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Problems in Newfoundland
March 4, 2013 permalink
Newfoundland and Labrador's Child and Youth Advocate Carol Chafe has released three reports on the province's child welfare system. The three are available on her website at Out of Focus, Turning a Blind Eye and The Child Upstairs (all pdf). Since the stories have no real names, they tell only the parts of the story that suit the needs of the welfare system. Watch for a move soon to use the stories to justify expanding the powers of the welfare system.
For an unexpurgated Newfoundland story, watch the movie Dear Zachary. Using real names it tells of the death of a boy at the hands of a known homicidal mother while the family court system fiddled.
Child and youth advocate releases reports on system failures
Carol Chafe, Newfoundland and Labrador's Child and Youth Advocate, has released three reports on shocking failures in the province's child welfare system.
Chafe said the problems which led to the failures in the three reports, despite the creation of a new department of Child, Youth and Family Services, still exist today.
"The change itself has not happened, and that's why I feel it's necessary for people to understand, while yes, change takes time and the structure is there, and I know it's going to get better, it's still not better now," said Chafe. "And therefore, children are at risk."
Three tragic stories
The reports are focused on flaws in the system that allowed the abuse and neglect of children in three separate cases to go undetected.
One report tells the story of the neglect of four children with one child ultimately becoming permanently developmentally delayed.
Another report tells the story of several children who suffered abuse at the hands of their mother over the span of 13 years.
The third report addresses the situation of two families with children who suffered neglect for years, with two children dying and another child injured in a house fire which also killed three adults.
Chafe said those investigations were already under way when she took over the office in 2010.
Lack of communication, says advocate
The biggest failure in each case, Chafe said, was a lack of communication and documentation by social workers.
Chafe said the reports have been presented in a way that the general public can read and understand.
She said she hopes the public release of these reports will push people inside the province's child welfare system to change their practices.
The reports are available on the Child and Youth Advocate's website.