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E-mail from a concerned advocate who believed that information in our site is unreliable (26 Feb 2012)

We received an e-mail below from an anonymous browser who claimed that she is a concerned advocate for parents. The entire e-mail is reproduced below without editing. We respect her anonymity and have not divulged any personal identifiable information. Opinions from this concerned advocate are typical from many people who know little of the nature of child protection. These allegations are often used by service providers to manipulate public opinion and to defend the child protection industry. It is worthy to respond and to clarify our position.

First of all, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has many mandates. We have no position in all its activities except state-sponsored child removal, which the Ministry calls child protection, and the corruption that associates with this activity. We also recognize that social workers specialize in different fields. Child protection workers hired by the MCFD are our subject of discussion unless otherwise specified.

A degree in Social Work is often used to boost public confidence in the child removal business. People tend to believe that advanced degree holders in social work are trustworthy and knowledgeable. Child welfare specialization fosters a perception of qualified removal decision making. A master degree in Social Work is often a recruiting requirement. We recognize social work as an academic discipline, not an almighty solution to social problems and certainly not the only solution to protect children. In our opinion, child protection in its current modus operandi is a law enforcement function more than a child welfare function. Problems surrounding this issue are complex and may have more than one solution in many cases. Academic training in social work does not always have solutions to solve these complex problems. Above all, having a social work degree does not and should not empower anyone to play god and abuse statutory child removal authority.

Contrary to public belief, the child protection industry in B.C. is not regulated. Namely, child protection workers employed by MCFD are not required by law to be members with any professional governing bodies such as the the British Columbia College of Social Workers (BCCSW). To minimize the chance of drawing unwanted attention, this exemption is shrewdly stipulated in the rarely known Social Workers Regulations. Ministry-employed child protection workers are exempted persons. Most of these bureaucrats are not members of BCCSW and are not abide by any professional code of ethics. They cannot be held accountable by an independent governing body.

The child protection industry is controlled by a powerful fiefdom within the Ministry comprised of union and non-union bureaucrats and a cartel of external service providers whose livelihood depends on state-sponsored child removal conducted under the pretext of child protection.

Information in our site is criticized on the following grounds:

  1. Reliability

    Most people consider a balance view indispensable to establish reliability. This belief may appear plausible and rational on the surface. However, in this context, a balance view will inevitably mitigate the seriousness of corruption and racketeering. We are fully aware that our views are unpopular and not balance. But it does not necessarily mean that they are not reliable. It occurs to us that the problems are really so bad that there is nothing good to say and extreme views are justified. To illustrate the absurdity of this browser's logic, if balance view is required to establish reliability, then the decision of fighting Al-Qaeda is inevitably questionable because there is no balance view on the terrorist group and hence not reliable. Furthermore, the Ministry often uses assessments that lack a balance view on parents in court to support custody applications. By the same token, these assessments are unreliable if the same logic applies.

    Truth and accuracy are more relevant in determining reliability. This browser claimed that she holds a master degree in social work. A post graduate degree holder should know that truth, not balance view, is vital in research. After all, her family had involvement with MCFD and she is an advocate for parents. She ought to have witnessed first hand many of the abuse of power that we have come across.

  2. Generalization

    Generalization is often used as a defence that criticism is unjustified because there are good workers in the Ministry. This browser believes we fail to recognize that there are good social workers who genuinely care about the health and well-being of the children. We are accused of hate mongering towards all social workers. Being critical and encouraging hatred are two separate issues. Indeed, we never claim that there is no good social worker and all social workers should be hated. Although we have not yet met a good social worker, we believe that they exist. However, it is our position that the presence of good social workers is insufficient to rectify corruption in the child protection industry. Her statement that there are many amazing (child protection) workers out there (the 3rd paragraph of her e-mail) and MCFD is inexcusably flawed (the 4th paragraph of her e-mail) proves the foregoing.

    If good social workers feel that they are unjustly criticized, they should blame the bad apples in their trade, not organizations like us that speak our minds with the intent to build a safer future for our children by lawful means.

Incidentally, there are often pro-industry participants citing the aforesaid excuses to defend their position in public forums on state-sponsored child removal. Despite their naivety, these excuses are powerful to mislead the public. Most Canadians would find it inconceivable to believe that a democratic government that ardently speaks of human rights could do something so hideously oppressive.

She alleged that child protection workers have very little power in determining child removal. Removal is decided by a process that rigidly relies on preset rules and leaves no discretion to child protection workers. In essence, she is saying that the hands of child protection workers are tied. It is not their fault if children are wrongfully removed. If this is true, it further strengthens our position that this pro-removal inflexible system must be demolished. Furthermore, it is unethical, irresponsible and unprofessional to remove children from their parents because an intake call meets the criteria of government's check-box assessment form, not because of common sense evaluation or the presence of life threatening situations in which no less intrusive measure is adequate to protect children.

