Sun Media columnist Christina Blizzard ("Ontario's child welfare system is failing too many kids," Aug. 16) blames our child welfare system and the courts for all the child abuse and neglect in this province, and she refers to a number of recent Toronto cases. But the courts and the child welfare authorities deal only with cases that are brought before them, and then only on the available evidence.
Reported cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Most child neglect and abuse is never reported.
Our child welfare system is indeed a disgrace. Children's Aid Society (CAS) workers are burdened by a protocol imposed by the province that forces them to deal with each case brought to them in a politically correct and time-consuming manner.
But that's not the real problem. By the time the CAS arrives on the scene, the damage is already done. And much of it is irreversible. I can't imagine a more depressing job.
The underlying problem is that our social welfare system encourages parenthood among those members of our society who are least equipped for it. Irresponsibility is rewarded. Money is handed out freely to mothers who bring children into the world even though they have no financial resources to raise them, and even less ability to parent them.
The mothers are free to spend their welfare cheque on their children. They are also free to spend it on beer. Children become a meal ticket. If these mothers have additional children, they are rewarded with even more money.
Fatherhood is discouraged. Welfare moms who keep the father in the house find their monthly cheque cut. To add insult to injury, the province disguises its own culpability by labelling the father a "deadbeat dad" if he doesn't pay child support.
Responsible working families that might make the best parents are discouraged from procreating. Child subsidies for working families are meagre and quickly clawed back by our regressive tax system. Quality day care is scarce, with no subsidies for those who choose to work. Welfare moms get free drug and dental benefits, but working parents have to pay for their drugs and dental work. Many working families choose to remain childless, and those who have children limit the size of their families to one or two children.
In two-parent families, mothers are discouraged from remaining home with their children during their formative years through the taxation of individual income rather than family income. Income-splitting for tax purposes is not permitted. Canada's population would be shrinking were it not for immigration.
The system is self-perpetuating. Today's dysfunctional children will become tomorrow's dysfunctional parents. Surely the solution is for the social engineers in our government to revise the taxation and welfare laws to encourage parenthood by those who would make the best parents and to discourage it by those who are not ready for the responsibility of parenthood.
Yes, Ontario's child welfare system stinks. But columnists should be identifying the underlying causes of child abuse and neglect rather than blaming those whose job it is to paper over the problems long after the damage is done.