Letter to Province re Métis Child SS

BC Métis Federation has sent a letter to the new Provincial Government Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Minister Fraser to address the outstanding and wrongful removal of Métis foster child SS.

The fight has continued for the BC Métis Federation members LM and RS who have obtained a legal decision recently that their adoption of Métis child SS was in fact legal. Despite this notification to the Provincial Government and the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the actions of Ministry staff and officials has been to fight once again in the courts.

As this unfolds we know today the non Métis family in Ontario is not protecting the Métis culture of SS and is in fact referring to the child as Italian.

Our leadership is pushing to support and we hope this new Provincial Government will ensure the return of SS to our family without delay.


Re: Métis Child SS – Urgent Request

Dear Minister Fraser,

The BC Métis Federation is seeking your support to work with you colleague Honourable Katrine Conroy as the recently appointed Minister of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to reverse the ongoing Métis child foster case of our member only known as “SS”.

This is a tragic case where one of our Métis families lost their customary adopted Métis child SS from our Métis family LM and RB. The situation exemplifies all that can go wrong with the system when Ministry staff, Ministry lawyers and coopted Métis agencies make decisions in the absence of grassroots Métis communities.

Therefore, we want to meet asap to consider how we can support the following:

  1. All litigation by the Province against the customary adoption needs to be immediately frozen.
  2. Métis SS daughter needs to be released to the care of her legally adoptive Métis parents.
  3. An inquest should be done into how much money has been spent on legal costs to separate a Métis child who was thriving in her Métis home where she had been adopted by custom and place her in non-Aboriginal foster care, breaking all bonds for the child from her cultural community, her adoptive mother and her birth mother only to send her across the country to a non-Aboriginal family she had never met.
  4. MCFD has not put the best interest of the child first. They did not use a balanced approach that was required by law. They ignored the warnings of the child’s doctors, the child’s bonds with her adoptive parents, the ongoing contact with her birth parents, and the bonds of her cultural community.
  5. MCFD has been aware of customary adoption since before a Continuing Custody Order (CCO) was made. They have been aware of our court ordered adoption now legally recognized for several months and still have not released our daughter from foster care.
  6. Instead they have brought against our Métis members (the customary adoption family) litigation purposefully delaying the return of SS.
  7. BC Legislation 24 (1) (2) states that when there is an adoption the director and the Public Guardian and Trustee must step aside. The Canadian Constitution which is the Supreme Law of the Land states at Section 35 that Métis traditions and customs are protected. Section 52 states that any law that comes into conflict with the Constitution is of no force or effect.
  8. The United Nations Rights of Indigenous Peoples makes it clear that Métis customs (included in the term Indigenous) are to be respected and the Aboriginal Custom Adoption Recognition Act
    has made an order in the court of the Northwest Territories that we are her legally adoptive parents as of October 24, 2013.
  9. The BC Adoption Act at Section 46 also allows for custom adoption and much of the MCFD government literature claims that they support it.
  10. The MCFD social workers, in the case of our daughter, neglected to consider her best interests, neglected to bring forward custom adoption as required in Section 31 of the adoption standards and practices, and pushed forward, using a highly questionable “exceptions committee” to separate our daughter from us. They fabricated a “review” that was not accurate in order to support their decision that was made without consideration to the child’s culture and they put together a cultural plan that contained misinformation and false claims.
  11. Cultural plans are not enforceable by law. In fact, we know with certainty today that while our Métis customary adoption family visited SS in the non-Métis home this past February, she was referred to by the non-Aboriginal foster family as Italian and she had had no Métis cultural experiences.

This past week I was with Premier Horgan and his words and passion to ensure a just and inclusive society, one that fights institutional racism and discrimination for all British Columbians was clear in the reestablishment of the BC Human Rights Commission.

Therefore, this situation needs resolution and justice, BC Métis Federation’s constitutional right to speak and represent our members has not been considered given the discriminatory Provincial Government one window Métis policy. The entire decision was based on the previous Liberal Government’s limited Métis policy of only recognizing the Métis Nation BC. This led to letters from Métis Nation BC supporting the removal of Métis child SS never having met this Métis family who were never their members or discussing the situation. By extension this one window Métis policy led to MCFD officials refusing to recognize the voice of the BC Métis Federation for our members.

We want to work constructively with your offices and this new government to address this situation. The impacts to remove another Métis child from her culture cannot be acceptable in this Day of Reconciliation. Let’s show British Columbians and all Métis people that there is a better way forward.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Thank you
Keith Henry

Honourable John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia
Honourable Katrin Conroy, Minister for Children and Family Development
BC Métis Federation Board
BC Métis Federation Members

To view this letter as a downloadable PDF click here.

