THE DRUGGING OF CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE

Dr. Marty McKay, former Psychologist with the Children’s Aid Society for 33 years, talks about how children in foster care are unethically drugged into a stupor for profit.

RELATED CONTENT (WEB)
Forced Drugging of Children in Foster Care: Turning Child Abuse Victims into Involuntary Psychiatric Patients, by M. McKay, Ph.D.
Psychotropic Medication in Foster Care: A Bibliography
Adult antidepressants suspected in suicides of Canadian kids (Toronto Star)

FROM THE VOICES ARCHIVE
Krista
Why I Want to be a Child Youth Worker
Because I Am Black

FROM THE DOCUMENTARY FILM, Powerful As God – The Children’s Aid Societies of Ontario
Chapter 5, Drugs For Profit

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TRANSCRIPT

[00:00:02.00] I was a psychologist for 33 years and worked with the Children’s Aid Societies starting in 1976 until 2004 or 2005, at which time I didn’t feel that I could, in good conscience, work with that agency any longer because of certain problems that I noted that were going on.

[00:00:36.21] One of the problems that I was most concerned about, was the drugging of children in foster care. I wrote an article that was published in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine in-titled, “Forced Drugging of Children, Turning Abused Children into Involuntary Psychiatric Patients”, which was published in 2007.

[00:01:03.13] I was also the subject of two documentaries, which outlined the problems with children. Those concerns that I raised in that regard, led to the establishment of an expert panel by the Ontario government on which I sat as one of the members and we found that agencies were not following proper protocols for the medication of children for the diagnostic procedure – sending all children in a group home, for instance, to one particular psychiatrist.

[00:01:52.29] So, there were some reforms to the system. However, since that time I don’t have complete faith that there has been substantial improvement in a lot of children in group home facilities, in particular.

[00:02:13.24] If a child was saying, “I don’t feel right. I feel weird when I take these drugs. I can’t concentrate or I can’t – I’m having bad dreams.” This highly suggests the child is able to understand and appreciate with regard to consent to drug treatment to the level of his knowledge and experience.

[00:02:45.12] But what I found as a member of the expert panel was that some of the case workers for the CAS actually thought that a child gave up his basic human rights when they were in care! Which is not true! The child is a – has the same human rights as you or I have – as any adult has, that any disabled or abled body person has.

[00:03:20.29] But some of these people are so – either they’re ignorant, or they’re indoctrinated, or they simply are opportunists, they believe that the Child and Family Services Act supersedes any other laws in the Dominion of Canada! And this is, as far as I’m concerned, an outrage!

[00:03:45.14] The documentary that the CBC did regarding one of the children that I was able to rescue from the system, revealed that he had been sexually abused in this home because he was put in a room with an older boy who had a known history of sexual acting out. And he was victimized.

[00:04:14.29] So, in the name of child protection, this child was actually repeatedly sexually abused by an older boy, while ostensibly in the care of the child protective agency.

[00:04:28.09] So, once I went to one of these group homes and found that the children – some of them seemed to be in a daze and stumbling around – and found out what kind of medication they were on, I became very vocal about these concerns that this could not be!

[00:04:49.11] And this one child that I rescued, I had been brought in as an expert by the Children’s Aid Society, itself, and I was to do a Parent and Capacity Assessment and this child, who was eight years, eight or nine years old, had as many diagnoses as he had years of life. And, I expected, after reviewing the file that I was gonna see a child who was basically brain damaged. And what I saw instead was a child who was in a drug-induced stupor!

[00:05:30.21] And I indicated that I couldn’t conduct an assessment on the child when he was on all this medication. And it took almost eighteen months for him to be withdrawn from this medication. This is all documented in the CBC film called, “J’s Story, Finding Normal”.

[00:05:52.00] That he didn’t have any of these diagnoses, in fact. He didn’t have – he wasn’t Attention Deficit Disordered, he didn’t Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Tourette Syndrome, and Mental Retardation and all the host of diagnoses. No one has stopped to look at his chart and question any of the diagnoses. Every time he was seen by someone new, another additional drug was added.

[00:06:22.29] And, also in reviewing the file, it was my reading of the file on this child, in the group home, he was subject, even though he said he didn’t want, he didn’t like the effects of these drugs, he was never allowed to be heard on that. He was forcefully drugged, and the group home workers – as far as I could determine from my reading of the file – used threats and inducements to keep him taking these drugs.

