Saturday, July 17, 2010
I AM DISGUSTED / Part 250 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/
In developing an interest in one family's horror I have been exposed to an embarrassing excess of similar sounding cases. Embarrassing not to me or the parents and children whose lives are forever altered by operational decisions, but mortifying for a public ministry whose job it is to protect and to serve children and to assist and to develop parents and families. So many decisions are made for what seem to be right reasons yet the decisions have not been affected by compassion, mercy, and unbending pursuit of truth. I know this ministry must deal with some reprehensible conduct by caregivers. I know that there are parents whose unaddressed personal life issues make them irredeemable as caregivers to children. I understand that the dirty side of society requires a steely approach to aspects of child welfare and child protection. Nevertheless it is inexcusable that so many good people, both parents and children should be damaged by an insensitive system and the people who manage it. It is insupportable that many social workers whose instincts are unselfish and tenderhearted are obliged by superiors to conduct their work against their own consciences.
I hear of increasing numbers of cases in which this ministry while fulfilling a mandate to care for and to protect children, has demonstrated callous disregard for parents' statements, feelings, rights or opinions. I have registered my surprise at times. Many of these parents who have experienced what they describe as venomous treatment by MCFD social workers and superiors have called me naive. Admittedly I have found it difficult to accept that so many government employees within a ministry could have strayed so far from pure altruism. People in whom I had confidence that they were serving and helping my community, my friends, my fellow citizens have proven to be untrustworthy. Something inside me has died. A level of trust is gone. I am deeply saddened by this. And I am dismayed that in researching child services around the world, I have brushed up against countless similar distortions of justice. It is systemic. It is a societal malignancy.
We have been dancing courteously in speaking about the Ministry and the officers and social workers within it for a very long time. I am convinced that it must happen, that stretched facts, misrepresented pieces of information, subjective opinions, spiteful decisions, broken promises, concealed truths must be revealed. Fingers must be pointed and charges laid, and case actions taken and penalties awarded against people within our public ministry.