B.C. Child Advocate, Ombudsman involved in foster child case

UPDATE: Sources tell Global Okanagan that The Independent Office of the Representative for Children and Youth is not ‘investigating’ the case although it is involved in the file. Global Okanagan has also learned there is to be an information rally to show support for the family at noon on Sunday outside the Parkinson Rec Centre.

KELOWNA, B.C. – The B.C. Child Advocate and the Ombudsman’s office are now involved in a case where the Ministry of Children and Family Development want to remove a child from a foster home where he’s spent his entire life.

“They have informed us that there’s nothing that they can do as far as the decisions on children, but they are investigating it administratively,” says Nancy Ross, great aunt.

But what will be done following the outcome remains to be seen, says Ross.

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“What that means at the end of the day, I’m not exactly sure, but it’s something,” she adds.

Ross says her nephew, a victim of shaken baby syndrome as an infant, still has the ability to express emotion. His classmates have witnesses a change in recent weeks.

“(My daughter) has noticed a bit of a change, noticed that his demeanor is more sad and all the kids are just confused about why this is happening,” says Tracie Koebel, whose daughter attends school with the boy.

While the Ministry intended to move both her nephew and another special needs boy from their foster home at the end of May, the move has been postponed to the end of June as the new group home is outfitted with new equipment for their care needs.

In a statement, the Ministry told Global News, “decisions are made based solely on the best interests for the child in care including the need for permanence.”

Both boys have only spent their lives at the current foster home.

While the foster home was given no reason for removing the kids, the Ministry initially believed their safety was in question, according to foster parents Klemens and Eva Koester. After the foster family was cleared in November 2012, the Koester’s say their 20 year contract with the Ministry was simply not renewed.

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The boys remain in the Koester’s care, despite their contract expiring.

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