When the Child and Family Community Services Act was originated, the intention was clearly that the apprehension of a child would be a last resort. Social workers would be expected to ascertain the least disruptive measure by which to guarantee the safety of the children. Removing a child was then and is now understood to be a serious intervention. However, the social workers who do not walk away from their MCFD careers because they cannot tolerate the system that has evolved, are the social workers who are impaired by lack of time due to staffing shortage and case overloads and by the lack of resources caused by government cut backs of funding for services that if available, would facilitate returning children to their parental homes. Overloaded social workers often do not do proper assessment not only of parents but also of the available alternatives to apprehension. When other resources and options are unknown, unavailable or non existent, apprehension becomes not the last resort but one of the first or the only choice. I believe that is what has been happening in B.C. over the past ten years. Child Protection thereby breaches the spirit of the CFCSA and fails to defend the integrity of families or children's best interests.
The parents from whom I hear, have lost or are losing hope that their children will ever be returned to their homes because the Ministry is evasive and ambiguous about its expectations of parents, or resources are unavailable for an extended time or the MCFD changes the expectations midstream. It has appeared to me that reunifying families is not a priority to a director, supervisors, team leaders and therefore not to social workers either. It is far easier to spend time looking for more reasons to justify the continued care of children. This is a dismal alternative and a failure for our province of families.
This Blog has been advocating the return of three children to their biological parents, Paul and Zabeth Bayne, for which a ruling is expected from Judge Crabtree within the next three weeks. Stay posted.