If Victoria's head office of the Ministry of Children and Family Development truly wants to transform the Ministry as Leslie du Toit has projected, she must understand where her current transformation proposal breaks down. She too must work within the parameters of the CFCSA (Child and Family Community Services Act) or at least with those constants in mind. We have already heard from some of you what a horrid piece of work the CFCSA is. It is in the application of the content of the Act by Directors, Administrators, Team Leaders and finally by social workers that the ugliness of its provisions become reality. The Act has developed among MCFD an attitude that can best be described as follows.
I have been learning that what characterizes the work of so many social workers is a paternalistic presumption. They are professionals and they convey to parents and others that they are the experts with regard to situations in which parents and children find themselves. These professionals are the ones who know what the solutions are to family problems. The great debacle occurs for parents because MCFD caseworkers who are insuring the protection of a child are driven by the too frequent almost default solution of removal of the child even if temporarily. Nothing like taking one's child away to make him or her shape up, make changes, get better. Of course, nothing like taking the child, to mess up a child for a good long while, if not forever. Now granted, directors and social workers are under pressure to insure no mistakes are made, that is, a child left in a vulnerable or risky place. So with that imperative the social worker instinctively assumes a professional certitude. They can't be wrong. They become dismissive of other viewpoints, opinions, perspectives whether from family members or other professionals.
What du Toit and Polak must see for true transformation to be realized, is that social work in BC needs a good dose of Mother Teresa poured over the presumptive heads of MCFD SW’s. I believe newly trained social workers come with that anointing. Please don't lose it. Don't let the system smother the altruism to which you committed yourself. Please, please restore to acceptable social work practice the attitudes and spirit that can admit to being wrong, can with openness and vulnerability present to family members and other professionals all of your actions, assessments and authority. Be willing to dialogue. Maintain a spirit of inquiry. Please include humility among your tools. You will be so much more effective. You will make fewer mistakes and you will give families help and hope.
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 seven days. Stay posted.