Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux appoined former deputy minister Bob Plecas.

Child protection failure prompts probe

Minister Stephanie Cadieux appoints former deputy Bob Plecas; NDP leader John Horgan says he's not independent enough

VICTORIA – One of the architects of B.C.’s children’s ministry has been brought back in to review its procedures after a court case revealed four children were left in the care of their abusive father.

Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux announced Friday that former deputy minister Bob Plecas will lead the review of the case and recommend changes by October.

In his second ruling on the case, released last week, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul Walker found the ministry was negligent in the decision to allow the father unsupervised access to the children. In a 2009 ruling awarding sole custody to the mother, Walker accepted evidence that the father had physically and sexually abused the older three children.

Despite that order, the ministry permitted the father unsupervised access, allowing him to sexually abuse the youngest child. None of the family members is publicly identified.

“A key feature of the Director [of Child Welfare] conduct in this case is that she and many of her agents approached the case in front of them with a closed mind, having concluded at a very early stage, before the children were interviewed, that there was no merit to the sexual abuse allegations and that [the mother] had fabricated them and had coached her children to make their disclosures,” Walker wrote in a 341-page judgment.

Plecas said he will not be considering individual misconduct of ministry staff involved, who have been reassigned while the review is ongoing.

“I think people will speak with me because it’s a non-threatening exercise,” Plecas said.

Cadieux said an independent and unbiased review is needed because of the “many significant and disturbing assertions about staff conduct” in the ruling. The government has not decided whether to appeal.

NDP leader John Horgan said the terms of Plecas’ review do not allow him to look at the conduct of the minister and senior staff, and his report goes to Cadieux. He said Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has the independence and authority to compel testimony of all concerned.

“I think they don’t want to get to the bottom of this,” Horgan said.

Plecas was involved in the creation of the standalone children’s ministry in the late 1990s. He will work with the Child Welfare League of Canada in developing recommendations.

 

Just Posted

Tla-o-qui-aht and Tofino celebrate 35th anniversary of the Meares Island Tribal Park Declaration

“I remember so vividly that day we all stood up and said, ‘No.’”

Ucluelet Co-op teams up with Food Bank on the Edge

The food bank’s Chowder Chow Down fundraiser was cancelled along with the Pacific Rim Whale Festival.

VIDEO: Tofino celebrates annual Easter Egg Hunt

Ucluelet’s event scheduled for Big Beach on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

VIDEO: ‘Alarm bells’ raised by footage allegedly from B.C. pig farm, SPCA says

PETA released video Wednesday showing dead and injured piglets next to nursing piglets

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Horgan heckled as gas prices sit at record high, could go up more

Premier John Horgan blames refiners, not taxes

SPCA investigating after newborn kittens found in Vancouver dumpster

The kittens were found suffering from hypothermia and dehydration

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man charged with daughters’ murders

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

Most Read