Child removal shortly after birth because mother applied for welfare in Austin, Texas, the U.S.A. ...

PAPA People Assisting Parents Association © 2007

References from Foreign Jurisdictions

Parent Support

Many of our browsers have children removed and are seeking help and support. Their main common objective is to get their children back. Information provided in this page is derived from the experience of parents who had first hand experience with the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). Please be advised that sharing of this information does not amount to advice. Some of the materials may be unsuitable to your particular situation. Furthermore, change of government policy and legislation could affect the validity of information contained herein. Browsers outside British Columbia are cautioned that their local "child protection" law could be different. Some materials may not apply in your jurisdiction.

Preventive Measures

Given the disparity in strategic edges, the best preventive measure is to fly under the radar screen of the MCFD. Some parents inadvertently arouse unwanted attention when applying for income assistance (welfare), calling the police to report domestic dispute, seeking medical care for their children.

In view of the subjective judgment in defining “child abuse”, the extensive "child abuse" reporting network and the abuse of child removal authority by various parties, parents could be persecuted even if they have not abused their children. To those with children removed, preventive measures are too late to help. Nevertheless, we add this section for the benefit of all parents as these measures may minimize the chance of drawing unwanted attention.

To view these measures, please click here.

Andrew Skinner of Fighting 4 Families
precisely pinpoints the true beneficiaries ...

Understand Your Strategic Position & the Nature of “Child Protection” Hearings

"Once I scrutinize you, you're walking a line.
If you dare to fight me, you'll never rest easy again.
I'll play on your fears, I'll leave you in tears.
You, your children and your family become my toy and will never be the same.
No matter how strong you are, I've got the power to bring you down."

"Child protection" social workers have the authority, the incentive and, above all, the cruelty to do the foregoing. Do not underestimate their destructive power on families and children at the tactical level.

Most parents with children removed are relatively young (under age 40), unsophisticated and underprivileged. They are under the illusion that parents have “rights” in “child protection” proceedings similar to those in criminal trials. Courts will uphold justice and provide sufficient check and balance. Of course, there are exceptions to the aforesaid profile. We have been told by a well known “child protection” defence lawyer that some older children removed are from rich families. They are removed because they complained to MCFD of mental abuse when their parents refused to give the amount of pocket money they want (say $2,000 a week).

If you are still puzzled what motivates a government agency with a mandate of helping families and protecting children to be so zealous in separating children from their parents and destroying families, you may find your answer along the following clues:

  1. From a macro perspective, service providers are motivated by money and job security. “Child protection” is a legalized scheme to transfer wealth from taxpayers to them via an imposed, usually unwanted, “services”. This scheme works best when children are removed from their parents as this demonstrates the highest form of their power. The hidden objectives are:
    1. to create fear to parents so that they bend to absurd demands and dare not to expose the hideous nature of “child protection”; and
    2. to create an illusion to society that there are many abusive parents, hence a strong need of “child protection” and a high demand of all related “services”.
    In a hierarchical society, fear and ignorance of the people are often used as means to achieve hidden objectives.

  2. From a micro perspective, overly empowered social workers enjoy near absolute authority. Many of them are used to playing god in their job. The dangerous and scary reality is they can do so very effectively with little fear of civil or criminal consequence. The system sets them on a collision course with parents. If parents do not consent to the removal, they are directly challenging the authority of these power freaks in court by proving their removal decision is wrong. They will fight vigorously with the huge resources and authority they have.

At the onset, we would like to make it clear that the chance of getting removed children back in a Section 35 presentation hearing is very small (less than 2% based on statistics in 1999-2001; no provincial court judge made an order to return children to their parents unconditionally in these three years). This means parents should expect a lengthy separation with their loved ones, even if they win a custody court order in subsequent hearings. This is due to a long legal proceeding, the delaying tactic (read our MCFD Tactics page) used by MCFD and the scheduling difficulty in most provincial courts.

“Child protection” law is very different from criminal law in the following aspects:

  standard of proof (balance of probability versus beyond reasonable doubt);

  admissibility of “evidence” (except evidence from children in favor of their parents, all “relevant evidence” including hearsay and fabricated allegations are admissible in “child protection” hearings; theoretically the Evidence Act applies except explicitly overruled by provisions in CFCSA, most judges allow any information presented by social workers in practice; children are very seldom allowed to give testimony, hence effectively exclude an important piece of evidence);

  the power of the provincial trial judge (limited by the provisions in CFCSA and return decision can be overruled by social workers with or without fresh evidence, hence raising the issue of res judicata);

  onus of proof (in theory, MCFD bears the onus of proof; in reality, parents have to prove that they are not dangerous to their children in many cases);

  benefit of a doubt is given to the accused in criminal courts, whereas this benefit is often given to MCFD in child protection hearings (to err on the side of caution as many judges frequently cite).

