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Child Protector in Contempt

July 2, 2009 permalink

Alberta child protector Richard Ouellet has been found in contempt for failing to return a baby to his mother when ordered by a court. This is the same child we identified as baby Tsuu. Since life support was turned off in March, Mr Ouellet cannot repair his contempt by resurrecting the baby. The story fails to clarify whether the baby died in March or is still clinging to life. Anyone outside the bureaucracy would be facing attempted homicide charges for the same act.



Alberta official cited for contempt of court in foster-care case

By Karen Kleiss, Edmonton Journal, July 2, 2009

Mother of AO, baby Tsuu
The mother of a boy fighting for his life holds her rosary beads at the Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary March 6 after she and her family prayed for his recovery. The mom can't be identified because the boy is in a foster home which is where his injuries are alleged to have occured.
Photograph by: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald

EDMONTON — A high-ranking director in Alberta's Department of Children and Youth Services has been cited for contempt of court after he failed to return a child to a foster mother despite being ordered to do so by the province's top court.

On June 23, Appeal Court Justice Jean Cote found Richard Ouellet guilty of contempt of court in the case of a little boy who was pulled from his foster home after allegations of abuse.

In a decision dated Jan. 30, Alberta's Court of Appeal upheld a lower-court decision and ordered the boy returned to the foster mother, who had cared for the child, identified only as A.O., since he was a baby. Children's Services did not comply.

Ouellet is the director of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act's child intervention section, and he reports to the assistant deputy minister of quality and standards. In that role, he has authority to apprehend children, and to consider placement options such as foster care and adoption. He delegates that authority to front-line caseworkers, but remains "ultimately accountable" for their actions, department spokesman Trevor Coulombe said.

Coulombe added that Ouellet has been working in the field of child intervention for more than three decades. He has been reassigned to other duties while the matter is before the courts.

Cote has not yet filed a written judgment explaining his June 23 decision, but he's expected to sentence Ouellet in the coming months.

Source: Calgary Herald

Addendum: A court document (local copy, pdf) on the contempt of Ouellet casts doubt on whether this is the same case as baby Tsuu. The court refers to a foster home in remote northern Alberta, and says Ouellet returned the child to the foster mother on June 22, several months late. Possibly the Calgary Herald inserted a photo in its July 2 story above from another case.