Monday, January 4, 1999

Judy Peterson

p. A09.

Safe-care proposal could save children

The government-appointed Secure Care Project Team of the Ministry for Children and Families has recommended a proposed safe-care option that would allow for the removal of children and youth from situations of extreme danger to a designated facility for 72 hours. A comprehensive plan of care would be developed during this period.

Most people are unaware that if a child takes off on a "lark" or in a teenage temper tantrum, there is absolutely nothing that the parents, police, or social workers can do. If a 14 year-old child is addicted to heroin and living with a pimp, guess what? Nobody can help. All of society is absolutely powerless to protect these children from their own life-threatening decisions.

This new legislation will be a godsend to thousands of frantic parents who now watch in desperation as their children destroy their chances for a healthy future or their very lives. I know this from personal experience — my 14-year-old daughter disappeared in 1993.

I can't even begin to explain how important this could be to children and their families. It may not be the perfect solution for everyone, but I believe it will save many lives, as well as saving many families the unbelievable grief that we have suffered. I strongly feel that if this type of intervention had been available when my Lindsey was 13, she would not now be the subject of a homicide investigation.

The ministry's concern seems to be worries about abuse of the system. I ask you — what is the worst that can happen? Some children will be rescued and receive counselling when they did not have an urgent need. Surely it is worth this risk to save countless children from exploitation and even death. In fact, 72 hours is not nearly long enough for drug-addicted children.

Please join me in assuring the Ministry of Children and Families that the public supports this legislation. Their address is the Secure Care Project Team, Child Protection Division, Ministry for Children and Families, PO Box 9766, Victoria, B.C. V8W 9S5.

Judy Peterson,

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Created: June 10, 2001
Last modified: June 10, 2001
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