter are good at providing passes to get clothing for cheap, passes for makeovers; they can even help you flee your abusive partner. They have a witness after abuse program for the kids at the Kelowna Women Shelter they provide excellent housing.

“I went to a group session that happened every week for mothers who left their abusive husbands, a program that runs through what was known as the Kelowna Family Counseling Centre. What I began to notice about this group were women who lost their children to the MCFD, and some lost custody of their child and were given custody to their abusive husbands. I asked the counsellor if I was in the wrong group because these women aren’t just women who are abused; they are women who lost their children.” Cecile said.

“Central Okanagan Emergency Shelter Society, statement of operations, for the year of March 2018, Revenue $2, 010,818.” (P11)

This non-for-profit society refers women to MCFD, just as some lawyers represent MCFD and work for legal aid. Where does one go for the right kind of help? The parody of it all is that mothers get to do the right thing, then get penalized for speaking out about it in court. For mothers, this is a no-win situation except for MCFD, who has the funding to take families to court and adopt their child/children out or force their children into foster care, the foster parents who have these children through MCFD get paid for it. We, citizens, are informed by how MCFD reveals themselves to the public by so-called ‘experts. I am learning through my research that MCFD is the breeding ground for ‘bullying social workers’ and misguided policies.

“After my son disclosed sexual abuse, we were ordered for testing and more testing by MCFD, who told us we had to go to the scan clinic. When the director took me to court, they told the judge that I put my child through the emotional trauma of having numerous exams and too many appointments to doctors. You see, I had to follow procedures presented before me; otherwise, I wouldn’t get to see my son. These orders came by the MCFD, the RCMP and guided by Elizabeth Fry Society.” Cecile said.

“Removal of child 30 (1) A director may, without a court order, remove a child if the director has reasonable grounds to believe that the child needs protection and that (b) no other less disruptive measure that is available is adequate to protect the child,”

Child, Family and Community Service Act [RSBC 1996] Chapter 46 Part 3 Child Protection, Removal of a child section 30 http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_96046_01#section30 Copyright (c) Queen’s Printer, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

“why does my daddy hurt me, I never did anything to him why does he hurt me” her son screamed, crying on her bed. What is a mother to do? When those very authorities are the ones who add abuse to the abused and traumatize the family on a much graver twisted level?” Cecile wept.

Reason to believe can be any abuse; the more a person reads the MCFD Protection of Children Act and the pamphlet, the more horrific this can be for good families and parents who flee domestic violence. Why is this horrific? Because there is no way to protect the parent from being abused by the other parent. Why? Because it all boils down to one thing: he said, she said, and the MCFD bring their findings to the court in the best interest of the child/dren without proper investigation discussion and proper guidance. The MCFD has gotten so huge that they are adding more locations in every town and city to prey on families who get on their radar.

“What does ‘Reason to Believe’ mean? ‘Reason to believe’ means that based on what you have seen or information you have received, you believe a child or youth has been or is likely to be at risk. You do not need to be certain. It is the child protection worker’s job to determine whether abuse or neglect has occurred or is likely to occur,”

Duty to Report Pamphlet: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/public-safety/protecting-children/t15-0191_dutytoreport_pamphlet11x85in2folds.pdf

These black holes leave open for directors that do not follow proper protocol. They leave a child’s life in the hands of social workers and team leaders who aren’t monitored or reviewed. There is no other person to oversee these social workers that may be themselves abusive.

“You pissed the MCFD workers off, all you need to do is tell them you will never go to the police again, and you can keep your son. That’s all they want to hear; that’s all the judge wants to hear you say.” Cecile’s lawyer said in a tiny room at the courthouse.

Bullying from legal aid lawyers, lawyers who work for MCFD, and judges who rule for MCFD make the family court look like a shooting gallery to good parents. Powerless overpowers that hold their child’s life in the hands of a system that does not love their child but sees an opportunity to adopt these children out or foster them because they can.

“I looked for you forever, and a night, I couldn’t find where you went, mommy, your too far away.” Cecile’s child said on the phone through her ex-husband’s cell phone.

“Mommy, I was looking for you with my bare feet and pyjamas at night, and I called for you, but you weren’t there, and you didn’t come to get me,” Alicia’s child said. She heard this from her son after a traumatic 5-year battle in court with the MCFD, who kept making new orders and hearings to try to adopt her son out for all those years. MCFD dollars paid for all court hearings and adjournments and their lawyer fees and paid the foster parent who abused her son, all for what? Long overdue justice? There are still women who are losing their children to the MCFD, and no one is looking into this seriously. Our tax money is going to a child kidnapping business under the disguise of helping families stay with families.

