On 14 July 2015, the Supreme Court of B.C. handed down an unprecedented judgment J.P. v. British Columbia (Children and Family Development), 2015 BCSC 1216. This is the first case in Canadian legal history in which child protection workers are found liable for misfeasance in public office, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of the standard of care. Findings therein confirm our views and support the merit of our cause. Continuous litigations between JP and the MCFD are summarized in JP Aftermath. Our commentary on the Plecas Review Part 1: Decision Time was published on 4 January 2016. If you have evidence of misfeasance or abuse of children in foster care, please come forward and contact us.
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Removal of a 9-Year Old Autistic Girl in Abbotsford, British Columbia (16 June 2011)
Derek and his 9-year old Ayn in a happy moment before removal
Derek Hoare is a single father of of three wonderful young children, aged 9, 10 and 11. He and his children reside in Abbotsford, British Columbia. His youngest two children have both been diagnosed with severe autism. Though a constant and challenging struggle, Derek has done his best to protect and nurture them. He loves them so much and has dedicated his life to their achievement of happiness.
His youngest child is a bright and beautiful little spitfire named Ayn. She is autistic and is blossoming so well here at home and has come so far to overcome her obvious disability. She does however continue to struggle and outburst when in other environments, particularly at school. Ayn is naive and unaware of the dangers that exist in the world at large, so when on 12 June 2011 (Sunday) she escaped the backyard, Derek was very worried for her safety. With each passing moment the likelihood that something terrible had happened increased, as Ayn should stand out from other children easily and should have been quickly spotted. Fortunately Ayn was discovered two doors down playing in a neighbours backyard, the neighbour had taken an afternoon nap which provided Ayn with the ability to play undisturbed.
The challenges Derek faces in caring for his children have been encompassing and life altering. These challenges are very dynamic and new challenges arise as fast as the old one depart. Now with her discovery of the neighbors nearby trampoline and pool, she will undoubtedly seek to return there. Vigilance will be required to face this new found challenge. It is one which the father must now face.
At the point of writing, Derek may never get that opportunity. On the following Thursday (16 June 2011) after the Sunday incident, two "child protection" workers from the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) arrived at the family home to request that Derek "voluntarily" gives up Ayn over to them (she was at school at the time). If he refused, they would simply coercively remove her. There should be no illusions when someone approaches you and says "give me your child or I'm taking her by force", it is not a voluntary choice.
The "child protection" workers did not argue that Ayn was abused or neglected. They simply asserted that the overwhelming responsibility of a single father and that Ayn's naiveness is a danger to herself. To reduce Derek's workload, Ayn should be removed. The despaired father was shocked to learn that Ayn was not placed in a foster home but in a specialized hospital until she is stabilized. Up till 18 days after removal, Derek has not been given an update of Ayn's situation.
Derek loves his children and protects them. The greatest blessing this little girl is to be nurtured in her loving home. She loves it there, she loves her brothers and she loves her father.
The school principal is sympathetic to Derek. When he asked for a letter of support, the principal contacted her supervisor and was prohibited to give the requested letter or to further comment on the family's situation. The principal was warned that acting contrary to this instruction would be insubordination and will lead to dismissal.
Psychotropic Drug on Ayn
On 6 July 2011, Mr. Hoare was told by the ministry staff in a meeting that Ayn has been administered a psychotropic drug called
Risperdal. The drugging began on 19 June 2011, less than 72 hours after her removal. The father opposes the drugging and has asked the Ministry to provide information on why Ayn needs the drug, the dosage given, how it is administered and how often to his child. He was told that it would take a day to get this information. However, no information has been given as of 25 July 2011.
While the precise medical reason of administering the drug is unclear, the following adverse side effects of Risperdal are well known: weight gain, akathisia, sedation, dysphoria, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, muscle stiffness, muscle pain, tremors, increased salivation, constipation, and stuffy nose (source of information: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
Most Canadians have no or little knowledge of what MCFD does. They naively assume that "child protection" workers are angels of light to children in need and refuse to believe that there is structural corruption in the Ministry and the "child protection" industry. Few people or organizations have the courage and the social conscience to second guess decisions from the Ministry. Fear, ignorance, apathy, blind faith and trust in government contribute to the success of the industry.
Like most Canadians, Derek is a firm believer of civil liberty. He did not believe that a free and democratic government will remove one's children if they are not abused and neglected. Now, he does.
What remains to be seen is that will going public rescue his child from this oppressive ministry? From a broader prospective, will elected officials in a government that ardently speaks of democracy, human rights and freedom respect the will and dignity of its people?
Lessons Learnt From This Case
CFCSA requires that removal should be the last resort when no other less intrusive measure is available to adequately protect children. Seasoned "child protection" workers often fabricate this no less intrusive measure condition to justify removal by offering a voluntary agreement which itself calls for removal. They know that most parents would not agree and that will justify forceful seizure. In case parents agree, they will end up losing their children one way or another.
As repeatedly proven in many other cases, Canadians are wrong to think that they will not get into trouble with "child protection" agency (MCFD in British Columbia) if they have not abused or neglected their children. Accidents, malicious complaints, domestic disputes without involving children, different attitude in child upbringing and discipline, or even happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time (for instance the unnamed Edmonton mother case) may end up having one's children removed.
