Readers should not think that the groundswell of concern about our B.C. Ministry of Children and Family development to which I referred yesterday is an exaggeration. That would be a preemptive step that impedes the dialogue necessary for true reform that benefits us all.
As a demonstration of the concerns that ordinary citizens have, I am placing here a website entitled PAPA. This is the official website of a registered organization called PAPA, an acronym for People Assisting Parents Association, whose subtitle describes its purpose with the phrase ‘keeping families together.’
My contention is that the existence of an online site like this is a strong reason to take seriously the hypothesis that aspects of our Child Protection provision in B.C. require fresh examination and tailored recommendations. Reform will occur if we take seriously the concerns stated on a site like this.
The website identifies PAPA as a “civilian run non-profit organization formed under the Society Act on July 23, 2007 in British Columbia, Canada. Exclusively funded by donors, PAPA is not affiliated with any ethnic community, religious group or political party.”
It’s stated Mission is, “We strive to protect the best interests of children by preserving their families and restoring healthy parenting ability. We safeguard the rights and dignity of parents in child protection activities.” The site has numerous buttons containing an abundance of information. It has included updates of the Bayne case.
The site also makes known its Beliefs in the form of five statements:
* Parents have the God-given right and responsibility to care for and bring up their children in a manner which is culturally and socially acceptable to their own values within the boundary of Canadian laws.
* Family is the best environment to nourish children. Preservation of family is important to maintain a healthy social structure vital to child upbringing, national security and continuation of civilization.
* Custodial right of one's natural offspring is a fundamental human right and should be enshrined constitutionally.
* Government must treat parents and children with respect and dignity in carrying out its child protection mandate.
* State intervention in family affairs should be avoided except in extreme circumstances. Should interventions become necessary, they must be least intrusive and serve the best interests of both children and their parents.
The sidebar of the website welcomes viewers with a Message from the President providing the raison d'être for the organization in an unapologetic condemnation of present MCFD practice and results. That in itself is worth the time to read it. It will exasperate defenders and employees of MCFD and authenticate the extreme suspicions of critics of MCFD.
There is much more to this Message but the opening paragraph says, “PAPA was formed by a group of citizens concerned about the "child protection" activities conducted by the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Families under the scrutiny of the Ministry sometimes end up worse off. Children under the “care” of the Ministry are not receiving the standard of care expected by society and their parents. Some are abused, neglected or even murdered when they are in “care”. Almost all removed children suffer irreparable mental harm from the enforced removal from their parents. Parents are under duress. Some are forced to live apart or to divorce to get their children back.”
A site like this would not exist if not for so many parents, children and extended families whose lives and happiness have experienced interruption and disruption if not dissolution through the actions of MCFD. The criticism is unconcealed. Injured people sometimes overstate. Maybe you think this is done at the PAPA site. It will be wise for our citizenry and politicians to pay attention and not conclude a group of flakes are mouthing off again.