Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.
March 23, 2011 permalink
Chris Carter reports on a naive young mother bullied into an unfavorable parenting capacity assessment by CAS. The assessor, Nitza Pearlman, has earned lots doing at least 11 PCAs for children's aid. If she reports that a parent is capable of raising her own child, how many more referrals will she get from CAS?
Here is a good example of how pathetically deficient the legal aid legal representation which parents who are being litigated against by a CAS receive:
I've been trying to convince a young Cambridge Ontario mom who sought me out re: CA$ issues to not do a parenting capacity assessment.
Anyway, as far as I'm concerned her lawyer threw her to the wolves.
I just found out that she did the PCA last Thursday at the CAS Cambridge office from 9 am - 1 pm with a psychiatrist named Nitza Pearlman.
The following CANLII link appears to establish that Pearlman made $110 000.00 (that is 11 PCAs at $10,000 each) from 1995-2007 doing PCAs just for the Toronto CAS:
Please keep in mind that these are only the CAS cases involving Pearlman which are posted to CANLII!
Undoubtably Pearlman has done other PCAs for other CASs (I've heard her name mentioned by parents in Cambridge previously as having been their PCA assessor) which aren't posted to CANLII.
THIS YOUNG MOM'S LAWYER DIDN'T TELL HER ANYTHING ABOUT PEARLMAN AND/OR THE PROCESS PRIOR TO GOING INTO THE ASSESSMENT!
Her lawyer also told her that she had no choice; she had to participate in the PCA.
Here is what the Child and family Services Act (CFSA) says about participating in PCAs:
54. (1) In the course of a proceeding under this Part, the court may order that one or more of the following persons undergo an assessment within a specified time by a person appointed in accordance with subsections (1.1) and (1.2):
1. The child.
2. A parent of the child.
3. Any other person, other than a foster parent, who is putting forward or would participate in a plan for the care and custody of or access to the child. 2006, c. 5, s. 10 (1).
Assessor selected by parties
(1.1) An order under subsection (1) shall specify a time within which the parties to the proceeding may select a person to perform the assessment and submit the name of the selected person to the court. 2006, c. 5, s. 10 (1).
Appointment by court
(1.2) The court shall appoint the person selected by the parties to perform the assessment if the court is satisfied that the person meets the following criteria:
1. The person is qualified to perform medical, emotional, developmental, psychological, educational or social assessments.
2. The person has consented to perform the assessment. 2006, c. 5, s. 10 (1).
(1.3) If the court is of the opinion that the person selected by the parties under subsection (1.1) does not meet the criteria set out in subsection (1.2), the court shall select and appoint another person who does meet the criteria. 2006, c. 5, s. 10 (1).
(1.4) An order under subsection (1) and the assessment required by that order shall comply with such requirements as may be prescribed. 2006, c. 5, s. 10 (1).
(2) The person performing an assessment under subsection (1) shall make a written report of the assessment to the court within the time specified in the order, which shall not be more than thirty days unless the court is of the opinion that a longer assessment period is necessary. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 54 (2).
Copies of report
(3) At least seven days before the court considers the report at a hearing, the court or, where the assessment was requested by a party, that party, shall provide a copy of the report to,
(a) the person assessed, subject to subsections (4) and (5);
(b) the child’s solicitor or agent of record;
(c) a parent appearing at the hearing, or the parent’s solicitor of record;
(d) the society caring for or supervising the child;
(e) a Director, where he or she requests a copy;
(f) where the child is an Indian or a native person, a representative chosen by the child’s band or native community; and
(g) any other person who, in the opinion of the court, should receive a copy of the report for the purposes of the case. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 54 (3).
Child under twelve
(4) Where the person assessed is a child less than twelve years of age, the child shall not receive a copy of the report unless the court considers it desirable that the child receive a copy of the report. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 54 (4).
Child twelve or older
(5) Where the person assessed is a child twelve years of age or more, the child shall receive a copy of the report, except that where the court is satisfied that disclosure of all or part of the report to the child would cause the child emotional harm, the court may withhold all or part of the report from the child. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 54 (5).
(5.1) Subsections (4) and (5) prevail despite anything in the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004. 2004, c. 3, Sched. A, s. 78 (1).
Assessment is evidence
(6) The report of an assessment ordered under subsection (1) is evidence and is part of the court record of the proceeding. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 54 (6).
Inference from refusal
(7) The court may draw any inference it considers reasonable from a person’s refusal to undergo an assessment ordered under subsection (1). R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 54 (7).
(8) The report of an assessment ordered under subsection (1) is not admissible into evidence in any other proceeding except,
(a) a proceeding under this Part, including an appeal under section 69;
(b) a proceeding referred to in section 81;
(b.1) a proceeding under Part VII respecting an application to make, vary or terminate an openness order; or
(c) a proceeding under the Coroners Act,
without the consent of the person or persons assessed. 1999, c. 2, s. 14; 2006, c. 5, s. 10 (2).
According to the CFSA section 54 (7) parents do not have to do PCAs even if the assessment is court ordered:
Inference from refusal
(7) The court may draw any inference it considers reasonable from a person’s refusal to undergo an assessment ordered under subsection (1).
Also, according to the young mom (who seems way in over her head) none of the CFSA section 54 related paperwork was completed; her lawyer never spoke to her even about the existence of this paperwork:
So let's review the deficiences just in this one instance re: a legal aid lawyer's failure to adequately advise a client;
- the young mom was told she "had to do the PCA because it was court ordered."
- the young mom was not advised that the PCA assessor might be in a conflict of interest as she (Pearlman) has made significant $$$$$$$$$ from CA$ doing PCAs previously.
- even though the info is posted to CANLII the young mom's lawyer never advised her to research Pearlman's prior PCA determinations (I haven't read them all but I won't be surprised if each and every of Pearlman's PCA decisions recommends Crown Wardship)
- the section 54 Endorsement sheet paperwork found on the ontariocourtforms.on.ca website wasn't even bothered with.
GIVE ME A BREAK!
A comment from another CAS client:
Zane Sherwood she did mine and fucked me over