4 Responses to Letter to Province re Métis Child SS

  1. Sharon Eyford August 9, 2017 at 11:24 am #

    BCMF, this is the right thing to do—I just hope it is not TOO LATE !!!

    I really hope that this Gov’t comes to the right decision and does the right thing.!!!!

    Thanks to all BCMF members and staff for such a long and tireless effort on the side

    of our Metis parents and young lady SS.

    Hurrah for you !!!

    Metis Elder

  2. Dale Haggerty August 9, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    Right on Keith

  3. Raymond August 9, 2017 at 12:28 pm #

    From the legislative desk of Senator Nancy Schaefer 50th District of
    November 16, 2007Updated: September 25, 2008


    BY: Nancy Schaefer
    Senator, 50th District

    My introduction into Child Protective Service cases was due to a grandmother in an adjoining state who called me with her tragic story. Her two granddaughters had been taken from her daughter who lived in my district. Her daughter was told wrongly that if she wanted to see her children again she should sign a paper and give up her children. Frightened and young, the daughter did. I have since discovered that parents are often threatened into cooperation
    of permanent separation of their children.
    The children were taken to another county and placed in foster care. The foster parents were told wrongly that they could adopt the children. The grandmother then jumped through
    every hoop known to man in order to get her granddaughters. When the case finally came to court it was made evident by one of the foster parent’s children that the foster parents had, at any given time, 18 foster children and that the foster mother had an inappropriate
    relationship with a caseworker.
    In the courtroom, the juvenile judge, acted as though she was shocked and said the two girls
    would be removed quickly. They were not removed. Finally, after much pressure being
    applied to the Department of Family and Children Services of Georgia (DFCS), the children
    were driven to South Georgia to meet their grandmother who gladly drove to meet them.

    After being with their grandmother two or three days, the judge, quite out of the blue, wrote
    up a new order to send the girls to their father, who previously had no interest in the case and who lived on the West Coast. The father was in “adult entertainment”. His girlfriend worked as an “escort” and his brother, who also worked in the business, had a sexual charge brought against him.
    Within a couple of days the father was knocking on the grandmother’s door and took the girls kicking and screaming to California.
    The father developed an unusual relationship with the former foster parents and soon moved to the southeast. The foster parents began driving to the father’s residence and picking up the little girls for visits. The oldest child had told her mother and grandmother on two different occasions that the foster father molested her.
    To this day after five years, this loving, caring blood relative grandmother does not even have visitation privileges with the children. The little girls are, in my opinion, permanently
    traumatized and the young mother of the girls was so traumatized with shock when the girls
    were first removed from her that she has never completely recovered. The mother has rights
    but the father still has custody of the children.
    Throughout this case and through the process of dealing with multiple other mismanaged
    cases of the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), I have worked with other
    desperate parents across the state of Georgia and in many other States because their children were taken for no cause and they have no one with whom to turn. I have witnessed ruthless
    behavior from many caseworkers, social workers, investigators, lawyers, judges, therapists,
    and others such as those who “pick up” the children. I have been stunned by what I have
    seen and heard from victims all across this land.
    In this report, I have focused mainly on the Georgia Department of Family and Children
    Services (DFCS). However, I believe Child Protective Services nationwide has become
    corrupt and that the entire system is broken beyond repair. I am convinced parents and
    families should be warned of the dangers.
    The Department of Child Protective Services, known as the Department of Family and
    Children Services (DFCS) in Georgia and other titles in other states, has become a “protected empire” built on taking children and separating families. This is not to say that there are not those children who do need to be removed from wretched situations and need protection.
    However, this report is concerned with the children and parents caught up in “legal
    kidnapping,” ineffective policies, and an agency that on certain occasions would not remove a child (or children) when the child was enduring torment and abuse.
    In one county in my District, I arranged a meeting for thirty-seven families to speak freely
    and without fear. These poor parents and grandparents spoke of their painful, heart

