BC’s Child and Family Development Minister has announced details into a review of a disturbing child sex abuse case.
Minister Stephanie Cadieux has appointed a former deputy minister to look into the case of a Lower Mainland mother and her four children.
A judge recently ruled the province is liable for damages, after ministry staff defied a court order and allowed the father unsupervised access to the children the youngest of whom was sexually abused.
This despite a court order not to do so and over the desperate warnings from the children’s mother.
“The review is not focused on fault-finding. It’s focused on strengthening the child welfare system in British Columbia and asking outside people to advise us on where those improvements can be made.”
Cadieux says she is aware the public confidence in her ministry has taken another hit.
“Faith in the ministry has been shaken and I understand why. And so today, as I promised, I have delivering the details of the ministry’s next step.”
Former civil servant appointed to conduct review
Bob Plecas will work with the Child Welfare League of Canada and report back by October 13th.
The minister says the supervisory staff who were involved have been temporarily assigned elsewhere.
Plecas will report back by October 13th.
For his part, Bob Plecas says he won’t pull any punches in a review of the child abuse case engulfing MCFD.
He says his review will be about fixing the system, not finding fault.
“Short, intense, look at what’s there, look at this case, use it as a way to focus and see if there’s systemic things that I can make recommendations about that’ll make it better for other children.”
Child and Youth Representative shut out
Cadieux says BC’s children’s rights watchdog was not chosen to head the review because of comments she made in the media.
“I believe that some of the comments the representative made in the public domain around this case (are) evidence that she has significant feelings as to what should happen here.”
When the judge’s ruling was handed down two weeks ago, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond told CKNW it was a “new low” for the ministry.
Now, she’s fighting back at the minister.
But now, Turpel-Lafond says it is wrong to suggest she shouldn’t review a disturbing child sex abuse case because of a perceived bias.
Turpel-Lafond says she had every right to speak to the media.
“The Minister is incorrect because first of all she doesn’t get to decide who the independent oversight body is, that’s the decision of the legislative assembly as a whole. My comments in the media about a case, I have deference and respect for the decisions of the BC Supreme Court, and the case found that a child was sexually abused, I spoke out about that case because I feel there needs to be a criminal investigation.”
Turpel-Lafond says while the government is touting the review as “independent,” her office has nothing to do with it.
You can read Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s full statement here: