WATCH ABOVE: It can be very challenging for families to get out of the cycle of protective care in Montreal. Anne Leclair speaks with a mother who says she has really worked hard to be a good parent and believes Batshaw is prejudiced against families in the system.
MONTREAL – A 20-year-old mother of two will never forget the day her first-born daughter was taken away by youth protection in May of 2012.
“That was one of the worst days of my life when I lost her. Everything fell apart, and it’s been a fight ever since to get her back,” said the young mother who Global News can’t identity to protect the child’s identity.
The four-year-old girl was first placed in foster care over allegations of neglect and physical abuse between her biological parents. Her mother has been fighting to get custody for more than two years, and insists she’s done everything her social workers have requested.
“I did therapy. They said anger management, I did anger management with the therapy,” said the mother, “It’s false hope all the time, do this and then we’ll send her back and then, nothing!”
The child’s maternal grandmother has also attempted to get custody, but says she was denied due to her history with youth protection.
“I was also a DYP child, well what was called Ville Marie at the time. Because my children were in the DYP system they refused me to have my granddaughter.”
The mother says her weekly visits with her daughter have recently been reduced over allegations that the four-year-old was sexually assaulted by both her mother and her new 19 year-old boyfriend.
“To be accused, I’m her mother — that’s the last thing I would do to my daughter!”
Both the mother and boyfriend blame the social worker for what they call false accusations.
“I think he’s just stupid because he has no proof on it he’s just putting this stuff in her head,” said the 19-year-old, who is now no longer allowed to even see the four-year-old. The mother is hoping to increase her visitation rights but doubts she’ll get her daughter back anytime soon.
“There’s so many times I want to cry with her and I know I have to hold back the tears and tell her, ‘it’s ok, I’ll see you again in a few days or in a week at the next visit,’” she said.
Batshaw Youth and Family Centres has refused Global News’ request for an interview on this case. But we are told there is a specific process in place to investigate sexual and physical abuse allegations. The little girl’s family adamantly denies there was ever any sexual abuse.
“I think it’s all just pathetic, they’re looking for any way to try to keep my daughter in foster care,” her mother said.
The director of Head and Hands in NDG believes young parents are often victims of discrimination.
There’s a new child in the picture since September. The young mother in question just gave birth to a second baby girl. But her family is still far from complete. She dreams of the day when she’ll have both her daughters at home.
“I just want youth protection to know that no matter how hard they try it’s not gonna work,” she said, “I’m never gonna give up on my daughter as long as it takes, she will come home!”