|Dan Philion receives award for community service...but not good enough to have his daughter they say|
This year's underlying theme for "Quest for Youth" is mental health. Mental health rears its ugly head more often than we know.School educators hope to inform and educate through this forum to better identify those in need earlier and to understand better how to handle kids with certain conditions, but what about when someone is mishandled as an adult?
|Dan's daughter taken - his crime? Being disabled|
My friend Dan solemnly informed me the other day that it has now been two years since he and Ashleigh had the control and care of their child taken away from them at birth. Yup, Children's Aid decided they were a risk to harm their child and not only took their daughter but have kept control ever since.
Drug addicts you ask? No. Alcoholics? Child abusers? No and no. Try disabled.
Children's Aid Society first got involved in their lives through a regional 'care-worker" they confided in who contacted childrens aid early in the pregnancy to "help them prepare for having their baby". Ha. Some help. Ashleigh was told they wouldn't take her baby then as well. Double ha.
At the time both were in wheelchairs - although Ashleigh had limited mobility with frequent seizures- and Dan with M.D. had previously raised two kids ( mostly alone) successfully. In fact he took pride in the fact that his son never (and daughter rarely) missed a day of school when they lived with him his oldest graduated now with honours. He has a world of knowledge and experience, having raised them mostly alone too, but that was all cast aside with the insertion of Children's Aid in their lives. Dan, who also has a parenting course certificate, saw no reason why he need jump their other hoops not related to his illness, like making him take " anger management", counselling, etc and after some months of their "visits", asked them to leave his house and not come back. Who wouldn't be mad if they took your child away and gave control to strangers? They also expected him (them), with limited mobility, to go visit their daughter at the Children's Aid's offices. He / they were treated like drug addict child abusers - as Dan put it,
"They even let drug addicts have their kids Tom, what's that all about? We just want our daughter".
After the birth of the baby where Ashleigh was denied the RIGHT to hold her baby in the hospital bed like all the other moms ( baby was removed without supervision) she understandably got depressed. Likely postpartum as well, and because she communicated that aloud - depressed - that was held against her and ordered to see more psychiatrists, take parenting classes, medications and and and on...Add a (Dan's) mother in- law with self motives and you have yourself a real kettle of fish.
Then one day a miracle happened - after 6 YEARS being diagnosed as epileptic and MADE to take anti-seizure medication that caused her such severe convulsions up to 12 a day - so much so that she had to be in a wheelchair- she was told by a new doctor that she was wrongly diagnosed and took her off it! Her new Doctor then told her to get ready to walk again! Ashleigh now is able enough she plays goalie in street hockey for the neighbourhood kids!
It's now been 8 months without a single convulsion and Ashleigh is walking like a champ! Unbelievable.
|Dan & wheelchairbound Ashleigh with Lois Brown as BBQ Volunteers in 2009|
So this is where the happy ever after part usually comes in like in all those Era Banner news stories that tell those fantastic wondrous happy ending stories on behalf of those great funders and help programs. Ha. Like the "help organization" who set this couple up with Childrens Aid? Ha. Sorry, no happy ending here, as even though Ashleigh has no more physical limitations, Dan does they say. And Ashleigh's mental health is an issue . Really? Well I don't think any women should have anything she says held against her post partum - especially one treated as she was and separated from her baby. Her (support) "worker" told her " The reason you don't have your baby is because you can't afford her." Outrageous.
As Dan told me, "I love my daughter and would never ever do anything to harm her. I don't need to prove that to anyone. We just want our daughter back and to be left alone like everyone else. We haven't done nothing wrong"I saw Dan's son and other daughter the other day playing with the baby as they were lucky enough to be around when she was brought for a short visit and couldn't help but think "what is wrong with this picture", as they all waved goodbye to their own flesh and blood, Dan and Ashleigh quiet.
I watched Dan over the years raise those two and they were always clean and helping with chores and had a school record any able bodied parent would envy.
When I press them on why they haven't gotten better representation for custody they say their lawyer says nothing and goes along with them it seems,
"It's what they want, the easy way out and cheapest for the system and seems no matter what we do we feel they aren't going to give us custody. In two years of this we never saw a judge NOT ONCE!". They skipped the last formality day of the process as it has been preordained that daughter April would be given to someone else's care.... and they couldn't bare witnessing that.
This is nothing short of discrimination and an assault on human rights in my eyes.