Thursday, November 7, 2013


Ray Ferris thinks I am more forgiving of social workers than he would be, so he wrote the following. 

I think if you want to assess the social workers properly then you need to go back to basic principles. This is what I always start off with and when you do that, the matters usually become quite clear. The basic mandate of child protection is to ensure that a child can be made safe at home, or in alternative care. This principle is firmly embodied in the CFCSA in which there are many admonitions to extend help to parents in making sure their children are protected.

If we look at what happened to Derek Hoare in the light of these principles, we can quickly see that the director was in dire dereliction of his duty. When Ayn climbed a fence and was missing for a short while, they rushed in to remove her. There can be no doubt that she was at a small risk for an hour or two. This was unforeseeable and could just as easily happen in a foster home. It was in no way due to negligent or irresponsible parenting.

What the social worker should have done is to sit down with the father and do an in-depth assessment as to what help could be given to make the home safer. It was a simple physical situation. They could have helped him to build a higher fence and they could have offered him some relief help. Something practical. He did not need a psychic re-tread. They would have had to spend some money, but not nearly as much as they were spending in the foster home. They were willing to spend thousands to make sure she developed anxiety disorders and a feeling of abandonment. 

The ignorance and stupidity exhibited was so severe that it certainly makes one think of malice. Among all the people involved, did not one of them know about attachment deficit disorders, or the mandate to offer assistance? It makes one wonder about malice.

Ray Ferris is a retired MCFD social worker and has written, 'The Art of Child Protection.' He is unapologetically critical of the failings of directors and current case workers. 

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