One mother called MCFD because the other mother wouldn’t allow her son to play with her daughter. After all, they weren’t getting along. A few years back, this mother lost custody of her son because her abusive husband made a call to MCFD to ensure she was on their radar. They did no investigation; she ended up seeing her child in a room under supervision. She didn’t do drugs or drinks and did nothing to her son except being a good mother (anonymous mother still fighting to get her child back). How horrific is that to happen to one mother who lost her child because of a mentally unstable neighbour, later proved. Her son is still in the hands of her abusive ex-husband.

“He needs to have his nightlight on, and he takes two puffs of his Q-VAR puffer at night; he needs a humidifier; otherwise, it’s much too dry. He usually gets storytime and a song to help him sleep at night.” Cecile said. She placed a letter inside the bag with her son’s belongings, his favourite stuffy’s, and his medical bag. She tried to protect her son; she did what she was told to do by the MCFD social workers and doctors. She even followed the advice from the Kelowna Women’s shelter. She tried to work with her ex-husband, unfortunately in abusive relationships, there is no communicating or co-parenting in abuse.

“In situations of violence against women in relationships, the abusive man and/or his family often control the partner by threatening her with the removal of her children and then reporting her to a child welfare worker. Some abusive partners involved in custody and access situations will report the mother to a child welfare worker in an attempt to build a ‘better case’ against her. The motivation of the reports may be an attempt to control the mother as opposed to a realistic concern for the children’s safety and well being although this can also occur. If the reporter is a current or estranged partner, be cognizant of the preceding dynamics and complete a careful assessment of all of the pertinent information.” (9)

Best Practice Approaches Child Protection and Violence against Women https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/public-safety/protecting-children/best_practice_approaches_policy.pdf

Money flowed down from

Monsters who creep in the night

Who keep watch over your life?

Too scared to talk

Too scared to move

The workers might hear me

All I want is my mother

The workers bear gifts

Then yell at me

Who can hear me when I call?

All I want is my mother

written by a mother

The rich man stands while the poor mother bends, the pride is tall, but the poor are bent.

The mother who loves is bent and weak, but her heart stands tall as she stammers and fights to gather her sheep from the bad wolves who came to devour them. It Makes one think about the Disney movie called Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, about a single parent father, who loves his children very much but the child snatcher comes to town and steals his children and he goes and fights for them. Who will fight for the parents who somehow fall under MCFD radar who are loving? Who is the one to save the children from the big bad wolf?

This is going on in Canada. These indigenous families and those who are suffering from violence in their relationships who have children are losing custody when they are loving parents. I can only guess that after all is said and done, it must be power and money? What other reason is there? I don’t have those answers. I have the solution, change the Child Protection Act, make the MCFD accountable, and bring children who are wrongfully taken back to their loving parents.

Work Citation

BCGEU Budget Analysis 2019/20 BC Government Employee Union

Macdonald, Nancy, 2019, “No way out: How a mother is fighting to keep her Indigenous children out of care”, The Globe and Mail Newspaper

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-bc-indigenous-child-welfare-fight/

Debbie Cox, Board Chair, Federation of Youth in Care – Pamphlet, fbcyicn.ca annual report 2016/17, https://fbcyicn.ca/sites/default/files/Annual%20Report%2C%202016-2017.pdf

Fidalgo, Roberta, President of the Board, Mason, Karen, Executive Director, 2018 KWS (Kelowna Women’s Shelter), Annual Report 2018, page 11

Child, Family and Community Service Act [RSBC 1996] Chapter 46 Part 3 Child Protection, Removal of a child section 30 http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_96046_01#section30

Copyright © Queen’s Printer, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Government of BC Canada, Ministry of Children Family Development, Ministry of Family Duty to Report Pamphlet

For more information, see our website at: http://www.gov.bc.ca/mcfd

Reeves 10

Best Practice Approaches Child Protection and Violence against Women, Policy, Minister of Children and Family Development (P9)

Mothers I have met through the women I have come to know and care about but will not divulge their last name for safety (quotes from them: Cecile, Alicia, and unknown mother)

Published by Okanagan Valley View

Mother, SFO, daughter, sister, friend, volunteer, Invincible Housing, SSVP, Employee for Interior Health

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