Tomorrow I will be at the White House in Washington, DC for the arrival ceremony of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It will be another opportunity to share Teagan’s story with many of the people who influence policy in North America.
It is critical that our leaders understand the challenges that parents, caregivers, relatives, child welfare workers, teachers, lawyers, judges, police officers and others face when trying to protect children at risk. At the core of these challenges is a lack of respect for children’s human rights.
It is tempting and easy to blame groups or single out people when failure occurs but real change requires that we look at the laws, procedures and practices that led up to these devastating and tragic events. The sad reality is there is not a single point of failure in the system but rather that the system is a failure.
Teagan would not want a ‘band-aid’ from her Dad – she would demand a solution. We believe the way forward involves…
1) Professional Duty of Reporting Child Welfare Situations: we need accountability to eliminate professional indifference and act on the warning signs that are almost always present.
2) Legal Representation for Children in Family Court: We live in a system of rule of law and until Children have their own seat at that table their human rights can never be respected.
3) Appointment of a Federal Children’s Advocate: It’s an extremely complex environment with multiple jurisdictions that requires National coordination and passion from within the system.
Lastly, I think we need to start this process with a comprehensive review of the overall system by experts, outsiders, victims and legislators. Change does not happen naturally and our desire to band-aid solutions has led to a very leaky ship. I think it would be very thoughtful to keep the quote below in mind as we move forward…
“If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it.” – Albert Einstein