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Judge condemns B.C.’s ‘epic failure’ to help 2 sexually abused children

‘The children are entitled to better and so, too, is the public in general,’ judge says
File photo: Tom Zytaruk

A Surrey provincial court judge has issued a damning condemnation of a “long-standing historical epic failure” on the part of the Ministry of Children and Development to help a pair of Surrey children who were sexually abused by their dad.

“Most regrettably, this file has sustained a significant number of errors on the part of MCFD with the inaction on the part of various social workers and a large failure to properly monitor this file all of which actions I find have been contrary to the best interest of the children,” Judge Kimberly Arthur-Leung said Nov. 3. “The children are entitled to better and so, too, is the public in general.”

Arthur-Leung said the “complete failure” on the part of the ministry and a team leader attached to the case “is, quite honestly, incredulous. It has left both the mother and children exposed and has left this court with significant failure on the part of MCFD staff to provide services to the mother and the children to which MCFD is legally mandated to offer.”

“Sexual actions on the part of the father occurred in the home in and on the physical presence of a minor child of the father’s. This court is completely at a loss what more is required for MCFD to protect these children and ensure their safety and well-being.”

The court case was heard on June 1, June 7, July 18 and Sept. 25.

The judge noted that the team leader testified she had conduct of the file since 2022 but it was “only upon questioning by this court that she disclosed nothing had been put in place to guide and support the mother and the children.”

Arthur-Leung said in her oral decision that “this file reveals a long-standing historical epic failure on the part of MCFD to not only provide services but also ensure the best interests of the children” and that there “is no excuse for this being consistently a failure on the part of the MCFD for this family.”

Moreover, she found that not only has the ministry failed to act in the children’s best interests and provide services to them and their mother, it “in fact, continues to do so.”

The judge issued an order that the children remain in the mother’s custody for six months, under supervision of the Director of Child, Family and Community Service under a series of conditions including that the mother must permit the Director or the Director’s agents to visit and inspect the home and meet directly and privately with the children at any time and the Director must remove the children if their mother fails to comply with terms of supervision.

“Additionally, I will impose an order that the Director must undertake a regular review of this file with the mother and her counsel to ensure that the Director is providing services to both the mother and to the children in order to fulfil the best interests of the children and the timely delivery of services,” Arthur-Leung concluded.

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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