BC’s Ministry of Children and Family Development created another fiasco. It flew an unsupervised and unescorted, angry and belligerent 16 year old girl across country from BC to Calgary. And she did so while ignoring the fact that there existed an already unfolding disaster.
Social worker, Sara Cottell created a further fiasco for a family which was already burdened with dealing with a critically ill loved one
She did this in the face of multiple red flags. That was despite the fact that flying this child to Calgary could serve no purpose, but might well exacerbate tensions around a calamity wherein a life hung in the balance. This was an outrageous decision.
[For the record, I telephoned Ms. Cottell prior to writing or posting this. I got her voicemail and left her a message in which I explained my intention to write this blog. As well, I offered her the opportunity to contact me. I still have not heard from her.]
Here is the cast of participants and their background. I will use pseudonyms to protect the identity of the minor involved
- MOM – 39 year old mother of two sons and one daughter
- SF (StepFather) – 70 year old stepfather to MOM’s children and apparent polygamist-bigamist since two women currently wear a wedding ring from him without a divorce
- SON – 18 year old son
- JD (Juvenile Delinquent) – 16 year old daughter
Background for this fiasco
SON, who had been abandoned by MOM and SF for several years, attempted to commit suicide by drinking anti-freeze. However, this was only after multiple warning signs of which MOM and SF were made aware.
SF, with his infinite wisdom, ego and selfishness, convinced MOM that the warning signs were false. He obviously did not want the burden of dealing with the potential suicide of his stepchild. SF is a control freak who had achieved near total dominance over MOM in a Stockholm Syndrome like affect. This made it extremely difficult for MOM to resist or disagree with SF’s opinion. Therefore, MOM was somewhat of a victim/puppet of SF.
[SF and MOM began their relationship several years ago. As I write this all of MOM’s children, all minors at the time, have been abandoned. This was largely due to SF’s constant pressure on, and control over, MOM. He relentlessly attacked the children’s fitness to live in his house. And over time, as he took almost complete control of every facet of life within his household, he was able to kick them to the curb.]
SF’s silent message to MOM, “I own you now”
After having gotten rid of MOM’s kids, SF even moved MOM and him to a very small town that MOM’s kids would not like. Therefore, they would probably have little desire to visit, and more especially, would not want to live there.
Furthermore, in the event that they did decide they might like to move there, the prospect of a job for them in such a small town would be very dim. Of course, the job prospects were the same for MOM, and SF knew this. Thus, JD orchestrated financial, physical and psychological control.
This is what control freaks do. They seize control of every aspect of their victim’s life. Then they isolate their victims to create a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness within them.
The History of Abandonment
JD had been abandoned to the government when she was 14 or younger. SON had been abandoned to the street and caring parents of his friends when he was about 15 years old. And MOM’s 13 year old son had been abandoned within this year to other members of MOM’s family.
How it unfolded
A family member of SON had helped SON obtain a job in a small Alberta town. That family member noted that SON was exhibiting disturbing behaviors. SON seemed out of touch with reality, somewhat paranoid, and as well, talked about suicide.
Therefore, the family member contacted other members of the family who, after verifying those concerns by speaking directly with SON, then contacted MOM and SF. SF responded by ranting about the supposed stupidity of the family member who had warned MOM and him about the dire psychological condition of SON.
SF shouted down every warning
Still, that family member persisted with the warnings. The family member warned MOM and SF daily over the next week or so. They were told in no uncertain terms that SON desperately needed MOM to become involved in helping SON get psychological help. In fact, the family member repeatedly told SF and MOM that a disaster was imminent within the next several days unless MOM acted immediately.
With each warning though, SF told MOM that the family member needed to mind his own business, that the family member was a liar and an idiot, and that he, SF, understood psychology and that SON was just lazy and worthless.
Undeterred, the family member persisted and even offered to drive to SON’s town and meet MOM there. Still, SF could be heard in the background of the family member’s telephone conversations with MOM literally screaming his insistence that the warnings should be ignored.
[You should understand that MOM appears to be almost entirely unable to have a telephone conversation except in “speakerphone mode” . SF always insists on hearing exactly what is said. This is the absurd level of control which SF enforces in his home.]