Although “child protection” hearings are civil in nature, parents and families involved in such litigation usually suffer substantially more than those convicted in criminal proceedings.

To Parents Who Are Not From The Underprivileged Class

Occasionally, parents from a higher social class have their children removed as well. We recognize that they are not a typical MCFD client. They are probably better educated, more competent and more affluent than average. They may have the resources to retain the best lawyer in this field to get their children back. We have come across professionals with children removed. Many of them are of the opinion that they are smart and can look after of their own problems. Frankly, all these qualities do not make too much difference. No individual could win such formidable institutional enemy deeply entrenched in the pretext of "child protection", overly empowered by law and has all resources necessary to pursue the case to the bitter end despite the best interests of children.

Ironically, higher social status could render parents more vulnerable as they may have more to lose. People in this social class are likely to have more concern of their ego, self-esteem, reputation, the need of not attracting unwanted attention from the community and social circle. Seasoned "child protection" social workers know the mentality of people in this social class. To inflict maximum damage, it is not uncommon that they will speak to the employer and professional governing body to voice their "child protection" concerns and what they believe to be true. This could induce an inquiry of professional capacity, at the very least create an embarrassing inconvenience. Be prepared for all eventualities.

Parents need to have the right attitude in dealing with this problem. Not only losers need help. We invite you to come forward and join us. There is nothing to be ashamed of. This serious socio-political problem is a result of an oppressive history. We must work together to rectify this issue before we could hand over a safer, fairer legal and political environment to future generations.

Facts That Parents Are Facing

Parents with children removed generally feel depressed, scared, angry, helpless, embarrassed, guilty, ashamed and anxious. The following newspaper article written by a registered nurse Colleen Deroache sheds some insight on the trauma of a mother with children removed. None of these feelings will help to get your children back. They will only distract you from achieving your goals. However difficult it may be, put them aside and stay cool.

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"


According to Mrs. Deroache, she and her husband Alvin have represented themselves in court for almost five years (as of May 2008). As layman and unfortunate parents with children removed, they made an impressive series of video in youTube that we consider worth viewing. Views and opinions, expressed or implied, in linked materials are solely of those who provided them. PAPA does not necessarily agree with such views and opinions. Linking these materials is for exchange of thoughts and is not meant to, intentionally or unintentionally, offend, berate, slander, or annoy, any individual, group, or organization.

"Our Child Protection System" (source: , archived on May 21, 2008)

BC flag

This video series, comprises of seven parts, is the sharing of court experience from Mrs. Colleen Deroache and Alvin in "child protection" hearings. They provided a thorough layman analysis from their observations that may benefit those facing similar situation. Their sharing reveals the tremendous problems and injustice MCFD has created in their so-called "child protection".

1 (length: 3:08 minutes) 2 (length: 8:12 minutes) 3 (length: 7:56 minutes) 4 (length: 7:05 minutes)

5 (length: 7:26 minutes) 6 (length: 9:56 minutes) 7 (length: 4:13 minutes)

In addition to emotional turmoil, the following are some grim realities awaiting parents under MCFD scrutiny:

  1. If you have children removed, social worker in charge of your file has already done some “investigation” and has arrived at the conclusion that your children need “protection” by removing them from your care. They have declared war on you. If you want your children back, you and your social worker are now rivalries engaged in a legal battle competing for the custody of your children. The current “child protection” system is set up in such a way that parents and the ministry is on a collision course. Despite how you perceive them and how they try to convince you otherwise, they are at a de facto war with you. Do not display hostility. Stay cool and stay focus on getting your children back. Observe every actions they take inside and outside the courtroom. Give them a big smile whenever appropriate and shake their hands if you can tolerate such disgrace.
  2. Lawyers representing both sides are one of the biggest beneficiaries of the child protection industry. Despite how competent they may be, take their advice cautiously and do not hesitate to fire your lawyer if he is not acting to your best interests. As a distressed layman unfamiliar with the “child protection” law, it will be very difficult to tell whether your lawyer is acting to your best interests and is giving you good advice. Watch out for attempts to talk you to fight in any litigation that you are very unlikely to win or to convince you to agree with everything MCFD is seeking. Seasoned lawyers know how to play with the mentality of their clients. They know you feel that your children have been unjustly removed and you want your “rights” to be exercised. Some will talk you into fighting endless legal battles to assert your “rights” to create billable hours. Use your discretion wisely.
  3. Despite legislation and policy, parents do not have much “rights” in child protection hearings. Forget all human and civil rights that most Canadians ardently believe they enjoy in this country. Under the pretext of “child protection”, most of these “rights” are deprived. The following are the few “rights” remain to parents:

    a. right to all hearings subsequent to child removal;

    b. right to information surrounding the child protection investigation (despite the delaying tactics to provide such information on a timely basis);

    c. supervised access of removed children subject to social worker’s discretion (ie. arbitrary cancellation at will without valid reason).

