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Career for Unqualified Parents

January 11, 2007 permalink

In the forms child protectors use to justify separating children from parents, a parent's own abuse experienced during childhood, such as a long stay in foster care, is a point against the parent. For example, on page 40 of the document Risk Assessment Model for Child Protection in Ontario (pdf) the rating for the parent (caregiver) is:

Risk Assessment Scale Anchor Descriptions

Caregiver Influence
CG1. Abuse/Neglect of Caregiver

Severe abuse/neglect as a child.

Severe abuse/neglect as a child resulted in serious emotional disturbance and/or physical scars/disability.

Recurrent but not severe abuse/neglect as a child.

Recurrent abuse/neglect as a child; may have resulted in emotional or physical impairment.

Episodes of abuse/neglect as a child.

Recounts being abused or neglected as a child, but not severely or recurrently; with no apparent impairment

Perceived abuse/neglect as a child with no specific incidents.

Does not recount being abused or neglected. Expresses dissatisfaction with the care or treatment s/he received when young.

No perceived abuse/neglect as a child.

Recounts being loved and well cared for with no incidents of abuse or neglect.

Insufficient information to make a rating.

According to Ontario standards, Verna Cowley, the subject of the article below, would make a suspect parent, likely to lose her children to foster care. But she is in training to become a social worker, and may someday earn a living taking children away from other parents or supervising the development of foster children.



Winnipeg Free Press

Former foster child got tough life lesson

Thu Jan 11 2007

FROM the time she was 10 years old, Verna Cowley bounced around the foster care system in The Pas.

By the time she turned 18, she had already been in six foster homes.

She seldom went to school. She felt like nobody cared.

And when she turned 18, she was turned out on the street and left to her own devices.

"I had no support whatsoever when I left care," Cowley said. "I had nothing. I didn't have an education. I knew what I was headed for."

She said she had to go on social assistance, and moved back in with her mother and helped take care of her mother's young kids.

Cowley says the only thing that got her through was a social worker who has become like an older sister to her, and helped her navigate her way into adulthood.

"She's one of the social workers who go out on a limb for her kids," said Cowley. "There should be more like her."

Cowley is now studying at the University of Manitoba to be a social worker herself, but wishes there was more emphasis on her education when she was growing up.

"I wish they would have pushed me to go to school," she said.

When she told her social workers she was skipping school, they shrugged it off and said maybe she should get a job instead.

"That was the kind of attitude I got," said Cowley.

-- Mia Rabson

Source: Winnipeg Free Press