[00:06:56.25] Once that I finished this assessment, obviously I was there expert so they had to take my findings seriously, but after that, I became a Persona Non Grata with that particular agency.  And the word also spread to other agencies, and then I didn’t receive any other referrals. But, with regard to that particular agency, I wrote and said that until they cleaned up their act, I was not prepared to do any further work with them.

[00:07:38.09] At that time, not knowing just how widespread this wholesale drugging of children was, since then, I’ve done a lot of research and found out it wasn’t just this agency. It’s a lot of agencies, a lot of agencies throughout Ontario and in the United States.

[00:07:57.05] But the United States seems to be waking up to the problem of the drugging of children and that, in many instances, the State is getting ripped off for having to pay for all of these drugs. And there are – it’s an industry. There are lots of people making money off this.

[00:08:18.14] Some psychiatrists base their whole practice, or almost all of their practice, on treating children in foster care. And the way that the set up is, in terms of the payment for fee, for medical fee, the more exotic the diagnosis, the more time its, apparently, supposed to take to diagnose these disorders.

[00:08:48.23] So, there’s a lot of money being made. Group home workers are basically kids, a lot of them – so these children are being, quote, parented by kids in, sort of, Victorian type orphanages. And then the drugs – you have to question if they’re actually being used as a crowd control measure, because there are too many kids, angry and upset and deprived and neglected and abused children. And instead of being seen as that, and being given the nurturing and the psychological support that they need, they’re being diagnosed with drugs, which are harmful to them.

[00:09:38.11] Harmful to developing brains, and for which there’s no purported cure for these disorders. The drugs are, basically, a lifelong enterprise. To a pharmaceutical company, this is music to their ears. A disorder, or a set of disorders, for which there’s no cure, only management, but the person has to keep taking them. Parenthetically, another problem with all of this is, that that isn’t part of the informed consent process, and the difficulty of getting off these drugs once a person is on them.

[00:10:28.07] In terms of “J”, the child that I did the assessment on, that woke me up to what was going on, no private paediatrician would dare take him off these drugs. He had to be seen by a hospital where they have a full staff of experts available to him, because going off – being taken off these drugs at the high levels that was being given him, can be very dangerous and has to be done in a very systematic way.

[00:11:05.27] And yet, these children are being administered these drugs and they’re not being told. And the CAS caseworkers are not being told. Unless something drastic has changed since I was involved – and I have no reason to believe that’s the case – not being told how difficult it is to take these children off the drugs.

[00:11:31.11] Which comes to another point, is that these CAS workers are the ones who sign the consent forms for the children to have these drugs. And they know nothing about the drugs. They haven’t had training in them. And, they may sign consent forms for their whole case load. So. And they’re in loco parentis but, you know, What normal parent is going to just routinely sign off on consents? I don’t think that, that would be the case.

[00:12:05.19] But here are these case workers who know nothing about drugs, signing off consent forms for whoever – you know – 50, 60, 70 kids are in their caseload? When I told them what the situation was, that he was on these high levels of stimulants and anti-seizure medication – even though he didn’t have a seizure disorder – and these neuroleptics and the effects that I could see, when I would see him take these drugs and how his cognitive abilities and emotional control would decrease after the drug, not be bettered by the drugs – the reaction of the caseworker was, “Oh my goodness! That’s terrible! We’ll have to do something about it! We’re gonna send you right back to the same psychiatrist – we’re gonna send the child to the same psychiatrist for a reevaluation.” The same one who had been doing these – doing the medication to begin with.

[00:13:19.09] I said, “I don’t think that’s a good idea. I think we need some independent person.” And, they wanted – In my view, this is my view, I can’t prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt, that – they wanted to find their own expert because they wanted to validate what was already taking place. And they got very angry with the child’s grandparents for seeking out independent, an independent entity to deal with these drugs.

[00:13:60.26] And, they put many, many onerous requirements on these grandparents. The grandparents ended up having to go to court many times, they were even threatened sometimes with being in contempt of court if they didn’t do everything the Children’s Aid wanted them to do. They finally got custody and the child has been there for several years now and is doing just fine without any drugs, psychotropic drugs, whatsoever.

[00:14:36.16] But the way that they persecuted these grandparents was, again, shameful, and made me ashamed of having spent so much of my time and energy with the Children’s Aid. Because I used to love working for, with the Children’s Aid Society.

