Canadian parents are just an anonymous
call from losing their kids.

PAPA People Assisting Parents Association © 2007


The following principles may be helpful in dealing with your trauma. Please be mindful that not every one of them may be applicable in your situation.

  1. Form a strong united front with your family, especially your spouse. Ideally, retain one lawyer to represent both parents. The more lawyer involved, the easier MCFD can divide and conquer. They will drive a wedge between you and your spouse. Put your differences, at least for now, aside and do not allow your family be destroyed.

  2. "You are like sheep among wolves. Be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."

    Do not do anything illegal. You are being watched. Every illegal act you commit will be used against you in "child protection" hearings. They will take every opportunity to provoke you to act out of character. Don't take the bait. Being provoked is no defence in "child protection" hearings. Despite how much oppression you may have taken, you won't be given one ounce of leniency in court. Do stay strong and remain focus to bring your children home.

  3. Do not trust any beneficiaries of the state-sponsored child removal industry, especially social workers and anybody paid by MCFD or other government ministry to provide “service” to you. They are wolves in sheep skin pretending that they are paid to help. Be cautious with those who portray their impartiality by asserting their professional code of ethics. People seldom bite the hand that feeds them. This is human nature.

  4. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous.

  5. Observe your enemy carefully, document everything that has transpired (including details like place, date and time) and analyze each move they make. Be mindful that there is no logical explanation at times of what your enemy may do.

  6. Never volunteer information in any interrogations and court hearings. The lesser you talk, the better.

  7. Do not get depressed, angry or frustrated. Provocation, wear and tear are their usual tactics. Don't take the bait.

  8. Stay focus on getting your kids back or at least get them out of foster home promptly. Do not agree to any adjournments unless there are good reasons. MCFD will use all means to prolong child holding, especially when they have a weak case. Be mindful that scheduling another court date is out of your control. It is usually difficult to get an early court date.

  9. Be determined and fight them tooth and nail. This is a total war. Your children and family are at stake and at risk. Do not meet them half way. No one (including government) should have the right to break up families and remove children from their parents.

  10. Do not feel ashamed that your children have been removed. You may not be at fault. Even if you need some parenting skill improvements, the removal may not be justified. Share your feelings with your family, friends, colleagues, peers. They may not be sympathetic as many of them probably do not believe what social workers did to you.

  11. Do not hold your breath in seeking help from MLA, ombudsman, conflict resolution manager. Seeking help from these people will not hurt but will cost time and probably get you nowhere (except in speeding up the release of documents and reports from MCFD). Be mindful that no politician will intervene a judicial proceedings, despite how strong your case may be.

  12. Do not allow the media to air your story as long as you have children held hostage. This will further antagonize MCFD and they have to protect their position (and their jobs) by proving you wrong. Unless you have some concrete evidence (such as a video and audio recording of being blackmailed by social workers), your story and grievance are not likely be aired. If you do have concrete evidence, save your ammo for critical moments (such as when the ministry counsel seeks court’s admission of covertly recorded phone conversations against you or before the next election) to maximize the effect. Our view is confirmed by the Bayne case in Vancouver that we later discovered below on January 24, 2009.

  13. Seek counseling of your own accord. Despite whether you really need counseling or counseling really helps, court will view this favorably.

  14. Seek timely release of information on MCFD file. Despite legally required to disclose information subsequent to child removal, social workers often use delay tactics to prevent parents from getting useful information. If you are unsuccessful in getting MCFD to release information, try:
    1. Contact your local MLA and ask them to write a letter seeking release of information (information from MCFD may be sent to your MLA’s office to be redirected to you);

    2. Submit a Request for Access to Records application to get your information by way of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Applications are processed by a special unit in MCFD’s Victoria office. Information is censored before release.

    3. Furthermore, MCFD requires 2 pieces of identification and proof of child custody before the information is released. Unless they have a marital breakdown, most parents do not have proof of child custody. Ensure that you have alternative identifications like birth certificate and baptismal certificate. MCFD will use every excuse and pretext to make the release of information difficult. [added on May 8, 2008]

  15. Do not discuss your case in public places, especially outside court room and in court house cafeteria, or with anyone who may relay the information to social workers. Be mindful that there are many social workers going to court in a CFCSA day (usually a Thursday morning in many provincial courts in the Lower Mainland). They do not wear uniform or badge. If they overhear you talking about notions like taking your children outside the country or retaliating the whistle blower, they will testify in court and probably exaggerate the eavesdropped information to help their colleagues to seek restraining order on you. Furthermore, social workers are known to follow people (like a third party requested by parents to attend a meeting). They do fish and misconstrue information to substantiate their legal actions against parents. [added on May 8, 2008]

