A FOLLOWUP opinion by Ray Ferris, my advocacy colleague, an experienced former Ministry of Children social worker and author of 'The Art of Child Protection." Contact the author to order a copy of his book, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Times Colonist story of the foster parents trying to adopt a child is a classic example of conflict between the different rights of children. Children’s rights are set out in the Child Family and Community Services Act (CFCSA). Children’s best interests are paramount and include the right to continuity of care and the right to kinship contact. Priority should be given to foster placement with relatives. The Act urges timely decision making for young children. Cultural preservation is urged, especially for people of aboriginal origin.
No individual right is paramount, but some rights become more important as time passes and conflicts can occur. It is then that a balance between rights must be sought, requiring good judgement. Unfortunately, good judgement seems to be a scarce commodity in this ministry.