Experience Shows Children's Aid Needs Reform.

The Dufferin Children's Aid Society (CAS) has terrorized the parents of Dufferin by removing, or threatening to remove, their children. We have hundreds of families involved with Children's Aid, and can report the patterns in the most common cases.

About half of the cases are single mothers. Most have little or nothing in support, such a employment income, support from the father, or family members who can contribute to the care of their children and defense against CAS. CAS views them as sitting ducks who can be bullied without fear of oversight by a judge.

Another common type of case is the shotgun divorce, in which a caseworker induces a couple to separate or divorce against the will of both parties. Should an intact family come before a judge, he is unlikely to order the children removed, so CAS must separate the parents to get control of the kids. Some methods are to suggest to one parent that prospects of keeping your children would be improved by getting a separation, advice that is more compelling when the children are already in foster care. Another starts with a domestic disturbance call. If the police arrest the father, as current policies encourage, he is released on condition that he avoid contact with his family until trial, giving CAS over a year to bully the now-single mother. We also know a case in which a woman fled from a fight with her husband to the shelter of Family Transition Place. Social workers coached her for weeks to get her to file criminal charges against her husband. On emerging from the shelter, she wanted to return home but could not because of the legal injunctions that followed the charges. One father reported several nights when an occupied car parked outside his home for two hours, hoping to catch him with his wife.

Yet another common case is the family already divorced. One parent may notice a child return from visitation suffering some form of injury. CAS often ignores this kind of complaint. But when persistent complaints annoy CAS, they permanently remove the child from the complaining parent. CAS authority in this kind of case cannot be challenged. CAS told one parent to disregard court-ordered visitation with the other. When in due course the police arrived to enforce visitation, they acted on the word of the CAS worker in preference to the court order.

Children's Aid puts a big effort into separating children from their parents. Since this requires court approval, they need all the help they can get. They use distorted reports by social workers, harassment of parents, psychiatric reports and assistance from foster parents. CAS pays foster parents $800 per month for each child, preferring impecunious foster parents who out of necessity stay onside in the struggle with the natural parents. We have found upscale families rebuffed as foster or adoptive parents. Some foster parents aspire to adopt the children in their care, yet CAS is as brutal to them as to natural parents.

Psychiatric reports always favor the CAS. Psychiatrists get most of their income through referrals by agencies with police power, so opinions hostile to that power imperil their livelihood. In a Dufferin case psychiatrist Diane Benoit testified that a family is unfit if a parent smokes, the family income is under sixty thousand dollars a year, there has been a death in the family, or either parent has previously had a failed romantic relationship. Are you that perfect?

Recourse to the courts is futile for most parents because they cannot afford a lawyer. Legal Aid for families runs out in a few months, while CAS legal funding is unbounded. In Dufferin the judges are not corrupted, and parents presenting an adequate case see their children returned. In some other jurisdictions there is an arms-length relationship between the police and the child-protection agency, but not here. In Dufferin, Children's Aid and the police are in bed with each other - in addition to the metaphor, there are a number of marriages between social workers and policemen.

One effect of CAS intervention is the loss of parental authority. Families with teenage children have reported that after CAS intervention, children reject parental supervision, threatening a report to CAS in lieu of proper behavior.

In several cases CAS intervened for cause, yet on rebuttal of that cause continued its intervention. In one case a doctor found a broken bone that had healed without treatment, alerting CAS. Later medical examination showed that the bone had never been broken, but CAS intervention with the family continued.

CAS follows the maxim that a past abuser is a future abuser. This makes sense for deliberate harm only. Once you lose a child to CAS, they take all future children. Before legal abortions, teenaged girls suffering an unwanted pregnancy sometimes lost the ability to have a family through incompetent abortion. Now when a teenage pregnancy runs to term and the child is seized, the woman still loses her ability to have a family. VOCA has found an abortion motivated by avoidance of a second abduction. Persons convicted of an offense, even fairly minor ones, also cannot have a family.

We have found four cases of women sheltered at Family Transition Place who had their children seized and placed in foster care.

Statscan says in 1996 Dufferin had 45,657 inhabitants and 685 births, with an expected 4 infant deaths. According to its own annual report CAS intervenes in some way in the lives of 1353 families in one year, far above any possible level of child abuse. The reported number of days care shows that at any one time they have 83 children in foster care. The same report shows 76 children admitted to care per year. CAS does not define its terms, but this appears to be the number of children taken against the will of the family. CAS threatens to remove children in almost every case. One child in nine will eventually get into foster care.

We must point out one abuse in other areas that has not been seen in Dufferin. No children have suffered serious bodily harm while in foster care.

Bear in mind that court records are secret, so much of this material comes from interviews with victims. On factual refutation by CAS, we will be glad to correct the occasional error that may have come from interviews.

Many parents have reported that Dufferin Children's Aid seized their children. Below we summarize the reasons they gave justifying the seizure.

  • altercation between mom and dad (two cases)
  • boy burned himself by accident, CAS blamed mom
  • boy hid coat from classmates to avoid teasing, treated as neglect
  • boy refused to go to school
  • bruise on child's arm
  • child coached to make incriminating statements on tape
  • child is self-destructive
  • child threatened younger kids
  • chronic misbehavior by child (lying, stealing)
  • dad asked CAS for help
  • dad committed assault on public street
  • dad fined $150 for cocaine possession
  • dad had a sexual offense conviction before marriage
  • dad got in fight with son
  • dad's alleged drinking
  • dad's new girlfriend calls cas to get mom out of kids life
  • daughter complained about mom (two cases)
  • death of father (kids taken from widow)
  • diaper rash
  • discussing masturbation
  • farm animals in the home
  • girl complained of abuse by dad
  • girl nearing puberty noticed dads touch felt different
  • girl's sheets dirty from menstruation
  • girl whispered to dad during supervised visit
  • home remodeling
  • inappropriate touching of daughter
  • kids engage in sex play
  • kids had to make their own breakfast.
  • kids poorly dressed in school
  • kids slept on the floor
  • marijuana use by parent (two cases)
  • mom (poor cook) fed daughter instant food
  • mom deemed incompetent to care for boy with heart surgery.
  • mom fondled son
  • mom refused to allow therapist to examine child
  • mom tested positive for drugs during childbirth
  • mom went to women's shelter (three cases)
  • mother alleged to be suicidal
  • moving furniture between rooms in progress
  • neighbor accused dad of sexual harassment of daughter
  • neighbors claimed boy was left unattended
  • not sterilizing a bottle (used once a day to supplement breast-feeding)
  • nude photos of mom found on internet
  • parent yelled at child (four cases)
  • parents engaged in sexual relations after forcibly separated
  • parents reunited after forcibly separated
  • physical violence between parents (two cases)
  • post-partum depression
  • refusal to return child placed voluntarily
  • runaway teenager
  • school found bruises on boy
  • school lunch inadequate
  • scratch on boy
  • smelled alcohol on mom's breath during delivery
  • spanking (five cases)
  • swearing in public
  • taped boy's mouth
  • teenager attacked mom
  • there was a lock on the kitchen door, CAS wanted individual locks on all kitchen appliances and doors instead
  • too many complaints to cas about ex-spouse (three cases)
  • vindictive neighbor
  • watering the baby's formula because of poverty.
  • women's shelter persuaded mom to file charges against husband