For Immediate Release
July 16, 2015
MCFD Continues to Endanger Our Children
We Need Change now!
How many children have to be damaged or die before the BC government admits that the Ministry of Children and Family Development is irretrievably broken? Once again dangerous practices within the Ministry are being brought to light. And once again, the Ministry is failing to act. Children in British Columbia continue to be placed at risk by the very Ministry legally responsible for their safety. When are we as adults going to stand up and demand an end to the Ministry’s reckless disregard of the obligation they hold on behalf of citizens of this province to protect our children?
In a blistering judgement from the BC Supreme Court, Judge Paul Walker has concluded that the Director of Child Protection and certain Ministry social workers “acted well outside of their statutory mandate and the duty to protect children”, citing “intentional misconduct, bad faith, reckless disregard for their obligation to protect children, breach of the applicable standard of care to unreasonably supporting the custodial interests of the children’s father even if it meant he sexually abused them.”
In devastating detail, Judge Walker delineates actions which separated four children from their devoted and determined mother while trying to place them in the permanent care of a sexually abusive father. The mother’s reports of the abuse went uninvestigated while she was officially labelled as mentally unstable. The Director, Supervisor, and social workers omitted and misrepresented facts in a report to Provincial Court. Sexual abuse of the children continued when Ministry staff allowed the father unsupervised access to the children, defying a court order forbidding private access.
For the past three years, residents and advocates from our community have been pressuring these same bureaucrats and professionals to respond to the needs of local children equally at risk. Their heartbreaking circumstances have been documented and brought to the attention of the Ministry and service providers directly and through the press – youth regularly ending up in emergency wards, some near death — victims of rape, alcohol and drug abuse. A number have considered or even tried suicide; some have succeeded.
We have pleaded with the Ministry to change the policies and practices which are seriously compromising the safety, well-being, and lives of these youth.