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Kill Dad, Take Kid

May 15, 2007 permalink

A mother unsuccessfully tries to kill dad, then children's aid gives her their daughter.

The enclosed article written by a professional journalist was not published in the press. The names Danny Osbourne, Danielle and Sue are pseudonyms.



Danny Osbourne is a regular guy. He enjoys hockey, his motorcycle, the odd beer and hanging out with his six year old daughter, Sue. And like a number of fathers today, he’s trying to gain full custody of Sue. Sound familiar? And he feels that he has more than enough proof that he should have her.

If you think that Danny is not alone in his fight, he’s not. There are thousands of men who endeavour to gain access and custody of their kids in Ontario each year. Statistic Canada reported that only 11% of children of divorced parents are placed with their fathers. The difference for Danny Osbourne is the fact that his ex partner tried to kill him.

In August of 2005, Danny was living in the sauna house while his ex-girlfriend, Danielle, and their daughter lived in the main house. On August 29th, his ex came to the sauna house to ask for a cigarette. As she left, she turned to Danny and said “Good-bye”. It struck Danny as odd. Good-bye? Not “good night”? He lay down on the bed to think about it. That’s when he smelled the smoke. Rushing to the door of the sauna house, he found it locked. Danny ran to the window, smashed it open and forced himself out. He suffered from minor burns and had a long cut down his arm. He managed to drag himself to the neighbours, trailing blood and asking that they check the house for fear the fire might have spread to the house and harm his daughter.

Despite the fact that the fire was set intentionally, Danielle managed a plea bargain and received a conditional sentence of two years less a day.

Now Osbourne is struggling to have custody of his daughter and is facing what seems like insurmountable resistance from the Children’s Aid Society of Ontario.

He has documented several occurrences of his ex being high when she came to pick up their child. He has seen the bruises on his child when she comes home after visiting her mum. She says that are inflicted upon her by her older half–brothers, who live with their mum. He says that Sue has been pushed over a sofa and kneed in the stomach by the boys; which seem to go beyond the usual sibling rough-housing. He reported Sue’s emergency visit to the hospital on January 22 of 2006, when her brother slammed a door in her face, but was told that because the boy had apologized to her, there was nothing more that the agency could do.

“Even the ladies at the local Robin’s Donuts have asked me what is wrong with Sue. That she seems quieter and more withdrawn than before” he said.

When he brought his concerns forward to the CAS in Thunder Bay, his case worker wanted to know why he felt the ladies at the donut shop were qualified to make a comment on Sue’s condition. Danny replied that they are mothers and can sense when a child is not herself, but more importantly, strangers are observing the same change in his child.

He has noted to his case worker that Sue often arrives at his house, unsecured in her booster seat. He was told this was a police matter and not a CAS one.

But what is the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back is Sue’s description of her step-father climbing into bed “nakey bum”. When the words “dad” and “naked” come out of a child’s mouth, any parent would be concerned. Danny questioned his child to find out that her step-father has been climbing into the marital bed where she sleeps, nude.

Obviously concerned, he contacted his case worker, who asked him what exactly Sue meant by “nakey bum”. When Danny complained to her supervisor, Rob Robertson, Mr. Robertson told him on September 20th, 2006, that he could do nothing over a “one time issue.” Mr. Robinson did not return requests for comments.

The mandate of the Children’s Aid Society is: :…the voice of child welfare in Ontario, dedicated to providing leadership for the achievement of excellence in the protection of children and in the promotion of their wellbeing within their families and communities.”

Considering the recent scandal and Mr. Osbourne’s concerns, CAS has failed. They have not protected Sue or other children. The Auditor General’s report states that 73% of cases comprehensive risk assessments were not completed on time; which is 180 days. Premier McGuinty has said that the province is not getting “… good value for our dollars in terms of the money we've been sending the Children's Aid Society."

The question we have to ask ourselves is this: how much will it cost before those responsible for these children decide to wake up? Is it when a desperate parent decides to run off with their child? Wasn’t the death of Jeffrey Baldwin enough? The executive director of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society said that they Jeffrey’s grandparents’ criminal records were “buried” in their files, yet somehow they were unaware.

The cost to make changes to protect children seems to be a child’s life. And that cost is just too high.

Source: email from author