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Letter: A drop closer but an ocean away

A letter-writer says the Child Protection Act is failing families. —
A letter-writer says the Child Protection Act is failing families. — 123RF Stock Photo

I write to comment on legislation amendments made to a failing Child Protection Act in an attempt to right the many wrongs that have happened in this province to children and their families at the hands of an autonomous institution whose legal powers usurp that of our police force and law.

Very simply put, they are able to walk into our homes flanked by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s finest and take children away without proving their case. And while many of you sip your tea, nearly choking on that piece of unpublished literature, I have seen the effects on a little life from the closest and most heart-wrenching of stances.

So many of us assume that in order for a child to be removed under cover of warrant, there has to be a trial or an argument made and supported by facts and research and medical proof of neglect and harm, but that is sadly not true. A slip of paper is sent to a judge with the outline of what the agency has yet to prove on why a child is removed and the child is taken until such a time as the investigation is complete. And so, the child is “outed” as having a neglectful parent, especially in towns of small structure and minds, where no understanding of the pain and turmoil is needed to bear witness on an already unbalanced system.

So many of us assume that in order for a child to be removed under cover of warrant , there has to be a trial or an argument made and supported by facts and research and medical proof of neglect and harm, but that is sadly not true.

They — Child, Youth, and Family Services — have 60 days. Sixty days where an infant could be placed with an abuser, because their voice is the loudest. Sixty days where a child could be placed in foster care because there is no one the agency believes. Sixty days of hell for the protective parent and child who sought shelter. If it were only 60 days. If only their own legislation were being followed, but because of the authority to act above the law, they can stall and stretch this 60-day “law” to afford themselves the time to build a stronger case, not having built one in the beginning. They can make themselves scarce to lawyers of grief-wrenched mothers and fathers in their pursuit to protect their child.

It now becomes a matter of job protection instead of child protection and the child is without their primary caregiver for one more month and then another and another until they make the mother break under the stress of having the only thing she cares for in this world taken from her. She breaks under grief and desperation. She breaks under the shame of small town finger-wavers, and those who can’t know her longtime pain and abuse at the hands of those who pronounced their love for her. They wait for the inevitable break of an already fractured soul. Then they stand over her brokenness to declare themselves the winner.

How proud Goliath must be in the destruction of David’s family. Beware of giants, Newfoundland and Labrador, and guard your children.

Yes, the amendments are a drop closer to recognizing family integrity, but they are an ocean away from the injustice being served.

And to quote the broken mother, “I should have stayed. Death would be easier.”

Linda Dumaresque

Labrador City

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