Monday, December 4, 2017

Kids are going through trauma. Staff are getting assaulted. ‘We are all in the trenches together’

The caregivers of Quaker Rd. don’t scare easily. They bear the wounds of their commitment without complaint — a bald spot where hair was ripped out, scars where bites removed chunks of flesh, more punches and kicks to the head than anyone should ever have to count.

The last thing they want is to portray the children they cared for in two group homes, on the same rural property near Lindsay, Ont., as monsters. The cruelty, they say, is in a child protection system that warehouses its most vulnerable kids while giving their caregivers almost no support.

“The perception is we’re glorified babysitters,” says Brandy Perry, “sometimes, prison guards.”

More difficult to explain and overcome is the trauma that haunts Perry and her Quaker Rd. colleagues.

On a recent fall morning, five of them reunited for the first time at their former workplace, where on Feb. 24 a fire in the girls’ home marked their lives forever. It killed their colleague, Andrea Reid, a 43-year-old mother of three, and Kassy Finbow, a 14-year-old resident of the home.

The women gathered amid tears and hugs of comfort.

“This is another step in the healing,” said Sheila Triggs, who was trapped with Reid and Kassy in an upstairs bedroom as the fire raged.

They stood on a dirt driveway in the morning chill, surrounded by fields of brown corn stalks. Nothing is left of the home that was consumed by smoke and flames.   (more...)

The McWynnety legacy on families -- a crisis with no relief in sight.

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