I went to CAS for help to look after my five children for one week while I attended cancer treatment. I was a divorced, single mother. When I got home from the hospital after my biopsy, the male CAS worker brought me my two youngest children and suggested I do sexual favours for him. I said, “I don't think so.” He told me that I need to 'think about it' while he returns with another child (they were placed in different foster homes). He brought my middle child back and strongly suggested I do what he wants (oral sex). I said, “No way.” I told him I wasn't interested and would report him if he continued. He then said I had till he came back with the older two boys to change my mind, or he would take my kids away.
After he left, I called an older male friend of mine (grandfather type) to come to my house as a witness before the worker got back. When the worker came back with my two older boys, he was pissed because I had my friend there. He stomped around my house mad for about ten minutes and then left. My older friend left shortly after and I thought that would be the end of it. Forty-five minutes later, while the kids were eating dinner, the worker came back with the police and a child care worker. They said they were taking my children because, as he stated, "I just know you are beating them". This happened on a Friday.
The following Monday, I went to the CAS office and demanded to see my children. I told the male worker I was going to report him to the police. He told me, 'go ahead' and that 'no one would believe' me, that they would 'believe him first, because he's a worker'. The worker wrote in my file that I was a prostitute, which I am absolutely NOT. I couldn't report to the CAS because I would have to report to, well, them! My lawyer told me not to report it because no one would believe me. That's the reason why I didn't report the sexual harassment and the threats.
The worker falsified reports and affidavits in court. A psychologist that I had never spoken to or met, diagnosed me as being mentally ill, which I am not! They used this report as a reason to keep my children.
About 10 days after they took my kids, I got a call from someone - I don't know who, I can only guess who it was. The woman told me that I need to get up to the hospital asap as my son was there, he was in serious condition, not to tell anyone how I found out about it, and to bring a camera if I had one but not to let anyone see it.
I called my older male friend to go up to the hospital with me because I didn't have a car. They refused to let me into the room to see my son. I went to the pay phone and called my lawyer. I told him what was going on and he called someone to tell them that they had to let me in.
I almost died when I saw my son. He was covered in big burns and had an iv. I blurted out, “Who the hell burned him?” Everyone just looked at each other and didn't say a thing. A nurse told me that if he hadn't been brought in when he was, he would have died from an infection that was spreading throughout his body.
When he saw me, he just smiled big and wanted me to hold him, which I did. I came to the hospital every day to be with him. The day after my first visit, when there were no workers in the hospital room, I took photos of my son's burns. I made it a game with my son, so as not to stress him out. That's how I got the pics.
My case never went to trial because Legal Aid ran out after 17 months. My lawyer informed me that Legal Aid had cut off funding and I wouldn't have a lawyer unless I could pay, which I couldn't...totally unfair of Legal Aid to do something like that when nothing was finished. The CAS offered me a deal to give back two out of my five children. Under duress, and afraid I would lose them all, I accepted the deal.
They offered my 2nd youngest child back and my 2nd oldest son. My lawyer told me that was probably all I was going to get and to make the deal and sign. I didn't get to choose who I could have back, and I wouldn't have been able to, anyway. They kept the son who had been burned (my youngest), my oldest boy and my middle child. I felt trapped, and forced to take what I could get on my lawyers advice. I was basically screwed over by the system and so were my kids.
My three boys were made crown wards with access, but the CAS fought my access to them and finally refused me access in Fall of 2009. To cut off court-ordered access (without going to court), the CAS used the excuse that I was going to kidnap the kids. It was their way of isolating my 3 boys from their family. I don't know if they are in group homes or foster homes. I send birthday cards, Christmas cards/gifts and money for my kids to the office administrator. I have no idea if my kids get anything that I send. I always put my toll free number and address inside the cards, hoping they will call or show up at my door someday.
Today, I have remarried and reside with my husband and our 3 children in BC (my son and daughter from a former marriage and a new addition (our daughter)). My oldest turned 15 on November 23rd in CAS care. My middle son turned 12 on October 21st, and my youngest boy turned 10 on June 30th. I don't even know what they look like anymore, which makes me cry. I think about them every single day and live with the guilt that I couldn't get them all back. My oldest son once told me that I don't really care about him because the CAS told him I didn't want him...A complete lie. Never, ever, would I not want my children!
We were trying desperately to get a status review put before the courts, but we have not been able to find a lawyer willing to take the case against the CAS. It feels like everyone is afraid of them. I've even had lawyers laugh at me when I said it was against the CAS. It feels hopeless – me against them. My 14 yr old son in BC even went to a lawyer in town and tried to hire him with his paper route money (and money I added to the pot) to see what the lawyer could do to get his brothers home, or get him some contact with them. But the lawyer said that when he tried contacting the CAS, they wouldn't deal with him.
I never did anything to my children. Ever. As a single mom, I was a target the moment I stepped foot in that town. The CAS did nothing but lie, falsify documents and commit perjury. In fact, when I went to visit with my kids after court, the supervisor's husband (who also worked for CAS) turned and said to me as I was leaving, "We won, we can do anything we want now".
I live with the guilt of leaving my children in that situation every day of my life, and I've never stopped fighting to get my 3 boys back.
I have spoken at Queens Park in the media room about my case, and the injustice that happened to my family. I even have court documents stating nothing was ever verified and my children should never have been taken in the first place.
The child abusers are minding the children with no one overseeing their actions and that has to stop before any more families are destroyed. These people are monsters and I have kept every court file, document, and letter to prove it.
I've attached a pic of my youngest son and what the CAS and his foster parent did to him. They got away with this and continue to get away with a lot more because people continue to bury their heads in the sand and no one makes them accountable for their actions.
This is the very short version of my story.