Wednesday, April 21, 2010

MCFD AS A FAMILY RESOURCE / Part 173 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Listening to the stories of parents impacted by the intervention of the Ministry of Children and Family Development one hears the unavoidable emotional outcome of anger and anguish. It is not simply because the removal of one’s children predictably evokes instinctive and primary defenses. It is because the attitudes and actions of the people involved in our child protection system are ripping some families apart that should never be apart and imposing unnecessary trauma on children. Why has the MCFD not become known for being helpful? Why has MCFD not gained a reputation for coming alongside parents to assist them with improvement of parenting skills? Why, when MCFD is mentioned, is it in criticism? And folks it is not because of writers like me. I have been writing on behalf of the Baynes for only a few months but the challenging critiques of the Ministry are decades old now. And parents have not been the only complainants, but also the objective reviewers engaged in official inquiries. Inquiries established because the government in power at the time has heard citizens’ voices and believed that they cannot all be irrational and insincere.
It is in the delivery of the system that anything good within the Ministry script for this social service breaks down from something commendable to something lamentable.
It is the people who deliver the intended services of the MCFD who are building this reputation for insensitivity and callousness and one wonders why? Surely most of them are parents too. They are all normal, feeling people stirred by injustices and respondent to most needs.

I am quite sure they don’t have to conduct their work in a way that earns bad reviews. Perhaps the mandate to protect children comes with such inherent stress because of the conflict created with parents who become incensed, perhaps even violent, that the instinctive defensive response of delivery people is adversarial – that is, to view the parents not as patients needing help but antagonists needing to be controlled. And if these deeply personal family life stories are managed by someone in an office who no longer has a physical connection to the parents and families themselves, then the decisions can be objective, clinical and dispassionate. The reading of a report, the issuing of an order and a family is fractured and lives are in disarray.

Clearly all my comments are made from the perspective of families undeserving of the intrusion and intervention of MCFD that in other domestic and family instances may actually save a child’s life. I can only urge delivery people at every level in the chain of command not to lose sight of a larger objective which is Family Development. Can you not work toward a true family-resource model of care, working with families and putting resources into families so that you don't have to take children out of families?

1 comment:

  1. Sarah A'CourtApril 21, 2010 at 4:30 AM

    I completely agree with you! very well put.

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