Apprehensions of children by the C.A.S. An undoubtedly difficult topic that involves heart wrenching stories from a multitude of angles. A pendulum swings in the cases covered by the media. One day we hear of children being apprehended when they shouldn’t have been and a public outcry follows with demands for more efforts on the part of the agency to keep families together. Cut to the next swing of the pendulum where children are left in homes they shouldn’t have been and tragedy ensues. Of course the predictable cry from the public is that the child protection workers sat on their hands and simply didn’t do enough. The cries for justice from the public in either case are met with the same response from the C.A.S. nearly every time which is to again push the answer of too many case files with workers being overloaded and the agency itself not having the funds it needs. The fact that they oppose oversight suddenly becomes a transparent attempt at covering up their errors so they can escape any accountability. Police officers, medical professionals, teachers, and everyday citizens are held to answer for errors in judgment that result in the harm of another and yet for some reason these so called child protection workers appear to be exempt from this.
In the end the problem is the governments responsibility to solve according to the C.A.S. as they simply aren’t able to uphold their mandate without an increasing amount of funds. Well, with that finger pointing and passing of the buck they may have finally hit the nail right on the head. This is absolutely the governments responsibility to solve. The system is broken and for anyone working within it, on either side of the tracks, the complaints are evidence of that. The parents, workers, and children coming out of care all seem to find themselves ready with a list of issues that need the attention of someone ready, willing and able to make some changes. So why isn’t it happening?
If the fact remains so blatantly obvious that the system is in such a sad state of disrepair, at what point is the removal of children justifiable when there is no guarantee that the children will have a better life?
The government of Ontario provides the C.A.S. with a toolkit which provides a sort of rubric for determining the types of intervention necessary to ensure the safety of a child. An interesting thought would be to put the rubric in the hands of the people and use it to perform a safety assessment on the C.A.S. as parents. If past history of behavior, errors in judgment, and potential for future mistakes are any indicators of ability to parent then the C.A.S. would fail miserably rendering them unsafe even with intervention. In other words each and every child taken into “care” is being shuffled off to a situation where the reality of damage caused by removal from friends and family, and a life of unpredictability, instability, and isolation is the only real guarantee being offered.
According to the Child Welfare Report 2011, only 44% of the children in the care of C.A.S. graduate high school where the graduation rate of children not in care is 81%. 82% of children in care have diagnosed special needs, and 46% of the children in care are relying on psycotropic drugs to help them manage. The spin placed on this data is that the C.A.S. is dealing with children who are damaged in a multitude of ways for a variety of reasons. The unfortunate side of this data is that what it means can change depending on who is looking at it and what they are seeing.
These medications are often not approved for use in children and may in fact increase the likelihood of suicide. There is open debate as to whether these children are receiving bogus diagnoses in order to increase funding to the C.A.S. as special needs children are provided more funding from the government and it is up to the C.A.S. whether those funds are used appropriately. With a less then stellar track record in regards to money management the chance that this is being mishandled is absolutely present. Also questionable is the need for multiple medications in children as one has to begin to wonder if the level of chemicals being pumped into their little bodies is “in the best interest of the child” or simply an easy way to maintain obedience and control of children who are undoubtedly dealing with some more than everyday issues. Whether these issues are as a direct result of their apprehension from their homes or from abuse and neglect before or after being taken into care is a mystery no one outside the agency is provided the information to determine.
Considering the fact that in the normal course of their bedtime routine it is common for children in care to receive a nightly dose of melatonin to help them off to sleep one really begins to wonder if the parenting skills promoted by the C.A.S. amount to nothing more than drugging children. Is this all a simple method of applying a convenient diagnoses or medication adjustment to achieve the desired response of a chemically lobotomized and easily manageable crop of children providing steady paychecks to the C.A.S? With the lack of transparency one really does begin to wonder.
By S.A. Murray