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Childrens Aid of Ontario Canada TOOK HER FROM THE BIRTHING ROOM

Thursday, May 1, 2014 - ChildProtection - BONNIE

CAS ordered a parent & capacity assessment (PCA) on me. The test took six months while the children were in care
I was a single mom with four children, one son and three daughters. I have no drug or alcohol problems and no anger issues (neither presently or in my past). For years I was having behavioural problems with two of my eldest children. I did not know how to diagnose behavioural issues with my kids so I reached out for help, but never got it. Instead of helping me and my family, the Children's Aid Society took my kids away. They said I didn't know how to parent. I tried my best raising my kids on my own, and I loved them unconditionally. I needed help and support. What happened was not fair to me or my kids. Today, I want my daughters back. I want my oldest daughter to get the care I sought for her three years ago, and I want to start the healing process of getting over this horrible thing that the CAS has done.

CAS

Over a 15 year period, The Children's Aid Society of Hamilton expressed concerns about my parenting, but did nothing to help me. I lived in a neighbourhood where people would call CAS on each other. Once I had my kids taken because I did not have a baby gate for my daughter when she was three years old. I actually had the gate but took it off because she was climbing it and getting hurt. The CAS worker told me I should stay by the gate to make sure that my daughter wouldn't climb it. In response I asked, 'How do meals get prepared if I stand here and watch the gate? And if I did that, what is the purpose of having it there in the first place?' Needless to say, my son and daughter went into foster care for 2 months before I got them back. Basically, the agency's idea of helping me was to go into my home and complain about a few dishes in the sink, homework on the table, or the “several animals” in my home. In reality, I had one dog and one cat and the stuff they picked on had nothing to do with actually helping me out. My eldest daughter was diagnosed with ADD and my eldest son with ADHD. What I needed, was help organizing treatment for them.

Since the CAS was not helping, I came up with my own plan. During this time I was pregnant with my third child. I put my 15-year-old son into a treatment home at Canada House, a residential treatment program for boys with behavioural issues. He would come home on weekends. Throughout the ordeal with CAS that followed, my son always remained in my care. My eldest daughter was having a difficult time at school, which included severe outbursts, tantrums, throwing things in the classroom, and generally not following through with what was expected of her. I put her on a wait list for the school program at Lynnwood Hall, a treatment centre for children.

In January of 2009, I met with the CAS, my daughter's teachers, the Principal and the school's guidance councillor. They came up with a plan to put my daughter into foster care on a temporary agreement until a space became available at Lynnwood Hall. The CAS told me that once a spot became available at Lynnwood Hall, my daughter would be placed back into my care. This arrangement made me very sad, but I wanted my daughter to get the help that she needed so I signed the temporary agreement.

Things went well for a while and my daughter would come home twice a week. Then, in April of 2009, I did not see my daughter for 3 weeks and nobody returned my messages. When I spoke to my daughter's foster parent, I was told she didn't know why the visits were cancelled. No one told me why the visits were cancelled. One week before giving birth to my second daughter, the CAS held two meetings with me. In the second meeting they told me they were going to apprehend my unborn child and keep my eldest daughter in care permanently.

I was so upset I burst into tears. I said, 'No you're not.' I already had the nursery set up and was planning to pick up a buggy , which was the last thing I had to organize before she was born. My mom came out to talk to them but that didn't change their minds. My mom is a big part of my life. After I gave birth, I was allowed to be with my baby daughter for the night and then they took her under a temporary agreement. They told me the reason they were taking my baby was because I lacked parenting skills and that there was a lack of structure in the home. This time I signed the agreement because I thought that by cooperating with the CAS, I would be demonstrating that I care for my children.

I had a lawyer for the two years that I went back and forth from court. The CAS had not asked anything from me as a criteria to get my kids back. Everything was just dragging out and my lawyer was not helping, either. He would just say I had to wait, so I waited. I felt like he wasn't listening to me or helping me get my kids back. Later, I switched to another lawyer just before legal aid ran out. The CAS ordered a parent & capacity assessment (PCA) on me. The test took six months while the children were in care. During this time, I was also pregnant with my fourth child. When the CAS found out about my baby, they decided they were going to take this child as well.