  16. "Child protection" social workers can take your children at will, but they cannot take your dignity and self-respect unless you let them. Ensure that you do not let them. Move on with life and stay focus on getting your children back. Live a productive and healthy lifestyle, especially in keeping your job, if you have one. [added on September 5, 2008]

  17. When feel depressed and helpless in the midst of ministry-created trauma, do not turn to drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse never helps and will certainly worsen your problems. [added on September 5, 2008]

  18. Play hard ball or play Mr. Nice Guy?

    Parents under MCFD scrutiny face the dilemma of what approach they should take to deal their problems. Given the disparity in strategic edge and the fact that children are being used as pawn, parents are under duress. Most of them are inclined to play Mr. Nice Guy and consent to whatever MCFD seeks, hoping that their problems with MCFD will go away. Lawyers may advise that if parents are not agreeable, their children will be removed as they are found in need of protection. Or, if parents fight, their children will end up longer in foster homes.

    To show that MCFD are reasonable and are taking the least intrusive measure to begin with, social workers sometimes begin by talking parents to accept a 6-month supervision order. This will look seemingly more reasonable to step up their action in due course when social workers allege that supervision order is not adequate to protect children in the future.

    By consenting, parents open the door for MCFD's continuous involvement. In law, consent to a supervision order is equivalent to an order made by a judge after a hearing. Supervision order can be extended up to a maximum of 12 months. Parents will have a hard time convincing a judge not to grant an extension using information that has already existed prior to their consent. Court will take the position that if parents know about all these and disagree, why they consent to the supervision at the beginning.

    Most parents we come across deeply regret that they made an irreparable mistake of consenting to what MCFD seeks. Be mindful that sometimes social workers try to talk parents to consent what they may have difficulty to get in court by using fear and ignorance. Despite insurmountable odds, it makes more sense to fight them tooth and nail at the onset. In principle, it is wrong to accept anything that an oppressive regime unreasonably imposes on its own people. Parents should fight back wisely instead of being subservient. Remember, it is like playing chess. Making one wrong move could lose the whole game. [added on September 7, 2008]

  19. If you are not satisfied with the decisions made by "child protection" social workers or the manner in which they handle your case, file a complaint without delay. Despite the complaint resolution process is designed to discourage, exhaust, frustrate, further traumatize, break the spirits of parents and children, you should still file a complaint but do not expect that anything favorable is likely to result. Why waste your time? If you do not do so, your silence will be misconstrued as satisfaction of their "service" or your dissatisfaction is never strong enough for you to take action in the future. Your social workers will be happy to give you a pamphlet titled "Complaint Resolution" as they know before you begin that your complaint will get your nowhere.

    To learn more about the complaint resolution scheme, please read our Empirical Data & Stats page [added on September 2, 2009].

  20. To avoid reprisal, do not go public to tell the abuse of authority if you have an open case with MCFD. Many people believe that the risk of reprisal still exists after the case is closed. Given the absolute authority in removing children, this fear is well founded. We are not paranoid. The Bayne's case archived in our Cases page proves that MCFD will use child removal authority as weapon to deter and prevent parents from airing such abuse through media. Some parents are warned that they will never see their children again if they go to the media. This partially explains why the public seldom hears abuse of authority from parents in the media due to fear of reprisal. [added on January 24, 2009]

  21. Mr. and Mrs. Li in an interview with The Province in their lawyer Lawrence Wong's office in Richmond, British Columbia. (photo credit: The Province)
    If you are new immigrants or visitors to Canada and are bringing children under 19 of age to Canada, be aware of the barbaric "child protection" law in "the best place on Earth".

    Ming Pao Canada West aired the trauma of a visiting Chinese family from Beijing on February 1, 2009 after their children were removed in January 2009 due to an alleged physical abuse. The original news materials (in Chinese) are linked herein. See details archived in the Li's child removal, January 2009 Vancouver case page [added on February 4, 2009].

The Legal Services Society provides some tips in responding to a social workers questions. Browsers may use them as reference.


Parent Support page


[This page was extracted from the "Parent Support" page on October 11, 2008, last revised on October 21, 2010.]