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Dedicated to battling injustice of any form against children, youth, persons with disability and the elderly. Family-Centred Care Practice is the most ethically viable and cost-effective approach of service delivery.
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Alberta Hansard March 8, 2017

Alberta Hansard March 8, 2017 | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
March 8, 2017
The Speaker: Welcome.�The hon. Member for St. Albert.
Ms Renaud: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m thrilled to introduce a fierce and loving advocate, Velvet Martin, from St. Albert. Velvet is many things, but I believe her greatest joy is being a mom. Velvet’s daughter Samantha was born with a rare chromosomal disorder and autism. Samantha died when she was only 13 years old, following many years in care separated from her family. Velvet responded to this life-changing loss by successfully lobbying for changes to Alberta’s Family Support for Children with Disabilities Act. These amendments were called Samantha’s law. Velvet is president of the Alberta chapter of Protecting Canadian Children and has worked tirelessly for years to protect our children. She is one of the many women whom I’m very grateful for today. I ask her to rise. Please join me in thanking her and welcoming her to this House.
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Adoptive parents of 'special needs' children sue Warren County, claim they missed out on support - WCPO Cincinnati, OH

Adoptive parents of 'special needs' children sue Warren County, claim they missed out on support - WCPO Cincinnati, OH | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

The adoptive families of three former "special needs" foster children claim that the county denied them "vital financial support" after the adoptions.


https://www.wcpo.com/news/local-news/warren-county/adoptive-parents-of-special-needs-children-sue-warren-county-claim-they-missed-out-on-support


Adoptive parents of 'special needs' children sue Warren County, claim they missed out on support
Ashley Zilka
3:00 AM, Mar 29, 2018

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The adoptive families of three former foster children filed a federal class action law suit against Warren County March 14, claiming through their attorney that the county denied them "vital financial support" after the adoptions.


"We aren't out to get anybody," said the mother of a child identified in the suit as Plaintiff A. "But we are out to protect other families. I hate to say it this way, but I am tired of being lied to."

The two families, members of which declined to share their names in order to protect the children at the center of the suit, adopted children who had at one point been considered "special needs" by the justice system.

"Special needs" can include disability, age, a history of abuse or over a year spent in the custody of Child Services, and all of them can damage a child's chances of permanent adoption. Plaintiff A's mother said that realizing the long odds of adoption facing her foster daughter moved her to become the permanent parent who might otherwise never arrive.

"We started off strictly as foster parents," she said. "We had no intention of adopting … (but) they pretty much said, ‘This child is not going home, and she is pretty much unadaptable because of history and age. We said, ‘We are not going to make this child make another switch and go to another family.'"


Under the federal Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, the adopting family of a child with "special needs" is entitled to some form of compensation that would help them address those needs through counseling, medical care and other services.

Counties across the country and across Ohio provide just that for the families of more than 18,000 children, including about 160 in Warren County.

However, according to the suit, Warren County failed to make either family aware of that entitlement -- even when the parents directly asked about it.

"We specifically asked that question," Plaintiff A's mother said. "‘Is there any money available?' And we were told, ‘No, she doesn't fit that.' We believed them."


Attorney Al Gerhardstein, who represents the two families, claimed Warren County consistently under-serves and under-educates adoptive families in this manner, and in the process it "significantly impairs foster children's chances of permanent adoption in the best suitable home, disincentives foster parents who are interested in permanently adopting their foster children and strains families who have adopted children who are considered special needs."

According to the suit, about 40 percent of eligible adoptive parents in Warren County never see a check after their foster child becomes their adopted child. Gerhardstein said this figure hurts children's chances of finding a longterm home and families' ability to meet those children's needs.

"When they were fostering, they got as much as $20 a day or $600 a month … then you go down to zero because you fall in love and try to build stability for the family," he said.

Warren County prosecutor David Fornshell, who represents the county's Child and Family Services department, denied Gerhardstein's claims in a statement.

"We believe that WCCS's policies and processes regarding subsidy payments to parents who choose to adopt children are both appropriate and consistent with federal and state law, and further believe the court will come to the exact same conclusion," he wrote.

Gerhardstein said he expected a hearing within the next month and added that more families were approaching him about the issue. Some of them could become witnesses and class members in the case, he added.

"Have I ever represented a group of heroes before? It's not very common," he said. "These are such wonderful people."

Read the full federal law suit:

Adoptive families sue Warren County by WCPO Web Team on Scribd




Editor's note: WCPO does not normally use anonymous sources. However, WCPO staff members use anonymous sources in rare circumstances when such sources are the only way to obtain information vital to the public good or to protect the well-being of vulnerable people. WCPO staff members have vetted these sources and believe the information they provide to be accurate and in good faith.

Copyright 2017 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. 

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Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting a Disabled Client at Edmonton Elves Special Needs Society  #Alberta

Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting a Disabled Client at Edmonton Elves Special Needs Society  #Alberta | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
Man pleads guilty to sexual assault on mentally disabled client
BY PAIGE PARSONS
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: MAR 28, 2018

The Edmonton Law Courts in downtown Edmonton.
Ian Kucerak / Postmedia


http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/man-pleads-guilty-to-sexual-assault-on-mentally-disabled-client

A man who worked with disabled people pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexually assaulting an adult client with the mental capacity of a small child.

Eugene Francis Thompson, 65, admitted to the 2016 assault on a 37-year-old woman he’d worked with for years in his capacity as team lead at Elves Special Needs Society, an Edmonton organization that offers programming to individuals with severe disabilities and special needs.

The woman has a brain injury, is non-verbal and has the mental capacity of a two- or three-year-old, according to an agreed statement of facts entered with the court by Crown prosecutor Ioana Corabian.


Thompson and the client were alone in a quiet room on May 5, 2016, when another staff member approached and observed that the woman was lying partially clothed on a table while Thompson touched her with his penis, court heard.

The staff member entered the room, interrupting Thompson. When additional staff showed up, Thompson admitted the touching to one of his co-workers, court heard.

An analysis later found the woman’s DNA on Thompson’s underwear.

During a subsequent interview with police, Thompson made a “full and contrite confession,” court heard.

The woman’s mother, as well as staff from Elves Special Needs Society, were in court Wednesday, as were supporters of Thompson. Defence lawyer Peter Royal plans to file character reference letters for his client, and a statement Thompson wrote himself, court heard.

Thompson remains out on bail, and has no previous criminal record. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 7.

pparsons@postmedia.com

twitter.com/paigeeparsons
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Alberta fails children in care AGAIN

Alberta fails children in care AGAIN | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

Alberta's child intervention panel releases final recommendations

Clare ClancyCLARE CLANCY

More from Clare Clancy
Published on: March 27, 2018 | Last Updated: March 27, 2018 4:27 PM MDT

SHARE ADJUST COMMENT PRINT

The latest recommendations aimed at improving Alberta’s troubled child intervention system are disappointing and don’t do enough to ensure accountability, say critics.

“I hope it’s not a waste of time,” said Donald Langford, executive director of the Métis Child and Family Services Society. “I’m hopeful, but I have great doubts.”

Alberta’s all-party ministerial panel — tasked by the provincial government with identifying systemic problems in child intervention services — was set up after the death of four-year-old Serenity in 2014.


It finished its second and final phase of work in January. Twenty-six recommendations posted online Friday included ending the service disparity in Indigenous communities, improving transitional supports for youth entering adulthood, and expanding access to preventative mental health care.


The panel also called for a “thorough, detailed and measurable action plan” by June 30 in consultation with Indigenous leaders and experts.

“We are absolutely committed to … making sure that we move forward with this and it’s not a report that sits on the shelf,” Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee said Tuesday.


But it’s déjà vu for Langford, who is Métis and has worked in Alberta’s child welfare system for 20 years.

“They’ve built too many action plans for us,” he said, referring to recommendations released by a 2010 review panel. “Unfortunately, I don’t think they’ve ever let a change really solidify.”

A disproportionate number of children receiving services are Indigenous, accounting for about 70 per cent of more than 10,000 children in care. Two decades ago, that number was 42 per cent, Langford said.

“We’ve got to get back to family-based services,” he added. “You can’t come into a family and break them down … and expect them to improve.”

Larivee said there will be more information on cost once the action plan is released.

United Conservative Party house leader Jason Nixon, who sat on the panel, said the recommendations don’t do anything to ensure government accountability.

The final recommendations were made purposely vague, he said: “I fail to see how any of these recommendations will work to prevent what happened to Serenity from happening again, which ultimately was the entire goal of this exercise.”

“By not allowing us to explore the Serenity case in detail to determine how the system failed her, I believe the minister handicapped the entire process from the start,” he said.

Overall, the recommendations focused on providing consistent services across Alberta in a culturally sensitive manner, said panel member Peter Choate, a registered social worker and assistant professor at Mount Royal University.

“We’ve highlighted that the child intervention system, which deals so heavily with Indigenous children, needs to come to reflect … the populations it serves,” he said.

The system needs to have adequate resources, create a stable workforce and be better connected to communities, he said.

Serenity was severely malnourished when she was airlifted to an Edmonton hospital with head injuries. She died nine days later after being removed from life support.

Her great-aunt and great-uncle were charged jointly with one count of failing to provide the necessaries of life between May 3, 2013, and Sept. 18, 2014.

cclancy@postmedia.com

twitter.com/clareclancy

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2015 Resignation of Alberta Justice Minister

2015 Resignation of Alberta Justice Minister | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
2015

Calgary MLA Jonathan Denis resigns as Justice Minister / Solicitor General amid 'legal proceedings', remains as PC candidate for Calgary-Acadia
u/Rouleauville Apr 25, 2015, 1:07 PM

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/amp.reddit.com/r/Calgary/comments/33unem/calgary_mla_jonathan_denis_resigns_as_justice/

Post is archived
tdhssp • 2y
Recap: Alberta's Chief Coroner names Denis specifically in a suit alleging wrongdoing and negligence. "'Dr. Anny Sauvageau has raised concerns interference by provincial government representatives may affect the public's trust in the integrity of the death-investigation system, specifically in relation to deaths of children in provincial care... "Currently, there is regular political and bureaucratic interference in all aspects of the death investigation system, from the determination of cause and manner of death, to the development and implementation of policy related to death investigation," Sauvageau states in a internal letter to Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis... "In the current conditions, I cannot protect the integrity of the death investigation system," Sauvageau states.'" http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/anny-sauvageau-alleges-political-bureaucratic-interference-1.2769882 '"Alberta lawyers are calling for an immediate, independent investigation into allegations of mismanagement and negligence within the office of Alberta’s chief medical examiner that could undermine the administration of justice... Justice Minister Jonathan Denis has in the past declined comment on the allegations because he said the matter is before the courts. His press secretary did not respond to an interview request from CBC News today. Savage said Denis can’t ignore these most recent allegations. “We can’t wait for the outcome of this civil litigation between the former chief medical examiner and the government to get to the bottom of these allegations,” he said.'" http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/dr-anny-sauvageau-allegations-spark-calls-for-independent-investigation-1.2988188

2
Rico_Sosa• 2y
i'll just leave this here.... �

http://imgur.com/UdIMQpR

2
ProfessionalShill • 2y
I'm not surprised. I went to BBQ/party with some of his friends and some of mine in 2012, I don't know what I can say about a politician online, but I certainly wouldn't have assumed he was married from what he gets up to when he is in Calgary.

3
ajau_1Altadore • 2y
It's no secret Denis has a sweet tooth.. His mistake was getting married, that is all.

2
yycthrowaway426 • 2y
Throwaway account, since my username could be identifying. While what's below may sound like a I'm a shill -- I'm no fan of the PC party, and have never spoken to the guy. What's below is based on knowing your neighbors, cars coming/going/changes/etc.

His residence is just down and across the street from me (it's not in the Calgary-Acadia riding).

His and his now-estranged wife (Breanna Palmer according to Wikipedia - I think she was a former model/pageant contestant) were just married last October. I think they had been together for the past 2 or 3 years, based on when her car (older, beat up import) started showing up in front of his place regularly.

Her car above seemed to have been replaced by a newer BMW 3-series about a year ago - it was what she started parking in front of his house. I had assumed the old car was sold or donated.

About 2 weeks ago there was a U-Haul with a bunch of stuff being packed up into it in the back alley - then the older beat up import car reappeared parked out front when she came & went.

Last week there was a home automation installer parked out front installing exterior security camera's at his place (I would guess that she's fully moved out at that point, since I hadn't seen her car in over a week).

Tonight on the Global evening news when they covered his resignation - they mentioned that the "legal proceedings" was an Emergency Protection Order (EPO), and that it can be applied for by one party without the other's involvement.

With the new security cameras he's installed and she's already moved out - I wonder if the EPO was filed by him against her? Or if it's heading towards a bitter divorce, and she's filed it against him to hurt him before the election?

5
dingmah • 2y
Pretty good looking lady... but could be crazy

2
drays • 2y
Another corrupt PC politician? Shocking!

-1
FoodTruckForMayor • 2y
What do you allege his corruption to be?

2
drays • 2y
Lol! Here you are again defending a PC politician who has found themselves in hot water! Hilarious!

-1
AbviousOtheist • 2y
Keep up your fight against those who refuse to check their fact privilege. Banning facts from public discussions will certainly provide a better future for us all.

/s

0
drays • 2y
Be careful, it's a well known fact that the facts have a liberal bias. Just like they do here: The minister in question is now facing serious charges involving dead kids, cover ups, and interference in investigations.

