Pubdate: Fri, 05 Feb 2016
Source: Record, The (Kitchener, CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Metroland Media Group Ltd.
Author: Johanna Weidner
Page: A1


Provincial commission reviewing flawed Motherisk analyses spanning

WATERLOO REGION - Fifteen adoptions are on hold in Waterloo Region in
the wake of flawed drug tests being reviewed by a provincial commission.

"It's a really difficult situation for all those involved," said Tina
Metcalfe, spokesperson for Family and Children's Services of the
Waterloo Region.

For the children, she said, "they've already been through so much, so
it's a challenging situation for the children and their families."

An Ontario government report released in December on the Motherisk
Drug Testing Laboratory at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children
concluded hair analysis done by the hospital was "inadequate and
unreliable" for use in child protection and criminal

A provincial commission was created to review potentially thousands of
cases from the lab over the past decade, putting all affected
adoptions on hold until it is complete.

Metcalfe said the local agency follows many steps when investigating
child's safety at home, and hair test results are just one tool.

"We would never make a decision to place a child in the care of the
society based solely on a positive hair test alone," she said.

In just over half of the 15 affected cases in the region, the children
are living with extended family members who plan on adopting them. The
rest are currently living with families who have committed to adopting
them or for whom the adoption planning was underway.

All those affected were contacted by the agency in January, Metcalfe
said, and they're in the middle of a comprehensive review of all cases.

The commission is expected to begin its work mid-month. "What we do
know is the pending adoption cases are considered high priority,"
Metcalfe said.

The regional agency usually processes about 65 adoptions a year. The
vast majority of the work they do is supporting families to care for
children safely at home. "We encourage families to reach out if they
feel they've been affected by the Motherisk hair testing," Metcalfe

People can call a government information and support hotline at
1-855-235-8932 or the local family and children's services office at
519-5760540 and speak with the director of services.
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