The lawyer for the mother who won a David vs Goliath battle with the Provincial Government says they hope the decision will prevent other parents suffering similar mistreatment
Jack Hittrich says even by Hollywood movie standards, this story would be hard to believe.
He says instead of the Ministry of Children and Family Development investigating allegations her husband sexually abused their kids, they labeled her as unfit.
“The Ministry refused to listen to her. From day one they essentially shut the door. They said no, you are crazy, your husband tells us you are crazy.”
Ministry breached court order that would have protected child from father’s abuse.
Hittrich says they went so far as to breach a court order, and allowed the dad unsupervised visits, which gave him the opportunity to sexually abuse the youngest child.
The next step in the court case is to determine damages for pain and suffering.
The NDP is demanding answers in the horrific case the judge has blamed on the BC government.
The Ministry of Children and Families had said little, saying staff are reviewing the case, which goes back to 2009.
NDP critic Doug Donaldson says he wants to know what kind of consequences the Director and her staff have faced to date.
“People need their trust restored in the Minister. I mean, who in their right mind would even go to the ministry with complaints when they hear about this case?”
He plans to ask about Minister Stephanie Cadieux Wednesday afternoon in Question Period.
“New low” for BC’s beleaguered child welfare system.
In a blistering ruling against the government, BC Supreme Court Judge Paul Walker sided with a Lower Mainland mother in her fight against BC’s director of child protection.
In his ruling, Justice Walker took the Director and her staff to task for how they handled the case of a mother, only known as JP, and her four children.
In 2009, JP reported the children’s father was sexually abusing the three eldest kids.
The judge says the director and her staff failed to investigate and sided with the father, accusing the mother of making it up and of having mental problems.
The mother sought custody and the father was ordered to only have supervised visits.
The director, however, allowed him unsupervised time and the judge says, this is when he sexually abused the youngest child.
Overall, he says the director had a “closed mind,” and failed to protect these children.
You can check out the lengthy judgment here.
Walker has ruled the province is liable for nominal damages.
“This is in some ways a new low for the child welfare system in BC.”
BC’s Representative for Children and Youth says this is not the first time the courts have been concerned with the standard of conduct by staff responsible for child protection, but Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond says this is among the sharpest language she’s ever heard from a judge in a decision.
“It’s not a good day for the child welfare system in BC, when we see the standard of care has been so seriously breached.”
Turpel-Lafond say there needs to be a follow-up and a consequence in terms of this decision.
A statement from the Ministry of Children and Family Development says staff are taking time to review the lengthy decision.
Listen to Jon McComb’s interview with the mother’s lawyer, Jack Hittrich:
With files from Josh Winquist