0
FoodTruckForMayor • 2y
So no specific allegations, but just ungrounded hatred. Got it.

-1
drays • 2y
So just sea lioning again eh? Got it!

-2
FoodTruckForMayor • 2y
Thanks! I'll still be here if and when you decide to present a rational argument supported by evidence.

For reference, unfounded allegations of criminal activity is generally frowned upon in civil discourse.

0
drays • 2y
Allegations against conservative political figure are never unfounded, simply because conservative political figures have shown themselves to be criminal so consistently in the past, that guilt can essentially be assumed. It's really more a question of whether a given wing nut has been caught. Yet.

-2
• FoodTruckForMayor • 2y
Then please present your evidence against Mr. Denis to substantiate your claim, or even a specific claim.

0
• • drays • 2y
Why? It's so much more entertaining to watch the scandal unfold in the press, and watch you fume about it.

Face it, you're just a troll, I don't respect your arguments, and I feel no obligation to interact with you besides poking you with a stick and watching you froth at the mouth.

It's remarkable you have yet to understand that. Much like texasnorth, you lost your privileges long ago. Your bigotry, hatred and constant sealioning did that for you.

-3
• • • FoodTruckForMayor • 2y
Please cite one example of my bigotry or hatred. I dare you.

And even if you do, you still have no argument against Mr. Denis.

0
• • • •Continue Thread
BraveryInc • 2y
How does it feel to be triggered by facts? Do you see every question as only being about attacking your worldview? Or are your triggers anything that would bring alternative perspectives into your life?

On second thought, we don't care.

0
drays • 2y
There are questioners and then sea lioners. The guy has never engaged in an honest exchange of views in his life. He has earned this.
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Sask. man with intellectual disabilities to lose longtime respite caregivers - Saskatchewan

Sask. man with intellectual disabilities to lose longtime respite caregivers - Saskatchewan | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

Matthew Brandon is 26 years old but has the cognitive ability of a toddler. Now, two of his caregivers may be barred from looking after him on weekends.


https://t.co/0QRMWrZ5aQ


Sask. man with intellectual disabilities to lose longtime respite caregivers


Board calls for exception in name of reconciliation

Alex Soloducha - CBC News

March 25, 2018

Nick Davis
Matthew Brandon with respite caregiver Nick Davis after a weekend together. Davis was instructed by his full-time employer Ranch Ehrlo to cease his part-time work with Brandon by the end of the month. (Facebook/For the Love of Matthew)
Matthew Brandon spends his Tuesdays taking in the RCMP parade and museum, grabbing books at the library and eating at KFC. But not every day is so carefree.

Brandon, who is well known as "Matty", is 26-years-old but has the cognitive ability of a toddler. He is non-verbal, has cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol syndrome and autism, and requires care all hours of the day.

Video 'Anything for Matty': RCMP make man with intellectual disabilities honorary cadet
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Shannon Gardiner and her husband Chris, who live in Sask. Beach, started out as Brandon's foster parents in 1997. He aged out of social services care in 2012 but the Gardiners fought to continue looking after him.

There is now a board called "For the Love of Matthew" (FTLOM) which oversees the Gardiners' work as well as Brandon's other caregivers and makes sure they all receive funding.

"I think Matthew effectively chose us and it's just come together in this beautiful Matthew-centric world that has been created," said Gardiner. "We lovingly do it because we know that otherwise he will fall back into the cracks."

Shannon Gardiner
Shannon Gardiner (pictured) and her husband Chris started out as Brandon’s foster parents in 1997. (CBC News)
Brandon's care includes a three-pronged approach. He is looked after by the Gardiners at home, attends a day program at Ranch Ehrlo on weekdays and goes to independent respite on weekends.

Sami Melles and Nick Davis, who both work at Ranch Ehrlo during the week, have alternated giving respite care to Brandon by taking him into their homes on weekends and on outings in the community since 2013.

Now, Ranch Ehrlo says Melles and Davis have to stop offering this contract work to FTLOM.

"When Friday rolls around and his buddy isn't taking him home, this is going to be a tremendous assault on his dignity because he's not going to understand why this is happening," said Gardiner. "And it's not going to allow the break that my husband and I need, the separation, for him to go out and do independent things from us and participate in a different family dynamic that he's grown used to."

Old policy not enforced

Andrea Brittin, president and CEO of Ranch Ehrlo Society, said that any secondary employment of staff has to be approved by the organization. She said they go through a number of factors to determine if there is any risk to clients, staff or the agency as a whole. It's a policy that was always in place, she said, but wasn't consistently implemented until recently.

"It is a concern to me that we have staff, at times, who are coming to work who are tired, who are just not emotionally able to carry out their duties," Brittin said. "We need to make sure that the people who come to work in our organization are well rested, that they're healthy, both emotionally and physically, because the work we do here at the Ranch is not easy work."

"The people that we serve have very complex needs, they're vulnerable, and they're coming to us for help and we must ensure that we're able to provide the help they need and deserve."

Sami Melles
Caregiver Sami Melles (left) was told to give up caring for Brandon on weekends by his employer, Ranch Ehrlo. (Facebook/For the Love of Matthew)
Brittin acknowledged that finding respite providers can be an issue but said the Ranch provided a "fair notice period" to the organization to find alternate options.

In September, Melles and Davis informed FTLOM that the Ranch asked them to cease their work with the organization. The pair worked privately with the Ranch in an attempt to reach an alternate agreement but were ultimately asked to pick between their full-time employment and their work with FTLOM by March 1. They decided to terminate their respite contracts but were allowed to continue working with Brandon until March 29.

"It just doesn't seem fair to a guy like Matthew who expects that he has this in his world," said Gardiner. "It's really about Matthew, and how he is going to accept this, which is not going to go over well."

Reconciliation hopes

Melles began providing alternate care to Brandon over 12 years ago, before he started working at the Ranch. He met Davis there, determined he was also forming a bond with Brandon, and they began sharing the responsibility.

Cora Sellers, board member with For the Love of Matthew, said she and the other board members have been "terrified" for Brandon's well-being since they found out about the policy coming into effect.

"It takes him a very long time to trust anyone, never mind trust them to the point where they can actually engage with him for more than a short amount of time," she said. "Taking away Nick and Sami is going to severely impact his ability to engage in community and live a dignified life."

"We're afraid for Matty's future if this is to go through."

Matthew Brandon
Brandon visits the RCMP parade and museum with his caregiver Shannon Gardiner nearly every Tuesday. (CBC News)
Sellers said Brandon, who is Indigenous, is a prime example of the residential school effect.

He was born with FAS, abused in his home and filtered through social care until he met the Gardiners and found a permanent home, she said.

"The Ranch could take a leadership role and change their policy, overlook their policy, modify their policy, in recognition of the spirit of reconciliation to accommodate Matty," said Sellers. "We don't want to discuss anymore. We want a fair outcome for Matty in his best interest."

Social services not getting involved

Sellers said the board will be posting a respite worker position as soon as possible, but doubt they will find anyone who fits well with Brandon and his needs, and is willing to do the job for the $20 an hour that they were able to pay Melles and Davis.

For The Love of Matthew Association Inc. received $204,830 from the Ministry of Social Services in the 2016-17 fiscal year. Ranch Ehrlo was compensated for Brandon's day program separately from that amount.

The Ministry told CBC it contracts work to various service providers and does not get involved in the day-to-day operations of those entities.

Matty and Chris and Shannon Gardiner
Brandon (centre) with his caregivers Chris and Shannon Gardiner at RCMP Depot division. (Chris Graham)
"Organizations such as For the Love of Mathew Association Inc. and Ranch Ehrlo establish their own human resource policies, including items such as compensation, and codes of conduct," a spokesperson for the Ministry said in a statement. "Through monitoring mechanisms, the Ministry assesses the quality of service as it relates to the individual client."

The Ministry would not provide a comment on the specific case, citing privacy legislation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Alex Soloducha

Alex Soloducha is a web writer/reporter for CBC Saskatchewan.


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Velvet Martin's comment, April 3, 12:37 PM
A Regina man with severe disabilities has lost his longtime weekend respite care workers after they receive

http://www.cjme.com/2018/04/02/sask-man-with-severe-disabilities-loses-respite-care-team/#.WsN0_pMsCAI.facebook

Sask. man with severe disabilities loses respite care team Regina / 980 CJME Jessie Anton April 02, 2018 04:57 pm Sask. man with severe disabilities loses respite care team Sami Melles (left) and Nick Davis (right) stopped caring for Matthew Brandon (centre) for fear of losing their second jobs at Ranch Ehrlo Society on March 30, 2018. (For the Love of Matthew/Facebook) A Regina man with severe disabilities has lost his longtime weekend respite care workers after they received an ultimatum from their second employer. At 26 years old, Matthew “Matty” Brandon has the cognitive ability of a toddler. He’s non-verbal and has cerebral palsy, fetal alcohol syndrome and autism which requires him to have 24/7 care. Brandon goes to a day program at Ranch Ehrlo Society during the week and on weekends he’s in independent respite care to give his foster parents a break. His respite care workers, Sami Melles and Nick Davis — who also work with him at Ranch Ehrlo during the week — take turns looking after him on the weekends as well. Last fall, Melles and Davis were told by their employers at Ranch Ehrlo they have to choose between helping Brandon at home on the weekends or during the week at Ranch Ehrlo. For fear of losing their primary jobs, the two officially chose to terminate their duties caring for Brandon last Thursday. Tim Korol is a close friend who works with Brandon through his charity — “For the Love of Matthew” — which raises funds to help care for him. This past weekend was the first time Brandon didn’t receive care from his normal duo, and Korol said it left him confused. “Routine is very important to him and that’s the only thing he understands and his routine was completely broken up,” Korol explained. Meanwhile, Andrea Brittin, president and CEO of Ranch Ehrlo Society, said — while it hasn’t always been enforced in the past — it’s policy that all staff have their secondary employment approved. “It’s a real concern to me when we have staff, who are working a full week with highly complex individuals in our programs, then are spending a weekend providing 24-hour care to a high-needs individual, and then coming back Monday morning to work full-time in our programs,” Brittin explained. In addition to the risk of staff getting burnt out working each day and night, she said the organization fears staff will get too attached to their client. “It can blur professional responsibilities, it can impair the employee’s decision-making and judgment — all of those things we need to look at,” Brittin noted. Moving forward, Korol said it’s going to be hard to find caregivers to replace Melles and Davis because they’ve formed such strong bonds with Brandon over the last few years. “(Brandon) is very tough to look after and sometimes he does get quite violent — not many people can look after him,” he said. Until a new weekend respite worker is found for Brandon, he will receive care from his foster parents every weekday evening and weekend. — With files from John Gormley Comments are closed.
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State put son in foster care when mother was ill with MS

State put son in foster care when mother was ill with MS | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article206779289.html

FAYETTE COUNTY
Mom says state put her son in foster care when she got sick. Now, she can’t get him back.

BY VALARIE HONEYCUTT SPEARS
vhoneycutt@herald-leader.com

ORDER REPRINT OF THIS STORY
March 25, 2018 04:44 PM
Updated 1 hour 42 minutes ago
In Molly Altman’s view, the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services “stole my heart” by denying her custody of her 18-year-old son who has intellectual disabilities after the two had been together the boy’s entire life.

Altman said she earned a college degree and a trade school certification while home-schooling her son, Zachary Grogan, who is autistic and has the intellectual capacity of a 5 year old. Zachary has seizures and the genetic disorder Tuberous Sclerosis, which can cause benign tumors in the body.

Altman told the Herald-Leader she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a central nervous system condition, when her son was 4 and since then she has used a walker and an electric wheelchair, but always had custody of him. She said she has been able to drive him to medical appointments, to physically pick him up if he had seizures, and to meet his other needs.

Altman said in 2017 she got a severe infection in both of her legs due to the conditions lymphedema and cellulitis. She said she was in and out of the hospital, and Zachary, 17 at the time, was placed in foster care because she was unable to quickly find someone to care for him while she was hospitalized.

Now, she says, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services won’t let him come back home, and she has had only one visit with him since last summer. She showed the Herald-Leader a letter from her physician stating she had recovered from the infection. Molly Altman said her son has told her on the telephone that he wants to come home.


“He has lived his entire life with just me and I have taken great care of him, and now he has been stolen from me,” Molly Altman said. “This boy is my heart. The Cabinet for Families and Children stole my heart… because I got sick.”

Molly Altman’s father, retired University of Kentucky associate professor Dennis Altman, describes his daughter as “a remarkably high achiever.”

“My daughter and grandson were a happy, loving family,” Dennis Altman said. “Then she got sick and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services stepped in and gave him a temporary home. Then my daughter got well. But then, the Cabinet refused to give the boy back to his mother. Is this nightmare even possible in a modern democracy?.”

“I don’t drink or do drugs,” Molly Altman said. “I am educated. I have a nice home with a great room for Zac. Zac is also mentally 5 years old and I have his room full of all his favorite toys. All I did is get sick. I never hit him. I never starved him.. ...There are such bad parents out there who are allowed to parent and here I am ... a mother who loves her son so much.”

Molly Altman said she has attended hearings in Fayette Family Court at which Cabinet officials have refused to return her son. In January, Zachary turned 18.


Anya Weber, a spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, told the Herald-Leader that Cabinet officials could not comment on the case.

