Monday, August 26, 2013


Ray Ferris is a personal friend and more importantly he is an ally to people who are helpless at the hands of the Ministry of Children and Family Development. I welcome his occasional blog contributions here. Ray Ferris is a retired child-protection worker and the author of The Art of Child Protection. TODAY he writes about the judgement that came down recently from Mr. Justice Paul Walker. Believe us, this judgement has shock waves through the MCFD bureaucracy. Ray will speak to that today.

Also, columnist Ian Mulgrew gave a detailed account of the judgement and a link to the shocking judgement. Vancouver Sun article entitled, Ian Mulgrew:   Children’s ministry sided with sexually abusive father, court finds Ministry decided mother lied about abuse, then seized children and gave dad unsupervised access

Here is what Ray has to say today.
“The children’s ministry removed all the children from the mother with no factual evidence. The children were kept from her during a court case lasting three years and 65 days of hearings. On the 65th day the director withdrew from the case on the grounds that they no longer thought that the case was viable. The mother was bankrupt and in debt. She would have been helpless had it not been that her lawyers continued to represent her when she ran out of money. A lot of parents just have to give up when they can no longer pay a lawyer. There are not many like Doug Christie and Jack Hittrich in the ranks of law. One of the reasons that the social workers and their superiors can pursue cases beyond all reason is because they know that they can outgun most parents with money for lawyers.

In this case the judge ruled against the director and against the father and for the mother.

Just because judge rules in favour of the mother, there are no winners in such a damaging situation. The stress and harassment will leave scars on the mother forever. The children suffered emotional damage from the separation stress and they will take a long time to recover. The public lost millions of dollars on the case. The children’s ministry got a very bad blot on its already tattered reputation and this will get much worse before the end of the year.

I want readers to take note of some interesting points in this case. First of all this was a hearing in supreme court and not in family court, because it was also a divorce and custody case under federal statutes. Most family court judges go with the flow and support the social workers as much as possible. In the Bayne case chief judge Thomas Crabtree was so anxious to oblige the director that he even made an illegal order, which he had to retract. As Judge Kimberly Arthur-Leung told the director in a hearing in which she took the social workers to task, it is most important that judges can trust the social workers, because they have little choice to take things on trust in child welfare matters. Supreme court judges do not seem to have the same trust in social workers that family court judges have. They seem to get bothered by annoying matters such as reliable evidence and searching for facts. In two cases families lost their children to permanent orders in family court. The appeal court overturned the ruling, but in both cases it cost $200,000 to get the kids back.

The second point I notice is that this case is continuing. Judge Paul Walker gave leave to apply for costs. The case is now proceeding with the Mother and her lawyers as plaintiffs and the director as defendant. The case has already cost a huge amount and so if the plaintiff is successful the ultimate cost to the taxpayer will be so large that it might well cause public outcry and political outrage. The hearings continue today, which is why I said it is important. This is a continuation of the application for costs and hearings will probably go on until the end of October. It might well be that a decision will be rendered before Christmas. A number of ministry people have already been grilled under cross-examination. If any readers in the Vancouver area enjoy seeing bureaucrats being roasted, they should pop down to the Vancouver courthouse and sit in. These courts are usually open to the public. I don’t know the name of the case, but just find out where the Hittrich firm is arguing.

A third point is that I notice that Mary McNeill has been moved as children and family minister and she is replaced by the Hon Stephanie Cadieux. Likewise, deputy minister Stephen Brown, who was brought in less that two years ago with some fanfare about his special credentials. Christie Clarke decisively bounced out Lesley Dutoit and moved out Mary Polak to bring in these two. One can assume that she thought highly of the replacements. Most of this case took place on Mary McNeill’s watch and under the direction of Stephen Brown, but neither of them will be there to field the flak. I can just see what is coming. McNeill, “Sorry, but I cannot comment on another person’s ministry.” Cadieux, “Sorry, but all that took place before I took over. I will have to look into it and get back to you, but of course much of it will be protected by confidentiality.”



  1. This story brought me to tears! So much gratitude to the lawyers. I am in awe of the mother's strength. I send her so much empathy and love. So heart-breaking and so utterly unnecessary!

  2. I have the same problem in tumbler ridge my child is being sexualy molested and abused in care. Including bite marks on his bum from.adults and strangulation marks around his neck from where they choke him with a rope. The doctor has told us he also has developee shaken baby syndtom in the care of the ministry. Kim de vuyst is the social worker refuses to let him come home out of personal agenda. There are other familys i contacted that she is doing this to aswell. I need help. Pleas e mail me


I encourage your comments using this filter.
1. Write politely with a sincere statement, valid question, justifiable comment.
2. Engage with the blog post or a previous comment whether you agree or disagree.
3. Avoid hate, profanity, name calling, character attack, slander and threats, particularly when using specific names.
4. Do not advertise