UN survey on what ails the world's children The state of children in Canada
|Thu, 30 Nov 2000 01:19:36 -0800
From: R&E Sodhi
following survey by the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of the Children is a good
opportunity to express your opinion about what is most important to you. The survey will
be submitted to the UN and is anonymous.
Survey - The State of Children in Canada.
In September of 2001, there will be a United Nations General Assembly Special
Session to examine the state of children around the world. The Canadian
Coalition for the Rights of Children is conducting a survey to gather
information about children in Canada. Data obtained from this survey will be incorporated
into a report being prepared for this Special Session.
Complete the survey.
[Eeva Sodhi] submitted the following comment [to the CCRC]:
Fatherless homes have become the norm in the
western world. In Canada, it is still customary to award sole custody to the mothers after
a marital break-up, without any regard to the "best interest of the child"
We have seen an alarming increase in childhood pathologies. Results from a recent
study show that childhood obesity, among other things, is a cause for concern.
What is often ignored is that fathers typically are the ones who engage in physical
play and sports with their children. There is a need to develop a holistic, rather
than a piecemeal, approach to children's health.
Relationships, including marriages, are breaking up at an alarming rate and a sizeable
number of children seldom, or never, see their fathers, thanks to the prevailing
"zero tolerance" policies which assure that sole custody is almost always given
to the mother. Pressed for time and stressed, single mothers simply do not have the energy
to provide anything but the very minimum of care. Video games and TV take the place of
hockey or swimming with dad. Meals tend to be quick fixes or take-outs, eaten on the
Many single parent families have low incomes. Yet, studies in the U.S. show that
"... Remarriage of custodial mothers (with improved financial status)
improve their children's well-being as hypothesized. This finding does not support
the economic disadvantage hypothesis. ... Father custody children were higher in all
outcomes (academic achievement and adjustment) than those in mother custody families"
(Barry Bricklin. The Custody Evaluation Handbook. ISBN 0-87630-775-6)
Some explanations given are that single fathers enjoy the benefit of informal help by
female relatives and friends, thus freeing time for positive interaction with the
Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) on poor
immigrant children and native-born children document that immigrant children enjoy better
health, are better adjusted and better achievers than native-born children. "
Statistical analysis showed that most of the mental health disadvantage of poor
native-born Canadian children could be explained by the familial circumstances associated
with poverty, rather than by material deprivation per se" (Investing in Children: A
National Research Conference, 1998" W-98-24Es, Applied Research Branch, HRDC)
Studies also show that as long as there are financial incentives for divorce, the numbers
will be high. Sole custody allows one spouse to relocate easily and to hurt the
other (and the children) by taking away the children. Potentially higher child support
payments with sole custody may provide an economic motive for divorce as well. With joint
physical custody, both social and economic motives for divorce are reduced, so parents
considering divorce may simply decide it is easier to remain married. States whose
policies result in more joint custody and less sole custody thus have seen a reduction in
divorce rates. (Richard Kuhn (and) John Guidubaldi, Child Custody Policies and Divorce
Rates in the US by D.Ed; 11th Annual Conference of the Children's Rights Council October
23-26, 1997. )
In determining appropriate custody arrangements, parents and the courts need to be more
sensitive to children's developmental needs. There is a need to educate fathers, mothers,
and service providers of the importance of fathers in the lives of children, educate
parents as to the consequences of divorce for children; ensure that judges who preside
over family courts receive training in the developmental needs of children.
As the incidence of father absence grows, community disintegration and crime,
especially youth crime, will continue to grow. Between 1960 and 1990, the percentage of
children living apart from their natural fathers increased from 17 to 36 percent. By
the year 2000, half of the Nation's children may not have their fathers at home. While the
heroic efforts of single women to raise their children alone are laudable, the economic
and social requirements for raising healthy and productive children are hard to achieve by
poor single parents alone. Re-engaging fathers in the economic and social life of their
children is an important but overlooked aspect of addressing poverty, community
revitalization, and crime. Many of our problems in crime control and community
revitalization are strongly related to father absence. For example:
Sixty-three percent of youth suicides are from
Ninety percent of all homeless and runaway youths are from
Eighty-five percent of children who exhibit behavioral disorders are from
Seventy-one percent of high school dropouts are from
Seventy percent of youths in State institutions are from
Seventy-five percent of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers are from
Eighty-five percent of rapists motivated by displaced anger are from
Innovative father engagement programs have had an impact on child rearing, family
economic stability, and gang involvement. Unless community revitalization and crime
reduction programs begin to address the need for father engagement programs and services,
the cycle of poverty and crime could continue virtually unabated." ("What Can the Federal Government Do To
Decrease Crime and Revitalize Communities?" by U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs National Institute of Justice Executive Office for Weed and
Seed January 5-7, 1998,
[The PDF version of the document from which this excerpt was taken contains a full
set of graphs and tables.
document can be downloaded from the NCJRS Website. (817 kB)]
Submission by Fathers for Life
In promoting the survey, it would be a good thing to identify the political agenda of
the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of the Children (CCRC)? A look at
the page showing the funders
of the organization should give any promoter of family rights grave concerns.
