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Boy’s rights must be at centre of third party review of Child Protective Services in P.E.I., advocate says

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Marvin Bernstein has some questions concerning the course of that positioned an eight-year-old baby throughout the nation with a father he’d by no means met.

Bernstein, P.E.I.’s baby and youth advocate, has been calling for a third-party evaluate into the conduct of Little one Protecting Providers within the case recognized publicly as B.J.T. v. J.D.

That evaluate might be coming after a current announcement from the Division of Social Growth and Housing, which oversees Little one Protecting Providers.

The evaluate is sweet information, Bernstein stated in a June 16 interview.

“I haven’t had any additional dialogue, but, by way of what would represent and what could be the weather of this third-party evaluate. I ought to say that I used to be happy that, after my urgings, the minister expressed a willingness and settlement to a 3rd occasion exterior evaluate.”

Exterior evaluate

Whereas Bernstein won’t be the reviewer, as his workplace retains the best to carry out its personal unbiased investigation, he should still be concerned within the course of.

The reviewer has not but been chosen, however the Division of Social Growth and Housing is exploring choices, the division stated in a June 16 e-mail.

In an email, Social Development and Housing Minister Brad Trivers said his department agrees that a third party, external review should take place in this case. - Logan MacLean/SaltWire Network File Photo
In an e-mail, Social Growth and Housing Minister Brad Trivers stated his division agrees {that a} third occasion, exterior evaluate ought to happen on this case. – Logan MacLean/SaltWire Community File Photograph


The e-mail additionally included an announcement from Brad Trivers, minister of the division.

“The division has been in communication with the kid and youth advocate with respect to this case and agrees a 3rd occasion, exterior evaluate ought to happen,” Trivers stated. “Little one and Household Providers evaluations choices and practices on an ongoing foundation. Evaluations of this nature are necessary to refine processes and to have a look at methods by which we are able to improve assist.”

State of affairs

The B.J.T. v. J.D. case goes again to 2019 when the director of CPS apprehended the boy on his method to summer season camp. CPS took the boy from his maternal grandmother, who had lately obtained parental rights, and delivered him to his father in Alberta.

After a number of court docket rulings and appeals, the Supreme Courtroom of Canada dominated the boy ought to return to P.E.I. by March 21, 2022. This has not occurred.

By way of this whole course of, the adults have failed to handle one of the best pursuits of the boy, Bernstein stated.

“Have been these choices at key intervention factors child-centered, and what ranges of the division had been concerned in a few of these choices?” — Marvin Bernstein, P.E.I. baby and youth advocate

This was obvious from the primary resolution — to take the boy from a house the place he had a superb relationship together with his grandmother, Bernstein stated.

“Have been these choices at key intervention factors child-centred, and what ranges of the division had been concerned in a few of these choices?”

Following is a timeline of occasions within the B.J.T. v. J.D. case:

  • The daddy and mom married in 2012 however separated after lower than one 12 months.
  • The mom then moved to P.E.I. however didn’t inform the daddy she was pregnant.
  • The maternal grandmother obtained parental rights and the boy went to reside together with her due to the mom’s psychological well being challenges.
  • In 2019, Little one Protecting Providers apprehended the boy whereas on the best way to summer season camp and despatched him to his father in Alberta for a short lived go to.
  • The daddy and boy had by no means met earlier than this, and the daddy solely discovered concerning the boy’s existence when CPS alerted him.
  • The boy’s keep was prolonged indefinitely.
  • A P.E.I. court docket dominated the boy ought to return to P.E.I.
  • The Courtroom of Enchantment of P.E.I. overturned this ruling, permitting the boy to remain in Alberta.
  • In June, 2022, the Supreme Courtroom of Canada sided with the unique resolution, arguing the daddy’s shut organic tie is just one consider custody choices.

Unanswered questions

Bernstein listed a few dozen questions like this that he would need to be addressed in a evaluate: Why did the division permit testimony from a psychologist who had beforehand served the daddy? Why wasn’t the grandmother allowed to go to the boy in Alberta? Why had been the unique timelines breached, forcing the boy to remain in Alberta indefinitely? And why weren’t safety proceedings withdrawn, given this case is clearly about custody and never safety?

“Apart from whether or not or not there was equity or unfairness to the grandmother or the daddy’s plan, why wasn’t there a consideration of what was greatest for the kid?” Bernstein requested.

Whereas his workplace can do its personal investigation after the report from the third occasion, Bernstein hopes he doesn’t need to, he stated.

One of many massive considerations, for him, is whether or not the report is made public so that folks can be taught from it, he stated.

“I’d need to see the report made public. I feel that a part of the consideration of going via this course of is ensuring there’s some public accountability.”

Logan MacLean is a reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. @loganmaclean94

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