Thursday, January 15, 2015


reunion party photo
Over a six-year period, this Blog focused upon two cases in which so-called 'emergency removal' of children occurred. That is what propelled me to speak to the grievance, which I became aware was far more frequent than I wanted to believe or that is known by the public. These two consisted of first, a family of four children in which the surprise removal, or removal without notification occurred several times, and second, the case of a girl taken from her school. In the first case, the removal and custody battle lasted four years. In the latter case the girl spent three years in foster care, originating from an incident when she, an autistic child, wandered from her back yard and was missing for three hours.

In the first case, the initial concern was that the infant had been physically abused, shaken. Was seizure without notification necessary in either of these cases? Has it become standard practice? These children were eventually returned to parents. Yet here is a gripping observation. In both the instances, the children were found not to have been maltreated, neglected, abused. That is merely symptomatic of a system that uses emergency removal as the tool with which to deal with appropriate concerns that must be investigated.


  1. Yes, unfortunately.

    Parents can initially refuse to let child protection workers into their homes, take recommended courses or follow other "advice". However, this refusal presents the perception to the child protection worker that the parents are being uncooperative and unwilling to change whatever suspicious behaviour prompted the investigation, leading the child protection worker to erroneously conclude that the child is in danger (or they are on a power trip as in "how dare they refuse my advice"). Child protection workers have very little tools available to them to force parents to follow their advice. They may apply for a supervision order from the court to impose conditions that parents must follow (and normally this is a prelude for building a case for a removal), but since the legislation gives them the authority to do so, it can be quicker and easier to claim that the child is at risk of imminent harm, and seize the child, then present it to the courts as a "fait accompli" and justify it based on the parents lack of previous cooperation. Unfortunately, the courts usually go along with this by rubber stamping "temporary care" orders without giving them the proper due diligence, and thereby starting the long painful process for parents to get their kids back through the courts, all the while now being forced to jump through every hoop imposed by the child protection system if they want to visit their kids, and have a faint hope of getting them back.

  2. In addition, for Ontario, funding is based on the number of children in care by the CAS, which gives management a perverse incentive to "apprehend" kids first, instead of other solutions. Child Protection Agencies should be given a lump sum, then truly make the effort to prioritize those in need instead of "apprehending" children for minor issues just to "make work" and keep funding levels in place.

    I remember seeing the numbers in care from the year when funding was still a lump sum, and the year after it was changed to $/child. The numbers of children in care suddenly doubled from one year to the next.

  3. "after it was changed to $/child. The numbers of children in care suddenly doubled from one year to the next."

    The big question therefore, is who pushed for this nonsense change to $/child, and who benefited? Follow the money trails.


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