Weber said state law makes reports of dependency, neglect or abuse confidential and renders all information obtained from the Cabinet confidential. “There are some exceptions, but none apply in this instance.,” Weber said.

A Dec. 17, 2017, Cabinet document provided to the Herald-Leader by Molly Altman shows that after being placed in foster care, Zachary was enrolled in public school special education courses at McCreary County High School and was doing well there. Cabinet officials made a recommendation that Molly Altman have supervised contact with her son as long as she was “medically clear.” Officials also recommended that Zachary stay in the Cabinet’s care past his 18th birthday because of his intellectual disability and his inability to live on his own.

Altman said she is concerned that her son has been moved to more than one foster home since he has been in the Cabinet’s care.

Dennis Altman said when Zachary developed persistent seizures, Molly took extra courses in child development and began to home school him.


She was not only an excellent teacher and a loving mother, her father said, but she “rose above the challenge of her own multiple sclerosis and managed to work at home so she could be with him at all times,” Dennis Altman said. He said she “set a clean-living example for Zachary;” in that she never smoked cigarettes or used liquor or drugs.

Altman said that while he does not live with his daughter and grandson, the three of them “were a happy and caring Lexington family” who visited parks, museums, and libraries. But when Dennis Altman retired from his faculty position at UK and relocated to Florida, mother and son were alone, he said.

Altman said he told Cabinet officials that he would be glad to take Zachary and Molly to live with him in Florida, where he’s lived for about four years. “I have the means, the space, and the will to make this happen. This was also refused. Something must be done,” he said.

“This is a family that has been broken apart, and no plea for reuniting this anguished mother and child has been honored,” Dennis Altman said.. Altman said his daughter lives in a “ pleasant” Lexington apartment, which has an unoccupied bedroom that is furnished with all of Zachary’s favorite things; “but there is no Zachary.”

Molly Altman said that Cabinet officials have told her that they are afraid she will get sick again and that because she has difficulty walking, she can’t care for her son. She doesn’t agree, saying the episode in 2017 was the first time she had ever been seriously ill while caring for Zachary.

Molly Altman has started a change.org page that she hopes will help bring her son home. On the page, she said she has a clean bill of health, but has only seen her son one time for an hour and a half since June 21, 2017.

“He is my best friend. He is my life. Everything I do, I do for him,” she said.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/counties/fayette-county/article206779289.html#storylink=cpy
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Autism and sexual labels 

Autism and sexual labels  | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
https://www.google.ca/amp/s/spectrumnews.org/news/adults-autism-traits-reject-conventional-sexual-labels/amp

Some adults with autism traits reject conventional sexual labels

BY EMILY ANTHES / 7 DECEMBER 2017

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Looking for love: Adults who have autism features are more likely than other adults to report being non-heterosexual.

svetikd / iStock
Adults who have characteristics of autism are about three times as likely as their peers to not identify themselves as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, according to a new study1.

The study is based on surveys of more than 47,000 adults in Sweden. It shows that about one out of five individuals with autism traits does not believe she fits into any of these standard categories for sexual orientation.

The findings suggest that researchers and clinicians should be open-minded when discussing sexuality with people who have autism or its traits.

“These traditional categories are not working,” says lead investigator Kyriaki Kosidou, a researcher at the Karolinska Institute. “To address sexuality is important in clinical settings, but our findings show that we have to think out of the box; we have to think progressively.”

Several studies have hinted that minority sexual orientations are overrepresented among people with autism2. This year, for example, scientists reported that nearly 70 percent of 309 individuals with autism reported being non-heterosexual, compared with 30 percent of typical adults3.

The new work is the first to look at the connection between sexual orientation and autism traits in the general population.

“This study provides further evidence of a link between neurodiversity and sexual-orientation diversity,” says John Strang, director of the gender and autism program at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the research. “Studies like this encourage more careful listening to autistic people about their experience of sexual orientation.”

None of the above:

Kosidou and her colleagues analyzed data from 47,356 Swedish adults who completed various public-health surveys between 2002 and 2014. Among the surveys was a 10-item questionnaire called the AQ-10 that screens for traits associated with autism, such as difficulties with social interaction and communication. Adults who scored above a certain threshold were classified as having autism traits.

Participants also answered a question asking whether they considered themselves heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or “none of the above.”

More than 3,000 respondents, or about 7.5 percent of the sample, have traits associated with autism. Of these individuals, 77 percent reported being heterosexual, compared with 89.5 percent of those without autism traits. They were also especially likely to say that none of the given labels fit their sexual orientation: 19.1 percent selected “none of the above,” compared with 6.8 percent of adults without autism traits.

The respondents with autism traits are also slightly more likely to be bisexual: 2.5 percent of them reported being bisexual, compared with 2.1 percent of adults without autism traits. The findings appeared 30 October in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

“[Clinicians] working with people on the spectrum should be encouraged to be open to different ways of describing sexual orientation and discussing sexuality,” Kosidou says.

Sexual stressors:

No one knows how autism features and sexual orientation might be linked. Biological factors could be at play. For instance, exposure to high levels of male sex hormones in utero could increase the odds of autism traits as well as particular sexual orientations.

It’s also possible that people with autism traits are less concerned with social norms surrounding sexual orientation than most people are. So they may be more likely to embrace or disclose non-standard sexual orientations.

“One might consider how that characteristic of direct and concrete honesty, which is so common among autistic people, might lead them to more honestly describe their sexuality as outside of established categories,” Strang says.

Minority sexual orientations may present additional challenges for people who have autism or features of the condition. Some of these individuals face stigma and discrimination for both their autism-related behaviors and their sexual orientation.

“It sometimes feels like you have to come out of the closet twice,” says Jeroen Dewinter, a clinical psychologist at the GGzE Centre for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry in the Netherlands, who was not involved in the research but often treats adolescents with autism.

The next step, Dewinter says, is to conduct qualitative research with adolescents and adults with autism to learn about how they experience and describe their own sexuality.

REFERENCES:

Rudolph C.E.S. et al. J. Autism Dev. Disord. Epub ahead of print (2017) PubMed
Dewinter J. et al. J. Autism Dev. Disord. 47, 2927-2934 (2017) PubMed
George R. and M.A. Stokes. Autism Res. Epub ahead of print (2017) PubMed


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MCFD snatches child with autism 2011

MCFD snatches child with autism 2011 | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

By Adrian MacNair - Abbotsford News, Published: June 24, 2011 4:00 PM, Updated: June 24, 2011 4:50 PM
Derek Hoare had taken his eyes off his nine-year-old autistic daughter, Ayn Van Dyk, for just a moment.

Then she was gone.

Ayn had been playing in the backyard of his Mt. Lehman Road home, which was surrounded by a six-foot fence.

But somehow she had disappeared. Derek sprinted up the street for several minutes, then turned around and ran in the other direction.

After 10 frantic minutes, he called the police.

More than three hours later, Ayn was found two houses over in a neighbour’s pool. She was safe and sound.

It was a fairy tale ending, told by various media covering the story. And for a moment, it was.

When the police brought Ayn back, she ran to her father and threw her arms around his shoulders as he breathed tearful relief.

But four days later, representatives from the Ministry of Children and Family Development came to his house with orders to take Ayn away.

“Basically, what they’re saying is I’m a single dad and I have two autistic kids and my other son and it’s too much for me to handle. So, they’re going to take one of my kids away to lighten my load,” said Derek on Tuesday, after learning he wouldn’t even be able to see his daughter until a hearing determines access rights.

Because of her 24-hour care requirements, she won’t go into a foster home, but will be placed in a psychiatric facility for evaluation.

Derek is concerned she will be sedated and drugged for her autism, which he has always opposed, despite doctor advice to the contrary.

“They’re probably holding her down and sedating her,” he said, his voice choking. “This is a nightmare.”

A single father on social assistance, Derek said he has custody of his three children with the approval of ex-wife Amie Van Dyk.

On a Facebook page created to bring awareness to Derek’s cause, Amie Van Dyk wrote, “He has been a loving and dedicated father. He has had to ordeal an enormous amount of challenges as a parent, the likes of which most people would not believe ... I will do anything I can to support you to bring our daughter home where she belongs.”

Derek said he has found support from nearly everybody who has worked with Ayn, including her principal at Ross Elementary, and a family outreach worker who visits his home twice a week. Neither of them are allowed to write a letter supporting him, but a former school nurse has.

Derek believes she was removed based on her actions in school, which he described as “volatile and aggressive.” But he said Ayn acts well-behaved and secure at home under his care.

Although Ayn has escaped from his care four times, it was never for more than a few minutes and he never had to call the police.

Derek said he locks all the windows and doors in his house from the inside and needs a key to get out.

He believes she escaped by climbing her treehouse and jumping over the fence to get into the neighbour’s yard.

Now, he has to wait until a July 12 hearing, which will only determine his level of access, not custody.

He’s not even sure he should visit if he’s allowed.

“If I go there and see her and I have to walk away from her, she has to watch me walk away. I want to see my daughter but if she sees me she’ll be begging and crying to come home.”

His lawyer told him it could take up to a year to get her back, if at all.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development does not publicly comment on individual cases.

Derek says parents don’t get enough help or understanding from the government for autistic children.

“It’s a medical condition,” he said, adding parents shouldn’t have to lose their children because they’re faced with medical challenges.

Often, parents of children with autism will have a behaviour consultant who designs specific activity programming for that child, and a behaviour interventionist who goes into the home and carries out the consultant’s plan, said Michelle Hoogland, a program manager of Autism Consulting in Abbotsford. However, these private sector professionals can be unaffordable for low-income parents.

The ministry provides families with up to $22,000 per year for each child with ASD under six. It then provides up to $6,000 per year for each child aged six to 18 for autism intervention services and therapies, in addition to programs inside the public education system.

Source: Abbotsford News
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Family billed for taking a lawyer before the Law Society for review

Family billed for taking a lawyer before the Law Society for review | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
Family billed thousands extra in legal fees after filing complaint against lawyer

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/lawyer-billing-hours-complaint-family-1.4575847

Lawyer charges grieving family thousands for time spent responding to complaint against him
Law Society of Ontario says attorneys are not allowed to bill clients for time spent answering complaints

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Rosa Marchitelli · @cbcRosa · CBC News
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Brittany Baechler, left, and her mother, Val Mallou
Brittany Baechler, left, and her mother, Val Mallough, were shocked when their lawyer billed them $2,340 for time spent responding to a complaint they made to the Law Society of Ontario about his handling of a deceased relative's estate. (Jamie Morrison-Collalto/CBC)
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A grieving daughter was blindsided when the lawyer hired to settle her father's estate charged thousands of dollars for time he spent responding to a complaint the family filed against him.

But lawyers are not allowed to bill for hours spent responding to complaints, according to the Law Society of Ontario. A legal ethics expert says responding to complaints is a cost of doing business and a lawyer's professional obligation, and clients shouldn't be "punished" for asking the law society to investigate a potential problem.

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The lawyer, Jim McIlhargey from the Goderich, Ont., firm Troyan & Fincher, told Go Public the complaint was "unfounded, devoid of merit, and spurious" and said he's entitled to compensation for his time.

Brittany Baechler and her family hired McIlhargey to settle her father's estate after he died of cancer in 2013.

The family wasn't happy with how the lawyer was handling things, so they submitted a complaint with the Law Society of Ontario.

"We ended up filing a complaint just because it sort of seemed like things weren't maybe handled in the best way. There were just a lot of issues … unnecessary delays and suggesting altering beneficiary designations," Baechler said in an interview from Goderich, a town located about 200 kilometres west of Toronto.

Left to right: Brittany Baechler, Dale Baechler, Val Mallou
After volunteer firefighter Dale Baechler, second from left, died from cancer in 2013, his family hired a lawyer to help them deal with the estate. (Brittany Baechler)
"We just were unsure if things were being handled properly so we thought it might be a good idea to have that assessed and get an unbiased opinion of whether our lawyer was behaving appropriately or not."

The Law Society of Ontario found no wrongdoing on the lawyer's part, and closed the file.

Law Society of Ontario Complaint document
The Law Society of Ontario concluded its investigation of the family's complaint in March 2015. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)
Baechler said the family was willing to accept that and move on. But when the time came to close the estate, the lawyer took an additional $2,340 from the estate for his time spent responding to the law society complaint.

"I had thought, what would have happened if we had closed the estate before that? Or if there wasn't money there, would he have sent us a bill in the mail asking for that money? It was just that he had that money in his possession and took the money," Baechler said.

Billing was 'appropriate': Lawyer

The lawyer billed 10.40 hours at $225 per hour for the time he spent responding to the complaint.

When the family asked him to refund the money, he initially refused, but offered a partial refund after some back and forth on email.

In an email to Go Public, McIlhargey said he "offered to refund part of the amount billed as a gesture of goodwill and in an effort to avoid the nuisance and trouble of having to respond to another unwarranted complaint."

"The response to the complaint was a necessary part of my handling of the file," he said, and, "the time spent doing so was an appropriate charge to the client in the circumstances."

Mcllhargey defended his decision to tell his client about the additional charge after he had already withdrawn the money from the estate.

"The time spent responding to the complaint occurred over a short period of time, in the absence of the client (as most legal work does) and, necessarily, without consulting the client or seeking his input on the response."

He also told CBC News the Law Society of Ontario "has no such rule" against billing for time spent on a complaint and "if there were such a rule I would most certainly comply with it."

