Thursday, June 28, 2012


For many years in most cases that concerned shaken-baby syndrome it was the default conclusion that the person who was last to care for the child was an abuser. The SBS theory is that a characteristic set of head injuries, including swelling of the brain, bleeding around the brain and bleeding in the retinas of the eye which are otherwise explained, can be attributed to violent head shaking. Parents and other caregivers accused of such criminal conduct have claimed innocence, have asserted that they love their children and would never harm them but have often not been believed.

It has often been intimated by critics that Shaken Baby Syndrome is a virtual industry that enjoys government funding as it does in British Columbia, which encourages the Child Protection system to label caregivers as abusers when a child is in crisis. If the label ‘industry’ is deserved, then it can also be implied that it has pervaded the legal/judicial system from lawyers to judges to expert witnesses who testify for CPS against the defendants in shaken baby cases.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

GETTING PEOPLE, TO GET ALONG: Principles for Empowering People To Be Their Best

Yesterday, I introduced you to a man whom I have known for a number of years, both personally and professionally. I met Dr. Orieux as a dentist, but I got to know him in his capacity as, for want of a better term, a corporate counselor. Dr. Kevin Orieux occupies a unique dual-role in the corporate world. On one hand, he is a professional trainer who teaches leaders how to serve the needs of their people and thereby inspire those same people to ever higher levels of personal performance and fulfillment. On the other hand, he is the owner of the Cloverdale Dental Clinic and he still practices dentistry two days a week. He has written two books on how leaders can create synergy in group settings. The principles that he expounds can positively transform group dynamics, in a business operation, a church, or even in a community service organization such as the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development. In yesterday's blog, I recommended that the Ministry of Children and Family Development would profit enormously if at either a local office or at a regional gathering of social workers, or at the Victoria office of the Ministry, Dr. Kevin Orieux were invited to consult and to teach what he knows. Let me tell you about him and what he can contribute. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


The B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development could learn from my dentist. I am serious about this statement. In fact, I suggest that the Hon. Mary McNeill, Minister of MCFD, confer with Dr. Kevin Orieux regarding the difficult challenges she faces in fulfilling her portfolio. I am confident he could help the Ministry not only meet its mandate, but also lessen stress and pressure for Ministry staff while simultaneously enhancing the Ministry’s reputation in the eyes of BC’s citizens.

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Why could a dentist do that? Because he’s not just a dentist. He has written two books on human dynamics and corporate psychology, so when he isn’t running the Cloverdale Dental Clinic, he is a practicing corporate consultant whose expertise helps those in leadership to fulfill their vision and purpose, by empowering their people. The following is a quote from the website of Aararat Consulting, which states Dr. Orieux’s goal to: “create a supportive environment where the rallying cry is ‘Synergy’ whereby everyone works with a unified focus to serve the holistic needs of the customer first, their
co-workers second, the company third, and themselves fourth.”

Monday, June 4, 2012


The concept of the ‘best interests of the child’ is a universal theme expressed in a variety of international and Canadian instruments of law and practice. But is it anything more than a theme? Does it actually have content? I am not certain that it does. It is cited with conviction in child protection care proceedings and custody battles but why? Such cases are never decided on the basis of that theme but rather the specific facts of the case. The concept of “best interests” is a part of the rhetoric of child protection agencies.

The deficit is that the modifier “best’ is not defined, in fact perhaps indefinable. Even the touted United National Committee on the Rights of a Child has not taken a position to define the term with precision. Without a definition, “best interests” has no constraints, and then while the trumpeted term sounds politically and morally correct, it can lead to wrong impressions, inaccurate assessments and unjust decisions.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Observers have become critics of child protection workers and their superiors and not for insignificant reasons. Too many judgements, too many actions, too many interactions reveal a service that has developed, not a bad rap but a bad reputation. I know some social workers and I am convinced that they have chosen this career with altruistic vision. They want to help people. They want to be effective and they want to employ all that is good in the human spirit to lift that which is weak among their community members.

It is to these that I direct some questions which I believe to be appropriate and relevant to good child protection work. They are questions that the child protection workers should ask in each and every case to which they are assigned.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

BC Handbook for Action on Child Abuse and Neglect

The B.C. Handbook for Action on Child Abuse and Neglect
For Service Providers

This is a 60 page document prepared for service providers. Service providers are viewed as having key
roles to play in helping to keep children safe. This Handbook is designed to assist such people.
This Handbook is designed to support an integrated, collaborative response to child abuse and neglect by:
» providing information about identifying and reporting suspected child abuse and neglect
» providing an overview of relevant law and government policies
» clarifying the roles and shared responsibilities of service providers, including their accountability for responding to suspected child abuse and neglect, and
» ensuring that responses to suspected child abuse and neglect in British Columbia are effective, consistent and sensitive to the needs of children.

Service providers are instructed immediately that "if you think a child is being abused or neglected, you have the legal duty to report your concern to your local child welfare worker. There is contact information available on page 57. If it is after hours or you are not sure who to call, phone the Helpline for Children at 310-1234 at any time of the day or night. The Helpline call is free. You do not need an area code and you do not have to give your name. If the child is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or your local police."

Communities play an integral role
in responding to suspected
child abuse and neglect.

MCFD, the Ministry of Children and Family Development prints this Handbook.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Justice is the Fabric of a Healthy Society

When a society such as ours creates a system to punish wrong doers, to defend innocents, to correct mistakes and to restore liberties, we expect that justice will be delivered. When within a society a ministry dedicated to children and families is empowered, we expect that it will protect the vulnerable, accurately assess people, and repair broken situations.

Love is the thread .Woven from billions of such threads, justice is the resultant strong and integrated fabric. The fabric is known by the name of integrity and it can be fashioned into a garment prepared for residents of earth. It is the fabric of a healthy society.  

Injustice occurs when countless numbers of these threads are pulled from the garment. As the holes enlarge, the wearer of the garment is uncovered and vulnerable.

A work of justice becomes essential to mend the rips and tears that have occurred in the fabric of a society and its governance. The repair consists of the replacement of frayed threads. That work must begin again with love.