Just from looking at that and at the absence of any positive mention of the family in
the survey input form, it would be well to advise people that the organization is not
friendly to families.
The questions in the questionnaire that relate to families are posed within a negative
Inadequate housing for families
Violent or other dangerous neighborhoods that families live in
High poverty rate of lone-parent families
High poverty rate of refugee families
Over-emphasis on family preservation in the child protection system
Child and family abuse
Lack of parent education programs that stress the importance of a stable family
All of these questions, except the last one, have negative connotations, and even the
last question is ambiguous, in as much that one could give it a high or a low score,
depending on whether the respondent sees the lack of parent education programs as
something that needs a lot of attention or whether that lack is a big problem.
We should be concerned that the solutions that the CCRC expounds for the problems
symptoms caused by our society's families' destruction, as becomes clear in their report,
involve throwing more money at the issues. More money has done nothing to solve such
problems in the Native communities. It stands to reason that increasing taxes to
create the revenues, from which more money can be transferred to families in need or at
risk, will therefore hardly be an effective solution for the problems affecting such
families in the rest of Canadian society. To the contrary, just as in the prototype
of the Native communities, throwing more money at the problem symptom by creating new
government-sponsored programs or increasing funding to existing ones will most likely
escalate the problems.
It shouldn't surprise anybody if the CCRC were actually family-hostile.
It appears that they are. The first instance of where the term "family"
makes its appearance in the CCRC's report on the status of Canada's children occurs in
page 14 of their report.
It is the context in which it is mentioned that should be of concern.
UN Reporting Category: Family Environment and
Convention Article 19: Abuse and Neglect
Child welfare legislation recognizes that families are primarily responsible for the care,
supervision and protection of their children but when a child is at risk, the government
has the duty to intervene to protect the child. Child protection services investigate
cases of suspected abuse and neglect and, depending on the circumstances, can elect to
provide support services to a family or remove the child from the family home. Removing a
child from the family home is referred to as "taking a child into care."
That is Orwellian doublespeak. We know that "taking a child into care"
is very detrimental to children's development and exposes them to a range of serious
pathologies. For instance, children in government care are roughly 150 times more
likely than the average Canadian child to become incarcerated after age 18, assuming that
what holds true in the US holds true to an identical extent in Canada.
The rate of incarceration is even higher for Native children. There is no doubt
that foster care is a very strong contributor to that. Consider just the one
statistic quoted at the
URL: "In Manitoba, Aboriginal children represent 10 percent of the province's
child population but 67 percent of children in care."
A while ago I pointed out the correlation between
and incarceration rates to someone who works as a psychiatric nurse in one of Canada's
maximum security prisons. He didn't have any love for the fact that the pre-printed
interview forms included questions such as "Did your mother have gout?" given
that most people interviewed wouldn't even know what gout is and what precipitates
it. He thought that I might be right and incorporated a question into the procedure
for his intake interviews: "Were you in foster care at the time you were
He found that the first ten prisoners he asked that new question answered it in the
The survey and associated report by the CCRC provide the very strong expression that
the CCRC is promoting an agenda of "taking children into care" instead of
strengthening families to the point where the need for government child care will never
arise anymore. Consider the meaning of their statement "...Aboriginal agencies
and communities are struggling with overwhelming demand and a limited supply of culturally
appropriate early intervention and treatment services." [also at the
It is ironic that the almost total absence in Native communities of the one time-proven
"culturally appropriate early intervention and treatment service" that has the
best performance record of all such systems was never noticed by them. That system
is that of well-functioning families. Yet the very absence of families is what is
causing the problems that ostensibly concern the CCRC.
Furthermore, it is hardly likely that children who as a result of being in foster care
are so much more likely to become hardened criminals and repeat offenders in a wide
variety of crimes will actually be predisposed to become the founders of well functioning
How is it that the CCRC is not questioning their own role, or more correctly the role
of the government, as being that of the cause of the problem they attempt to
address? The problem is government-sponsored and government-induced
fatherlessness and family destruction, which thereby
is locked into a vicious positive feedback cycle that causes an escalation of the very
problem that the government creates.
