Monday, June 25, 2012

Children's Aid Societies: Out of Control

Last week, I was on the Charles Adler radio show discussing the story of the ‘obese’ father whose children have been taken away from him apparently because a judge-in concert with the local Children’s Aid Society-felt that he was too fat to father his children. 

Since that time, I have tried to interest media in the story because I think all Canadian parents should be concerned about the implications of this case. The various Children’s Aid Societies of Canada have become bureaucratic behemoths-and their workers have an ability to destroy lives, and yield power that seems to me to be the complete inverse of their collective intelligence and to their moral decision-making capabilities. They do a lot of harm.

If it is truly the case that this father’s obesity is the main factor in the state kidnapping of his children, then we are all in very dire straits. For today it could be obesity, and tomorrow because of excessive television viewing, too much "Angry Birds" on Facebook, or because of any number of make-work projects or faux outrage or politically incorrect attitudes. 

These whimsical witch hunts, based on ideology that festers in most social work programs are not in any way, shape or form, the equivalent of actual child abuse.  

The other horrifying part of these pursuits is that they are often based on "future crimes". On a likelihood (meaning a guess, or suspicion), and not always on evidence.

I wrote a blog post about it a few months ago after yet another child died, while a “client” of theCAS. There are quite a number of forums on the web where parents discuss the horrors that the CAS puts them through. Read some of those stories.

Maybe there should be a new caseload designation like "D.W.C": "Dead While Client". 

A lot of people have asked me why I care, so I’ll tell you why. It is because I have had a lot of experience dealing with bureaucracies for issues relating to my special needs child. I am pretty much able to navigate the labyrinths mostly because I speak native English, have some media savvy and because my son is clearly thriving and my husband and I are a formidable team with respect to our children. But even I feel at times that there is a very tight rope that special needs parents have to walk-between asking for the programs and services your child deserves, and being branded a parent ‘in crisis’ or ‘in need of help’ or in need of various types of intervention services. 

I don’t have any answers. But I’ve read enough articles about abused children (many of whom end up dead) to know that in many cases, all it takes is one social worker, ‘child and youth’ worker or CAS worker to stir up a lot of trouble and destroy families. 

And often, that is because certain children are left alone despite the children's pleas (see: the Shafia case) while certain children are not on record as wanting to escape their parents, but the CAS workers will not leave a parent alone (see fat, white guy).

Why are the CAS people never identified when their cases completely blow up, and children end up dead? 

Shouldn’t we know if they were allowed to keep their jobs?

Why is there no professional oversight? This is BIG BUSINESS. A racket I would say.

There is no disciplinary or regulatory body that demands any accountability of these “professionals”.

The CAS’s are a massive business in Canada. I would estimate it's a multi-billion dollar industry.

After the Adler show, an Ontario lawyer e-mailed the following to me and gave me permission to post it on condition of anonymity: 

“The courts are supposed to exercise control over the Children’s Aid Societies, but the truth is that the people who work in the “child protection” field develop cozy little relationships with one another after years of interaction.  The judges see the same CAS workers and CAS lawyers day in and day out, and human beings can’t help but be influenced by their personal relationships.  The judge and the CAS lawyer may have gone to law school together, or they may even have worked at the same law firm at some time in the past.  They probably see each other at the local Law Association parties or other social events.  It’s easy to be influenced by the opinion of someone you like and trust.  Most people (even judges) find it more comfortable to ingratiate themselves with their colleagues than to thwart them.  It’s easier to ignore the fat guy, whom you’ll never see again, than to set yourself in conflict with the opinions of the CAS lawyer, the CAS workers, the psychologist who does the assessments, etc.--all of whom you will have to face again next week, and every week until the end of your career."

This lawyer told me that the first thing that should be found out is whether or not the father has launched an appeal.  An appeal should be the first step

There are other questions, of course, such as whether or not he had legal representation at all. This lawyer noted that this particular father was absolutely not at the ‘bottom of the barrel’ in terms of parents.

From my watching of the interview of him which was aired on SUN TV, it seemed to me that he was completely lucid and justifiably angry about his children essentially being kidnapped. Is he perfect? Hell no. But will his special needs children be better off with total strangers? I suspect not.

How long will Canadians tolerate the gross abuses of parental rights that occur here in Canada at the hands of the Children’s Aid Societies? How many lives need to be wrecked or extinguished before we say “enough”? 

I’m saying “enough” but my reach is fairly limited. 

Here’s a related story that comes to us from North Carolina, where survivors of state-sponsored eugenics programs have now been denied “compensation” (is there really such a thing-can one truly be compensated for being forcefully sterilized by the state). 

“I am just overwhelmed that their mentality is still the same as the politicians who supported eugenics in the first place,” said Elaine Riddick, who was sterilized at 14 after having a baby fathered by a neighbor. “You have done messed up people for life, and this is what you do?”

“The state said that Ms. Riddick was “feebleminded” and potentially promiscuous. So her grandmother, who was illiterate and who feared Ms. Riddick would be sent to an orphanage, signed the consent form with an X."

Does that sound familiar? 

How about this:

“North Carolina began sterilizing men and women in 1929 after social workers, county health departments and eventually a state board deemed them too poor, mentally disabled or otherwise unfit to raise children. The 7,600 victims of the program, which was dissolved in 1977, were largely women and disproportionately members of minorities.”

As far as I know, there is no other “property” that the state can seize from private individuals, claiming that "someone else" knows how to deal with it better.

I cannot walk into my neighbour’s house, take his dog and tell him that I would be a better master for the dog. Nobody can take someone’s computer or TV, or even THEIR PLANTS and claim to know better.

But for some reason, and for generations, we have been lulled into accepting the fact that absolute nobodies, people who may not have any relevant experience or credentials or compassion know better than us how to raise our own children. They take children away from their parents.

Isn’t this state-sanctioned kidnapping? 

These people have no qualms, no hesitation and state backing to remove children from the parents that want them, and love them and place them into foster and/or adoptive situations (fostering by the way, can be very profitable, because as the lawyer told me-foster income is TAX FREE, did you know that), where children are statistically more often abused than when they are with their biological parents (no matter how fat/crappy/stupid they are). 

This is a disgusting story, and I smell a very serious anti-male element in it.

Clearly it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Regardless of whether or not this man’s obesity ought to be the deciding factor in determining custody of his children (obviously, it should not) we have a system of Children’s Aid Societies that is unchecked and radically out of control.

If you care about it, do something.

If not, you really have no right to be surprised if someone complains about you, or someone you love and all of the sudden a case is opened against you or a family member or friend or co-worker and you find out how quickly your children, or their children become the newest involuntary and irrevocable “clients” on some CAS worker’s case load.

UPDATE: Here is the second interview in the series.