Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Heating Up

Although I'm not totally sure that the above title isn't just wishful thinking on my part (I know it definitely isn't when it comes to the weather ... sheesh), things appear to be heating up on the other side of my life - the legal side.   Or, more specifically, my legal passion.

Assuming I have any faithful readers left, you might recall that I spoke of creating a legal guardianship kit that families could use to obtain guardianship of a loved one with a disability without incurring the exorbitant cost of hiring a lawyer.  Well, I am pleased to advise that said Kit is, indeed, done. 

Silly me, I thought creating the Kit would be the difficult part.  Nope, turns out the harder part comes now.

Although I am not quite ready to release the Kit for public consumption (I am having a couple of lawyers who deal a lot with guardianship review the materials and will then register an official copyright), I now realize I have to figure out how to market the darn thing.  And apparently that means figuring out the who/what/when/where/how of a website where the Kit can be purchased and downloaded.

But (and here comes the good news) yesterday I received a completely unsolicited email from a group who would like me to do a presentation for them on guardianship.  And that is a very interesting development considering I have been scheming to hatch working on a plan on how to do similar presentations around the province, both as a way of educating people on the issues around guardianship and promoting the Kit.

The other interesting development (also yesterday) was an email from a person representing one of the groups that was successful in obtaining the government bid I spoke about earlier (alas, it was not meant to be us).  He had come across the blawg and was wondering if I could assist with finding host groups for their presentations.  At which point it occurred to me that what his group will be presenting about (the RDSP) would actually tie in quite nicely with a disability group offering three separate sessions to their members - one on guardianship, one on the RDSP and one on Henson Trusts. 

So, yeah, a little more scheming thinking going on there at the moment.

To be Continued ...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

For The Wisdom of Solomon

I read an interesting opinion piece in our provincial newspaper a couple of weeks ago. 

Entitled "Racist Parents, innocent children: What to do?", it referenced a Court of Appeal decision in New Jersey where three young siblings, with given names of Adolph Hitler, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation and Honsztynn Hinler Jeannie (apparently "Honszlynn Hitler" is meant to honour Heinrich Himmler, the Recihsfuhrer of the SS) were removed from their parents, with custody being transferred to the state. 

Is anyone out there actually wondering what got Children's Aid involved in the first place?

Although a family court had previously found insufficient evidence that the parents had abused or neglected their children, the three appeal court judges ruled that the parents had “recklessly created a risk of serious injury to their children by failing to protect the children from harm and failing to acknowledge and treat their disabilities". 

The children's names were not mentioned in the appeal decision and the court relied on other grounds to find the children were in need of protection (the ones noted in the news accounts being that both parents were unemployed and suffered from unspecified physical and psychological disabilities).

And I must say that although we don't have much detail as to the extent of the parents' "disabilities", it does seem rather strange that the state would be granted permanent guardianship solely on those enumerated grounds.  Or, at least not until after extensive services had been put in place in an effort to help the parents remedy their deficits.

The  New Jersey case mirrors a Canadian one where a young child in Manitoba went to school with a massive swastika on her arm and other slogans on her legs, including references to Adolf Hitler and the slogan, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
Photos of the markings were shown in court.

“The meaning of that is that black people don’t belong,” the girl later explained to the social worker.

The woman told court Monday she was stunned by what transpired during an hour-long interview with the girl, who frequently used the N-word to describe blacks and said she believes strongly in what her parents taught her.
The girl also gave a graphic description of how to kill a black person, telling the social worker about using a spiked ball attached to a chain and then “whipping them until they die.”

The worker asked the girl if those ideas “scared her.”

“No, black people just need to die. That’s not scary. This is a white man’s world,” she replied.
Although the case was argued as having "nothing to do with infringing on free speech or expression" but rather “longstanding family dysfunction” (including drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, neglect, and criminal activity and associations), some, at least, have read the court's finding that the child and her younger brother were at risk of harm from their Nazi-sympathizing parents as proposing that the risk that the child would acquire racist attitudes was also grounds for removing them from their parents.

And the point has been rightfully made that these children were not originally removed from the home the reasons enumerated above; in fact, they were removed from their parents long before these details came out.  No, there's really no other way to spin it other than that they were taken because the children's aid workers didn't appreciate the racist beliefs of the parents.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Wish I Could ... I Wish I Could ...

Having just returned from a 10-day vacation to Cape Breton Island a few days hence (yes, it was a great trip, thanks for asking), I shake my befuddled head and wonder Why, oh why, does "re-entry" seem to get more and more difficult as the years pass?

Trying to put my brain, house, work and life (somewhat in that order) back in order is definitely going to result in me needing another vacation. On account of my vacation.

I tell you this only because I dearly do want to blog a new post here. Honest, I do. For once, I even know of what I want to blog.

While we were away, I came across an article in our provincial paper (which I can no longer access electronically, alas!) which asked the question "Racist parents, innocent children: What to do?". Which I might well have blogged about then but for severe difficulties with the keyboard of a brand new lap top (!!) which pretty much killed the thought of doing anything which would actually involve ... you know ... typing.

And now, home at last, reunited with my trusty computer, I would really like to start that post.

But I simply can't. For the moment.

See above.