Welcome to Colleen's Advocacy
Hi, I am Colleen Deroache, RN. I intend to use this web page generously provided by PAPA to share some of my experience in dealing with trauma created by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD, the "child protection" agency in British Columbia, Canada). I hope that parents could benefit by not making wrong decisions during MCFD intervention.
While I recognize that there are children who need protection, we also need to prevent harmful unnecessary state-sponsored child removals based on faulty information. Materials below outlines what I think are needed to improve "child protection" for the sake of the children in British Columbia.
- Collecting stories
It is imperative to document as many cases as possible for the following reasons:
- To share possible scenarios with clients of MCFD
- To relate these scenarios to child protection staff, political members, community members and media.
- To look at trends, similarities and commonalities among these cases.
- Raising Public Awareness
In order to make ameliorative changes in child protection matters we need support from:
- people who have not had dealings with MCFD and unaware of the true nature of "child protection";
- people who are of good standing within the community;
- people who are able and willing to help financially.
To prevent inappropriate apprehensions
- We need to inform parents and children of their rights;
- We need to support parents during hearings and trials;
- We need to attend appointments with MCFD to ensure proper communication between the parents, social workers and lawyers.
- We need to provide emotional support in order to help parents continue to exercise their rights without giving up.
Prevention is the first step in making changes. The more people that put up a fight, the harder it will be for MCFD to intervene inappropriately. MCFD is abusing their authority in many aspects. These include acting above laws (for instance contravening provisions of both CFCSA and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act). This prevents children from receiving decisions that serve their best interests as intended by the legislations.
- False information
- Social workers may collect information from various sources including ex-spouses and neighbors. Without verifying whether it is true or not, they can share such information with employers, extended family, children, friends, and neighbors.
- Social workers can access personal information (including medical and prescription drug records of all family members without their knowledge) even if there is no proof that parents are guilty of abuse or neglect. They can use the information against a parent in court even if the records are obsolete and irrelevant. These records can include criminal records, medical records, probation records, psychiatric reports, pharmacare reports, and school files.
- Court proceedings
- Despite what MCFD would like you to believe, "child protection" social workers do not need proof that their information is correct before testifying in court.
- Social workers are allowed to use hearsay evidence in court. They can quote a physician, police officer or any other community professional without providing the necessary documentation to back up their claims.
- MCFD does not always serve parents with court documents or disclosure in time for the parent to prepare for court. In some cases, parents are not even aware that a court date was set until after it has already taken place and an order was made.
- Parents have little opportunity to defend themselves against the allegations made. A protection hearing is supposed to be held within 45 days. However, MCFD often tries to get a case conference booked which can delay the protection hearing for months, years or permanently. The protection hearing is the only fair opportunity a parent will have to defend themselves. Parents should fight for their right to have a protection hearing no matter how hard lawyers and social workers try to talk them out of it. Lawyers or social workers may tell the parent not to go to trial because the outcome will be worse than if trial is avoided. GET YOUR DAY IN COURT.
- Agreements and Consents
Social workers use different tactics to get parents to agree to consents for temporary care, supervision orders and continuing custody orders. Social workers may tell parents they have no other choice but to consent. They may tell parents that all access and visitation with their child will be cut off until they agree to sign MCFD's consent. One of the problems with parents signing consents that they don't agree with is that it may be used against them in future court proceedings. For example:
A parent unwillingly consents to a six month temporary custody order because they are told that if they do not consent, their child will be found in need of protection and they will be in foster care even longer. In six months when the temporary order is up for review, the parent goes back to court and is told that MCFD wants an extension for another six month order. The parent disagrees but the judge questions why the parent agreed to putting their child in foster care in the first place. Typically, another six month order is granted.
I made a series of video which can be found in PAPA's Parental Support page and in youTube. Information therein could be helpful to those who are interested to find out the true nature of "child protection" from those who actually received the "services" of MCFD.
If you have any questions, I can be reached at 250-590-8708 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was going through a difficult separation after a long, abusive relationship with a man who finally told me he was gay. I asked him to move out and he wouldn’t. His whole family was being abusive towards me and my children.
My ex-mother-in-law physically assaulted me in front of my children one day so I decided it was time to take action. I went to a safe house thinking that they would be able to help me relocate to a city close by just to put some distance between me and my ex-family.
After arriving at the safe house, my ex-husband called police and told them I had ran away with the children and was crazy enough to murder them. The Ministry of Children and Families came to interview me and the children at the safe house. I was locked in for twenty-three days. I was not allowed to leave with the children. I was not allowed to enroll them in school or anything and it was later used against me in court that my children did not attend school for those twenty-three days.
My ex-husband had always told me that if I tried to leave I would never see the children again but I thought of it as an idle threat. He said he had a friend who was a judge that would see to it that I never saw them again. I didn’t know at the time, but he also had a sister who worked for the Ministry of Children and Families as a child protection social worker.
We left the safe house when MCFD finally ended their investigation and were going to move into a three bedroom apartment but a few days later, I had a seizure while walking downtown with my youngest child. I was taken to emergency where social workers involved in my case had discussions with the doctor. They told him that I was drug addicted and had muchausins disease and was probably not sick at all. I was released from the hospital only to return in the early morning hours to have major, emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder and stones blocking my liver and intestines…something the doctor may have found earlier if social workers had not intervened. My liver and pancreas were so swollen that a specialist had to get involved.
The children were removed the night of the surgery and given to my ex-husband. I never got a protection hearing or any trial at all. Custody was given to my ex-husband a month later without any court proceedings. Seven years later, my children have still not been returned to my care.
I was forced to have supervised access due to allegations that I was a drug addict suffering from ‘munchausins’ disease and that I was mentally unstable. Although my ex-husband made these allegations, he never had any proof and never once took the stand in a courtroom.
He rarely ever lived up to the court ordered access agreements and I hardly ever saw my children for the first three years. My ex-husband constantly told the children negative things about me and tried very hard to turn them against me. To this day one of them does not talk to me.