When a child protection worker walked into Marlene’s home in Toronto, two things were immediately obvious: the love between Marlene and her grandchildren was profound, and her broken-down home was unsafe.
What happened next reveals gaps in Ontario’s child protection system that even the powerful love of a grandmother can’t bridge. Marlene’s three grandchildren were taken and placed in a Mississauga foster home — at a cost to taxpayers far greater than what it cost to fix Marlene’s home.
“It was devastating, because I’ve always been the protector and now I couldn’t do anything about it,” says Marlene, 63, her eyes swelling with tears. “I walked around like a zombie thinking, ‘Oh my God, what will I do now?’ ”
Marlene had been taking care of her grandchildren for a couple of months while her daughter struggled with an abusive relationship and other troubles. Children’s aid societies are supposed to give priority to …