October 12, 2017 8:14 pm

Vernon mom thought her son was safe, then he returned from respite care with a black eye

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She thought she was sending her children to a safe place, but now she has some disturbing questions.

A north Okanagan mother is raising four kids by herself. Margaret McCormack turned to the government for help, only to have her three-year-old son return from respite care with a black eye.

“I was left by my husband when my son was a month old,” McCormack said.

“So I went and sought help that I knew the government provided.”

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That help included weekend respite care organized through the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD).

However, she said her three-year-old had a black eye after a respite care visit in late September.

“He was spanked in the face,” McCormack said her son told her.

She believes her son was hit by his respite caregiver.

“He is scared of people now. He doesn’t want to leave my side. He is extra, extra attached to me now,” she said.

McCormack called police, sought medical attention for her son and visited the ministry to share her concerns.

“The ministry wouldn’t even tell me if they even opened an investigation. They just continued to stand up for this lady,” she said.

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McCormack said she heard from the ministry that the respite caregiver said the boy was jumping on couches and fell and hit an ottoman.

“What I would like to see happen with the ministry is cameras in these homes. If there was a camera in this home then this would be settled and done. If he had fallen, we would have seen it,” she said.

Global News reached the respite caregiver by phone. She said the incident was under investigation and she couldn’t comment, but denied that the boy was hit in the face.

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In a statement, the ministry said “While we can’t speak to the specific details of this or any other family’s involvement with the ministry, we would look into any report of abuse and would act immediately to protect the child should a concern be substantiated.”

The ministry wouldn’t answer questions about whether an investigation had been initiated or whether they still have a contract with the respite caregiver.

Regardless McCormack felt she needed to cancel her services with the ministry after what happened. That’s left the mother of four with even less support than she had before.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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