Thursday, July 30, 2009

I am trying to break you heart

I know we're heading to a long summer weekend, but everyone should read this report from Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond.
It's a review of the travails of a baby boy who was taken from his parents as a result of legitimate, but easily addressed concerns. All they really needed was help finding an apartment .
While living in his third foster home, and still not six months old, he suffered massive injuries, consistent, doctors said, with being shaken. He is back with his parents as a three-year-old with cerebral palsy, blind in one eye and unable to walk.
I have a friend who is troubled by the attention on these reports. She fears it slights or discourages the workers doing great things every day, in impossible circumstances.
I think paying real attention is the greatest honour we can do those people.


DPL said...

And the newly minted Minister made a rude comment about the Legislatve Officer whose job it is to investgate child deaths.Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is very qualified. I'd stack her experize up as head and shoulders above some hack politician who didn't seen to know just what the ex judge was responsible to do in her job.

Anonymous said...

Island's only child abuse unit closes

By Lindsay Kines, Times Colonist-August 1, 2009

"The only specialized medical team for assessing child abuse and neglect cases on Vancouver Island has shut down, forcing some young victims to travel to Vancouver for help. [...] The Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) unit, which operated out of the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children's Health [in Victoria], included a part-time psychologist, registered nurse, social worker and receptionist, [Cheryl Damstetter, VIHA's director of child, youth and family health] said. The unit received about 200 referrals a year."

Dawn Steele said...

The Rep's report rightly points attention at root causes and the need to focus on how to rebuild the kind of societal framework that enables strong families capable of raising their own kids properly. The child protection system should be limited to handling those unfortunate situations that will arise despite everyone's best efforts. It should not and cannot be expected to increasingly substitute for the family as we allow the societal framework that supports strong, capable families to crumble and rot.

One in five children growing up in poverty is the heart of the problem right there. Allowing that to persist while relying on this band-aid/ crisis response approach will never work. This approach will simply cost more and more to accomplish less and less.

My sympathies therefore go out to those who continue to man the front-lines to offer what limited relief they can, despite knowing that at best they're just doing harm reduction, that real successes will be preciously few, and that the more stretched they get, the higher the risk of inadvertently causing even greater harm.

Our lack of foresight and commitment to providing the conditions that enable strong families in BC is turning the child welfare system into a lose-lose game.

DPL said...

As long as we have stupid people who lock thier kids in a van when they go in for a quick or not so quick beer, we will need people who care about other peoples kids and know how to save them from serios injury or death.My God, if a bystander hadn't raised a concern, there might well be two more dead children to investigate.