Goudge Inquiry Report Recognizes the Plight of Separated Children

Today, the Honourable Justice Stephen Goudge released his report on the Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology. I had the pleasure of representing Defence for Children International-Canada (DCI) at the Inquiry. DCI responded to the report as follows:

When a parent is wrongly convicted of killing a child, there are devastating consequences for the remaining siblings. In his report, Justice Goudge recognizes the significant impact on surviving children: “For the surviving children, the impact is profound as well. They are often very young themselves, yet must cope with the sudden inexplicable loss of a sibling. If one of their parents is suspected, the children will likely be removed from their home and family, sometimes for years or even permanently. ....They must live with the horror that the parent they love is suspected of killing a brother or sister."

Today, the Ontario Government apologized for the serious harm that has resulted from a flawed pediatric pathology system. Concern was expressed for adults who have been wrongly conflicted. Promises were made to improve the system. But what about the children whose lives have been so profoundly affected by separation from their families? They are both innocent and invisible victims in this process. Some of these children have been placed in foster homes, others adopted. There is no process in place to identify some of these children even to let them know that their parent has been exonerated.

Defence for Children International-Canada calls on the Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services to address the moral, ethical and legal obligations to young people whose lives have been devastated as a result of wrongful separation from their families. Specifically, we call for the establishment of a Task Force to deal with the child welfare issues arising from this Inquiry and to develop a process to remedy the harm done to some of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

William Sparks

Les Horne
Executive Director

Let's hope that the Minister will listen.