Building of the Law Society of Ontario (formerly LS of Upper Canada)
The Law Society of Ontario, formerly the Law Society of Upper Canada, says it's against integrity rules for lawyers to bill for time spent responding to law society complaints. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)
Alastair Harris-Cartwright, spokesperson at the Law Society of Ontario, told CBC News there is no rule that specifically says lawyers can't bill for those hours, "but doing so would be against the rules pertaining to integrity. We also have a specific rule on fees and disbursements."

Clients can't be 'punished'

Legal ethics expert Alice Woolley said billing a client for time spent replying to a complaint is not appropriate, pointing to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada's professional conduct rules regarding fees and disbursements. The federation is the national co-ordinating body of Canada's 14 law societies, and Woolley said all provinces have variations of the same rules.

Alice Woolley, right, pictured with CBC's Rosa Marchitelli
Legal ethicist Alice Woolley, right, says the rules are clear that it's not appropriate to bill a client for time spent responding to a complaint. Left: Go Public's Rosa Marchitelli. (Colin Hall/CBC)
Fees must be "fair and reasonable" said Woolley, who is the president of the non-profit Canadian Association for Legal Ethics and a professor of law at the University of Calgary.

"I don't see anywhere in there where it would be permissible to bill someone for responding to a complaint. So I think the fees rules also govern that. But it would [also] be a matter of integrity and it would be a matter of the lawyer-client trust relationship as well. It's all of those things."

Woolley said clients often don't know whether a lawyer has done something wrong when they go to a law society, so even when a lawyer is "completely right," she believes clients shouldn't be "punished for simply bringing a complaint."

If clients are faced with this type of charge, she said, they shouldn't pay it.

"Responding to a law society complaint is a matter between the lawyer and the regulator, and even if the client initiated the complaint, it's still not a service rendered for the client and you cannot properly bill them for it," Woolley said.

"As a lawyer … your licence to practise is a privilege. And one of the costs of that privilege is being subject to the law society, which means dealing with complaints from time to time.… No one likes being the subject of a complaint, but it's part of being a lawyer. It's part of the cost of doing business."

Woolley advises people dealing with billing issues to skip the law society because law societies don't usually deal with billing disputes. Instead, clients who want their legal fees reviewed should go to assessment offices located in courthouses across the country. A court official will review the bill and determine whether it's appropriate.

Those reviews must be done relatively quickly. Depending on the province, clients have between one month and one year to question a lawyer's bill. But Newfoundland and Labrador is an outlier. There, the court does not set a time limit for applying to have a lawyer's bill reviewed.

The Baechler family missed Ontario's 30-day deadline after first asking the law society for help with reimbursement, not realizing — and not being told — it didn't deal with billing problems.

Delays there left the family with little recourse.

Lawyer McIlhargey also didn't get a chance to formally make his case for why he's keeping the money, telling CBC News his critics aren't aware of the "whole story, the context, or the interests of the parties involved" adding, "a valid counterview is that a person should not be free to make unfounded complaints against a professional with impunity."
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After transgender teen’s suicide, mom publishes huge obituary | Miami Herald

After transgender teen’s suicide, mom publishes huge obituary | Miami Herald | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

Eric Peter Verbeeck, a 17-year-old honors student, was in the process of transitioning to a girl. After her March 6 suicide, her mother shares their story and offers a message to parents of kids with sexual identity issues: “Expand the space in your heart.”


http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/gay-south-florida/article205044709.html


‘Dear Mommy, I am so sorry to do this but I have killed myself.’ A transitioning teen’s tale.

Eric Peter Verbeeck, 17, a Key Biscayne honors student, was in the process of transitioning to a girl named Hope. After her March 6 suicide, her mother, Patricia McKay Verbeeck, has a message to other parents of children with sexual identity issues: ‘Don’t slam the door. Expand your hearts.’
i
Eric Peter Verbeeck, 17, a Key Biscayne honors student, was in the process of transitioning to a girl named Hope. After her March 6 suicide, her mother, Patricia McKay Verbeeck, has a message to other parents of children with sexual identity issues: ‘Don’t slam the door. Expand your hearts.’ Verbeeck family
BY HOWARD COHEN
hcohen@miamiherald.com



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Many Miami Herald readers couldn’t help but notice a half-page obituary notice that ran Tuesday.


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/gay-south-florida/article205044709.html#storylink=cpy


Many Miami Herald readers couldn’t help but notice a half-page obituary notice that ran Tuesday.

The sheer size of it and its large photo made it hard to miss.

Also grabbing attention, the age. Eric Peter Verbeeck was only 17 when she died on March 6. The smiling, bespectacled teen who grew up in Key Biscayne was a month shy of her 18th birthday, which would have been April 14.

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The obituary begins, as so many do, by recounting the individual’s loves and accomplishments. Eric loved the theater. She had a nearly perfect “A” record and was excited about high school graduation in June. Eric, who was on the Student Council at the MCA Academy in Coconut Grove and a 2016 honoree by the National Society of High School Scholars, had been accepted by 11 colleges with several scholarship offers. She planned to study theater and arts management.

Eric, the obituary noted, was “pure love and joy with a unique innocence about life.”


Those who kept reading would learn that Eric committed what some might say is the most private of acts. Her parents made it public in the obit:

While Eric lived life to the fullest, he had his own personal struggle. He was in the process of transitioning to his identity as a girl. It simply became too much for him and he sought relief from his suffering. He left a beautiful letter letting his parents know that he knew he had been loved unconditionally, but he needed to move on.

In her letter, Eric left explicit instructions on how she wanted to be remembered:

I would like to be remembered as a transgender pansexual teenage girl named Hope. Being transgender is my gender identity. My sexual orientation, or sexual identity, is being pansexual, meaning that I do not care about what the person is; I care about who they are. Sexual orientation is who you go to bed with and gender identity is who you go to bed as.


On Tuesday, Eric’s mother, Patricia McKay Verbeeck, agreed to speak with a Herald reporter. “Eric would have wanted to do this when he was a little older,” said Verbeeck, who continues to refer to Eric with male pronouns. “He could have called up a reporter to say, ‘I think we have to get the message out there about sexual identity issues. I want to tell my story.”

So now she’s sharing Eric’s story and what she believes would be Eric’s message to people about sexual identity.

“I would want them to know to open their hearts, minds and souls to accepting this unique situation that their son or daughter may be expressing and experiencing — because it would be the biggest gift they could give,” Verbeeck said. “It’s not about money or the next gadget, but to accept, love and embrace who your son or daughter is telling you that they are. Expand the space in your heart to support and to provide every possible avenue to them to succeed in their identity.”

The sad irony is that Verbeeck says this is precisely the kind of relationship Eric had with her parents.

The Verbeeck family. Peter (top right), Michael, Eric/Hope and Patricia Verbeeck (left).
“We had the most incredible relationship. About 14 or 15 months ago Eric said, ‘Mommy, can you come over to the couch and sit down with me? I need to talk to you.’ I said, ‘Of course. That’s how we always operate. You have my heart, soul and mind and we can talk about anything and everything. I will never pass judgment on you for anything.”

She thought Eric was going to tell her she was gay.

Eric didn’t fit the “typical male” stereotype, after all. She was “unbelievably sensitive,” her mother said. She cared about butterflies, flowers, how everything was set on the table. She was passionate about the arts and loved to sing. She attended the Miami City Ballet with her mom. If someone was alone, or seemed a misfit, at one of her schools — St. Christopher’s Montessori School and later MCA Academy — Eric befriended that person, even if it was as simple as a “hello” or an offer to share a bite of her lunch.

Soon after she died, Eric’s principal told her mother that her son knew every name of every student at the small MCA Academy — all 66 kids, even the first graders. What senior gives the time of day to an underclassman?

“I’d say, ‘Eric, they see a senior coming over to say ‘hello’ and that’s you making their week,” Verbeeck said.

But on this day, 14 or 15 months ago, it was Eric who needed to be recognized.

“He said, ‘I need to talk to you about my sexual identity,’ Verbeeck said.

Eric told her mother she felt trapped in the body of a boy. She was a girl, she told her.

“ ‘I feel like I’m in a box, I am in the wrong place.’ I knew some information about transgender issues. I wasn’t totally uninformed. I said, ‘Eric, what is the next step you would like to take on transitioning from a boy to a girl?’ I said, ‘I don’t want to tell you what to do or think you should do. You tell me the journey you want to take.’ ”

And so she did. Eric decided she would first start by dressing a bit more like a girl, but only undergarments at first. “He didn’t want to take the step yet on external clothing, I knew we’d head there this summer,” her mom said.

Mother and son met with “a marvelous team at the University of Miami” that specializes in transgender transitioning. Eric went for sessions with a psychologist. They met with an endocrinologist and surgeon. Eric began hormone replacement about 10 months ago. This summer they planned on laser hair removal. Eric joined support groups but didn’t have a lot of time for them because she was very much into pursuing the arts.

Verbeeck, who retired at 59 from a successful career in banking and finance to devote time to her son’s high school years, traveled with Eric up and down the East Coast to nearly all 11 liberal arts colleges that had accepted Eric. That acceptance was complete, her mother said.

“We were very open with our meetings at the colleges that he’s transitioning. These colleges were all accepting,” she said. “He was so excited about college, and graduation. He knew these were colleges he could fit in.”

Eric told her mother she had chosen a new name. After graduation in June, at age 18, Eric would become Hope.

Earlier this year Eric Verbeeck received her graduation cap and gown. She was to graduate from MCA Academy in June and take her new name, Hope.
Verbeeck started to practice the new name. She said she used “Eric Peter Verbeeck” for her obituary because that’s how people knew her.

But they were excited about the coming change.

Mother and son planned to move from Key Biscayne to South Carolina in a house they were having built. Eric, with her eye for detail, had already designed her new room — in carnation pink. She helped her mother pick everything, from the shingles to the shutters to the tubs. When some questioned why Eric would want a pink bedroom, her mother was ready with her answer: “Because he was becoming a girl.”

Mom had started to stop using male pronouns. The name Hope seemed perfect.

“I thought it was a beautiful name as it expresses emotions. You have hope in life. I told him, ‘You have a short name anyway so going from Eric to Hope is not so hard. It’s not hard to spell, easy to work with. It fits you; it fits the kind of person you are,’ ” Verbeeck said.

But as idyllic as it sounded — the acceptance at home, the welcoming colleges, the new home and the name Hope — something was not right with Eric.

“The last night of his life I lay in bed with him. We would always talk, and that last night he said again, ‘I feel trapped. This is not happening enough for me.’

“I said, ‘We’re pushing this as fast as we can. If I could pull a rabbit out of a hat and have you wake up as your ideal girl, I would do it.’ I said, ‘It will be long and hard and you’re only 17 but in the next 14 months we would do the surgery, we would do the checkups, we’re going to set the date,’” Verbeeck said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates for adolescent boys and girls have been steadily rising since 2007. In 1975, in the United States, there were 1,289 suicides among males and 305 suicides among females in the 15-19 age group. In 2015, there were 1,537 suicides among males and 524 among females aged 15-19.

No one saw Eric/Hope heading in this direction, including the psychologist she saw for weekly visits. “She never felt Eric was going to take his life,” Verbeeck said. “She had a moral obligation to let me know. She said there was never an inkling. She told me, ‘He loved you. He was excited about college.’

“As far as I know, he wasn’t bullied,” Verbeeck added. “Everybody we talked with, no one would have guessed.”

But then on that morning of March 6, Eric took her life.

“He left behind a letter, the most beautiful letter you could imagine, and it was on his pillow,” Eric’s mother said. “I got up and realized I didn’t see him in my apartment.”

The letter began: “Dear Mommy and Papa, I am so sorry to do this to you but I have killed myself by jumping off the top floor …”

Eric was always precise, Verbeeck said.

“I could no longer live my life as a lie,” her letter continued. “I’m so sorry I lied to you. I was losing hope in the world and could not see my way out of the wrong body so I decided it was time for my life to end. Please forgive me for any sins I committed.”

Verbeeck: “He didn’t have any sins. I never used the word sin with him.”

The child who loved to attend Broadway and London musical theater shows, who had a beloved dog named Rocky, who started performing at 6 and already had a favorite role — The Mad Hatter from “Alice in Wonderland” — and who “planned out trips to the tiniest detail,” was equally precise in her last wishes.

She didn’t want her parents, who were separated, to argue. She wanted her ashes split between her parents.

Patricia Verbeeck never thought she’d have to make funeral arrangements for Eric. Or Hope.

“This was an issue that he suffered with even though he was unlike many of the teens who get no support and who don’t have anybody helping them. He had everything. Both of his parents supported the transition. This was going to become an ongoing passion of him going to college, to join a group, and to get the message out,” Verbeeck said.

And that message is: “Do not slam the door on your son or your daughter if they come and express a sexual identity issue. Do not slam that door. Thank God I didn’t. He did it anyway. But what if I had slammed that door? I would not be able to live with myself. Now I have that house that is 85 percent complete. With a pink bedroom. He was on the way.”

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Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen

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Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/gay-south-florida/article205044709.html#storylink=cpy

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 Alberta Political Interference in the Coroner’s Office (2015)

 Alberta Political Interference in the Coroner’s Office (2015) | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
https://www.google.ca/amp/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.2769882

Anny Sauvageau alleges political, bureaucratic interference


Charles Rusnell, Jennie Russell, Alicja Siekierska - CBC News

January 27, 2015

Dr. Anny Sauvageau
“Currently, there is regular political and bureaucratic interference in all aspects of the death investigation system, from the determination of cause and manner of death, to the development and implementation of policy related to death investigation," wrote Dr. Anny Sauvageau in an internal letter to the Alberta Justice Minister in July 2014. (CBC)
Alberta's chief medical examiner is alleging political and bureaucratic interference in the independence of her office.

