In light of what’s been published in the media in regard to the alleged murder-suicide of Charmaine Harris McLeod and her four children Aaleyn, Matilda, Wyatt and Zaidok, I think it is now necessary that I explain what I have seen in my work and which if similar conditions existed, could very possibly be the catalyst for this tragedy.
If you don’t know me, then I will introduce myself so that you understand what my background is. I am an advocate who works with Australian families when there is an alleged risk of harm to children. In the majority of my cases the children have already been removed from their birth families and the parents are fighting to prove there is no risk of harm, and have their children returned to their care. I have worked on over 100 cases and I provide my services voluntarily. What I have learned from these cases feeds a pool of knowledge that I feel is hugely valuable and that I make freely available to other advocates and parents. Some research has already been published through both my personal Facebook page and the Broken System Productions page that I run. I don’t work alone. I work with an extended team who I can’t speak highly enough of, all supporting each other and all working for the same outcome – keeping families together and ensuring kids are safe. In some cases I would suggest some children are better off in out-of-home care than home with their natural parents. Sometimes parents really just need to apply themselves and clean up their act, get off the drugs, work to remove domestic violence from their lives etc. But these parents are a tiny proportion of those I work with. Most are good parents, wrongly accused. In fact more than 4 in 5 children who are currently in out-of-home care should not be there and should be returned to their birth families.
The first thing to understand is that the state based Departments of Child Protection around the country have very little to do with actually protecting children. Statistically, they actually do more harm than good to children and their families. You only need to look at the home page of Family and Community Services in NSW to discover the services they provide (1). Equivalent Departments in other states, including Queensland work in the same manner. Foster and kinship care, guardianship, adoption, Children’s Court, laws, legal help are the services on offer. The entire model is designed to remove children from their birth family and place them with foster families, for profit. In fact Australia is regarded as the child stealing capital of the world (2).
Through my work, what I have discovered are what I call “templates”. Templates are the manner in which children are removed from parents and placed into care, for the profit of the state and non-government entities. A template is a known manner of removal that follows a set pattern of events. I have identified a number of templates and understanding each greatly assists in knowing where a family is in regard to the process of having their family systematically destroyed, and what we need to do next to try and prevent it. I feel it necessary to discuss one of the templates I have discovered as it appears to be relevant in this tragedy. The lead up to the event just south of Kingaroy in Queensland this week appears to conform to this template which I am very aware of and see repeated regularly. I am currently working with several parents where this template has been used.
A lot of things go on in churches that are directly related to child protection cases. Some churches seem to have business managers installed that are there to boost the profits of the churches. The church functions become split into two; one part is the legitimate promotion of Christianity, the other is the business side that is there to increase the profits of the organisation. Child Protection is heavily involved in some of these churches and appear to be working with the business units, possibly under contracts. What happens, is some members of a congregation become shunned as Charmaine noted she was and which was reported in the mainstream media (3,4). The business unit in the church works with various, usually well respected members of the congregation, or new members who are brought in who fulfil these positions. They work closely with the business management and act to undermine the parents. In the latest mainstream article published today (6) it mentions there may have been mental illness. This doesn’t surprise me because this is part of the model. Undermining parents to create mental instability is a major part of this template. I have even seen rapes orchestrated in order to destabilise mothers. Those people acting to create the orchestrations are paid, usually indirectly so as to cover-up the financial trail. Gift vouchers, for instance, are commonly used. A mother who has just been through a marriage breakdown and with four children becomes a target by the Department for removal of her children. The value to the Department is easily $400,000 per year and likely more.
There is a method of orchestration of events that is used universally across all templates, and none more so than this template.