    wrenching encounters with DFCS. Their suffering was overwhelming. They wept and cried.
    Some did not know where their children were and had not seen them in years. I had
    witnessed the “Gestapo” at work and I witnessed the deceitful conditions under which
    children were taken in the middle of the night, out of hospitals, off of school buses, and out of homes. In one county a private drug testing business was operating within the agency’s
    department that required many, many drug tests from parents and individuals for profit.
    It has already made over $100,000.
    Due to being exposed, several employees in this particular office were fired. However, they
    have now been rehired either in neighboring counties or in the same county again. According to the calls I am now receiving, the conditions in that county are returning to the same practices that they had before the light was shown on their evil deeds.
    Having worked with probably 300 cases statewide, and now hundreds and hundreds across
    this nation and in nearly every state, I am convinced there is no responsibility and no
    accountability in Child Protective Services system.
    I have come to the conclusion: •that poor parents very often are targeted to lose their children because they do not have the where-with-all to hire lawyers and fight the system. Being poor does not mean you are not a good parent or that you do not love your child, or that your child should be removed and placed with strangers;
    •that all parents are capable of making mistakes and that making a mistake does not
    mean your children are to be removed from the home. Even if the home is not perfect,
    it is home; and that’s where a child is the safest and where he or she wants to be, with
    •that parenting classes, anger management classes, counseling referrals, therapy classes
    and on and on are demanded of parents with no compassion by the system even while
    the parents are at work and while their children are separated from them. (some times
    parents are required to pay for the programs) This can take months or even years and
    it emotionally devastates both children and parents. Parents are victimized by “the
    system” that makes a profit for holding children longer and “bonuses” for not
    returning children to their parents;
    •that caseworkers and social workers are very often guilty of fraud. They withhold and
    destroy evidence. They fabricate evidence and they seek to terminate parental rights
    unnecessarily. However, when charges are made against Child Protective Services, the
    charges are ignored;
    •that the separation of families and the “snatching of children” is growing as a business
    because local governments have grown accustomed to having these taxpayer dollars to
    balance their ever-expanding budgets;
    •that Child Protective Services and Juvenile Court can always hide behind a
    confidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions and keep the funds flowing.
    There should be open records and “court watches”! Look who is being paid!
    There are state employees, lawyers, court investigators, guardian ad litems, court
    personnel, and judges. There are psychologists, and psychiatrists, counselors,
    caseworkers, therapists, foster parents, adoptive parents, and on and on. All are
    looking to the children in state custody to provide job security. Parents do not realize
    that the social workers are the glue that hold “the system” together that funds the
    court, funds the court appointed attorneys, and the multiple other jobs including the
    “system’s” psychiatrists, therapists, their own attorneys and others.
    •that The Adoption and the Safe Families Act, set in motion first in 1974 by Walter
    Mondale and later in 1997 by President Bill Clinton, offered cash “bonuses” to the
    states for every child they adopted out of foster care. In order to receive the “adoption
    incentive bonuses” local child protective services need more children. They must have
    merchandise (children) that sells and you must have plenty so the buyer can choose.
    Some counties are known to give a $4,000 to $6,000 bonus for each child adopted out to
    strangers and an additional $2,000 for a “special needs” child. Employees work to keep
    the federal dollars flowing;
    •State Departments of Human Resources (DHR) and affiliates are given a baseline
    number of expected adoptions based on population. For every child DHR and CPS can
    get adopted, there is the bonus of $4,000 or maybe $6,000. But that is only the
    beginning figure in the formula in which each bonus is multiplied by the percentage
    that the State has managed to exceed its baseline adoption number. Therefore States
    and local communities work hard to reach their goals for increased numbers of
    adoptions for children in foster care.
    •that there is double dipping. The funding continues as long as the child is out of the
    home. There is funding for foster care then when a child is placed with a new family,
    then “adoption bonus funds” are available. When a child is placed in a mental health
    facility and is on 16 drugs per day, like two children of a constituent of mine, more
    funds are involved and so is Medicaid;
    •As you can see this program is ordered from the very top and run by Health and
    Human Resources. This is why victims of CPS get no help from their legislators. It
    explains why my bill, SB 415 suffered such defeat in the Judicial Committee, why I was
    cut off at every juncture. Legislators and Governors must remember who funds their
    •that there are no financial resources and no real drive to unite a family and help keep
    them together or provide effective care;
    •that the incentive for social workers to return children to their parents quickly after
    taking them has disappeared and who in protective services will step up to the plate and
    say, “This must end! No one, because they are all in the system together and a system
    with no leader and no clear policies will always fail the children. Just look at the waste
    in government that is forced upon the tax payer;
    •that the “Policy Manuel” is considered “the last word” for CPS/DFCS. However, it is
    too long, too confusing, poorly written and does not take the law into consideration;
    •that if the lives of children were improved by removing them from their homes, there
    might be a greater need for protective services, but today children are not safer.
    Children, of whom I am aware, have been raped and impregnated in foster care;
    •It is a known fact that children are in much more danger in foster care than they are
    in their own home even though home may not be perfect.
