Many of the horrible details have been left out by the author, as it is painful for the true victim to recall.
As the Author has been writing the story, it has been challenging to type, as her eyes have continuously shed large tears.
No one should have to endure such horror in a land we claim is a safe place to live.
It is about a family having to repair vast chasms in their relationships, trust in themselves and each other, and their reputations in the community they come from.
It is appalling that taxpayers dollars are spent this way.
But they are. More often than we know.
The young woman, wearing jeans and a t-shirt, dances around the living room of the large house, playing with her one year old grandson. They are laughing, and being silly, just the same as every other day. Pretty soon the school bus will be there, and the baby's Mom, and her six other siblings will be running in the door. They'll be kissing the baby, and babbling about how things have gone at school.
The door opens, and the baby's Mom comes in, saying....."Did the other guys all get a ride home?"
The young woman's heart leaps into her throat, her heart pounds like an overworked steam engine, and fear takes hold of her every fiber. "No!" she cries. "Where are the other kids? Why aren't they on the bus?"
"They said someone was picking them up, and they wouldn't be on the bus. I thought you were the one picking them up." says the baby's Mom, who is also starting to panic.
The young Grandmother picks up the phone and calls the high-school, hoping there is someone there to answer. When no-one does, she hangs up, and calls the elementary school. No answer there, either.
Frantically, she calls the children's Father in the city he lives in. "THE KIDS AREN'T HOME!!!! I DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY ARE!!!! WHAT DO I DO?"
After almost six hours of sheer terror, the phone rings, and a rude woman on the other end introduces herself as Barbara Goodall (not her real name), Social Worker with Child Protective Services. She says that the woman's children have been put in protective custody, and will not be coming home. "I think you know what this is about" she says. "Your children were in need of protection, and will remain 'in care' until we have this sorted out. If you choose to fight this, we can make this as hard as you want it to be. Come to my office tomorrow at 10:30 to discuss this."
The phone had been abruptly hung-up.
This is the beginning of a story of terrorism committed against an innocent family, in one of the most free countries of the world. It was the beginning of three months of panic, court appearances, accusations, police investigations, lies, psychiatric evaluations of an innocent Mother and Grandmother, insinuations of child abuse and neglect, and ostracisation in a small rural community due to lots of malicious gossip.
It is also the beginning of a year and a half of extreme poverty for a family, due to legal costs, and the resulting depression the young woman would inevitably experience.
The young woman would gain 50 lbs., her hair would go almost entirely grey, and she would become so tired, that taking out the garbage would become a taxing thing to do. Her immune system would weaken, leaving her suseptible to colds, flu, pneumonia, and skin that took a long time to heal if she ever got a small cut on her finger. She would experience nightmares every night, oftentimes not being able to sleep at all, or waking up screaming in terror. Dark circles would appear underneath the eyes of the woman. Worry lines would also appear, etched deep into her forehead, and around her eyes and mouth.
Her own Mother would be shocked at the woman's appearance the next time she saw her.
One very sad thing is that accusations like the ones levelled against the loving Mother of seven, Grandmother of one, do not magically disappear, like they do in the movies, or one-hour television shows. People, being who they are, will often believe what they choose to believe, even when told the truth of a matter. When a story is told about a neighbor that is heinous and potentially criminal, people will grasp on to it like it's a lifeline, regardless of the wrong information being spoken.
The young woman spoken of here has been shot at, had her car vandalized on more than one occasion- to the tune of almost $2,000, been denied jobs when people hear her name, and yelled at in public by strangers. She has had to re-locate her family to get away from outright persecution by her neighbors. Her young children have been horribly teased at school, by children that say their parents told them their Mother threw knives at them, and made them eat squirrels when she was drunk. (The woman has only one kidney, and does not drink.)
The woman has borrowed thousands of dollars to keep a home for the children to come home to, as well as cope with the daunting daily task of feeding her children. She gets a grand total of $130, or so, from Welfare, to help with her family's needs, and people in the community are content to call her a "Welfare Bum". Even children in school call her children welfare bums.
