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

Motorcyclist medevaced to Kelowna after collision with deer near Apex Mountain Resort

Male suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries to his neck

PHOTOS: What makes a winning Caesar?

Three local bartenders competed to make the best Caesar in Penticton

Penticton Legion’s grand reopening a success, says president

17 new members have signed up since the reopening Aug. 1

Festival goers at the 27th annual Roots and Blues Festival

The Observer asked: Where are you from and what brought you to the festival?

OHA alumna welcomed as new assistant coach for women’s varsity team

Alyssa MacMillan attended OHA from 2011 to 2016

70 years of lifting: Canadian man, 85, could cinch weightlifting championship

The senior gym junkie is on track to win the World Masters Weightlifting championship

Summerland’s downtown has gone through numerous changes

Main Street has been commercial hub of community for many years

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Okanagan climate advocacy group protests against Tolko

Group to demonstrate outside Vernon head office Monday over plan to log close to water supply

RCMP, search crews hunt for 4-year-old boy missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Okanagan Cultural Connections live venue tour kicks off in Vernon

Two dozen promoters, national booking agents, and music reps to visit venues from Vernon to Oliver

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Most Read