"Child protection" workers have the practical power (under the threat of child removal) to walk into one's home without a warrant to conduct whatever investigation as they see fit. Armed with the absolute statutory authority to remove children at will with the assistance of the police, they are the most powerful bureaucrats in the entire government. State-sponsored child removal seriously jeopardizes our safety, freedom and human rights. Allowing government to have such oppressive power is as foolish as giving a loaded gun to someone and providing financial incentive to be shot at.
Ms. Kari Simpson of Roadkill Radio gave the remark that social work stupidity creates this atrocity. Very much indeed. That said, we do not find "child protection" workers stupid. Many of them are calculating, cunning, devious, condescending, unsparing and implacable. They know how to toy with the mindsets of removed children and parents and manipulate them to serve their interests. They know how far they could abuse their child removal authority without getting into hot water.
Furthermore, it is the stupidity of the people who allow their government to have the oppressive power to remove children from their families under the pretext of child protection. Canada's short history has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that our government has a track record of abusing this power, ranging from the grand scale that made the now denounced residential schools possible to many individual cases in which parents are ruthlessly pursued.
CFCSA creates a very powerful "child protection" industry. Service providers are allowed to define what child abuse is, hence controlling the demand of their services. They monopolize quality definitions of their services, manipulate government "child protection" policies, ignore the needs and views of their clients. They possess the retaliatory means and often used them to suppress dissatisfaction, criticism and complaints. It is safe to contend that they create more problems than they solve. State-sponsored child removal is a clear and present danger to families, society and ironically children. Service providers in the "child protection" industry are indeed brilliant to devise such a lucrative scheme to rip off taxpayers using despicable means and get away unnoticed and unpunished for such a long time. We cannot think of any other scheme that is comparable in term of scale and success in concealing its hideous nature and in garnering support from naive people.
There are many cases in nations where the "child protection" industry flourishes that some removed children are given strong psychotropic drugs against their will and that of their parents. They are particularly vulnerable as their birth parents are unavailable and unable (due to state intervention) to protect their best interests.
Notwithstanding any valid medical reasons that may exist for administering psychotropic drugs on young children, edgy and jumpy children are nightmares to foster parents. It is imperative for service providers in the "child protection" industry to keep children "in care" under control and silence their desire to go home. Be mindful that CFCSA theoretically obliges judges to hear the views of children, although this is seldom practiced.
The documentary video footage on the left suggested that removed children are often given powerful psychotropic drugs with strong negative side effects in order to control them. Instead of providing human care, service providers in the "child protection" industry are drugging children because it is very lucrative for the pharmaceutical companies with the added benefit of keeping children who want to go home under control.
Furthermore, parents with children removed are often angry, depressed, anxious, confused, scared and withdrawn. These natural human responses resulted from ministry-created trauma provide an opportunity for "child protection" workers to plot insanity or mental instability, which could be used to justify custody applications. The case of Magdalena Asbjornhus suggests that parents who exhibit these emotions are often reported to medical authority. Treatment of psychotropic drugs may render parents appear to be psychotic when the side effects of these drugs become apparent. Many side effects of these drugs can be misconstrued as signs of child abuse or neglect that could lend support to child removal decision. Some are subsequently diagnosed as psychotic.
Autistic children often draw the attention of authorities. Some are removed from their parents, drugged and abused while in care. The ABC Channel 13 news video on the right is the 2010 story of Michelle Spencer, a single mother of an autistic boy who was abused in a residential home for children with disability. The mother found more than 20 bruises in her son's upper body.
The Ministry often leaves parents uninformed of the situation of their removed children. This creates fear, anxiety and depression that will beat parents into submission. This tactic, together with the power to control access, works quite well when MCFD seeks custody in the future. Few parents could tolerate the disappearance of their children without knowing where they are and how they are doing in a foreign environment.
Parents with children removed by MCFD are not only fighting a lopsided law against a formidable enemy with inexhaustible resources, but also unfriendly legal proceedings. Parents who contest the demands of MCFD in court often punish themselves by suffering a longer separation with their children due to the scheduling difficulty in court hearing. The time limits stipulated in CFCSA are virtually meaningless as parents cannot use exceeding th e time limits as reason to ask for the return of their children. Despite whether there are any merits in MCFD applications, many lawyers often advise parents to agree with what MCFD seeks to avoid a longer separation. All "child protection" workers know this.
This is one of the many compelling reasons to support that the current system is irreparable and must be reined in to better protect children, families, and above all, natural justice.
Families on income assistance (welfare) will attract the attention of MCFD as it is the mandate of the Ministry in applications in relation to the child in the home of a relative program under the Employment and Assistance Act [except ss. 17(3) & (4), 18-20, 21(1), 22(1)-(3), (4)(b), (5) & (6), 23(1)(a)(ii) & (iii) & (b)(ii) & (iii), 23(2), 24(1), (2)(A) & (3)(7) & 29].
For the ease of action, some MCFD and income assistance (welfare) offices locate in close proximity. Their offices in the Guildford Corporate Park, Surrey are good examples.
Single parents with special needs children are often a target of state-sponsored child removal for the following reasons:
Many single parents have an estranged (often hostile, although not in Derek's case) spouse that could be used as leverage or a source of incriminating information helpful in seeking custody applications.
Most single parents have less financial resources to contest MCFD in court.
Children with special needs will open more business opportunities to service providers in the "child protection" industry as there are more government funding and programs for these children.
Most people would tend to think that intervention in families with children of special needs is justified.