The CBC reports that The former head of the county Children’s Aid Society has been criminally charged for overseeing an agency that placed children with foster parents who were later convicted of sexual abuse.
This is a very important development in Child Welfare law. I have been dealing with the Alberta Child Welfare system for over a decade and the lack of accountability in the Child Welfare system has lead to a system in which report after report shows that the system is dysfunctional.
The lack of accountability allows the Child Welfare system to never improve. Mistakes can be made over and over and the children and the families are the ones that suffer. Yet the people responsible for the mistakes have faced no consequences.
Suing Child Welfare officials has been one way of trying to get accountability in a system that has no internal accountability. But the Government has deep pockets and can defend lawsuits forever and ever. The Government also will pay the legal fees for the Child Welfare workers.
I have been involved in cases in which Child Welfare workers sexually abused children on their own caseloads. Sometimes they were not even fired, they were allowed to resign. But if police will start laying criminal charges against workers for abuse and if police with start laying criminal charges against mangers and top officials for criminal negligence, then I think that things could start changing.
I give all the credit in the world to the police and the prosecutors who have made this bold decision to press criminal negligence charges. If the evidence supports a criminal conviction, then I hope that the Judge hearing the case will hold this official accountable and sentence him accordingly.
The children that suffered sexual abuse as a result of his criminal negligence deserve justice!
Robert P. Lee
Barrister & Solicitor
Victims Rights Law
108, 17707 – 105 Ave.
Edmonton, Alberta T5S 1T1
Ph/fax: 780 800 5584