In January 2007 an Edmonton foster mother took her three year old boy to the hospital with serious head injuries. As the situation was investigated she was eventually charged with second degree murder. The trial ended last week and the mother was found guilty of manslaughter.
Around 1997 Alberta explicity banned gay and lesbians from being foster parents after a well known and highly successful foster mother was outed as a lesbian. Children were abruptly removed from homes where they were doing well, and the gay foster parents were told their services were no longer required. Dr. Lyle Oberg, the social services minister at the time told the gay parents that they would have to prove scientifically that they would not harm children because of their orientation. Of course the outcome was predetermined and Oberg lined up the usual collection of pseudo-Scientific evangelical quacks to prove that gays were harmful. All pro gay arguments were ignored.
The fact that the government considers it safer to put a child in a home with a woman capable of this outcome rather than a lesbian parent who had a long term record of success and safety would suggest that their fake family values bigotry actually puts children at risk.
Fast forward to the fall of 2008. Edmonton Strathcona MLA Rachel Notley is gathering more and more evidence that the whole child care system is being seriously mismanaged. Status reports have not been filed for 3 years, and when they are finally filed they are done so on October 14, 2008, the day of the Federal Election. The government's response, not unexpected, is to announce that nothing is wrong, the Minister is doing a great job, and to start drafting legislation to clamp down on information being released.
Janis Tarchuk had an opportunity to turn this department upside down and fix it. But that would have taken courage. Instead the status quo is defended and a veil of secrecy is pulled over the whole mess.
This is not the Alberta I grew up in.
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