Sunday, August 09, 2009

Contempt of Court Aside, Were the Best Interests of the Child Served?

My blog post on the recent Alberta Court of Appeal contempt of court decision against the former Children and Youth Services Director of Child, Youth and Family Enhancement has been drawing lots of attention. Feedback has come for inside at the GOA political level and senior administrative levels. The Deputy Minister even commented on the blog post and I know that the Minister has read the post as well.

I have also been getting some very helpful information sent my way from anonymous sources on events and issues that relate to the problems in the department and public documents that add more context to the issues. This information is coming to be from both inside and outside government. I have also been challenged by many folks and friends to go further and look deeper into the matter by reading all the court filings. They have suggest I do more blogging on the background of this case so people can get a better handle on the issues and incidences and help better understand how the children at risk system works and how well it works in Alberta.

I know that last week the various legal counsel involved had to submit written argument as to what penalty they would advice the court should be imposed on the former Director. I was intending to at least read those when they were made public and to post about them. As well I will be posting on the final penalty pronouncement by the Court of Appeal on the contempt of court.

That is all from the Court of Appeal level only. To go all the way back into this case involves a great deal of time but it would likely shed more light on how the system attended to and how well it served the best interests of this child. That is what is really at the heart of the matter after all.

There is the prior Appeal Panel decision, various reports, affidavits and the Queens Bench decision to deal with too. Lots of material will be available to review and relate to I am sure. This is matter has been the subject of a very extensive process with lots of twists and turns. Contempt of court is a very serious matter but it is actually a sidebar to the real issues. Has the government processes and the courts done its job in serving the best interests of the child? I am no expert and not in a position to pass judgment on all of this. However, just like any other citizen I am entitled to know the facts and to draw my own conclusions about the answers to these questions.

So here is my question to you gentle reader. Do you, as a reader of this blog, want to know more about the facts and findings behind this child custody and contempt of court matter? If so why is it important to you to know more? If you tell me by email to or by comments on this blog to go further and deeper on this matter I will. If there is no interest then I will just wait for the court to decide on the contempt penalty before I say more.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


  1. Ken,
    I for one would appreciate more insight into this. The contempt of court charge is very serious, but I am more curious on the reasons behind it. This arm of the government is the last line of defense for these children, could the contempt charge arose from Oulette's knowledge of the case and ignored the judges orders looking out for the child's well being. The case workers are more familiar with the issues (the law should still be followed), but could it be they believe they are doing their job by disregarding the order. Or are they just arrogant and feel they are above it. This will be interesting and thanks if you take it on for the amount of time you would have to put into this. Showing the reality of this ministry is important.

  2. Thx for the feedback AA - I am planning to start going into some depth on this starting Wed. Others with expertise have volunteers some time to help out too. The concern over the child BM is critical but the culture of the Alberta government social services departments are important too.

  3. Anonymous11:28 pm

    Dig,dig,dig Ken!!
    There are probably all kinds of people in CS. Some who feel they are arrogant and above everyone,others decent law abiding helpful people with everyone best interest at heart.

    Here is the mission statement from CS.
    "Our mission is to work together to enhance the ability of families and communities to develop nurturing and safe environments for children, youth and individuals."
    A case worker was asked if they knew their mission statement.Reply: "HEHEEHEHEHHE No I don't".
    Then asked how have you strengthened "x" family?
    Reply:Let's not dwell on the past...
    Asked 3 times, they could not answer how they strengthen families. I believe it is because they don't. They take away children than put up road blocks to get them back.They do not "work together" with families (mothers typically) to achieve a successful reunification with their children. It appears their mandate is to take children out of their house and find permanent care for them. They boast at how successful they are at finding long term care with their pamphlets. Meanwhile parents are going through hell.

    I could go on...but this is long enough. Good luck.

  4. Anonymous11:36 pm

    Bottom line the recent panel announced includes.
    "Are the necessary checks, balances and processes in place to ensure accountability and transparency in the child intervention system?"

    Presently CS has utterly failed in this regard. I hope this panel outcomes are public.

  5. Debra Ward12:31 am

    Please and thanks!

  6. Anonymous8:38 pm

    Keep digging!! People need to know .

  7. Anonymous4:08 pm

    child welfare ....
    needs to step back look at facts and get facts right before familys are broken
    i for one know first hand child welfare needs to clean up and face up to their wrongs