Pubdate: Mon, 28 Nov 2016
Source: Chatham Daily News, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Chatham Daily News
Author: Vicki Gough
Page: A1


Chatham-Kent Children's Services working with independent review of
case files

When the Ontario government launched an independent commission earlier
this year to assist families caught between flawed laboratory drug
testing and the province's 46 children's aid societies, Chatham-Kent
Children's Services (CKCS) opened its case files for more scrutiny.

Between 2005 and 2015, CKCS used the Motherisk Laboratory operating
out of SickKids Hospital in Toronto 76 times to conduct hair strand
tests in cases of suspected drug use.

"Chatham-Kent Children's Services had four cases that qualified as
"high priority" for a review by the Motherisk Commission and those
cases have been reviewed," Stephen Doig, CKCS's executive director,
told The Chatham Daily News Thursday.

Doig confirmed the review did not alter earlier judicial decisions in
those four cases.

"The result of that review by the Commission found that the drug/
alcohol testing was not a determining aspect of the evidence presented
to the courts in a child protection proceeding," Doig said.

In April 2015, children's welfare agencies were told to stop ordering
the tests after the Motherisk lab was identified in a criminal trial
for using faulty methodology.

Children's aid societies were using the test results to support
protection applications and adoptions for children deemed at high risk.

In an earlier interview, Doig said CKCS began reducing its reliance on
drug testing in 2014.

"We're really looking more at working with the families, if there is
an addiction issue, to really look at the addiction rather than
proving that the addiction is there," Doig said.

When the commission was announced in January 2016, it was given a
two-year mandate.

Families that qualify for assistance were to be notified in writing
that the province had appointed a commissioner with the mandate to
review their cases.

"It is my hope that my work with the commission will assist those
affected to understand what has occurred and to move forward in
whatever way they feel is appropriate to their circumstances,"
Commissioner Judith Beaman stated in a news release at the time of the

Doig said the commission "provides counselling and legal advice to any
family that wishes to follow up on that (offer)."

Of the four case files reviewed at CKCS, Doig said they were
"relatively recent files" and involved one child per family.

"Like all the Children's Aid Society's in Ontario, CKCS had some cases
where the Motherisk Labs were utilized as the gold standard for
testing of hair samples with respect to drug/alcohol misuse," Doig

For that reason the lab was the one most agencies relied on for that
testing, he added.

Anyone who believes they may have been impacted by a Motherisk test
can call 1-855-235-8932 for more information.
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