The sad irony is that the CCRC is laying the blame for the problem symptoms at the feet
of the families that the government helped to destroy and prevented from coming into
existence. Furthermore, the illusion is fostered by the CCRC that the traditional
nuclear family is the primary source of such problems.
An effective solution to the problems they wish to address is to call for less and not
more government interference, and to call for the creation and promotion of the family
values that served so well in the past to prevent the kind of problems they hope to
address by "taking children into care."
It should be clear to anyone by now that if the programs of family destruction that did
so much to destroy the social coherence of Native communities continue to be implemented
in the rest of Canadian society, the rest of Canada will eventually reach the level of
social disruption prevalent in the Native communities. The current trends seem to be
evolving in that direction. It is the road to an absolute social disaster.
There is little consolation in finding that the solution to "NEEDS ACTION: The
reform of child welfare systems must continue across the country and Canadians must
develop effective community responses to families at risk," on
page 15 of their report,
is a call for increasing the government's escalation of the cause of that problem by
"tak[ing] children into care."
Another proposal mentioned
page 16 of the report, to provide more welfare support to families in need and at risk
(who incidentally are largely fatherless,
single-mother-headed families), is not likely to evoke confidence in the ability of the
government to take over from fathers the role of provider, protector and mentor of
On page 17 of the report
it is suggested that to restrict families with handicapped children from entering Canada
is a violation of their rights.
RIGHTS ALERT: The federal Immigration Act discriminates on the basis of disability
because s. 19(1)(a)(ii) allows a family's application to immigrate to Canada to be
rejected if a child would place excessive demands on health or social services.
It is very debatable that the right to enter Canada is an established fact. At
best, such a right is no more than a privilege that may be granted or not. Let's be
realistic here. If we want to bring about the reduction in the number of children at
risk, it seems hardly practical to provide incentives to families with such children to
attract them to Canada, while other countries do not.
There are two exceptions to the general trend exhibited in the CCRC report, of seeing
families in a negative light with respect to children. One of those is at on page 20. There,
families are mentioned in a positive light, rather than as being the breeding ground for
problems that put children at risk.
Article 22 requires countries to take appropriate measures to ensure that a child who
is seeking refugee status or who is considered a refugee under international or domestic
law, whether unaccompanied or accompanied by an adult, receives appropriate protection and
humanitarian assistance as determined by international human rights instruments, including
the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Appropriate measures include tracing family
members and family reunification.
The other instance is
RIGHTS ALERT: It takes too long for refugee families to be reunited in Canada since
families cannot join inland refugees until they have been accepted for landing.
The suggestion is to wave all and any obstacles that may prevent anyone from-, or slow
them down when, immigrating to Canada. The consequence of such a policy is that if a
given family manages only to get one of its children into Canada, that that will
automatically assure instantaneous immigrant status to the rest of the child's family.
All in all, the report doesn't instill confidence that the agenda proposed is what
Canada should have an interest in. Furthermore, a more appropriate name for the CCRC
would perhaps be "Canadian Coalition for the Promotion of the Abrogation of
In accordance with that, we recently saw the Supreme Court of Canada overturn the
decision by the Manitoba Supreme Court not to give social service agencies the right
without the need for a prior hearing and without any warrant to apprehend
children from their parents and to place those children into foster care. Thereby
the abrogation of parental rights has become reality for all of Canada. [See "Nationalizing Children."]
Without any doubt, the CCRC's stance on parental rights has been a contributing factor
to the abrogation of those rights. Moreover, it boggles the mind that the Liberal
government of Canada should see fit to fund an organization that feels that the primary
objective in addressing the needs of children at risk is to take them away from their
parents. Nevertheless, consider that the funding for the CCRC comes from
organizations and departments who largely have a reputation of being hostile to Canadian
Additional reading: "HORRORS
OF THE NON-HOME", By Timothy Maier.
|October 16, 2000
The Supreme Court has taken another step in Canada's creeping
nationalization of its children, diminishing the role of the private sector -- which is to
say, parents -- and increasing the role of the state. On Friday, the top court ruled
child-welfare workers no longer need to apply for judicial warrants in
"non-emergency" situations, and can take children away from allegedly abusive
parents solely on "reasonable and probable grounds." This means child protection
workers now wield more authority over children than police officers, teachers, pastors --
and mothers and fathers.