The result of SF’s control was that nothing was done for SON. Therefore, within a few days of the last warning SON drank anti-freeze in what SON said was an attempt to end his own life.
After SON drank the poison
The effects of the anti-freeze were quickly apparent. An ambulance was immediately called, and SON was rushed to a hospital about an hour and a half away in Calgary.
The hospital contacted MOM and SF and told them that SON was near death and might not survive.
SF: It’s not my problem
True to his cold, control freak nature and his overwhelming desire to keep his life and MOM’s life separate from SON’s life, SF then told MOM and MOM’s family that there was no point in them driving to Calgary, that SON drank the brew and now it was SON’s problem to deal with, not SF’s problem.
You or I might have been on the first plane to Calgary, or at least put MOM on one. Not this selfish basta*d though. He controlled the purse strings and everything else in their lives. So, even if MOM wanted to fly to Calgary, she had to go through SF, and wouldn’t allow.
It was never about money
For the record, SF’s finances are such that he could very easily have afforded the airplane and any hotels. This was about control, not money. And SF was in complete control. With SF and people of his ilk it is always and only about how it affects them. Nothing and nobody else seems to matter.
SF had things set the way he wanted them. He could now live as a self-proclaimed husband to a woman 30 years younger than he because he had finally gotten rid of all the kids. Therefore, he wasn’t about to let any of the children insinuate their way back into MOM’s life. There was no way that he was going to allow any of them to burden him and destroy the control and tranquility he had created for himself.
It didn’t make any difference to him that one of his step kids lay close to death in a hospital bed. And this cold attitude was despite the fact that he still had a legal wife who had been for years, and currently was, laying in a hospital bed slowly dying from an incurable disease.
Accordingly, it was two days after the poisoning that SF and MOM finally drove to Calgary to see SON. [Note: this was only after SON’s survival was virtually assured.]
Now, back to the social worker, Sara Cottell, and exactly what she knew before inserting the 16 year old girl, JD, into this mix creating a fiasco
JD, the 16 year old girl, according to SF’s edict, was no longer allowed in MOM’s house. SF said he would not tolerate her anger. I do not mean to make an excuse for JD’s anger. However, to a large degree it was probably due to JD having been shuffled in and out of MOM’s life and eventually off to permanent foster care about three years ago. She had far less than an ideal life filled with love.
Sara Cottell, as a social worker, had to have known and been intimately aware of JD’s history with MOM. Still though, she had the ministry pay to fly JD, unsupervised, to Calgary despite that history.
Here is exactly what occurred, complete with text message communications with Ms. Cottell that led to that flight
I have obtained a text exchange between Sara Cottell and a family member of MOM/SON/JD. You should know that I have edited out real names and substituted in the appropriate pseudonyms for them.
Family Member to Sara Cottell:
SON is not in a state to deal with stress. I personally think JD is just looking for a free ride
She should not be coming! I know she hates her mother. She says it all the time to her. Thank you very much for putting us all in a awful situation. Cause I’m certain that it will be
I personally, don’t think it was a good idea sending her here. SON is not in a good way. And she’s probably going to start a fight with her mom cause that’s what she does best. Calls her mom a cu*t. And tells her to kill herself. All the time. I can see this being a very bad idea. Not impressed
Sara Cottell message back to Family Member:
I am hopeful that during this short visit the focus will be on SON. MOM can be in contact with JD’s foster parent if she is needing assistance during the next 24 hours.
Family Member message back to Sara Cottell:
You might deal in hopefully, I deal in probably. Your dead wrong. What don’t you understand?
Let’s examine the response of Sara Cottell for any sign of logic in this fiasco
Was she joking or just daft?
- Whenever JD is around MOM there is a threat of violence, or there is actual violence. Therefore, why would that suddenly change?
- SON is laying in a hospital bed, sedated and comatose, or semi-comatose. Therefore, why would the focus be on him?
- So, MOM is supposed to telephone JD’s foster parent to solve any potential problems? But wait, MOM and JD are in Calgary. The foster parent is on Vancouver Island in BC. Therefore, exactly what is calling the foster parent supposed to accomplish? What the hell is the foster parent going to be able to do?