  4. A lengthy legal proceedings and scheduling difficulty in most provincial courts.
  5. The chance of re-removal, with or without new evidence, if court makes an order to return children to you.
  6. In many situations, CFCSA and the legal process will penalize parents more if they choose to contest MCFD’s decisions. For example, if parents do not consent to a 3-month interim custody order, they have to schedule a Section 35 hearing which is usually 4 to 6 weeks later (or even longer in some provincial courts). The hearing itself may last 1 to 4 days spread over a period of 3 to 6 weeks. Meanwhile, MCFD is still holding their children hostage. The waiting period plus the time taken during the hearing is almost 3 months or longer. This means even if parents are successful to get their children back, MCFD has already got more than what they want. If parents are unsuccessful, the 3-month custody begins from the day the order was handed down. MCFD will indeed get a 6-month long custody. The downside risk to parents in many CFCSA litigations is so prohibitive that many lawyers simply recommend consent to MCFD’s demands, however absurd they may be. Few laws in the civilized world are as lopsided and unfair as this. [added on May 9, 2008]
[added on 27 November 2010]

Representing Yourself in Court

To most people, represented by legal counsel appears to be the best option. However, retaining a lawyer to fight "child protection" cases that could drag on for years is very expensive. Few parents could afford it. After all, it tends to lengthen the proceedings when parents hire their own lawyer. Legal aid only funds qualified parents for a limited number of hours on free legal representation which is grossly insufficient against an opponent who has unlimited access to the deep pocket of taxpayers. Self representation may become the only option available to some parents.

The video on the left is a self representation series made by the Indiana Supreme Court Division of State Court Administration and the Indiana Bar Foundation in 2008. Although it discussed self representation in American family court, it covers some relevant general advice on how to represent oneself in "child protection" matters. Parents who choose self representation must be able to commit time and energy to do legal research, file documents in court and articulate themselves in hearings. It is not easy and is a full time job.


Once you are scrutinized by MCFD or have children removed, you are in a very difficult crisis and ministry-created trauma. Do not give up. You are the only one who could save your children from living in foster homes. No one has the right to sever parental tie. To get your children back, you need determination, perseverance, patience, good interpersonal skills and wit.

Some of the principles suggested below are easy to say than done. Shrewd maneuvering and wise application of these principles will enhance the chance of getting your children back.

To view these suggested principles, please click here.


You are not alone. Thousands of families are adversely affected by their “child protection” agencies in most English-speaking countries having similar “child protection” law each year. Do not give up your children. Wear and tear tactic is often used to frustrate parents and make them quit their fight to get their children back. Many children have been deprived parental love and care in foster homes. Consequently, many of them become problematic at their adult life. This further enhances social burden and the need of more pathetic social service.

On June 11, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and opposition leader Stéphane Dion delivered the first formal apology over the federally financed program of residential schools to the First Nation. Politicians do not appear to have realized that this hideous policy of forced assimilation was made possible because of government’s authority to remove children at will. While the federal government is regretful in oppressing the First Nation in the past, it is still funding the removal of native children on a per head basis. This creates financial incentive to the provincial governments to target native families and partially explains the much higher per capita ratio of child removals in native families (10 times higher than that of non-native families according to 2001 statistics, read "2006 B.C. Budget" published by Taxwiz Accounting & Consulting Inc. in February 2006). Instead of putting native children in residential schools, the government now removes them from their parents and put them in foster homes and group homes where some of them get killed or sexually abused under the pretext of child protection. The only improvement is that the policy of mandatory removal after a child reached 6 (one source suggests 7) years of age has been abolished. As long as child removal authority exists, abuse and oppression are far from over.

State-sponsored child removal seriously challenges our long cherished civil liberty, human rights and social justice. Contrary to the noble intent of protecting children, such activities degrade man to the level of brutes and insult the highest qualities of human nature. No civilized nation should allow this to happen.

This inhumane ministry-created trauma must be stopped at all costs. We invite you to join us. Given our limited resources, we are here to provide whatever assistance we can and to provide non-judgmental, compassionate peer support to distressed parents. We strive to build a safer environment for our children. Together, we can make a difference.



[This page was added on 7 May 2008, last revised 23 March 2015.]