Dr. Anny Sauvageau has raised concerns interference by provincial government representatives may affect the public's trust in the integrity of the death-investigation system, specifically in relation to deaths of children in provincial care, prison inmates and those killed by police officers.

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"Currently, there is regular political and bureaucratic interference in all aspects of the death investigation system, from the determination of cause and manner of death, to the development and implementation of policy related to death investigation," Sauvageau states in a July 31, 2014, internal letter to Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis leaked to CBC News.

"In the current conditions, I cannot protect the integrity of the death investigation system," Sauvageau states.

Alberta Justice deputy minister Tim Grant responded to Sauvageau on behalf of Denis and denied any interference.

'In the current conditions, I cannot protect the integrity of the death investigation system.'
- Dr. Anny Sauvageau, in an internal letter to Justice Minister Jonathan Denis
CBC News, however, was also leaked documents which show deputy ministers Peter Watson and Steve MacDonald asked for special treatment by the chief medical examiner's office in relation to a specific case.

"I explained to the deputy minister that the (office of the chief medical examiner) is closed and viewing is not advisable due to the severe head injury," Chuan Chuck wrote on Saturday, May 10. Internal documents from the medical examiner's office show that in May, Watson, then deputy minister of executive council, called death investigator Chuck on behalf of a family who wanted to view the body of a person. The deputy minister of executive council is the most senior, and powerful, executive in the Alberta government.

On Monday, May 12, assistant chief medical examiner Mitchell Weinberg noted he had spoken with Steve MacDonald, who was then the deputy minister of Innovation and Advanced Education.

"Also spoke on phone with DM Steve MacDonald, as requested. Explained findings to him and told him that (body) is now available for release to funeral home."

Kerry Towle
“I have no doubt that any Albertan who has a death in the family, any person who has a child in care, or anybody in any of the systems provided by this province who die, would probably also like the same preferences given to them,” said Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle. (CBC)
Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle said the documents show deputy ministers used their political influence to gain special access to a service no other Albertans would get.

"I have no doubt that any Albertan who has a death in the family, any person who has a child in care, or anybody in any of the systems provided by this province who die, would probably also like the same preferences given to them," she said.

Sauvageau directed an interview request to Justice communications. Neither the department, Denis or Tim Grant responded to emailed interview requests on Wednesday afternoon.

Dispute over independence

The internal correspondence between Sauvageau and Grant details a lengthy dispute over the independence of Sauvageau's office. The correspondence reveals the dispute has escalated to the point that Sauvageau believes she is at risk of being fired for refusing to back down on the issue of her office's independence.

The correspondence also raises doubts about promises made by the government during a high-profile government conference in January on the deaths of children in provincial care.

An Edmonton Journal-Calgary Herald investigation revealed the province kept secret the deaths of hundreds of children in provincial care. The province promised the deaths of all children in care would be thoroughly and independently investigated by the chief medical examiner.

A draft report from the Child Intervention Roundtable January 2014 states: "Currently, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner – which operates at arm's length from the government – has an existing mandate to review all deaths and was discussed as a potential existing structure within which a paediatric death review committee could be located."

But Grant appears to contradict that statement in an Aug. 14, 2014 letter to Sauvageau.

"The CME (chief medical examiner) does not have constitutional or statutory independence as, for example, judges and Officers of the Legislature," Grant wrote. "The (office of the chief medical examiner) is part of the department and cannot operate arm's length from it."

After viewing the documents, and Grant's statement, Towle wondered about the integrity of the entire death-investigation system.

"How do you trust – and we have to be able to trust – the reports coming out of the office of the chief medical examiner, to ensure that they are accurate, they are appropriate, and they were done without any interference?" Towle asked


Rachel Notley
NDP MLA Rachel Notley says she questions whether Alberta's Conservative government promises for independent investigations of child deaths in care. (CBC)
New Democrat MLA Rachel Notley said she now questions the Conservative government's recent promises for independent investigations of child deaths in care.

"I think this raises very clearly the question of whether this government is ever going to be prepared to subject its behaviour to truly independent and transparent oversight," Notley said. "I think they are so steeped in 43 years of secrecy and insider control that they don't understand that certain things need to be done independently."

Alberta's Conservative government has ruled the province for 43 years, the longest of any government in provincial history.

Child deaths in care

Notley said that, "when a child dies in care, when an inmate dies at the Remand Centre, when somebody is the result of a fatality by a police officer, these are things that have implications for the behaviour of the government so there needs to be independence when those kinds of fatalities are reviewed.

"Now I'm concerned that for the deputy minister, and probably by extension the attorney general, (independence) is a moving line," Notley said. "It is a shifting standard and probably one that shifts on the basis of convenience, so I'm very concerned about what that means for these very important processes in Alberta."

Edmonton lawyer D'Arcy DePoe, a spokesman for the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, said the chief medical examiner may not have statutory independence, but the office should still be treated as wholly independent.

"When it comes to dealing with individual cases and the manner in which death investigations are conducted, that part of the office has to be maintained as independent, much like individual Crown prosecutors are independent in their handling of individual criminal cases," DePoe said.

D’Arcy DePoe
D’Arcy DePoe with the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association said the chief medical examiner's office should still be treated as wholly independent even though it does not have statutory independence. (CBC)
Internal documents from the medical examiner's office also show former premier Dave Hancock asked for special treatment for a constituent.

In a letter dated July 21, 2014, under the letterhead of the premier of Alberta, Hancock tells the office of the chief medical examiner that a constituent does not believe the cause of death of his wife.

"While I have written to him and provided him with the proper access to have a case review, I have also taken the liberty of providing you a copy of the material that (the constituent) had sent to me," Hancock wrote. "I wish to request if you could be so kind as to undertake such a review and you would consider (the constituent) letter as such request."

Political request

Towle said members of the legislature are supposed to advocate on behalf of constituents. But she noted Hancock wrote the letter as premier, not simply as an MLA.

She said while Hancock notes that he told his constituent the normal process for seeking a review, he "then asks the office of the chief medical examiner to bypass that process and consider this letter enough to do that.

"I think in the everyday Albertan's mind this will be seen as interference but more importantly this will be seen as using your political position to provide that interference and it's inappropriate," Towle said.

Hancock resigned both as interim premier and as an MLA on Friday.

Towle said Sauvageau's allegations of political interference are serious and require an immediate independent review "to protect the integrity of the system for the government's side, but also for the office of the chief medical examiner."

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Lawyers call for investigation of Alberta Coroner Office (2015)

Lawyers call for investigation of Alberta Coroner Office (2015) | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
Defence lawyers call for independent investigation of medical examiner's office http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/defence-lawyers-call-for-independent-investigation-of-medical-examiners-office/


Defence lawyers call for independent investigation of medical examiner's office

Jason van Rassel, Calgary HeraldJASON VAN RASSEL, CALGARY HERALD
Published on: March 10, 2015 | Last Updated: March 10, 2015 6:31 PM MDT

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The president of a group representing defence lawyers is calling on the provincial government to open an independent investigation of the medical examiner’s office in the wake of the latest allegations made by the former chief coroner in her wrongful dismissal suit.


The former chief medical examiner, Dr. Anny Sauvageau, alleged in documents filed this week that the government failed to fix an electronic loophole that allowed autopsy reports to be changed without her knowledge and that firearms went missing from what should have been secure storage for evidence.

Ian Savage, president of the Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyers’ Association, said ensuring the proper administration of justice makes it necessary to launch an outside investigation of Sauvageau’s allegations, rather than waiting for them to be proven or disproven in a potentially lengthy civil suit.

“The concerns are more immediate and need to be addressed now to restore and maintain confidence in the office of the medical examiner,” said Savage.

In a claim filed Monday in response to the government’s statement of defence, Sauvageau alleged the case management system used by the chief medical examiner’s office allowed any employee there to make changes to case files without tracking who made them or when they were made. She also alleged autopsy reports could be amended without the medical examiner ever knowing, adding both flaws were discovered during an audit but have not been fixed.

“Anyone in the criminal justice system should be concerned that non-decision makers and non-examiners can have access to the results,” Savage said.

“It’s unacceptable.”

The allegations are the latest in a legal fight between the Alberta government and Sauvageau, who last month filed a $5.15-million lawsuit alleging routine political interference in the office of the chief medical examiner. In its statement of defence filed in response, Alberta Justice called Sauvageau’s claims “groundless and vexatious.”


It says Sauvageau’s contract wasn’t renewed to protect the integrity of the chief medical examiner’s office and alleges she was “obstructionist, confrontational and disrespectful” toward her staff in her organization and at Alberta Justice and Solicitor General.

Justice Minister Jonathan Denis’ office declined a request for comment on Tuesday.


Sauvageau also claims firearms went missing from the office’s evidence room because of a lack of chain of custody policies and that an employee who worked under her predecessor took a firearm home “for personal use.”

The allegation is troubling, Savage said, because evidence must be held securely and accounted for at all times to prevent the possibility of tampering or contamination.

“Continuity of evidence is one of the fundamental underpinnings of a criminal prosecution,” he said.

“If the evidence is not trustworthy, then any conviction based on untrustworthy evidence is likewise untrustworthy.”

jvanrassel@calgaryherald.com

twitter.com/JasonvanRassel




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Losing children to foster care endangers mother’s lives

Losing children to foster care endangers mother’s lives | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
Losing children to foster care endangers mothers' lives
BY THE CANADIAN PRESS
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: MAR 31, 2018

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This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site.

——

Author: Elizabeth Wall-Wieler, PhD student in Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba

Mothers whose children are placed in foster care are at much higher risk of dying young, particularly due to avoidable causes like suicide.

When a child is placed in foster care, most of the resources are focused on the child, with little to no support for the mothers who are left behind.


I have been working with colleagues at the University of Manitoba to look at what happens to mothers after their children are placed in care.

The focus of two recent studies has been to look at mortality among this group of mothers.

Deaths by suicide and heart disease

The first study, published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, looked at suicide attempts and suicide completions among mothers whose children were placed in care.

In this study, we compared rates of suicide attempts and suicides between 1,872 mothers who had a child placed in care with sisters whose children were not placed in care.

We found that the rate of suicide attempts was 2.82 times higher, and the rate of death by suicide was more than four times higher for mothers whose children were not in their custody.

In the second study, just published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, we compared the rates of death from avoidable and unavoidable causes between 1,974 mothers who had a child placed in care, and their sisters whose children remained with them.

We found that mothers whose children were placed in care were 3.5 times more likely to die from avoidable causes (e.g. unintentional injury and suicide), and 2.9 times more likely to die from unavoidable causes (e.g. car accidents and heart disease).


Losing a child is traumatic

So why is this happening?

Mothers whose children are taken into care often have underlying health conditions, such as mental illness and substance use. In both studies, we took pre-existing health conditions into account, so that was not the reason for the higher mortality rates we found.

In a recent study, I found that when a child goes into foster care, their mother’s physical and mental health gets much worse. Losing custody of a child can be very traumatic, and can make life feel meaningless.

Most legislation pertaining to child protection services indicates that families should be supported, but the guidelines around what is expected of the child welfare system when it comes to the biological mothers are not clear.

The main role of social workers is to ensure that the child is doing well. Social workers are already so busy, so it is often hard for them to justify spending their limited time to help mothers resolve challenges and work with them to address their mental and physical health needs.

Children end up motherless

The lack of supports for mothers when their children go into care means that many of them die premature deaths.

While this is a tragedy in its own right, this also means that many children in foster care end up motherless.

A study in Sweden found that by age 18, more than 16 per cent of children who had been in foster care had lost at least one parent (compared to three per cent of children who had not been in foster care).

By age 25, one in four former foster children had lost at least one parent (compared to one in 14 in the general population). This means that many children in foster care don’t get the chance to be reunited with their families.

A humanitarian crisis

Canada has one of the highest rates of children in care and within the Canadian child welfare system, Indigenous children are over-represented.

Recently, Jane Philpott, minister of Indigenous services, referred to the Indigenous child-welfare system as a humanitarian crisis.

Providing adequate preventative supports would reduce the number of children in care, which would reduce the number of mothers who go through the trauma of being separated from their children.

Specific guidelines need to be put in place to make sure that mothers are supported when their child is taken into care. This would improve the chances of reunification.

And, by virtue of being a human worthy of treatment with dignity, mothers deserve support, even if it does not directly relate to how she interacts with her child(ren).

——

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Disclosure information is available on the original site. Read the original article:

https://theconversation.com/losing-children-to-foster-care-endangers https://theconversat

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Losing children to foster care endangers mothers' lives

Losing children to foster care endangers mothers' lives | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

Mothers are dying prematurely after their children are taken into foster care.


http://theconversation.com/losing-children-to-foster-care-endangers-mothers-lives-93618



Research shows that the rate of death by suicide is more than four times higher for mothers whose children were placed in care. (Shuttersock)
Losing children to foster care endangers mothers' lives

Elizabeth Wall-Wieler

March 29, 2018 2.28pm EDT
Mothers whose children are placed in foster care are at much higher risk of dying young, particularly due to avoidable causes like suicide.

