QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Their families were torn apart afterf lawed drug and alcohol tests. But parents at the centre of the Motherisk Inquiry now face painful decisions and an uphill legal battle in trying to unite with children who were placed in care at young ages."
Reporter Rachel Mendleson;
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “My clients know that there is no quick fix. They know the Motherisk issues are really a disaster, and that the issues are very hard to untangle. That’s why you have to go back to the process, so that people who are already suffering know what to expect.”
Lawyer Julie Kirkpatrick;
STORY: "17 families ruined, only 1 reunited: The fight to fix faulty-test fallout," by Rachel Mendelson, published by The Toronto Star on November 16, 2016.
ALTERNATIVE HEADING: (Print edition); 'Child Protection's darkest chapter.'
SUB-HEADING: "Families face an uphill battle as the Motherisk Commission works through thousands of child-welfare cases that relied on substandard drug-test."
GIST: "There is no silver bullet for families separated on the basis of flawed hair drug and alcohol tests at the Hospital for Sick Children’s Motherisk laboratory. As the ongoing review of thousands of child protection cases identifies a growing number of cases where a decision to remove a child relied too heavily on the faulty hair tests, each family is being faced with its own, inherently fraught, set of choices. “These are going to be very difficult cases,” said Lorne Glass, lead counsel for the Motherisk Commission of Inquiry. “You’re moving to set aside (court) orders that are old, where a child . . . might not have ever known a parent. The remedies, although in many cases are available, are going to be hard to obtain.” In that case, a mother whose child was the subject of a closed adoption went to court with the Catholic Children’s Aid Society and won an “openness order,” granting her some degree of access to her child, Glass said. In another case, the mother is now engaged in mediation with the adoptive parents and the Children’s Aid Society. “There’s co-operation for all the parties, and hopefully that will get a good result for that child,” Glass said. In one case, legal action isn’t necessary because the children are now in their mid-20s, and have already reconnected with their mother. The families in two other cases have contacted lawyers, he said. But not every parent is willing — or able — to reignite old battles.........Until it was shut down last year, Motherisk was heavily relied upon by child welfare agencies across Canada as a trusted provider of hair drug and alcohol tests. In Ontario alone, the results were used in thousands of child protection cases as evidence of parental substance abuse, and typically went unchallenged. That changed in late 2014, when a court of appeal decision questioned the reliability of Motherisk’s results in a criminal case, and a Star investigation revealed that prior to 2010, the lab had been using a test that fell short of the “gold standard. The province established the commission on the recommendation of a damning independent review, which analyzed a decades’ worth of Motherisk hair tests, and found the results to be “inadequate” and “unreliable.”.........It is a process that has frustrated some affected families. The commission argued the applications were premature or moot, because, among other reasons, the women had not yet exercised their right to ask the commission to reconsider its decision in their cases. According to Kirkpatrick, however, the right to request reconsideration, as well as other important details about the commission’s processes, were not made public until after she filed the application for judicial review this summer. “It shouldn’t have taken that,” Kirkpatrick said in an interview. “My clients know that there is no quick fix. They know the Motherisk issues are really a disaster, and that the issues are very hard to untangle. That’s why you have to go back to the process, so that people who are already suffering know what to expect.” In court on Monday, Kirkpatrick said the commission should inform every family whose case is reviewed, regardless of the outcome. Questioned by the panel of judges on this point, the lawyer for the commission, William McDowell, explained the policy as a matter of “resource allocation.” However, Glass offers a different rationale: “Many of these people don’t want to relive the awful circumstances they were living in at that time. They don’t want to have that brought home to them yet again.”"
The entire story can be found at:
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/