This is a true story.
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
The young woman's heart leaps into her throat,
her heart pounds like an overworked steam
engine, and fear takes hold of her every
'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
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
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 suceptible 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
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 neighbour 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 neighbours. 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 drunk1.
The woman has borrowed thousands of dollars to
keep a home for the children to come back 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
People at a local church have told her that if
she had been more of a forgiving, Christian
wife, and obeyed her abusive husband2, 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 to 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 who 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'3. 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. She was
court-ordered to undergo psychiatric
evaluations, anger management, counselling 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 separated 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, against whom no allegations were levelled. 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 criminals4.
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
in which her case happened. 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 counselling, 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.
I am also the young woman it happened to.
and does not drink.2The husband she had been removed from the home by the RCMP three
weeks before her children were kidnapped by
Social Services.3As the Social Services put it. The Mother resented the wording of that, as the children were in the
very best care at home.4Except that criminals have more rights than these parents, especially the Mom, did.