Calgary Sun

July 7, 2002

Loving families feel wrath

Topsy-turvy treatment accorded to parents who neglect their children

By LICIA CORBELLA -- Calgary Sun

When it comes to how crimes of abuse against children are treated in this country, it is safe to say that the more deprived or violent the crime, the more eager the system is to turn the other cheek and worse, return the children to the home.

Indeed, it is the drug-addicted parents -- the ones who drop their children into bathtubs of scalding hot water, the ones who rape them -- or allow their "boyfriends" to harm and rape them or the ones who leave infants with 10-year-old babysitters -- who seem to get the most consideration from social workers and have their children returned post-haste.

It is the loving, disciplined, structured parents -- the kind of parents who would willingly die to protect their babies -- that are pursued by social services agencies across the country with such pit bull fervour one really has to wonder what these social workers do in their spare time.

Consider two cases in two different jurisdictions.

First, there's the "spanking trial" taking place in St. Thomas, Ont.

The case centres on seven children who were forcibly removed from their Aylmer, Ont., home last summer by child-welfare workers amid fears they were being subjected to spankings with a "rod" or paddle.

All of the children were removed against their will from the home. None of the children were fearful of their parents and none of them had any marks or scars on their bodies to indicate they were abused.

Their parents, members of an international religious group called the Church of God, refused to guarantee they wouldn't spank the children because corporal punishment with a "rod" is condoned in the Bible. As a result, the children were removed kicking and screaming from the home by police officers.

Let's reiterate. These were children who kicked and screamed and pleaded not to be removed from their loving home, and yet they were.

Then, let's look at the case of little four-year-old Jordan Quinney who died after being beaten and bitten by Troy McCafferty, the mother's boyfriend, who had already been convicted of assaulting the boy in the past.

Little Jordan was taken from mom Dana Carpentier in Nov. 1996 after McCafferty, brutally beat the boy for accidentally urinating on him.

For the next nine months, Jordan lived with his aunt Dean Carpentier in Lloydminster.

But in late July, 1997, Alberta Family and Social Services social workers decided it was okay for him to return to his mom and McCafferty in Red Deer.

Dan Carpentier, Jordan's grandfather, said the boy literally had to be dragged kicking and screaming back into the home.

"He kicked and fought us every step of the way," the grandfather said, his voice cracking. "He told me he didn't like it there. I think he knew what was coming."

What was coming for little Jordan? While his mom -- who frankly doesn't deserve the title -- was out pawning Jordan's toys on Jan 27, 1998 so McCafferty could buy some pot -- Jordan was receiving the beating that would end his young tortured life.

It's important to note, that it is precisely the homes that children kick and scream to stay out of that Social Services "workers" clear across this country seem so eager to force children into.

The houses they sweep in to remove children from without any real proof of abuse, are the ones the children kick and scream to stay in.

It is, to put it mildly, topsy-turvy.

More recently, on Wednesday, a judge who held a fatality inquiry into the death of a toddler left in the charge of a 10-year-old babysitter missed a golden opportunity.

Provincial Court Judge Timothy Hironaka should have recommended that the Province institute a law to make it a criminal offence to leave young children under the age of five, in the care of children under the age of 14.

Victoria Lyn Kubinchak, just 14 months old, died in August 2000 while in the care of a 10-year-old, who is too young to be held responsible for the death.

No kidding. In my books, it should be a crime to leave a 10-year-old unattended, let alone in charge.

I got a call the other day from an utterly decent Calgary mom who is fighting to have her severely aggressive adoptive son -- who suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome -- returned to her home after she allowed him to go to a special foster home for some special care.

There are signs he is being abused, but the social workers are refusing to return him and she and her husband are facing bankruptcy fighting these moronic social workers in court.

"I said to them, if I was a drug addict going through rehab, you would return him right away," said the frustrated mom.

"They said, 'you're probably right,' and then they laughed."

Needless to say, it's not funny.

Fact is, the more abusive, messed up and unsafe a home in Alberta and in all the other provinces of Canada, the more adamantly social workers fight to re-unite the so-called "family".

Social workers -- many of them former jailbirds or drug addicts themselves -- see so much deviancy that when they see normalcy they view it as deviant.

The difference between spanking and abuse is not a thin line.

It is akin to the difference between rape and love making.

Why, I wonder, are all these cases so bloody obvious to us normal folks looking on and so utterly perplexing to the so-called experts?

Can you say, "twisted?"


Licia Corbella, editor of the Calgary Sun, can be reached at 403-250-4129 or by e-mail at licia.corbella@calgarysun.com. Her columns appear Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Letters to the editor should be sent to callet@sunpub.com.

Copyright © 2001, Sun Media Corporation / Netgraphe inc.