1. Remove Supports: When Departments of Child Protection become involved, they work with extended family and friends to alienate them against the family. It’s firmly accepted that families need assistance to raise children. Case workers go out of their way to remove these supports to create instability. There are many ways this is done but it’s all by orchestration. The worst I think I’ve come across are a couple of cases, one where the police arrived early in the morning and trained spotlights on the residence and made a lot of noise to alert the neighbours there was an operation underway. This was done simply to allow the case workers to remove the children and alienate the neighbours against the parents. The second was again early morning where the police again made a lot of noise and broke down the door as if they were performing a drug raid. In both cases the alienation and removal of supports worked very effectively for the Department. And of course all this is by design. Other methods of alienation I have seen are that the protective parent is charged with crimes of a perpetrator. This usually occurs in DV cases. This tactic is so common I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen it occur. So, for instance, the male partner may be the perpetrator of DV towards the female partner and the children. When the police become involved they charge the female with the crimes and put pressure on her to plead guilty to the charges, or put her in a situation where she is unable to prove her innocence and that causes vulnerability and risk of harm to the children, once again creating the conditions for the children to be removed. Please note that it’s not always the female who is the protective parent in this scenario. I’ve worked with almost as many men who are a protective parent as well and been treated this way.
2. Collusion: Government agencies and Departments of Child Protection work together to create the conditions to enable removal of children. The police and Department of Housing are the main ones, but Centrelink is also involved and increasingly I’m seeing Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages. I’m convinced that Centrelink is not a major player however and only acting on information provided by state based agencies. It’s the individual Departments of the states that collude to remove children as its them who receive the funding. Department of Housing works in a manner that if they provide housing to parents in need, they do so in a manner where the parents can be watched and reported on. They will usually be placed in locations where what we call “informants” are placed. Informants report actions of the parents to the Department, fabricated or not, and this builds the case for removal by the Department. Police also work with the Department to set up situations that leave the protective parent vulnerable.
I’m finding that Departments of Births, Deaths and Marriage are all too happy to adjust birth certificates and issue new ones at the request of the Department in order to remove a parent so they have no say in regard to the children. Yes that’s correct. If the Department feel they can weaken a parent’s case by, for instance, removing the father from the child’s birth certificate, BDM will issue a new one with the father removed. Likewise they will add a father. I know of a case where the father, who is a paedophile, was added because the Department felt that doing so would weaken the mother’s case. Also, children’s names are regularly changed for various reasons, but always to provide the Department further means to work against a protective parent.
3. Churches: Being a community based institution you would think would be there to assist the vulnerable get back on their feet and provide support. Not so. Many these days are more about various people within the church using it to enhance their social status, due to their position and using photo opportunities with CEOs of prominent companies for instance. I’ve been involved with cases where parents have been told by the Department to attend their local church to seek support and the parents have reported back to me that the church is crawling with people working for and with the Department. You only need to look at the major church structures such as Anglican and Catholic churches. They each have foster care organisations attached being Anglicare and Catholicare. But these are by no means the only ones. Churches of Christ likewise do, and increasingly I’m seeing other Pentecostal churches building their model.
In order to understand how the vulnerability model is used, please read my previous article (6). This shows how and why families are being targeted.
It is also important to understand that evidence plays no part in Departments of Child Protection determining if a child or family is at risk or not. By far the reports submitted by family, friends and neighbours are given the highest importance, even over those provided by mandatory reporters such as doctors and police. It is very possible for one partner to use a number of acquaintances to submit false reports to the Department, and for the Department to take those reports on face value without performing a proper investigation. This is particularly the case when domestic violence is involved. So if a mother has left a DV relationship and has custody of the children, and the father gets all his acquaintances together to file false but similar reports, the mother will be put in a situation where she is regarded as incapable or neglectful. But because case workers with the Department are completely unskilled in such investigations, they rely on these reports provided to them and use them as evidence. It then becomes almost impossible for a mother to prove her innocence against allegations where no evidence exists.
Now that we know that Qld Department of Child Safety was involved with this family, I am convinced this mother was under tremendous pressure with them trying to prove her incapable and/or mentally ill, with the objective to remove her children for the profit of the state. This Department does not help families, it destroys them, and has a massive and provable track record of doing so. Perhaps one day, with the assistance of parents who have been involved with them, I can present this.
I hope this goes some way to demonstrate what’s actually occurring in Australia today and how and why families are coming under sustained attack. The tragedy that occurred has prompted me to write this as I can see so many indicators in regard to this template being used from what I have seen published in the media. Whether or not this is the case is still to be determined, however I hope these possibilities are considered and investigated.
2) Australia is the child stealing capital of the world
3) Reports of abandonment by Church
4) Media report of family left behind and unsupported
5) Department of Child Safety involvment
6) How vulnerability is used to remove children from families