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LTTE, regarding the inquiry into the death of baby Jordan Heikamp

National Post Online

Letter to the Editor

March 7, 2001

Speaking for Jordan

Christie Blatchford underestimates the readership of the National Post, if she does not know many of us wait, hushed, for every morsel of information regarding the life and death of Jordan Heikamp (If I Don't Pay Attention, Who Will, March 3).

She is likely providing the best analysis ever found in a Canadian newspaper on the death of one of our foster children. Incompetence cuts both ways, and just as many are falsely accused of heinous acts of child abuse, there are also many children, such as Jordan, who slip through the cavernous cracks of the system.

Being unable to determine which children need their services is the greatest failing of Canada's child welfare system. Jordan is different; he will be remembered, not like most of the dead children who slip away and are forgotten. And whether it is the inquest into the death of Baby Sophia in Manitoba (still waiting after four years for the final report), or the death of Mathew Vaudrieull in British Columbia, the grim truth is that the chasms of indifference and incompetence have been cracking open across this country for a decade.

Our child welfare workers are poorly trained, poorly funded and overwhelmed by their inability to tell the difference between an abused child and one who does not require their "help."

Of course, Canadians have the child welfare system they deserve, because our own inability to set a high standard of care for our children is the ultimate cause of this failure. So keep writing, Ms. Blatchford, keep telling us every little detail, for in those details lie the proof of our own dereliction. Jordan Heikamp died for our indifference, but don't let him die in vain.

Louise Malenfant, Family Advocate, Parents Helping Parents, Edmonton.

Jordan Heikamp died while in the care of his mother in a women's refuge to which the Catholic Children's Aid Society in Toronto who had been entrusted with his welfare had assigned him and his mother, even though Jordan's mother had not been battered and wasn't in any danger of being battered.   The horror of the story is that in sending the mother and Jordan to that facility the Catholic Children's Aid Society condemned Jordan to death.

The autopsy revealed that there was not a bit of food or fluid in Jordan's emaciated stomach.  He had starved to death.  All that remained of him was a shrunken bundle of bones enclosed by loose skin folds that weighed no more than four pounds.

He died, even though child welfare workers had been concerned that he had not been thriving.  Jordan Heikamp died in full view of the people who could have saved him: his mother and the child care workers entrusted with his life. —WHS

Posted 2001 03 06

Parents Helping Parents

Louise Malenfant

malenfant.jpg (2818 bytes)

Family Advocate, Parents Helping Parents

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Louise Malenfant passed away in 2006.  She is being missed.


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