In this case, the appellant, known only by the initials K.L.W., was the mother of two
children who had been repeatedly apprehended by Manitoba's Child and Family Services
Agency on the grounds that she was periodically intoxicated, neglected her children, or
had abusive boyfriends. K.L.W. notified the agency that she was expecting a third child;
two weeks prior to delivery she agreed to enter a residential facility designed to assist
pregnant women. But she ended up giving birth before she got there and, pursuant to s.
21(1) of the Manitoba Child and Family Services Act, the agency apprehended K.L.W.'s
day-old infant. Although it possessed no evidence the mother or her boyfriends had
physically assaulted any of the children, the agency ordered the hospital not to discharge
K.L.W. or her baby. The child was placed in a foster home.
Even assuming the agency was justified in worrying that K.L.W. put her newborn in
harm's way by refusing to enter the special birthing facility, it still had ample time to
seek a warrant for the apprehension -- with no risk to the infant -- who during this time
was in hospital and under the care of doctors. But, according to the court, "the
state must be able to take preventive action to protect children and should not always be
required to wait until a child has been seriously harmed before being able to
But it is possible to get a hearing before a judge at any time, day or night, and to
apply for immediate permission to apprehend a child. If we require prosecutors to get a
warrant before allowing them to search the homes of alleged rapists and murderers, we
should require as much from the state when it wishes to sever the sacrosanct bond between
parent and child. In an emergency situation, when a child is thought to be in imminent
danger, it is proper that child care workers should be able to step in without delay and
then quickly satisfy a court ex post facto that intervention was necessary. But K.L.W's
case was a non-emergency and the court decided it should nevertheless be handled like an
emergency. The majority ruled it was impossible to distinguish between the two, and that
to try would "impede pro-active intervention by placing the burden on the state to
justify intervention in situations of arguably 'non-imminent,' yet serious, danger to the
But this begs a question. The state should have to justify its intervention; taking
children away from parents is a supremely serious matter. In seeking to protect children,
the country's most senior constitutional justices are failing to give due weight to the
harm done by imperious state intervention. Their reasoning -- their very wording --
betrays a presumption that state control of children is a good thing. It is not. As a
minimum in non-emergency cases, a court should weigh the case presented by child welfare
workers who may be -- indeed naturally are -- biased against the custodial interests of
parents. We should have learned from the "Sixties Scoop" cases, in which
children of native parents were apprehended en masse and put in institutions where they
later committed suicide at a high rate. The balance of presumption should be that children
are better off with their parents than in the care of the state.
Seizing children a tactic for
the destruction of the family and to attain state-control of the population
Throughout history, rampant child apprehensions
and state-ownership of children went hand-in-hand with totalitarian regimes and tyrannies.
apprehension of children boys in antiquity
20th Century Evolution of the
...in a series of coldly and shrewdly calculated moves,
radical extremists usurped the youth movement that was very much splintered along
political and religious ideological lines and consolidated it into a unified and
rigorously controlled sector of the German population. The slogan that motivated the
Nazi leaders was an adaptation of a slogan attributed to Napoleon "Who controls the
youths controls the future!" (Wer die Jugend hat, hat die Zukunft),
although its origins go back to Socrates (whom Plato, in Republic, has offer this
advice to philosopher kings: "Take all the children from their parents and rid the
city of adults."), and, as the
history of Ancient
Greece shows with respect to Sparta, even farther back in antiquity.
Modern Times Big
Sister Is Watching
"President Obama is committed to helping states develop
seamless, comprehensive, and coordinated 'Zero to Five' systems to improve
developmental outcomes and early learning for all children....it will be the
goal of this Administration to ensure that every child has access to a
complete and competitive education -- from the day they are born to the day
they begin a career."
Sheet: Expanding the Promise of Education in America, Mar 10, 2009
Remarks of President Barack Obama –
As Prepared for Delivery Address to Joint Session of Congress, Tuesday,
February 24th, 2009)
First they came for the fathers, then for the mothers, and now for
both parents in intact families. In the end all children will be in the care,
custody and control of the State.
An epidemic of state-sponsored kidnapping feeds a tyrannical system hungry for
revenues. Child Protective Services and Children's Aid Societies systematically and
increasingly often rob children from their parents. Kafkaesque chicaneries that the
targeted families find impossible to comply with are the tools used to keep the revenues
rolling in. Many families don't survive the ordeals that they are being subjected to
by any given CPS or CAS.
For Male College Students — A Short Guide to the Truth, by Angry
Posted 2000 11 30
2000 12 23 (added list for additional reading)
2001 03 26 (format changes)
2002 11 08 (added links to Seizing Children)
2006 03 04 (added link to Feminism for Male College