- Remember, MOM is in Calgary to see after SON who is in critical condition. Why then would Sara Cottell think it a good idea to add JD with her track record of anger and violence to this already tense situation?
- I don’t care whether or not Ms. Cottell expected MOM or SF to make arrangements for JD to have sleeping quarters, it was irresponsible of her to send JD without knowing exactly what those arrangements might be, especially under the circumstances.
Off to the airport in the late afternoon
Still, despite the warning from a family member, and despite knowing the history of anger and violence between JD and MOM, Ms. Cottell saw to it that JD boarded a plane to Calgary. But it gets worse.
Remember, we are talking about a 16 year old girl here who has a history of violence and anti-social behaviour. Ms. Cottell sent this girl without making any arrangements for a hotel for her.
Moreover, she made no firm arrangements for JD’s transportation from the the Calgary airport to the hospital. Instead, she just threw JD some cash and simply told her to take a bus or a taxi.
It turns into even more of a fiasco
The timing of the flight was such that JD arrived in Calgary in the late afternoon or early evening. In fact, the timing was so uncoordinated that JD arrived at in Calgary and at the hospital hours before MOM.
Ms. Cottell didn’t make any arrangements for a place for JD to sleep. Therefore, JD showed up at the hospital at night with no place to sleep and unescorted. This guaranteed a fiasco.
JD then immediately drew the attention of hospital security by threatening staff.
The violence foretold by the family member and JD’s history came to fruition
Next, when MOM arrived, JD got in an argument with the nurse and MOM about the medical care of SON. Immediately following this argument and after the nurse had left the room, still angry, JD grabbed MOM by the throat. JD stopped short of choking MOM though. Instead, she planted herself in a chair next to SON as if daring anybody to get past her. Another family member witnessed all this. Therefore that family member then scolded JD.
Consequently, JD raised her hand to that family member and the fisticuffs began. One of the nurses called hospital security. They told JD that they had seen enough of her behaviour and removed JD from the premises.
Before JD left though, she created another scene. She accused SON of stealing money from her. [Did she really think that he had unhooked all the machines he was tethered to and secreted his way into her pocket or bag?]
At that point it was nighttime in Calgary and this 16 year old girl was left alone to find her own way or to wander the streets of Calgary. If she needed help she was to get in touch with her foster parent who was over 1,000 kilometers away. That’s absurd.
This fiasco was created by several idiotic decisions made by people who are supposed to oversee the care of our disenfranchised children.
Sometimes in life we are just unlucky and luck played a part in this fiasco for MOM’s three kids
MOM’s three children were unlucky on three counts.
First they had the misfortune of having a real scumbag for a birth father. The guy is a pedophile, drug dealer, thief, etc. This clown actually said he wanted to be the one to take JD’s, his daughter’s, virginity.
Thankfully, he will likely be in prison for the rest of his life.
Second, their stepfather, SF, is a scheming and heartless, control freak. He frequented working girls and tried to get into long term relationships with them. He obviously thought he could control them through their dope habits.
On at least two separate occasions, he actually had a working girl move in with him. That was before he met MOM. [MOM was not a working girl].
Third, their mother, MOM, cannot seem to choose a decent man/father/stepfather.
EPILOGUE TO THIS FIASCO
[UPDATE 11/27/17] SON CONTINUES TO IMPROVE,. However his long term prognosis predicts a lifetime of ongoing medical care. With his ongoing treatments, I fear that without the active love and support of MOM he might again find the rigors of life too great.
Sadly though, SF continues to control MOM and keep her isolated from her family. Also, he continues to say that SON has no psychological problems and that he, SF, did and is doing what is best for MOM and MOM’s children.
JD probably made it home okay, but the family member I know does not have specific information.
The 13 year old son who lives with a family member is improving in attitude and in his school grades now that he is no longer under the abusive control of SF.
Our safety net for our children has to do better. JD should not have been flown to Calgary. We cannot afford such stupid decisions. Not only that, think of the money it wastes creating fiasco after fiasco.
Ladies, I need to stress one more important point. Why did I give you all of the details about the relationship of SF and MOM? Because it is important that you understand the larger, hidden message within those details.
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