A Canadian mom’s recent visit from Child and Family Services has caught the attention of news outlets everywhere for a number of controversial reasons. When most people think of Child Protective Services, they view the department as a safe haven for children who have been neglected or abused by their parents. So, of course, when a social worker arrived at Jacqui Kendrick’s Winnipeg home, she was quite devastated. The accusations brought against her have sparked quite a debate, because it seems as if her parental rights are being threatened without probable cause.
According to the Blaze, stay-at-home mom Jacqui Kendrick received a visit from a social worker with Child and Family Services. The social worker reportedly asked to do a “well-being check” to ensure the safety of her children. Apparently, someone contacted CFS to complain about Kendrick allowing her children, ages 10, 5, and 2, to play unattended in her fenced-in backyard.
During a recent interview with CTV News, Kendrick shared details about the “well-being check” process, which appears to be quite similar to an investigative probe. She was asked a series of questions about their personal life, her parenting style, and the disciplinary tactics used to reprimand her children. Needless to say, she was quite devastated by the time the process was over.
“We had to go through a whole interview asking so many questions — asking me about if we’ve ever dealt with CFS before, what my childhood was like, how I punish my children, whether we drink or do drugs,” Kendrick told CTV News. “[S]he had to look to see where my kids slept. She had to see if we had enough food in the house.”
She also recounted the times her children go out to play. She revealed they normally go outside to play after coming home from school. Even if she’s not outside with them, she can see them from her living room window and feels “completely comfortable” with them playing in the fenced-in backyard. Kendrick explained that she and her husband have taught their two older children about a rule they refer to as the “stranger danger” tactic, so they are quite aware of their surroundings and know what to do when they feel unsafe.
“We’ve taught both the [older] kids so far that you look after each other. That’s kind of the point. The older ones should be looking after the younger ones,” Kendrick explained to the Press, according to the Washington Times. “My 10-year-old is very responsible. We’ve taught the older ones already the whole stranger danger, and they know what to do. When my 5-year-old’s out there, she knows she’s not supposed to go up to the fence.”
But, despite having a home that depicted a healthy living environment for her three children, Kendrick claims the CFS worker continued to press for answers, which ultimately caused her to break down. Kendrick admitted the disheartening process left her in tears.
“The whole time I’m sitting there, pretty much in tears, because I couldn’t understand what was going on,” she said.
Needless to say, Kendrick is quite displeased with the unknown person who reported concerns about her parenting. She also had a message for that person.
“If you really had a concern, you could have knocked on my door,” Kendrick said.
To make matters worse, the seemingly awkward situation has led to the creation of a file on her family, which will always be documented. In the event another call is made to Child and Family Services, the recent well-being check will always be on file, which could possibly make things more difficult, if unfortunately, she is faced with a similar problem in the future.
Although the complaints seem relatively baseless, unfortunately, a psychologist in the Winnipeg area has admitted that the rise of the internet and social media has led many people to believe they are entitled to their opinions and feel the need to force their beliefs and perspectives on others.
While Dr. Toby Rutner agreed with Kendrick’s perspective, he admitted the opinionated world we live in has fueled people’s desires to push their own agenda.
“With the Internet, it has not only created a situation where everyone feels they are entitled to give an opinion, but [also] this approach that says everyone’s opinion is equal in value,” Rutner said.
Regardless of how someone may oppose the idea of children playing unattended in a fenced-in backyard, Manitoba’s Child and Family Services Act only states that children 12 years of age or older can be left at home alone. There are no specifications about children being left unattended in fully fenced-in backyards while parents are home.
Do you think the CFS “well-being check” was justifiable? Share your thoughts.
[Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images]