When a child is placed in foster care, most of the resources are focused on the child, with little to no support for the mothers who are left behind.

I have been working with colleagues at the University of Manitoba to look at what happens to mothers after their children are placed in care.

The focus of two recent studies has been to look at mortality among this group of mothers.

Deaths by suicide and heart disease

The first study, published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, looked at suicide attempts and suicide completions among mothers whose children were placed in care.

In this study, we compared rates of suicide attempts and suicides between 1,872 mothers who had a child placed in care with sisters whose children were not placed in care.

We found that the rate of suicide attempts was 2.82 times higher, and the rate of death by suicide was more than four times higher for mothers whose children were not in their custody.


During the ‘Sixties Scoop,’ Indigenous children were taken from their families and raised by non-Indigenous families. Today, Indigenous children are still over-represented in foster care. Here, children of a Sixties Scoop survivor rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 16, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)
In the second study, just published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, we compared the rates of death from avoidable and unavoidable causes between 1,974 mothers who had a child placed in care, and their sisters whose children remained with them.

We found that mothers whose children were placed in care were 3.5 times more likely to die from avoidable causes (e.g. unintentional injury and suicide), and 2.9 times more likely to die from unavoidable causes (e.g. car accidents and heart disease).

Losing a child is traumatic

So why is this happening?

Mothers whose children are taken into care often have underlying health conditions, such as mental illness and substance use. In both studies, we took pre-existing health conditions into account, so that was not the reason for the higher mortality rates we found.

In a recent study, I found that when a child goes into foster care, their mother’s physical and mental health gets much worse. Losing custody of a child can be very traumatic, and can make life feel meaningless.

Most legislation pertaining to child protection services indicates that families should be supported, but the guidelines around what is expected of the child welfare system when it comes to the biological mothers are not clear.

The main role of social workers is to ensure that the child is doing well. Social workers are already so busy, so it is often hard for them to justify spending their limited time to help mothers resolve challenges and work with them to address their mental and physical health needs.

Children end up motherless

The lack of supports for mothers when their children go into care means that many of them die premature deaths.

While this is a tragedy in its own right, this also means that many children in foster care end up motherless.


Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott addresses Indigenous leaders at a two-day emergency meeting on Indigenous Child and Family Services in Ottawa in January. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand)
A study in Sweden found that by age 18, more than 16 per cent of children who had been in foster care had lost at least one parent (compared to three per cent of children who had not been in foster care).

By age 25, one in four former foster children had lost at least one parent (compared to one in 14 in the general population). This means that many children in foster care don’t get the chance to be reunited with their families.

A humanitarian crisis

Canada has one of the highest rates of children in care and within the Canadian child welfare system, Indigenous children are over-represented.

Recently, Jane Philpott, minister of Indigenous services, referred to the Indigenous child-welfare system as a humanitarian crisis.

Providing adequate preventative supports would reduce the number of children in care, which would reduce the number of mothers who go through the trauma of being separated from their children.

Specific guidelines need to be put in place to make sure that mothers are supported when their child is taken into care. This would improve the chances of reunification.

And, by virtue of being a human worthy of treatment with dignity, mothers deserve support, even if it does not directly relate to how she interacts with her child(ren).

Comment on this article

Elizabeth Wall-Wieler
PhD student in Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba
Elizabeth Wall-Wieler does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

University of Manitoba provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation CA.


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No sound, no fury in Alberta Child Welfare Report

No sound, no fury in Alberta Child Welfare Report | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

http://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/paula-simons-no-sound-no-fury-in-child-intervention-panel-report/wcm/8bb10f9f-5b7c-45ed-af97-2089762c15f0

Simons: No sound, no fury in child intervention panel report

So much work. So many good intentions. So little to show for it. And I think the government knows it.

Paula Simons, Edmonton JournalPAULA SIMONS, EDMONTON JOURNAL
Published on: March 28, 2018 | Last Updated: March 28, 2018 6:20 PM MDT

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No one can say the Ministerial Panel on Child Invention didn’t try.


Its members met for 12 months. They held 35 meetings, heard more than 65 presentations, reviewed 339 public submissions. And they examined more than 300 recommendations from previous committees, fatality inquiries and child advocate reports.

So much work. So many good intentions.

So little to show for it.

And I think the government knows it.

Last Friday afternoon, Children’s Services quietly, oh so quietly, released the panel’s final recommendations. A more cynical person than your charming correspondent might be inclined to think the government was hoping no one would notice. The report was posted to the department’s website the day after the budget, just as MLAs departed for their constituency break. No news release was issued. No public announcement was made.

But then, there’s not much to announce.

Let me be fair. The final report is a marked improvement on the original draft recommendations. For example, the report now recommends the Alberta government equalize funding and services for kids on reserve. Right now, First Nations children, youth and families who live on reserve receive discount child welfare services paid for by the federal government. While Jane Philpott, new federal minister of Indigenous services, has promised to close the funding gap sooner than later, this report recommends the province do more than just lobby for additional federal dollars. It instructs the government to make up the shortfall. That’s a bold recommendation, politically. And high time, too.


There are also sensible recommendations about improving access to mental health and addictions service and improving transitional supports for teens aging out of the foster care system.

But when it comes to improving the nuts and bolts of the child welfare system itself, the report is a sorry disappointment.


In its terms of reference, the panel was told to look at current funding and resource levels. It was supposed to assess workplace culture and staff morale. It was supposed to look at existing supports for kinship care providers, foster parents and families at risk of losing their children.

Yet the panel said little about most of those things.

There’s no discussion of case loads or budgets. No discussion of staff morale.

There is literally not one word in the report about group homes.

The words “foster care” and “foster parent” never appear in the recommendations. Not once. It’s almost surreal, given the fundamental role group homes and foster homes play in our child welfare system.

(“While the document may not explicitly use the words ‘foster’ or ‘group home,’ many of the recommendations propose improvements to those aspects of child intervention,” Aaron Manton, the press secretary for Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee, told me via email Wednesday.)

To my eye, the report’s emphasis is on placing kids wherever possible into kinship care. Yet there’s no discussion of making training for kinship caregivers compulsory, no talk about compensating kinship care providers at the same rate we compensate foster parents.

Nor is there any discussion of accountability.

Two years ago, auditor general Merwan Saher found only 16 per cent of Alberta’s child welfare case workers were complying with provincial rules that required them to make personal contact on a regular basis with the foster children they supervise. Saher reported that 40 per cent of Indigenous children and youth were not seeing caseworkers on a regular basis, sometimes going six to seven months between visits. The recommendations are silent on such matters, too.

Manton says every member of the panel, including the MLAs from other parties, signed off on the report. And Manton says the government accepts all 26 recommendations.


But previous governments have “accepted” hundreds of recommendations before. How will these recommendations come to pass? And what will they cost?

“We are engaging with our partners and Indigenous leaders on a public action plan on implementing the panel’s recommendations,” Manton told me. “When that plan is released in June, the minister will be in a better position to speak to the cost implications of implementing these recommendations and to request necessary funding.”

I wish Larivee luck with that. Most of these recommendations are so vague, so high level, so abstract that coming up with an “action plan,” much less a price tag, will take some doing.

Forgive me if I sound jaded. The whole reason we convened this ministerial panel was in response to the death of one tiny individual, a three-year-old First Nations child named Serenity. Our systems failed her in life. We owed her better in death.

RELATED

Alberta’s child intervention panel releases final recommendations
Paula Simons: Jane Philpott vows to close indigenous child welfare funding gap
Paula Simons: Child intervention panel’s draft recommendations won’t save a single child
Paula Simons: Child death review legislation a betrayal of public trust
psimons@postmedia.com

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Police Use A Disturbingly Macabre Method To Unlock iPhones Without Consent

Police Use A Disturbingly Macabre Method To Unlock iPhones Without Consent | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

Police use the technique during drug overdoses, even those that don’t result in death, to see if they can find out who the dealer was for a bigger bust.


https://www.activistpost.com/2018/03/police-use-a-disturbingly-macabre-method-to-unlock-iphones-without-consent.html


Police Use A Disturbingly Macabre Method To Unlock iPhones Without Consent
TOPICS:BiometricsCell PhoneDawn LugerPolice
MARCH 27, 2018

By Dawn Luger

According to a new report, police don’t need consent nor even a living human to unlock an iPhone. FBI agents and local cops in the US are using the fingerprints of dead people to access their iPhones and smartphones.


The report first came to light when Forbes wrote an article titled “Yes, Cops Are Now Opening iPhones With Dead People’s Fingerprints,” and it’s just a macabre as it sounds.

In November 2016, around seven hours after Abdul Razak Ali Artan had mowed down a group of people in his car, gone on a stabbing spree with a butcher’s knife and been shot dead by a police officer on the grounds of Ohio State University, an FBI agent applied the bloodied body’s index finger to the iPhone found on the deceased. The cops hoped it would help them access the Apple device to learn more about the assailant’s motives and Artan himself. –Forbes

According to FBI forensics specialist Bob Moledor, who detailed for Forbes the first known case of police using a deceased person’s fingerprints in an attempt to get past the protections of Apple’s Touch ID technology, putting Artan’s bloody finger on the iPhone in his possession didn’t unlock the phone.

Separate sources close to local and federal police investigations in New York and Ohio, who asked to remain anonymous as they weren’t authorized to speak on record, said it was now relatively common for fingerprints of the deceased to be depressed on the scanner of Apple iPhones, devices which have been wrapped up in increasingly powerful encryption over recent years.

Police use the technique during drug overdoses, even those that don’t result in death, to see if they can find out who the dealer was for a bigger bust.

MORE INHOME
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“It is certainly possible to authenticate with biometrics even without user consent, or the person even being alive,” John Whaley, co-founder, and CEO of UnifyID, told Mashable in 2017. “This is especially true if the factor they use is static, like a fingerprint or a face. One attempt to combat this is to use a liveness check, but even those are often easily spoofable.”

It’s entirely legal for police to use this disturbing technique, too. There are most definitely some ethical quandaries to consider, however, Marina Medvin, owner of Medvin Law, said that once a person is deceased, they no longer have a privacy interest in their dead body. That means they no longer have standing in court to assert privacy rights.

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple

Contributed by Dawn Luger of The Daily Sheeple.

Dawn Luger is a staff writer and reporter for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up – follow Dawn’s work at our Facebook or Twitter.


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Canadians forced to Self-represent in Court

Canadians forced to Self-represent in Court | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
More Canadians are acting as their own lawyer because they don't have a choice http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thesundayedition/the-sunday-edition-march-25-2018-1.4589621/more-canadians-are-acting-as-their-own-lawyer-because-they-don-t-have-a-choice-1.4589633

More Canadians are acting as their own lawyer because they don't have a choice

CBC Radio · March 25

A new program at the Windsor law school supports those who self-represent. (Shutterstock)
Listen20:13
It is a trend most Canadian judges and lawyers do not like: a growing number of Canadians are representing themselves in court. Some hire a lawyer then find the legal fees are unaffordable. Others opt to argue their own case from the beginning.

This is happening not just in small claims courts, where self-representation is the norm, but in higher courts, where legal procedures and protocols are challenging for a lay person.

The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) offers help. It is an innovative program at the University of Windsor and the brainchild of Julie Macfarlane. She is a Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Law and has been spearheading this support network for almost five years.

Julie Macfarlane of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project says Canadians are representing themselves in greater numbers because they simply cannot afford to pay high legal fees. (Mike Kovalski)
She tells The Sunday Edition's Michael Enright that those inside the legal system have long seen people who represent themselves as "aberrant" or "those crazy people who think they should be lawyers." Many lawyers have asked her "why I was bothering to talk to these people who dragged their plastic bags behind them into court."
The reality, she says, is that people don't have a choice. Canadians are representing themselves in greater numbers because they cannot afford to pay high legal fees.

"They are everybody, they are you and they are me," she says. "I don't think that either of us would probably be able to go on paying at the rate that it would require to pay a lawyer, at $500-plus an hour for a piece of protracted litigation."

At least half the people in family courts across the country arrive without lawyers. In Toronto, the figure is closer to 80 per cent. Appeals courts are reporting around 30 per cent self-represented litigants, and in civil courts the figure is between 30 and 40 per cent.

Legal aid only helps the very, very poorest people. And in Ontario, the eligibility level is actually set below the level of welfare.
- Julie Macfarlane
"These are people, quite often, with a high level of education. They're intelligent. They're committed to doing it and figuring it out, so we do see some fairly extraordinary victories." At the same time, Macfarlane says, "they are often subject to some of the litigation tactics that lawyers are much more familiar with." Often these tactics cause self-represented litigants to lose their cases.

"What is really challenging for people representing themselves isn't the stuff we teach people at law school, the substantive law," Macfarlane adds. "It's the procedure." Judges have discretion in how rigidly procedures are applied and, most often, this is where self-represented litigants get tripped up.

This is an area where the NSRLP is helping Canadians. They cannot offer legal advice or act as counsel, but their coaches can help them through the process by guiding people through court procedures and being "someone who's in their corner." They also keep a national inventory of lawyers who charge affordable fees, and produce resources to help Canadians navigate the court system, such as how to access written court transcripts.

Macfarlane says we need to make sure judges across the country are equipped to support those representing themselves. (Shutterstock )
Macfarlane acknowledges some judges are doing an outstanding job in helping people who represent themselves in court, by taking the time to explain procedure and making sure someone isn't disadvantaged, "but it's not something that is consistent across the country," Macfarlane says. The Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged this in a recent ruling, in which it said courts may not treat a self-represented litigant in the same way in which they treat a lawyer.

