The Family Justice Review Committee has received a number of legitimate
complaints from children and families who have reported that child welfare
protection agencies and their workers have failed to protect children and in many cases actually caused harm to
the very children and families that they are supposed to protect.
Children and parents have complained of child protection workers and agencies conducting themselves in an unprofessional, unethical
and bias manner. Some of these complaints include:
protection agencies abuse their power and control to harass and to
intimidate children and parents.
protection workers often refuse to meet with parents should the parents
request to have a support person present in the meeting.
that the forced
separation of children from their parents is used as a tactic to threaten
and to intimidate children and parents into doing what child protection
workers demand they do.
have been sexually abused and assaulted by child protection workers.
That children in
care are afraid to report being abused while in care because workers try to
cover-up the abuse in order to protect their jobs and the reputation of the
child protection agency they are employed by.
protection agency lawyers
and workers often insist that family members be kicked out of the court to
prevent them from viewing the proceedings.
protection lawyers will ague against the rights of citizens to record their
court hearings in jurisdictions where this is permitted.
investigators, having a conflict of interest, have been called in to
investigate complaints against child protection agencies.
protection workers and
agencies will refuse to answer communication in a timely manner.
in group home facilities are drinking and doing drugs and in some cases
permitting teenage children to drink and do drugs with them.
That some child
protection workers have been involved taking illegal drugs themselves.
That members of
the Board of Directors are often insulated from knowing about complaints
about workers with workers and executive workers themselves taking actions
to keep Directors of the agency in the dark about complaints.
the conduct and practice of child protection agencies and workers it is the position of the Family
Justice Review Committee:
Disclosure of files to clients
parties who are involved in any action or named as a party in any court
documents involving a child protection agency be granted access to their family's
child protection file, without the parties having to
resort to obtaining a court Order for access to their files. Access to
child protection files
should be made available within 7 days notice to a CAS agency.
request of any party who is involved in any action or named as a party
in any court documents involving a child protection agency be provided with
copies of a family's child protection within 30 days of the request.
Presence of support persons
children and/or parents be allowed to have a personal support person accompany them during
all meetings with child protection workers or with any professional
associated with the child protection agency. No child protection
worker or agency shall deny any parent or a child the right to have a support person
with them when this has been specifically requested by the child or parent
who will be the one meeting with child protection workers or professionals
associated with the child protection agency.
Electronic recording of meetings and interviews
children and parents be allowed to electronically record any meeting with
child protection workers and that child protection worker shall not deny any
child or parent the right to electronically record their meetings with
interviews with children which is intended to gather information to be used
in court against parents, particularly the first meeting with a child, which may result in a child being removed from the
child's home, to be videotaped or electronically recorded if requested by any
involved party in the proceedings.
interviews with children in care who may come forth to disclose abuse while in
care of CAS, be videotaped or electronically recorded for future reference.
Use of electronic recording equipment in the court
Presence of family members and supporters in court
Disclosure of child protection worker's qualifications and experience
Code of Ethics
Drug testing of child protection workers
Complaints about workers or policies
child protection agency to publish a standardized complaint form for use by
members of the public to submit complaints and that this complaint form to
be given to each and every client of the agency as soon as possible after
the commencement of services.
child protection agency maintain a complaint committee to deal with formal
written complaints against workers and this complaint committee be made up
of members of the public who are at arm's length from employees within the
child protection agency be required to maintain detailed statistics about
complaints to the agency which would include the nature of the complaint and
the workers involved. Every agency will publish an annual report
summarising the number and nature of the complaints and this report be made
available to all members of the agency upon request.
complaints to the agency be included as party of the monthly business of the
Board of Directors and that a monthly complaint report be tabled and
included in the minutes of the Board's monthly agenda.
Training of workers to conduct interviews with children
That all child
protection workers be given training in how to properly interview children
(including the use of videotape) using a standardized, interviewing protocol
and that this protocol be made available for review by members of the public
upon request. This protocol to include interviewing procedures
specific to the following:
child custody matters
Hostile-Aggressive Parenting (HAP) and parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)
abuse in group or foster homes by workers
abuse in group or foster homes by other children in the facility
abuse by other professionals or agencies in the community including other
child protection workers
That when a
child has been taken into care by a child protection agency, that child
protection workers and agencies shall properly notify children and parents
in writing and as soon as is practically possible after the apprehension, of
their option for kinship care and how a kinship plan of care can be
and parents be properly informed of their rights and be specifically
directed to those sections of legislation which are applicable to the
qualified social worker, registered with the appropriate professional
association or college where
available, shall be used to investigate a family's matters if children and
parents have presented reasonable evidence to suggest that unqualified
workers have made errors or acted with bias during their carriage of the
investigator brought in to investigate the conduct of child protection
workers or a child protection agency, be required not to have any dealings
with any CAS agency (such as an adoption lawyer).
That all child
protection workers respond to parties in a timely and professional
manner. Correspondence should be responded to within 14 days of
relating to foster or group homes
who are placed in foster or group home care should not be placed into the
care of caregivers of alternate sexual orientation (gay or lesbian) without
the prior knowledge and written permission of the children's parents or family members.
That all child
protection workers acting as supervisors in group home facilities be
required to undergo mandatory random drug and alcohol testing.
in care should have access to a kid's hot line or direct access to the
Ombudsman, where they can safely report abuse while in CAS care without
having to report abuse to CAS workers directly.
That all group
home workers to be required to submit themselves to random drug tests and
any worker who is found to be using illegal drugs, to be disqualified from
working as a child protection worker or working for a child protection