    •that some parents are even told if they want to see their children or grandchildren,
    they must divorce their spouse. Many, who are under privileged, feeling they have no
    option, will divorce and then just continue to live together. This is an anti-family policy,
    but parents will do anything to get their children home with them. However, when the
    parents cooperate with Child Protective Services, their behavior is interpreted as
    guilt when nothing could be further from the truth.
    •Fathers, (non-custodial parents) I must add, are oftentimes treated as criminals without
    access to visit or even see their own children and have child support payments
    strangling the very life out of them;
    •that the Foster Parents Bill of Rights does not stress that a foster parent is there
    temporarily to care for a child until the child can be returned home. Many foster
    parents today use the Foster Parent Bill of Rights as a means to hire a lawyer and seek
    to adopt the child placed in their care from the real parents, who are desperately trying
    to get their child home and out of the system. Recently in Atlanta, a young couple
    learning to be new parents and loving it, were told that because of an anonymous
    complaint, their daughter would be taken into custody by the State DFCS. The couple
    was devastated and then was required by DFCS to take parenting classes, alcohol
    counseling and psychological evaluations if they wanted to get their child back. All of
    the courses cost money for which most parents are required to pay. While in their
    anxiety and turmoil to get their child home, the baby was left for hours in a car to die in
    the heat in her car seat by a foster parent who forgot about the child. This should never
    have happened. It is tragic. In many cases after the parents have jumped through all
    the hoops, they still do not get their child. As long as the child is not returned, there is
    money for the agency, for foster parents, for adoptive parents, and for the State.
    •that tax dollars are being used to keep this gigantic system afloat, yet the victims,
    parents, grandparents, guardians and especially the children, are charged for the
    system’s services.
    •that grandparents have called from all over the State of Georgia and from other states
    trying to get custody of their grandchildren. CPS claims relatives are contacted, but
    there are many many cases that prove differently. Grandparents who lose their
    grandchildren to strangers have lost their own flesh and blood. The children lose their
    family heritage and grandparents, and parents too, lose all connections to their heirs.
    •that The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect in 1998 reported that six times as
    many children died in foster care than in the general public and that once removed to
    official “safety”, these children are far more likely to suffer abuse, including sexual
    molestation than in the general population. Think what that number is today ten years
    •That according to the California Little Hoover Commission Report in 2003, 30% to
    70% of the children in California group homes do not belong there and should not have
    been removed from their homes.
    1. Call for an independent audit of all State Child Protective Services (CPS) and for a
    Federal Congressional hearing on Child Protective Services nationwide.
    2. Activate immediate change. Every day that passes means more families and children
    are subject to being held hostage and their lives destroyed.
    3. Abolish the Federal and State financial incentives that have turned Child Protective
    Services into a business that separate families for money.
    4. Grant to parents their rights verbally and in writing.
    5. Mandate a search for family members to be given the opportunity to adopt their
    own relatives if children need to be removed permanently.
    6. Mandate a jury trial where every piece of evidence is presented before permanently
    removing a child from his or her parents. Open family court. Remove the secrecy.
    Allow the press and family members access. Give parents the opportunity in court to
    speak and be a part of their children’s future.
    7. Require a warrant or a positive emergency circumstance before removing children
    from their parents. (Judge Arthur G. Christean, Utah Bar Journal, January, 1997
    reported that “except in emergency circumstances, including the need for immediate
    medical care, require warrants upon affidavits of probable cause before entry upon
    private property is permitted for the forcible removal of children from their parents.”)
    8. Uphold the laws when someone fabricates or presents false evidence. If a parent
    alleges fraud, hold a hearing with the right to discovery of all evidence made available
    to parents.
    On my desk are scores of cases of exhausted families and terrified children. It has been
    beyond me to turn my back on these suffering, crying, and beaten down individuals.
    We are mistreating the most innocent. Child Protective Services have become an adult
    centered business to the detriment of children. No longer is judgment based on what the child
    needs or who the child wants to be or with whom, or what is really best for the whole family;
    it is some adult or bureaucrat who makes the decisions, based often on just hearsay, without
    ever consulting a family member, or just what is convenient, profitable, or less troublesome
    for the social workers.
    I have witnessed such injustice and harm brought to so many families that I am not sure if I
    even believe reform of the system is possible! The system cannot be trusted. It does not serve
    the people. It obliterates families and children simply because it has the power to do so.
    Children deserve better. Families deserve better. It’s time to pull back the curtain and set
    our children and families free.
    “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
    Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy” Proverbs 31:8-9

    Senator Nancy Schaefer was murdered after the release of this Article.

    The Child Protective Services also known as Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) are the same Corporation world wide. They are not a government corporation.

    Be careful !!!

  4. Heath September 3, 2017 at 6:15 am #

    Can an individual not have both Italian lineage and also be metis? Get your facts straight before posting propaganda like this. Maybe if you got to know the “non-Metis couple” you’d find out that they are kind and caring people that aren’t much different than you. If only you could only see how three girls can thrive together.

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