"Judges need to come to the bench now with a different sensibility about what their job is," Macfarlane says. "We really need to take seriously how we re-equip the judiciary."

The NSRLP is encouraging the "unbundling" of legal services, where instead of working on a retainer and controlling an entire file, lawyers would contract to take on only particular tasks, such as legal coaching, reviewing an application form for divorce or preparing for a case management conference.

Judges need to come to the bench now with a different sensibility about what their job is.
- Julie Macfarlane
Macfarlane says she is surprised by the number of people across Canada who believe our system of legal aid is there to help them if they can't afford a lawyer.

"In actual fact, legal aid only helps the very, very poorest people. And in Ontario, the eligibility level is actually set below the level of welfare," she says. "So it is extremely difficult to get legal aid."

In some legal circles, there is a continued resistance to the trend of self-representation, which Macfarlane says is unfortunate: "This genie is not going back in the bottle."

Click 'listen' above to hear the full interview.
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Coroners in Alberta keep resigning 

Coroners in Alberta keep resigning  | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

MLA asks for inquiry after 4 of Calgary's 5 medical examiners resign


'What is the problem here when 80 per cent of these specialists are leaving?'

Sarah Rieger - CBC News

March 25, 2018

David Swann
Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann is concerned by four recent departures from the Calgary medical examiner's office. (Anis Heydari/CBC)
An Alberta Liberal MLA is calling for an investigation following a string of departures from the Calgary medical examiner's office.

"Clearly there are problems in the chief medical examiner's office in Calgary. This is costing us in terms of quality of investigations and deaths. It's also costing us financially," Liberal MLA David Swann said Sunday.

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"There needs to be somebody going to that office and interview all the staff and find out what's going on. What is the problem here when 80 per cent of these specialists are leaving?"

Ina Lucila, a spokesperson for Alberta Justice, confirmed in a statement to CBC that four of Calgary's five medical examiners have resigned. Two are scheduled to leave this spring, one in summer and one in late summer or early fall.

Replacements have been found for three of the four departing physicians, and the department said it has arrangements in place to bring in temporary doctors and Edmonton-based medical examiners to help with the transition. Five of the province's medical examiners are in Calgary, and five in Edmonton.

Offices are 'fully taxed' with opioid crisis

Swann said both offices are "fully taxed" due to the number of deaths in the province, particularly deaths relating to opioids.

"This means that families of loved ones who have died from an opiate or drug overdose or unknown causes are having to wait over a year to find out information. That's not acceptable," Swann said.

"It's anybody's guess what's going on there ... it's up to the justice minister to find out."

As of 2017, there were 50 forensic pathologists practicing across Canada. Swann said the specialists are in very short supply across Canada as the role requires at least an extra five years of training on top of a medical degree.

Calgary medical examiners office
Four of Calgary's five medical examiners have resigned. (Anis Heydari/CBC)
In December 2016, Dr. Elizabeth Brooks-Lim was named Alberta's chief medical examiner after serving in the position for just five months following the departure of the previous medical examiner Dr. Jeffery Gofton.

Gofton quit in 2016 after less than 18 months on the job.

Gofton had replaced Dr. Anny Sauvageau, who sued Alberta Justice for wrongful dismissal, alleging her contract was not renewed after she stood up to political interference at work.

In 2011, all of Calgary's medical examiners resigned. Two cited taxing workloads; the other stepped down after an investigation into errors in his autopsy reports.

The medical examiners perform an average of 4,000 post-mortem examinations each year, and investigate nearly 20,000 deaths, according to the office's website.

MORE CALGARY NEWS | Body discovered in northeast Calgary community of Marlborough Park
MORE CALGARY NEWS | Five Calgary city councillors talk about their real names
With files from Anis Heydari

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Why are a disproportionate number of autistic youth transgender?

Why are a disproportionate number of autistic youth transgender? | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

There may be a genetic link between autism and gender dysphoria.


https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/03/why-are-a-disproportionate-number-of-autistic-youth-transgender.html


A Disproportionate Number of Autistic Youth Are Transgender. Why?
By EVAN URQUHART
MARCH 21, 20181:33 PM
Fitting in while on the spectrum.
Photo illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo/Slate. Image by Thinkstock.
This post is part of Outward, Slate’s home for coverage of LGBTQ life, thought, and culture. Read more here.

Gender specialists first noticed decades ago that a large number of people who seek treatment for gender dysphoria also seemed to have autistic traits. Research on this phenomenon goes back to at least the 1990s, when the first case study of an autistic child with gender dysphoria (then called gender identity disorder) was published. As studies investigating the co-occurrence (or correlation) between gender dysphoria and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have trickled in, there is a growing consensus in the medical community that the two do co-occur at disproportionate rates. This consensus is based on numerous studies reporting that gender-dysphoric youth are more likely to be autistic than would be expected based on autism rates in the general population. (This may also hold true for adults, although the research on adults is sparser.) This co-occurrence has implications for the treatment of both gender dysphoria and autism in young people, and hints at a connection between the biological causes of both transgender identity and ASD.


Gender dysphoria is the feeling of incongruence between the sex assigned at birth and the gender a person identifies with. Many people who experience gender dysphoria identify as transgender. Some trans people fit into the gender binary (in the case of trans men and trans women), while others identify as gender nonconforming or nonbinary (meaning they fall somewhere between or outside the man-woman divide).

“We have enough evidence, across multiple studies internationally, to say that autism is more common in gender-diverse youth than in the general population,” said John Strang, a neuropsychologist and founder of the Gender and Autism Program at Children’s National Health System in Washington. Strang authored a 2014 analysis that found that more than 5 percent of autistic youth sampled for his study also displayed some level of desire to be the other gender, according to parental reports. (He cautioned that it’s too soon to say what the exact percentage in the overall population may be.) Another widely referenced study found that 7.8 percent of young people being treated for gender dysphoria at a clinic in Amsterdam had a confirmed diagnosis of ASD.



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These studies seem to support the hypothesis that transgender identities are rooted in biology, especially when combined with other studies pointing to a strong heritable component of transgender identity. A biological basis for transgender identity is still highly contested, although the science has been pointing toward that explanation for several years. Researchers believe that autism itself is highly heritable, so a link between autism and gender identity could even provide some direction for researchers hunting for genes associated with transgender identity.

On the other hand, it’s possible that autism is overrepresented among trans youth because autistic people are less concerned with social norms and less likely to bow to social pressures that keep other trans people from coming out. Our ability to study gender dysphoria and diversity is limited by the fact that there are such strong social pressures, starting in early childhood, to conform to gendered expectations. There’s no way of knowing how many people hide their transgender identity, so we can’t know for sure whether studies of openly transgender people are representing the full picture at this time.

One common characteristic of autism is that autistic people often may have what’s called “overfocused interest” in subjects that are dear to them. At least one researcher has suggested that autistic people’s gender dysphoria is really an overfocused interest in gender, but the majority of professionals who work with this population disagree that this theory is sufficient to explain the co-occurrence. More than 20 of these experts worked together on a paper providing clinical guidelines to help address the needs of patients with both autism and gender dysphoria, and they found that autism should not preclude a diagnosis of gender dysphoria or prevent a patient from accessing transition-related medical care. “Certainly, you can find cases of kids for whom some aspect of autism seems to be driving gender dysphoria. But over time, we’re seeing that a good number of neurodiverse teens coming into gender clinics truly are transgender or gender diverse,” Strang said.


One practical outcome of this research is that clinicians are recommending that autistic youth should be screened for gender dysphoria—and that clinics that work with gender-dysphoric youth should screen clients for autism as well. Young people who are found to have both need individualized, compassionate care, and they and their families also need to know that they are not alone. Strang cautioned that ASD should not be viewed as a negative for transgender people, because the ability to ignore social pressure can be very freeing for this group: “Autistic people may be more bold and individualistic, less swayed by social expectations. Some of the front-line leaders of the trans rights movement have been trans and autistic—and there’s a beautiful focus, for many of them, on being themselves and not bending to social expectations of what others expect them to be.”

Reid Caplan, a transgender man who works for the Autism Self Advocacy Network, stressed to me that autistic people can understand their own gender identity and make decisions about transition for themselves. He further noted that some therapies for very young children with autism have an unnecessarily gendered aspect to them. Caplan rejects the idea that autistic children, transgender or cisgender, should be forcibly socialized into restrictive gender norms.

“There are pictures of me being taught to play with dolls, as part of my therapy, and needless to say I am not looking very happy in those pictures,” Caplan said. “There are also therapies around clothing, helping autistic kids get accustomed to wearing different clothing, and often that centers on a skirt or a dress for a girl and a suit for a boy. Regardless of whether that child is trans, there shouldn’t be any emphasis on gender role for any of the therapies for autistic youth.”

Beyond that, Caplan suggests that our culture should be more open to letting autistic people explore gender rather than invalidating their gender identity because they’re on the spectrum. This accords with the views of clinicians working with people who have gender dysphoria and autism—and with common sense. People with autism have as much right to self-determination as anyone else. And whether autism is genetically linked with gender dysphoria or not, there’s no evidence that autistic people are less likely to benefit from gender transition than anyone else.


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Mom’s on a mission 2010

Mom’s on a mission 2010 | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it

Mom’s on a mission
Family hopes story of daughter’s death will change province’s foster-care system

By MICHAEL PLATT - Calgary Sun, Last Updated: 13th February 2010, 10:07pm

Seven broken bones and years of untreated seizures, seizures which possibly proved fatal.
If anyone has a reason to question the safety of foster homes, it’s the mother of the 13-year-old Alberta girl, whose 2006 death is the subject of an upcoming fatality inquiry.
“I can’t do anything for my daughter, but if I can save anyone else, then it’ll be worthwhile,” says the mom turned foster safety advocate.
Jane’s daughter died six months after returning to her family, following more than a decade in foster care, where it’s alleged she suffered through abuse, neglect and hunger.
The exact cause of death is unknown, but Jane says she has documented evidence of seizures going untreated since the age of three, seizures that may have led to her daughter’s death in hospital.
Jane, who must use an assumed name due to privacy laws, blames a lack of safety checks for failing to guard her daughter’s welfare.
She’s made it her mission to ensure foster children are better protected.
Learning that a Calgary foster parent has recently been accused of sexual abuse was another kick in the gut.
“I get really irate — especially when they call these isolated events,” said Jane.
In 2007, a three-year-old foster boy in Edmonton died of severe head trauma, after which the province said changes would be made to improve foster safeguards.
Then on Feb. 4, Calgary police charged a former ‘Foster Parent of the Year’ with trying to obtain sex from three kids in his custody.
The charges against Garry Prokopishin, 51, have raised new questions about the social safety net which protects foster children, a safety net that Jane says is full of holes.
Jane’s daughter was born with a rare genetic disorder, and Alberta social services recommended entering their physically and mentally challenged daughter in foster care, where the government could pay for treatment.
“They told us her best chance at life was to live somewhere else,” said Jane.
It meant their daughter lived with a foster family where special care was available.
“They said we were lucky to find someone willing to take her,” said Jane.
As her daughter grew older, signs of abuse started to appear: Bruises that were explained away as accidents, and seven broken bones blamed on brittle limbs, though it’s now known the girl had normal bones.
With boxes of paperwork and medical statements ready for the inquiry, Jane has a report of her daughter vomiting at school, and then being shaken and shouted at by her angry foster mom when she was forced to pick the child up.
The same school reports, shown to the Sun, document odd bruises, scratches and marks over a number of weeks, as well as the child being sent to school in soiled pants, and with a mouldy lunch.
And then there’s the hospital assessment at the age of three, when it was recommended the foster parents have suspected seizures treated.
It never happened.
“She’d been having seizures since her third birthday, and they went untreated — we wondered what kind of stupid pediatrician wouldn’t act on this. He told us foster parents never told him,” said Jane.
In 2006, Jane and her husband, with four healthy sons, discovered they could legally bring their daughter home, something they’d been told was impossible by her case workers.
She blossomed with her family, speaking for the first time in her life and gaining 10 pounds.
But then her health suddenly failed, and the 13-year-old died.
Now Jane and her husband await their day in front of a board of inquiry, hoping their daughter’s story might finally convince someone in government to take action.
In a twist of irony, as Jane waits for the hearing she hopes will change the system, she’s become part of it.
Jane’s job is working with disabled children — as a result, in August 2009, she was asked to provide temporary care for two special-needs foster children.
The children arrived, but Jane says the government case worker didn’t appear for weeks, and even then, she only sat in the kitchen, asking a few questions.
“We didn’t see her for weeks — if we were Charles Manson, who knows what could have happened to those kids,” said Jane.
“Nobody is actually checking to see what goes on in a home. And now I have both perspectives.”
Source: Calgary Sun

*Jane was a pseudonym for Velvet
and the unnamed child, Samantha.
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What Is Family Manipulation and How to Recognize Its Warning Signs –

What Is Family Manipulation and How to Recognize Its Warning Signs – | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
https://www.learning-mind.com/family-manipulation-signs/

Does family manipulation sound like a new thing? You may be surprised to learn that manipulation can come from anyone – be it, partners, mothers or fathers… even siblings.