People at a local church have told her that if she had been more of a forgiving, Christian wife, and obeyed her abusive husband (Whom she had had removed from the home by the RCMP three weeks before her children were kidnapped by Social Services), things would be going better for her, as God would see how she had faith in Him, rather than circumstances. The young woman didn't go back to that church again.
The saddest thing of all, perhaps, is that Child Protective Services says, to this very day,.....
"We did what was necessary for the protection of the children. We acted in their best interests."
It seems that they are not really protecting children and families, as their mandate says, but are busy protecting their own butts, instead.
Nothing that was done to this Mom and her children, was in anyone's interest BUT "the Department's". They had to justify taking such drastic action, without having investigated such claims. In fact, the children's Father had written Social Services more than a year previous, to warn them that something like this could happen, as the daughter was an out-of-control teen, unparentable by the Mother or himself. She was using drugs regularly, drinking, and getting involved with "bad" people. She had also made some allegations about someone else, in the city the family used to live in, only to have it found that what was said didn't really happen.
The daughter that made the false allegations of child abuse against the Mom, was not held accountable by the system. They failed her by not getting her some help while she was 'in care' (as they put it. The Mother resented the wording of that, as the children were in the very best care at home.). If the accustations she had made were true (that her Mom had smashed her head into a brick wall, punched her in the kidneys, and watched while she was being sexually assaulted), she would be in great need of help. If the accusations she made were not true, she would be in great need of help.
Unfortunately, nothing was ever done to get her the necessary help. How unprotective is that?
The young Mother, however, was banned from taking care of her Grandson, so her oldest daughter could finish her grade 12, as she had been accused of endangering her Grandson, was court-ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluations, anger management, counseling every few days, and parenting classes, before five of her children were allowed to return home, a few days before Christmas, 2001.
The children were all seperated from each other, and placed in foster homes around the area. The only one placed in a foster home in the rural town the family lived in, was the daughter that had made the allegations. Some of the children were 50 miles away.
The Mother wouldn't even be allowed to see her children for well over a month. Either would their Father, whom no allegations were levelled against. Even then it was in a tiny room, with a one-way window in it, and hidden microphones, so that every move made by the parents could be monitored, as though they were common criminals. (Except that criminals have more rights than these parents, especially the Mom, did.) By rights, the children SHOULD have gone straight to their Father in the first place. It took many court appearances where both Mother and Father would travel to the city from their homes at their own expense (the Father having to travel two hours by car), before the Judge finally ordered Social Services to get off their butts and allow the parents to see their children. It had already been too long, in his opinion.
The daughter that made the allegations was foisted back upon this Mom in May the following year, without so much as a 'how-do-you-do'. "The Department" refused to extend the agreement the parents had requested, for the daughter to remain in foster care until she got help, and admitted she had lied. "The Department" even directly stated that the Mom brought this action upon herself, and it was the Mom's responsibility to make the home safe for the daughter to return home. If it didn't happen, it was suggested (indirectly) that the other children might be 'in need', and further investigation might be necessary.
Three months after the return of the woman's daughter, a case came to light in the same city her case happened in. It seems a 20 month old infant was reported to be clinging to life in hospital, after having spent most of his short life in foster care.
Social Services had returned the baby to his Mother just 29 days before, after they had deemed it safe for the baby to return home. The Mother had been ordered to stay away from her boyfriend, and get counseling, anger management, etc., before she could have her son home.
Social Services was satisfied the requirements had been met, despite dire warnings from the baby's foster parents, that the Mom was not able to look after the child, and that the boyfriend was still in the picture.
The baby's Mother, and her boyfriend, were in custody, awaiting trial for child abuse of this tiny baby. They now face murder charges.
"The Department" stated that they would rather have "erred on the side of caution, than have a situation like the one with the baby boy, happen with the young woman and her children".
Who can tell this young woman that the one 'mistake' justifies the other?
Social Services seems to think it does.
My name is Karen.
I am the Author of this story.