The Evils of Good Intentions

I’ve just watched a disturbing documentary about child welfare agencies, specifically Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies. It’s called ‘Powerful as God’ and it can be viewed here:

As someone who did battle with the CAS many times over the years, I didn’t expect to be shocked by what this extraordinary film brings to light. I was – deeply. Certain aspects of the actions and mindset of these organizations have surpassed anything I could have imagined for excess and sheer malicious zeal fueled by a legislatively-fabricated veil of righteous entitlement.

An incident I was privy to almost 20 years ago gives just a hint of what lies in store for you in the documentary. I was consulted by a woman whose children had been taken into care. The facts were simple: She been going with a man for some number of months. She’d grown comfortable with him as a ‘responsible’ man. When she had to visit her mother out of town one day, she asked whether her teen-aged daughter could stay with her friend overnight.

Shortly following her return home, her daughter reported to her mother that she’d been sexually assaulted by her mom’s friend. My client immediately took her child to the police station to file a report and contacted the local CAS. What happened next still amazes me:

Not only did the society start a protection proceeding against my client; they also had her listed on Ontario’s Child Abuse Registry. Even after having abandoned the protection proceeding as unsupported on the facts, they continued to resist the removal of my client’s name from the register, the theory apparently being that she had “introduced her daughter into an environment in which abuse was likely”.

It’s odd that organizations that exhibit such an excess of caution also happen to have so many children suffer from abuse and, even death, while in care. (That, of course, is never their ‘fault’.)

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