Speaking of power, child protection workers have absolute power against parents. Just to name a few:

If this is not power, an oppressive power we wish to emphasize, what is? It is safe to contend that they are the most powerful bureaucrats in the entire government. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The title of a 2011 film "Powerful as God" that documents similar problems on Ontario's Children's Aid Society (CAS) speaks to this effect. Our "Kid's Zone" page contains information provided by children, the very subjects who are supposed to be protected by the industry, that sheds light on reality from the perspective of the service receiving end.

She raised an interesting allegation that child protection workers are often used as scapegoat for wrongful removal. Forgive our ignorance, holding these god-like creatures accountable and punished is unheard of. Perhaps she should enlighten us with some real examples in which workers are punished for wrongful removal. Questions surrounding unreasonable and wrongful removals that at times lead to death are often evaded using privacy and confidentiality as excuse. Politicians shamelessly proclaim that there is still public confidence in the child protection system despite these tragedies. "Death of infant Delonna Sullivan in Edmonton after 6 days in care" is a good example to illustrate the foregoing.

Rare extreme child abuse cases are frequently used to stir up emotion of the public and to garner support, which often translates to more statutory power and a larger budget. This concerned advocate cited a case in which a child was seriously injured by parent(s) and asked us to provide a solution if there is no MCFD. We are not suggesting that there is no child abuse or the government should turn a blind eye by dismantling MCFD. Our position is no law can prevent child abuse. Real child abuse like the case she cited is a crime and must be punished criminally. Our Criminal Code has provided authorities the power to punish abusive parents and to protect vulnerable children based on good evidence and due process of law. In the case cited, parent(s) who did this will be charged of assault causing body injuries and will be prohibited to come into contact with the child by way of bail conditions or remains in custody while awaits trial. The essence of child removal is to physically separate abusive parents and their vulnerable children. A no contact bail order would accomplish the same.

There is still separation. What difference does it make? There is a huge difference. The Child Family and Community Service Act [RSBC 1996] Chapter 46 (CFCSA) allows child protection workers to circumvent due process of law, the requirement of good evidence and our charter right protection. It also opens government to corruption and racketeering. CFCSA empowers service providers to define child abuse and to remove children with the assistance of police based on a perception, an opinion or a belief. They hence control the demand of their service. Above all, it significantly increases the chance of wrongful removal, Type I error in statistical term. In our view, state sponsored child removal amounts to a systematic attack directed against a civilian population that causes enforced disappearance of persons. It seriously threatens our safety and freedom. Our view on this is further elaborated in "Flaws of CFCSA".

We agree with her belief that no individual goes into to child welfare work to steal children and ruin lives and families. However, real child abuses that require government intervention are relatively rare. They will soon discover that their jobs will be eliminated if they do not lower the removal threshold and create more cases to justify their jobs. If one is compelled to choose between losing their jobs or removing someone's children to preserve their pay cheques and fat pension, many would choose the latter.

Maslow need hierarchy

In high power academic term, this can be explained by the Maslow Needs Hierarchy, which suggests that human beings will secure their very basic needs (such as food, housing) before pursuing needs of higher value (such as morality and ethics).

She believes that MCFD is inexcusably flawed and suggested that we should not see MCFD workers as villains. We find flaws not in MCFD but in CFCSA, which in our view is the root problem. Oppressive behavior, abuse of power, corruption and racketeering are merely results of such flaws.

Our opinions are formed based on empirical results, statistics, analysis of case law, study of related articles and feedbacks from parents whom the Ministry calls "clients". Existence of an organization like PAPA implies a total failure of the child welfare system to accomplish its intended purposes. Inadvertently, organizations that hold critical views on state-sponsored children removal exist in countries where government has the power to remove children. We are dealing with a global problem that pertains not only in British Columbia but in most English speaking countries, especial those with a colonial background.

State-sponsored child removal is inherently inhumane, barbaric and oppressive. It bears remarkable resemblance with the now renounced residential schools, which were also established under a child welfare banner. Comments of this browser have not fallen on deaf ears. Unlike the Ministry that vigorously suppresses different opinions, we welcome opportunities to exchange opinions. If service providers have a genuine interest to protect children and develop families, we have a lot in common. We will end our reply with the following quotation:

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)

Many, if not most, of these bureaucrats fail this test.


[This page was added on 2 March 2012, last revised on 27 March 2015.]