MCFD'S CALL IS BAD FOR SO MANY REASONS (part 1 of 4)
MCFD Erred Gravely In Métis Child's Case
Let's begin with the premise that each of the two placement options in this case, the BC home and the Ontario home are good homes for this child. What influenced the Director and Case Management Team 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?
You might say that the last sentence already reveals the decisive factor, explicitly the sibling kinship. That may have been the rationale in the decision but it is not enough to justify the choice. I cannot tell you how or why that decision was reached but using the Ministry's own legislated and customarily stated criteria for determining placements, I will now tell you why the MCFD decision was unreasonable, and therefore not in the child's best interests.
First, the regulation is 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. In fact, these birth parents in B.C. are open and have repeatedly begged that the foster parents be allowed to adopt their child. Note that distance makes it impossible to maintain such contact with the family in Ontario and furthermore, no such attempt at contact by foster parents or birth parents has occurred with the two other siblings in Ontario. In contrast, 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.
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. It is readily understandable that such continuity of care is ruined completely by the move to Ontario. In the child's B.C. home, her continuity of care was uninterrupted and that remained true until MCFD removed her in preparation for her transport to Ontario.