A judge has ruled that a social worker was wrong to take a Canadian couple’s foster children away from them after the couple refused to lie to the child about the Easter Bunny. Frances and Derek Baarsare a religious Christian couple who were pressured by the Children Aid Society to present their two foster children, aged 3 and 5, with the traditional Easter Bunny myth.
The couple, however, were not comfortable with this and while they agreed to host an Easter Egg hunt to try and satisfy their case worker it was not enough. Their two foster children were taken away from them, and they were barred from all future fostering and adoptions. As a result of this the couple sued the Children’s Aid Society and the court ruled in their favour.
A couple's charter rights were violated when a children's aid society closed the pair's foster home over their refusal to tell two young girls the Easter Bunny is real, a Hamilton court has ruled: https://t.co/pL7V4GwSaw pic.twitter.com/wyp0HYAM5g— CBC Toronto (@CBCToronto) 8 March 2018
The Children’s Aid Society (CAS) is a non-governmental organisation that is funded by taxpayers and has been previously criticised for having too much power, with famous documentary titled “Powerful as God” released in 2011 that criticised their past behaviour. When ruling against the CAS the judge offered a scathing indictment of their behaviour:
“There is ample evidence to support the fact that the children were removed because the Baars refused to either tell or imply that the Easter Bunny was delivering chocolate to the Baars' home.
“I am more than satisfied that the society actions interfered substantially with the Baars' religious beliefs.”
Meanwhile the CAS has insisted it never asked the Baars to break with their religious beliefs, although the case-worker has admitted that the children were well cared for. She did not offer any justification for why she took the children away from the Baars in spite of this admission. Although the executive director the CAS has offered a public apology,
“We recognise what our mistakes were," he said. "We respect the decision of the court… and we have to ensure it doesn't happen again.”
The Baars responded to the ruling positively saying,
“We are very thankful for it, that we've been vindicated. Our names have been cleared and we don't have that hanging over us anymore.”
Many have criticised the CAS over its nearly unlimited power. Case workers are not required to meet any qualifications, can enter any home without a warrant, and cannot be sued if they acted under “good faith”, with “bad faith” being incredibly difficult to prove legally. They can order police to act against their own judgement, take custody of children without any due process, can interview children without any advocates present, and can even order a child medicated against the parents’ wishes.