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CBC Exposes CCAS
April 14, 2006 permalink
The CBC program The Fifth Estate on April 12 dealt with the death of Jeffrey Baldwin. The following article deals with one issue raised in the program. More comments follow.
Jeffrey's parents apologize
The Toronto Sun, April 13, 2006, By BRETT CLARKSON AND SAM PAZZANO, TORONTO SUN
In their first public statement about their son's horrific death, Jeffrey Baldwin's biological parents apologized for failing the boy in a television interview aired last night.
"We both failed," said Yvonne Kidman, Jeffrey's biological mother, in an interview on CBC's The Fifth Estate.
"I live with that guilt every single day," Richard Baldwin said. "I want everybody to know -- I apologize. I let my son down and I let the rest of my children down."
Jeffrey was almost six years old when he starved to death in November 2002 while in the care of Kidmans' parents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman.
Yesterday, Bottineau and Kidman were in court to hear sentencing for how much time either would serve before being eligible for parole. That was postponed until May 17.
Last Friday, Bottineau, 54, and Kidman, 53, were found guilty of second-degree murder in Jeffrey's death. Both convicted child abusers from the 1970s, the pair have started serving their life sentences.
An at-times angry Kidman lashed out at her mother as the interview focused on Bottineau's successful bid to win custody of Kidman and Baldwin's four children, including Jeffrey.
Bottineau eventually won custody of all the kids after taking in Jeffrey's sister, after that child was reportedly left unattended during a fight between the young parents.
Because Bottineau received $125 from social assistance per child, Kidman couldn't help but wonder if her mother had taken the kids under her wing solely for a cash-in.
"Right now I'm pretty pissed with her," Kidman said.
"And I got a lot of questions I would like to ask her but can't do them over the phone."
Richard Baldwin said attempts to ask about the obviously malnourished children were met with strong resistance.
"I knew they were drinking from the toilet," Baldwin said. "We voiced concerns, but then all we'd get is arguments, and basically, 'If you don't like the way things look, leave!'"
The parents said they didn't go to the Catholic Children's Aid Society because they felt nobody would take their word against Bottineau's.
Source: Toronto Sun
The Fifth Estate dealt candidly with the horrors of Jeffrey Baldwin's death. It also considered the culpability of CCAS and tried to interview them. When faced with the excuse that the case could not be discussed during trial, the Fifth Estate rescheduled its broadcast until after the trial, but CCAS still demurred. The CBC indulged in the invasive technique of approaching Mary McConville in a public place to ask questions. She suggested that her press release was all that needed to be said.
As for Jeffrey's parents, they have no need to feel guilt over their inaction. Faced with parental complaints, other child protection agencies have ignored them, or when the complaints became burdensome, punished the parents by cutting off all remaining access to their children. Even worse, when the family gets evidence of abuse by child protectors, the child disappears without a trace. For example, the child we know as Howard joined the desaparecidos when a recording was posted on the internet giving evidence of a sex crime committed by a social worker.
You can view the program online. Go to the page Failing Jeffrey and click on the button for "Watch this story online". You will need Windows Media Player.