Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Judge for yourself if infants protected and families supported

I've been posting case examples from the Representative for Children and Youth report Fragile Lives, Fragmented Systems.
Here are number five and six; the first four are in posts below.
You can read and judge if the system is working to protect children.

Case Example
This infant was born to a First Nations mother who had one older child living with her. Two older children had been removed by the ministry in the past and were living with relatives. There had been 12 child protection reports over a 10-year period. The reports involved drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence as well as exposing the children to dangerous situations and general lack of supervision and neglect. Investigations had found at one point that the family lived in very substandard housing requiring immediate attention due to the risks to the children.
The eleventh report regarding the care of the sibling was received when the mother was in the early stages of her pregnancy. It was not investigated. A second report was received subsequent to the infant’s birth, which also was not investigated. Both reports were signed by a supervisor and closed. A number of months later, after another report that was not documented as a child protection report was received, the children were removed.
By not responding to the initial report, the opportunity was lost to assess the family circumstances and plan for the birth of the infant.

Case Example
The mother of the infant had been diagnosed with FASD at a young age. Her capacity to parent was limited. Prior to the infant’s birth she had transferred the care of her first child to her former spouse as she was unable to handle the child’s behaviour. She used harmful substances while pregnant with her second child. Her prenatal substance use, limited capacity and lack of financial resources were factors that the staff in the hospital felt placed her at risk.
The infant was born prematurely and was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit due to high medical needs. Prior to discharging the infant, health professionals noted concerns about the home the infant would be living in, the mother’s capacity and her social situation. The infant was discharged at six weeks of age.
When the infant was two months old, the social worker contacted the public health nurse to request that she provide information to the infant’s mother regarding safe sleep as the mother had informed the social worker that the infant currently slept in a car seat and also in the mother’s bed. The public health nurse contacted the mother, who said that she did not have a crib for the infant and could not afford one. The mother said that the infant was currently sleeping in a playpen. The nurse discouraged the mother from using a playpen and encouraged her to purchase a crib. On the same day, the nurse contacted the social worker regarding financial assistance for a crib. The public health notes indicate that the nurse planned to follow up with the MCFD social worker in two weeks. However, there is no indication of any further follow-up regarding the infant’s sleeping arrangements.
Over a number of weeks the mother’s capacity to take care of the infant began to deteriorate, and beginning at three months old, the infant was provided temporary respite care with increasing frequency in three different homes. The ministry social worker requested and received approval for the purchase of a playpen for the infant to sleep in while in respite care in one of the three homes because the caregivers did not have an appropriate place for the infant to sleep.
The third home offering respite care was an MCFD-approved foster home. The foster home file information did not indicate that the foster parents had received any specialized training with respect to caring for infants or caring for infants with high medical needs. In this home the infant also slept in a playpen. On the night of the death the infant was put to sleep on its side in the playpen, with a blanket placed against its back. A couple of hours later the caregiver found the infant unresponsive.
A post-mortem examination following the infant’s death indicated that an untreated kidney infection caused the death, and an inter-current viral infection and aspiration pneumonia were contributory. A pediatric review of the infant’s medical and post-mortem information indicated that the kidney infection was treatable, had it been recognized earlier. However, the infant’s symptoms may have been misinterpreted as a cold or flu.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, but too many of these cases are clear cut continual abuse - not only of the children, but of the system.

How many kids have to be removed from the same woman/home and put into care..while she continues to have more that she cannot/will not be able to look after? At what point is it ok to say "no more excuses"...and perform surgery to ensure there will be no more children to be abused.

Oh yeah, I know I'm treading where angels and used car salesman won't go...but it's time to stop the cycle of crap. And remove excuses every step of the way. It is not ok to keep having kids when you can't afford them physically, emotionally, mentally and monetarily.

Anonymous said...

Bob Mackin reports in today's '24 Hours' that the BC Liberal's $60 MILLION 2010 Sports and Arts Legacy is all about a ploy to promote politicians, to “enhance government profile and create exciting opportunities for Ministers and MLAs”.

This obscene post Olympic orgy will kick off next week at the BC Liberal Party Extraordinary Convention.

Imagine what over $1,000,000 a week could do for child protection in BC.

Dawn Steele said...

I nominate the comment above for "best comment."

The neglect is obvious and the failure to invest in giving these unfortunate children a chance in life is simply a case of obscenely misplaced priorities.

I'm sorry but I can't help but draw parallels between the Whistler operator who had 100 dependent animals brutally slaughtered because they were no longer making him a profit and a society that keeps electing political leaders who consistenty and deliberately put profit and business interests above everything else, even the lives of British Columbian's children.

Yes this is Mary Polak's shame and it is Gordon Campbell's shame, but it is also the shame of every other British Columbian who elects these people and who will continue to elect them no matter what the brutal costs.

Dawn Steele said...

...I should have added above that the one BC Liberal leadership candidate who committed to at least look at child poverty is George Abbott, who has been rewarded by pretty much being dismissed from the race since he offered that commitment.

Anonymous said...

You are quite right Dawn Steele. We all share ownership for any blame, but I take a little bit of comfort in the fact that I never have and never will vote for any of the Campbellites. Paul's pointing out the NDP's record on that file has tempered that comfort somewhat, so the question remains - what can we do? Meantime none other than the high and mighty (unofficial) BC Liberal spokesman and CKNW talk show host Bill Good declared just the other day that "we've got to get to the bottom of this"...too bad he was talking about dead the Husky dogs.

e.a.f. said...

It is a shame on this province that children continue to live and die in these conditions.
if the parents had simply been provided adequate housing and basic furniture a lot of these deaths could have been avoided.
At one time families in crisis were provided home care workers to assist in ensuring the home remained safe and clean and assisted the parents in parenting. I do believe that program went out with Bennett Jrs. restraint program.
If we have money to pay for highways and sports stadiums we have money to ensure children are properly looked after.
Some of these children should have been provided nursing care once they went home.
Can we not have the dept. of child services and cabinet minister responsible charged with child abuse and neglect. Being sent to jail might just be the ticket to improve conditions for these children.
Their parents already had problems which they weren't assisted with. There needs to be intervention programs and decent housing.

ijat6969 said...

Great article....!

A lot of good info !