[00:15:05.00] I really felt that they were taking the moral high ground because I was involved in cases where children would come in with bite marks all over them, or having been pushed or held under scalding water until the skin was peeling off them, or children who had been sexually abused, children who had seen one of their siblings murdered by their parent and I felt that I was in a position of helping those children. That they were in a bad situation and what I could do would certainly move them along the continuum and at least a modicum of positive direction.

[00:15:54.18] And, I have to say, that the philosophy of the Children’s Aid Society has changed over the years. When I started in 1976, there weren’t all these group homes. The philosophy was a home for every child, not these warehousing of children.

[00:16:16.24] And the attitude for children was to get them involved in healing activities, play therapy, art therapy. But it’s all been medicalized now. And, so now these – in my view, the Children’s Aid Societies formed an unholy alliance with the psychiatric profession and the pharmaceutical industry. And, in fairness, I believe that some agencies really would like to get out from under that, but, it’s taken on a life of it’s own.

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3 Responses to THE DRUGGING OF CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE

  1. Investigative Individual says:

    *Although I agree with Dr. McKay’s intentions and many of her points, and also applaud her courage, the fact is that she resigned from her profession due to highly unethical practices as a psychologist. You can read about it here: https://members.cpo.on.ca/members_search/show/959?section=discipline#ui-tabs-12

    So we really have to question her judgment and ask whether she truly is the best professional to speak about such controversial matters.

    • director says:

      Thank you for your collaboration and participation in the work. Below is Dr.McKay’s response (with transcript) to your comment.

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      Transcript
      [00:00:01.20] Oh yes. As I said, I became a Persona Non Grata with the Children’s Aid Society. And, again, I have to make certain deductions about things that happened to me afterwards. Because there was one case in which I had to do a mandated reporting of a child who was in the process of being kidnapped.
      [00:00:32.03] There was an international child abduction afoot and I became aware of it and reported it to a Children’s Aid Society. And the next thing I knew, which was several months later, was that the Children’s Aid Society had reported me to my own College for involvement in making what was a mandated child endangerment reporting.
      [00:01:08.06] And not only did they not prevent the child from being abducted, they, in my view, allowed the child to be abducted.
      [00:01:23.23] I certainly did not appreciate some of the ways my own College responded to them. And I came to think that perhaps some of the agencies that are under the government agis do sort of – work together to protect each other.
      [00:01:49.26] Again, this is speculation on my part but the College position was, essentially, that I had upset the mother by reporting her for going to abduct her child.
      [00:02:07.07] It was more nuance and more complicated than that. But in essence, that’s what it was because the child had not yet been abducted so I had, I had behaved improperly.
      [00:02:28.23] So, all of this was sort of a disenchanting experience after having served my profession and served the children that I saw within the Children’s Aid Societies for 33 years.
      [00:02:46.21] And once a person becomes disenchanted, its time to move on to something else, which I’ve done. And now I’m very happy because I’m working in academic research, writing and lecturing. And I’m now in a position of using my experience in a way to be an advocate.
      [00:03:14.28] When you’re a practising clinician you have to always be careful about advocacy work because you could be seen as taking sides or be seen as lacking an objectivity. But I’m clearly interested in continuing to work to better the chances of children growing up in Ontario.
      [00:03:45.09] Their first order of business is to try and discredit a person. And, in some people’s view, because I resigned as a psychologist, they think that I have been discredited.
      [00:04:01.25] But you can’t discredit what you’ve seen, what you’ve experienced, what you – all the data that you’ve collected. I’ve been vindicated by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services because they did an independent study of what was going on out in Durham and in almost every case, they validated what I had done.
      [00:04:31.05] And also, I speak publicly. You know, I don’t hide in a corner. I think that the best protection is to be really out there and speaking about what you’ve seen, what you have experienced, and what needs to be changed.

  2. Dr. Sue Gammond D.V.M says:

    *This documentary outlines many of the situations that have been preciptated in a case that I am following in Thunder Bay. The Children’s Aids Society has taken on a life of it’s own. The public has no say, the child has no say and the extended family is very vulnerable…all in the name of child protection..but the CAS is not open to setting up protection that is kind , effective and cost effective. They only perpetuate costly alternatives and put barriers and onerous requirements. Shameful behaviour by professionals.