In November of 2010, I gave birth to my fourth child with only one nurse present. My boyfriend and I had 10 minutes with our baby before CAS took her from the birthing room. The nurse never even came back to help me. I was laying in bed with blood all over the bed while everyone was talking outside the room. I got myself up and went to the bathroom to clean up and get dressed. As I was leaving, the doctor suggested that I stay but I didn't want to because they had taken my baby and left me there alone without allowing me to bond. I was in a lot of pain. Even dogs get 6 to 8 weeks with their young. I got 10 minutes.

The next day we had court. The CAS told the judge they should keep my baby until the results of the PCA came in, pointing out that my other children were already in care. When the PCA results finally came out, it did not go well. I feel like everything I said was turned against me. My boyfriend's results stated that he was too passive and my results stated I was not realizing my participation with the behavioural problems that my children had.

Visits with my children were moved to the access centre at the CAS office. I noticed that my youngest was being neglected. She had diaper rash, sunburns, dirty formula, cat urine on her coat, and bug bites. My two youngest daughters were in the same foster home and I noticed that both children were being neglected. I expressed my concerns to CAS but they just ignored me. My worker even said, "It is not life threatening therefore, its OK". I became angry about the neglect and the worker's response to it, which was then held against me in court. The CAS said I had anger problems, therefore, I am not a good enough parent to care for my children. They said that I was too angry with the CAS to be a parent and that I was not working cooperatively with them to get my children back (because I was upset that my children were being neglected!).

Once, when one of my daughters came to a visit, she smelled like cat urine. I insisted the police be called because I was not going to hand my child over to this foster parent. When the police came to the office, they called it a “code white”, which means that a parent is refusing to hand over the children. I explained to the police that my children were being neglected at the foster home and that the CAS was ignoring this problem. The police changed the report to “child neglect” occurring at the foster home. There was an investigation and the next day my children were removed. The CAS then told me that I was right, and that this home was not suitable for children.

In March 2011, my two youngest daughters were placed with my boyfriend's parents. Our relationship fell apart when I noticed that he would neglect the children and had anger issues, himself. For example, once when he fell asleep on the couch with my infant daughter, she leaned forward and rolled head first onto the floor. He gave her a bottle to put her to sleep. When I argued with him about his treatment of her, he became angry, shoved my baby daughter toward me and threw her bottle across the room. I began to notice that he was very rough with both my daughters and I eventually ended the relationship. The CAS says that I have to be supervised by him when I visit with my children, which I feel is very unfair. Both my babies are still at his parents' and there is no reason for it. I want my daughters back.

My lawyer made a deal in front of me, my Pastor, my former boyfriend, the CAS lawyer and my worker to agree on making my oldest daughter a crown ward with the reassurance that this decision will be reversed when I get my babies back. I did not know the decision to make my daughter a crown ward was permanent, but I'm sure my lawyer did. I think they were all trying avoid a trial. She misled me to believe that a crown wardship can be reversed and in ignorance, I took my lawyer's advice. Shortly afterwards, she stepped down as my lawyer when legal aid denied her payment.

I am still in court fighting for my babies. I will be undergoing another Parent & Capacity Assessment while I am awaiting trial to get the girls back. In the meantime, my former boyfriend can have unsupervised visits with the girls, but I have to be supervised. One of the toddlers is not even his child, but he has more rights to her than I do. I have asked the CAS why my visits need to be supervised, but they refuse to answer that question. This is what our justice system is like in Ontario.

I took parenting classes through the CAS but they were not much help back when the children were young. My kids were never diagnosed properly and I did not ask the right questions. I was always pointed in the wrong direction. I did have questions for the professionals, but I did not stand up for myself by forcing them to do something about the challenges we were facing as a family. Their solution was to put the kids on meds, which I didn't agree with but went along because I felt threatened by CAS if I didn't. As a young, single mom, I do believe that my parenting skills were weak but this was something I could have learned with proper guidance and mentorship. I did make mistakes, but taking my children away is not the answer. The CAS made a bad situation worse.


Source:
http://www.blakout.ca/htm/voicesarchive.php?uid=91709&disp=ISSUE&op=1#.UZLPxrUp8fk
LOCATION: ONTARIO
AGENCY: CHILDREN'S AID SOCIETY OF HAMILTON
TIMEFRAME: 2009 - ONGOING
MINISTRY: CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES
MINISTER: LAUREL BROTEN (LIB)
DR. ERIC HOSKINS (LIB)
DEB MATTHEWS (LIB)

http://www.blakout.ca/

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Thursday, May 1, 2014
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