This is the complete document containing four earlier segments that demonstrate how MCFD purposed to send SS from B.C. to ONT., regardless of regulations that should have prevented this action.
MCFD ERRED IN MÉTIS CHILD'S CASE
What influenced the Director of the Ministry of Children and Family Development to arrive at the decision to remove an almost three-year-old girl named SS from her Métis foster parents in B.C. with whom she has been since birth, in order to send her to live with non-Metis parents in Ontario, where her two Métis siblings live? Let's begin with the foundation that each of the two placement options in this case, the BC home and the Ontario home are good homes for this child.
That last sentence may reveal the decisive factor, the genealogical kinship. In this child's case you may agree that it was not enough to justify MCFD's choice. Using the Ministry's own legislated and documented criteria for determining placements, I will now tell you why the MCFD decision was unreasonable, and not in the child's best interests.
First, the regulation states that preference is shown for a placement that permits a child's contact with birth parents in order to enrich the child's sense of identity, provided that birth parents welcome the contact. A beneficial relationship was already established between the child and the birth parents in the same B.C. city during the three years she has lived with the Metis foster parents in B.C. In fact, these birth parents in B.C. are open and have repeatedly begged that the foster parents be allowed to adopt their child. Distance makes it impossible to maintain such quality contact with the family in Ontario and no attempt was made by either Ontario foster parents or birth parents.
Second, consideration is given to the child's physical, intellectual, and emotional needs and to her level of development. A professional appraisal revealed that irreparable damage would result to these aspects of the child's life if a move involved this significant trauma of removal from the foster family and a move to strangers in Ontario. In her B.C. foster home these needs were met for the first thirty months and her development progressed above norms.
Third, is the importance of continuity in care. In the child's B.C. home, her continuity of care was uninterrupted until MCFD removed her in preparation for her transport to Ontario. That interruption was justified in the belief that the long term benefits of three sisters together will outweigh the loss of these formative years.
Fourth, is the importance of a positive relationship with a parent as well as a secure sense of being a member of the family. SS was firmly established in her B.C. family consisting of foster mom and dad and older grown children. When the decision to move the child was being considered by MCFD and when BC foster parents contested this before the court in 2016, the child had no relationship with the prospective adoptive parents in Ontario or the two older Métis sibling sisters whom SS had never met. There was then and there may still be a high probability that a 'positive relationship' cannot develop with the other sibling girls.
Fifth, is the importance of preserving the child's cultural identity. The Ontario parental couple has not been in a position to preserve Métis culture. In distinction the B.C. foster family are committed to the preservation of the child's Métis identity and have taken steps to encourage this. The B.C. Metis Federation has been active and outspoken in their support of the child being kept with her Métis family and with part of the Métis community in her home province.
Sixth is the preservation of the child's cultural, racial, linguistic and spiritual heritage. The Ontario parents, upright and well intentioned for SS, are not themselves of Métis heritage. With respect to their two adopted Métis sisters, no evidence exists of a continuing identification with the Métis community. There is no reason to believe that SS can have her heritage preserved in her new home. In the B.C. foster family, LM, the foster mom has Métis cultural heritage, and she and the child were well connected to the B.C. Métis Federation, community life and ceremonies. Furthermore, the Métis birth father is in Victoria and easily accessible.
Seventh, is consideration of the effect on the child because of a delay in making a decision about her future. Delays were created by the MCFD's repeated extensions of a Temporary Care Order (TCO), as though this was a probationary period for the foster parents and the foster child. Yet the child came to LM and RB when she was three days old and was with them for almost three years and no probationary period was required, and she could have been adopted to these foster parents as they requested, except for the Director’s refusal to consider this.
Eighth, is the Parenting Capacity of each parenting couple. Both parenting couples enjoy reputations as good and responsible parents. In Ontario, both parents have full-time jobs and the two sibling sisters have special needs. In B.C. both parents are employed full time but at home, and the mother (LM) is certified in ECE and Infant and Toddler Care and Special Needs.
Ninth, consideration is given to the other members of a family, the extended family. I have no information about the Métis sisters' interaction with extended family members of the Ontario family. In the B.C. foster family there are two older sisters and two older brothers. These sisters are committed to the care of SS and one of them has certification in childcare. One of the brothers is particularly attached to SS and she to him.
Tenth, is the matter of the siblings, and the possible value or merit of seeing all three placed together. Most jurisdictions recognize that when two or more bonded siblings are in need of placement, for whatever unfortunate circumstance, a humane consideration requires that their trauma not be increased by splitting them up into separate homes. This situation does not apply to SS. The two “biological” sibling sisters were born in Ontario and have been total strangers to SS, who was born in B.C. when her birth parents moved there. One professional opinion states that there is high probability/risk that there will be failure to bond and failure therefore of adoption. In this regard, LM and RB expressed commitment to helping SS meet her siblings when she would be deemed stable in her present B.C. home and able to understand the nature of such a meeting.
Eleventh, is the matter of Territoriality/regionality. LM and RB as well as the birth parents live in B.C. where the child named SS was born. The B.C. Adoption Act requires placement of a child in B.C. In order to affect the move to Ontario, MCFD manipulated existing legislation. The only language used by the MCFD for many months was “adoption”. When the Supreme Court ruled that the Adoption Act means what it says, and that adoption of a B.C. child cannot legally occur in another province, and by residents of another province, the MCFD abruptly changed its language to “guardianship” in Ontario, and later to a “foster parent agreement.” Surprisingly, the B.C. Courts have accepted this deviation by the MCFD. While initially, SS has been sent to Ontario as a foster child with foster parents, the clear intention is that she will be adopted under Ontario Adoption legislation and with that comes loss of control by B.C. Further, the understanding is that B.C. must reimburse Ontario for a monthly supplementary grant to adoptive parents for this out of province sibling.