Partner manipulation has become pretty common. Many people have managed to get away from this sort of abusive relationship. However, manipulation is prevalent in all sorts of relationships, apart from the intimate sort. In fact, many people are reporting that family manipulation is also a problem. Mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers are all prone to become manipulative and abusive toward one another, and it can become a serious problem.

Family manipulation is mental, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse carried out by family members toward one another. This sort of abuse is generally used to control another for various purposes.
Signs point to an unhealthy relationship
Having grown up with your family may make it difficult to decipher any abusive treatment. Considering the components of manipulation include “brainwashing”, it’s hard to tell if you’ve actually been mistreated at all. Sometimes, it’s not until you’ve gotten away or moved out of the home that you realize the extent of the unhealthy situation.
Here are some warning signs that family manipulation is or has been a part of your life.
Lies
You will recognize family manipulation when lies are involved. Family members, especially the narcissistic kind, will tell lies easily. When direct questions are met with vague answers, this is one indication that manipulative lies are being told.
Liars will always be able to give half-truths to convince you that they are honest and reliable people. When in truth, they are only striving for what they want. A liar will always lie and tell more lies to cover the old ones.
Silent treatment
Even family members will resort to the silent treatment. In fact, the closer you are to someone, the more chance that their narcissistic actions will display this sort of behavior.
Silence is one of the manipulator’s choice weapons because it get’s the work done with little effort. For those who are unaware of the tactics, the silent treatment can garner pity and groveling, which is exactly what the manipulator wants. They have won.
The selfless disguise
Truly selfless people are honorable. The manipulator can fool you into thinking they are selfless as well, but they’re really not. They actually have a deeper motivation which includes rewarding themselves and making everyone else think highly of their “outward motivations” – which are false.

While people are busy being proud of the manipulator, they are also falling right into the trap and helping the manipulator win.
Gaslighting
Dysfunctional families are notorious for gaslighting. Sometimes you might even find an entire family that constantly tries to convince each other that they are all crazy. The sheer volume of madness present in some families is almost unbelievable.
Gaslighting, in case you didn’t know, is the ability to convince another person that they are crazy while taking advantage of them. I bet you’ve seen sisters or brothers doing this to each other. Honestly, this is so common, it almost seems like a normal aspect of the family unit.
Intimidation
Family manipulation sometimes comes in the form of intimidation. While it might not be straightforward threats, it can still be frightening enough to make you do what the manipulators want. This is what’s called “covert” intimidation which is veiled in a form of kindness, and it is hard to decipher at times.
Pay close attention to the choice words of the manipulator, and these words will reveal true intentions.

Guilt trips
A manipulator will use guilt trips on a regular basis. If you tell them no, they will find a way to make you feel bad about putting your foot down. Sometimes if you ask the manipulator to turn the volume down on their music, they will turn it off completely.
This tactic is used to make you feel bad about asking them to tone something down and will return by taking something away entirely. It is also done to show you they have control, and yet you should still feel guilty. It’s weird, isn’t it?
Shaming
If family members are shaming your weaknesses, then they are being manipulative. For instance, if you have an insecurity about your weight, a manipulator will make shaming comments about that topic. Their intentions are to keep you beneath them in order to retain control. If they can retain control, they will feel better about themselves in turn.
After all, manipulators, truth be told, have a low self-esteem naturally, and all their tactics are used to fix that.
Is your family manipulating you?
Let’s take this one step at a time. If you’ve always wondered whether your family was manipulators, you can use the warning signs to discover the truth.

After you know for sure, you can research ways to improve your life or get support from others. Maybe you can help your loved ones in the process. It may be a long road to healing, but its worth it.
Are you in a manipulative family? I want to hear from you.
References:
1. https://pairedlife.com
2. https://familyshare.com
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Is there justice in Canada?

Is there justice in Canada? | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
2013 Is there justice in Quebec?

http://www.ageofautism.com/2013/07/is-there-justice-in-quebec-special-needs-children-taken-from-home.html#comment-captcha

I'll answer with a similar query with the following cases which follow across Canada:

Is there justice in British Columbia? There a single father, Derek Hoare, of 3 children (2 with Autism) has had one removed for more than 2 years - his daughter Ayn van Dyk - "to lighten his load" and although ministry reveals no child protection issues exist.

Is there justice in Alberta? Samantha Martin, born with a rare chromosome disorder (Tetrasomy 18p Syndrome) and Autism was moved out of home to achieve access to required medical supports through government funding otherwise unavailable to natural family. However, was not presented to a physician for a period of 3 years, nor did a caseworker visit for over a year to check upon the child. Samantha had been viewed on her 3rd birthday by medical professionals who suspected a seizure disorder existed and advised investigation of symptoms. In fact, throughout her life other authorities raised similar concern, but the placement opted not to seek consultation and social-worker simply assumed intervention was sought so did not follow through to ensure the child received appropriate medical follow-through. Samantha died at the age of 13 years from cardiac arrest.

Is there justice in Ontario? Where the Provincial Ombudsman has written a report, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" to highlight the crisis faced by hundreds of families of children with disability such as Autism who are being forced to surrender custody in order to access necessary supports. See the case of Anne Larcade and son, Alexandre, who fought back with a Class Action Law suit.

Is there justice in Nova Scotia? There, Maurina Beadle, is challenging the government to adhere to its own Policy - Jordan's Principle - to provide medical care for her son, Jeremy who has special needs. Jurisdictional dispute regards to level of government responsible for payment for medical care of a First Nations child must not be at the expense of health.

Across Canada, there has been no such thing as justice or accountability towards infringement of basic human rights and the Charter. How do I know? I am the mother of the deceased child mentioned; my daughter's legacy is SAMANTHA'S LAW:

http://www.albertaprimetime.com/Stories.aspx?pd=4894

The Child, Youth and Family Act of Alberta now indicates that families must not be coerced into relinquishing custody in order to receive required medical services; supports must be offered directly in-home to families. Legislation must be developed Nationally to better secure the needs of individuals with diversity and loving families.

Sincerely,

Velvet Martin,
Spokesperson for Protecting Canadian Children
http://www.protectingcanadianchildren.net

Founder of SAMANTHA'S LAW

International Day of persons with disability, December 3rd: Celebrating the life of Samantha Lauren Martin, June 4th 1993 - December 3rd 2006.
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For the Love of Matthew needs our Voices

For the Love of Matthew needs our Voices | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
For the Love of Matthew

https://m.facebook.com/ForTheLoveOfMatthew/

Emailed:

March 15, 2018

Attention: Andrea Brittin,
Ranch Ehrlo Society
inquiries@ranchehrlo.ca

Hello, my name is Velvet Martin. I am the Founder of Samantha’s Law and Spokesperson for the group, Protecting Canadian Children.

I am writing on behalf of a young Indigenous man named Matthew and his family, the Gardiners.

It’s been brought to the attention of #PCC that Matthew - an individual with complex medical and developmental needs - is in jeopardy of losing his caregivers. Apparently a conflict of interest has been identified in Policy regarding staff. However, this long-existing arrangement has shown no demonstrable grounds for concern.

As a mother of a child with medical needs who was tragically failed to death due to the consequences of archaic and prejudicial Policy, I take exceptional issue with eugenic targeting of our most vulnerable citizens and will vocally advocate for change as necessary.

The segment by APTN - For the Love of Matthew - is an example of dedicated efforts striving for honour, equality and respect. I participated in this episode alongside the Gardiners. http://aptnnews.ca/2015/02/06/love-matty-2/

Harmful practises which compromise the safety and security of persons with disability will continue to be exposed until rectified.

Words and actions of Authorities must align. Bureaucratic obstacles are unhelpful. We must examine the realistic needs of persons affected. It is in Matthew’s best interest to continue the positive relationship with his workers.

Developing ongoing responsiveness to ensure an inclusive society is what is key to success. I trust you share this philosophy and will ensure that Matthew’s needs are prioritized.

Sincerely,

Velvet Martin

cc: Chris and Shannon Gardiner
Alfredine Linda Plourde, Founder of Protecting Canadian Children
Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada
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Allegations of corruption by the Chief Coroner Alberta (2015)

Allegations of corruption by the Chief Coroner Alberta (2015) | Family-Centred Care Practice | Scoop.it
Alleging political interference, former chief medical examiner files $5.15-million lawsuit against Alberta’s justice minister

MARIAM IBRAHIM, EDMONTON JOURNAL 02.05.2015

Dr. Anny Sauvageau, Alberta’s former chief medical examiner, has filed a lawsuit that accuses the province of widespread political interference in her duties.
Dr. Anny Sauvageau, Alberta’s former chief medical examiner, has filed a lawsuit that accuses the province of widespread political interference in her duties.SHAUGHN BUTTS / EDMONTON JOURNAL FILE
Edmonton
Justice Minister Jonathan DenisEDMONTON JOURNAL / FILES
Dr. Anny Sauvageau, Alberta’s former chief medical examiner, has filed a lawsuit alleging widespread political interference by the justice minister and four civil servants.
Dr. Anny Sauvageau, Alberta’s former chief medical examiner, has filed a lawsuit alleging widespread political interference by the justice minister and four civil servants.SHAUGHN BUTTS / EDMONTON JOURNAL FILE
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EDMONTON - Alberta’s former chief medical examiner has named Justice Minister Jonathan Denis and four senior civil servants in a $5-million wrongful dismissal lawsuit that makes explosive allegations of political interference.

In a statement of claim filed Tuesday in Edmonton, Dr. Anny Sauvageau alleges she was intimidated and the independence of her office compromised during her tenure as the province’s chief medical examiner.

The 24-page lawsuit claims direct interference with the office’s body-viewing policies, review of cause of death procedures, staffing decisions, and Sauvageau’s role as the province’s top forensic pathologist.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Sauvageau claims in the lawsuit her concerns about the political interference resulted in intimidation and her requests for meetings with both Denis and Premier Jim Prentice went unanswered.

Her contract expired in June 2014, but was extended to Jan. 1, 2015, until new contracts could be finalized. In the lawsuit, she says she was given repeated verbal and written assurances her contract would be renewed for a five-year term. She claims the province’s decision not to renew her term “was in direct retaliation and retribution for the concerns (Sauvageau) raised about political interference.”

Prentice said Thursday Sauvageau outlined her concerns in writing shortly after he became premier. He then forwarded those concerns to Denis for review.

“I did not think it was appropriate for me to be involved in that. I asked the Attorney General to look at it, examine it closely and make sure that it was handled in an appropriate manner, and my understanding is that is exactly what has been happening,” Prentice said by phone from New York.

Sauvageau is seeking $5.15 million in lost wages and damages in the lawsuit naming Denis, deputy minister of Justice Tim Grant, associate deputy minister and deputy Attorney General Kim Armstrong and assistant deputy ministers Maryann Everett and Donavon Young.

In an email, a spokeswoman for Denis said Sauvageau “was not dismissed.”

“Her contract expired Dec. 31, 2014, and no government contractor is entitled to an automatic renewal,” spokeswoman Jessica Jacobs-Mino said. “These are unproven allegations. As they begin a legal action, it is inappropriate to comment further as in general for matters before the courts.”

Sauvageau claims she was under “intense pressure” to approve amended body transportation contracts to appease the Alberta Funeral Services Association and “the rural vote.” In the lawsuit she says she was intentionally excluded from discussions about body transportation services — which had a direct impact on her office — and was opposed to the changes because it would mean spending an extra $3 million over a three-year term.

The statement of claim says Sauvageau expressed her concerns in a letter to Prentice on Sept. 23, 2014, in which she outlined complaints her office had received about body transportation services handled by funeral homes.

Among the complaints included in her letter were a body transported in the bed of a pickup truck; funeral home staff taking photos of crime scenes for personal collections; and funeral homes sending the bill for body transportation to both the family of the deceased and the office of the chief medical examiner.

Sheila Van Alstyne, president of the Alberta Funeral Services Association, said she was surprised to find the organization mentioned in the lawsuit. She said she hasn’t received any formal complaints from the regulatory body overseeing funeral services.

“I haven’t been made aware of anything that came from them to us,” she said.

Sauvageau’s lawsuit says Prentice wrote back to Sauvageau Sept. 25, 2014, saying he wouldn’t meet with her because she had already outlined her concerns to the province’s Public Interest Commissioner.

Sauvageau says in the lawsuit she was told the following day her contract wouldn’t be renewed.

The lawsuit claims that while the province made public pronouncements of her office’s independence from government, that independence was undermined in private correspondence from justice officials.

It also cites several other specific cases of interference in the role of her office by political staffers and civil servants. Statements of defence have not yet been filed.

Opposition critics said the stunning allegations, if true, raise troubling questions about the independence of Alberta’s arm’s length agencies.

“It’s not surprising. You’ve had a government in power for over 43 years, you’re going to have this type of political interference,” Wildrose house leader Shayne Saskiw said.

Interim Liberal Leader David Swann said maintaining independence in such offices as the chief medical examiner “is the ultimate test of integrity in a government.”

NDP critic Brian Mason said it’s best to wait for the lawsuit to be resolved, but said the allegations should be treated seriously.

“If there’s any substance to them at all, we need to move quite forcefully to investigate them on an administrative level ... and make sure it does not and cannot happen in the future,” he said.

The role of the chief medical examiner’s office is to investigate sudden or unexplained deaths under the authority of the Fatality Inquiries Act. According to a government job posting for the still-vacant position of chief medical examiner, the office oversees roughly 4,000 death investigations annually.

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