'I haven't seen her in almost six years': Father on pain of losing daughter after Motherisk test
As an independent commission in Ontario released a report Monday slamming Motherisk’s hair analysis program, which led to an untold number of children being taken away from their parents after they failed the now-discredited drug-screening test, one father is speaking up about how the program “destroyed” his family when it stripped them of their little girl.
“I feel I was treated wrongly and unfairly and they accused me of something that I didn’t do,” the man, who cannot be identified because of child privacy laws, told CTV News. “And it’s the little girl who suffers more out of all this than myself and my family.”
According to the man, his daughter was taken to a Children’s Aid Society (CAS) location by her mother when she was just eight-months-old. Accused of being a drug user, the man was told that he had to undergo a hair test before he could have access to his child.
“The results came back with cocaine and crack and methamphetamines in my system,” the man said. “I almost passed out and hit the floor when I saw the results, because it was so totally untrue. In my lifetime, I have never used any of those drugs.”
The CAS case workers, however, stood by the now-discredited test, the man said.
“After a couple of months and a couple more tests, I ended up losing access rights to my daughter,” he lamented. “She was put up for adoption and I haven’t seen her since she was two years old.”
Nearly six years later, the man still mourns the fact that he can’t watch his daughter grow up.
“She doesn’t get to visit with her brothers or sisters,” he said. “She never got to meet her grandmother or grandfather… She never got a chance to do things with her dad.”
The man dreams of being reunited with his little girl, but believes the chances of that happening are “slim to none.”
“It’s been so many years now, I don’t think she would know who I was anymore,” he explained. “And with all the court systems and the CAS matters, I don’t feel that will ever happen.”
Tragically, he may be right.
“The decisions we make in child protection are often devastating and irrevocable,” retired provincial court judge Judith Beaman, who led the independent commission into Motherisk, said on Monday. "That is why it is critical that only reliable evidence and a fair process be used in the service of making those decisions."
“There’s lots of people out there like me,” the man added. “I hope they can somehow, someway reunite these families with their children.”
Still, the man said that he is planning on filing a lawsuit following revelations about Motherisk’s faulty drug-testing methods.
“There is no way to put a price or a figure or anything on a child,” he acknowledged. “She’s gone. I haven’t seen her in almost six years.”
Nothing, he added, will ever erase the pain of losing his daughter.
“Motherisk indeed destroyed my family,” he said. “If they didn’t do these faulty tests or agree with the Children’s Aid to do these faulty tests, we would still have my daughter right now and she would still be able to play and she’d be able to see her family.”
In a statement emailed to CTV News, the Victims & Survivors of Motherisk Facebook group blasted the independent commission into Motherisk for not consulting "disposed" parents, like the unnamed father.
“Victims did not get to participate in the commission,” the statement said. “I don’t think the commission’s report is fair at all to the stolen children or their families… How are we as a province and country going to prevent this from occurring again in the future without a true public inquiry?”
With files from CTV News’ medical affairs specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip and a report from The Canadian Press