Island children taken from parents after years of neglect

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A Prince Edward Island Supreme Court judge has granted permanent custody of four children to the director of child protection in a case of neglect and abuse that included the father forcing one of them to eat his own feces.

Justice Gordon Campbell issued a written decision Thursday after a 10-day hearing held in November and December to determine if it was in the children’s best interest to permanently take custody away from the parents.

On Feb. 7, 2012 the director of child protection applied for permanent custody of the four children whose ages ranged from four to nine, but the parents contested that application.

The parties involved are only identified by initial in the judgment in order to protect the children’s identities.

In his decision, Campbell said it would be seen as the worst possible result for the parents, but they shouldn’t be surprised given their circumstances and past history.

During the hearing Campbell heard about numerous incidents involving the children, including one in which one of them reported that the father made him eat his own feces after he had an “accident” in which he defecated in his pants.

Campbell described it as “amongst the most foul, repulsive and abusive conduct imaginable” for anyone to do to another person, let alone their child.

It wasn’t the only evidence Campbell relied on, as he noted in his decision.

The director of child protection has been involved with the family since 2005 when concerns first arose about inappropriate people living in the home with the mother and the oldest son.

There were also concerns at the time about alleged drug use, domestic violence and the mother leaving the boy with inappropriate caregivers.

Those concerns continued throughout the years, despite several supervision orders and interventions from the director of child protection.

Both parents have been sentenced to jail time on numerous occasions and at times the children stayed with one parent while the other was in custody.

In March 2011 the oldest boy started missing school and concerns were raised that he wasn’t being properly fed or cared for.

The boy was also concerned about domestic violence against his mother, including an incident during which the father threw a hammer at her.

The four children were eventually placed in two separate foster homes, but later returned to their mother under supervision from the director of child protection.

Problems arose soon after, including a strong and constant smell of cat urine coming from the children’s clothing and the house.

There were also problems noticed at school with the children that included them not showing proper hygiene, not being properly dressed and not being properly fed.

Further investigation led to reports of unauthorized people supervising the children and suspected drug users living at the mother’s house.

There was also cat urine and feces found in the bedrooms, on the bedding and in the children’s clothes.

Questions were also raised about potential sexual abuse of one of the children, although no charges were ever laid.

The children were taken into care in January 2012 after the director of child protection and the police went to the home where they found known drug users but not the mother.

The father was in jail again at that time.

The mother was also arrested after a raid on her house and has a trial pending.

Police have found hashish, cocaine, ecstasy, drug paraphernalia, a Taser, a machete, police batons, mace, bear spray, dog spray and a bulletproof vest in the home with the children.

Campbell concluded his decision by saying too much time has passed in the children’s lives for the courts to consider extending their temporary custody with the director of child protection any longer and he ordered it be made permanent.

Geographic location: Taser

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