I am a Japanese single mother with an autistic son, Joshua Haruki Barnes born to a Canadian father. To escape from my abusive father and to provide my son with better education and supports for autism, I decided to move from Japan to Canada alone in 2004, putting him at a care facility in Tokyo and promising for our reunion once everything was settled.
Got employed in a management position, and obtained a landed immigrant status, I have developed my necessary infrastructures to receive my son. At the same time, my negotiations with Canadian social workers for my son's registration have begun. My persistent appeal finally made them send a Canadian doctor to Japan for my son’s official assessment in July, 2011 and also suggest the fall 2012 for my son to start his school more smoothly.
However, even after a year past, my reunion still has not come true. Making unreasonable excuses repeatedly, they keep ignoring my requests for updates. To complete my miseries, they sent me a letter saying, “Further process cannot be made until we confirm your well-being.” I’ve been appealing for the faster process explaining my mental instability (Guilt towards my son not fulfilling my responsibilities as his mother and unchanged reality despite my efforts were enough to have made me frustrated, depressed and desperate) but never have I imagined they use that as their excuse of neglecting their duties and responsibilities.
Social workers are to help their clients eliminate whatever problems they are facing and guide them to better/comfortable life. Correct? Nevertheless, my social workers’ job performance does not meet the standard. It seems like they are definitely NOT helping me solve my problem at all but cornering me mentally by creating more problems.
I shared my story with my Canadian and Japanese friends, and non-profit-organizations. Apparently, there are quite a number of people in need for social services in BC having the same kind of impressions towards their social workers as me. I was not the only victim after all.
●In general, they are so slow to get work done.
●They work more for their benefits and wages than for their clients.
●They understand so little about their clients’ arduousness as they seem to have been raised under the normal healthy environment.
●They take more role to eliminate the government financial burden than to support families.
●They are insufficiently trained, not understanding what their tasks and duties are but are active in the front lines. That is somehow accepted in today’s society----Perhaps, problems arise in the basic Canadian training system for social workers.
Under the Japanese Child Welfare Act, all children at 18 and older are forced to be relocated to other facilities for adults. Since there are not sufficient number of facilities available for all in the Tokyo area, majority of children do not have any other choice but to be transferred to other prefectures such as even Hokkaido or Kyushu …wherever there are spaces at facilities belong to Tokyo. The Japanese government does not really care about where their families live.
By all means, I must get my son over here before he gets transferred to another facility. He is Canadian. Legally has a right to get education and supports in Canada.
He is now 17 years old. One of my reasons of coming here was to give him an opportunity to attend a school but his school age will be ended soon. There is also an age limit to receive all the aids for autistic children and he will be relocated to another city where he does not know anybody…. This kind of pressure has been doubling my stress and driving me crazy. I can no longer stand fighting with the government. I am totally exhausted.
I would like to end my 'seemingly endless' battle with the Canadian government and provide him with peaceful environment with his mother.
I would very much appreciate it if you could sign my petition to help me out of the hell and at the same time, I only hope my action is going to improve the current situation of the Canadian social services.
Chigusa Sherry Barnes
※Please take a look at my stories from my son's birth to present on the top left side of my website 'Help my reunion with my son' for further details.
I strongly think it is very important to clarify all the discrepancies in your action for the past year. Without any clarification, I cannot move forward as feelings of distrust cannot be erased so easily. You say 'collaboration' but in my opinion, 'collaboration' can never be made when there is no trustworthy relationship exists between us. I trusted both of you completely until you started to ignore my emails but since I, as you know, originally had a trusting issue, now it has gotten worse.
In order to get my trust back and prevent myself from any misunderstanding and the same kind of mistakes repeated, I need to get all the answers of my list from you. No matter how many times I asked you for that, you seem to refuse my simple request and give me this unexpected document. It does not make any sense at all and your action like that makes me even more doubtful about your attitude.
Or if there is any reason that you refuse to answer my questions, please specify. I certainly understand that the budget cut and shortage of staff have been deteriorating your job quality. I also understand that I am not the only client you deal with. However, there is a boundary between what is acceptable and what is not.
As I said in my previous email to you, this unexpected situation where I was unable to get my son this fall has been causing me massive unbearable stress and trouble at my company. I told you I need plenty of time to arrange my work schedule. I work as a manager and am NOT replaceable with anyone. The company solely relies on me all the time. Just like you who are allowed to take vacation a few times a year, I cannot just leave whenever I want. Now I lost the timing and cannot afford to purchase the regular fare for my plane ticket, but my son will be forced to move to some strange environment. Even if I try to bring him here now, he's got no where else to go. I cannot take care of him full time since I have to work. I do not know what to do.... I totally got lost.
You said you will be willing to help me but how?
On December 29, 2011, Tracy gave me the expected procedure for the future.
1. I take the information Dr. Paul Malette has presented along with a referral form that I fill in and provide these documents to the Ministry Resource team. This team will then look for suitable placement (s) for Joshua.
2. Once a possible placement or placements are found, we then discuss with you these options. If we agree that a placement is suitable, then you and I can go take a look at it, we can meet the caregivers and find out further if it will be a good fit for your son. If it is a good match then we can start further planning in preparation for your son’s arrival (we will discuss everything to do with his day to day care including routines, education, goals, activities, culture, home visits etc.). A planning team would include you, me, the new caregiver, the Resource Social Worker and Dr. Malette.
3. Once we have the placement/caregiver prepared and ready, and you are ready and the plan for Joshua’s transitions to Canada are made , you will then bring Joshua to Canada. We will have planned out how the transition to the caregiver’s home will happen before he actually arrives; this will make it easier for Joshua and you.
Do you think you will be able to do ALL of this procedure by the end of this month?
So, again, I would very much like to know how you could help me in the situation like this. I am looking forward to hearing your comment on this together with the rest of my questions.
It is regrettable for me to have taken further action like this. Up to now, I have patiently been waiting for you to proceed my case more seriously with complete trust. However, you again ignored even my last FINAL APPEAL email simply asking you to clarify some discrepancies in your action. I have no idea why you suddenly changed your attitude towards me. You were supportive before but now I feel like I got abandoned.
I have spent my whole past year preparing everything to receive my son this fall. But joy has turned out nightmare. When I found out that nothing will be happening at the very last moment again, I was so desperate that I emotionally broke down for a little while. But I could not stay feeling miserable and doing nothing. No action, No change. I did not have any other choice but to share my story with the public.
Social workers are to help their clients eliminate whatever problems they are facing and guide them to better/comfortable life. Correct? Do you think is that what you have been doing to me? I think you are definitely NOT helping me solve my problem at all but cornering me mentally by creating more problems. What have I done to you? Did I do something wrong? Do I and my son deserve this punishment?
Hope the signatures from all of my supporters are going to show you how capable I am to be re-united with my son as a mother and speed up my process. For the past 8 years, I have been looking forward to my fresh start with my son in Canada. He is the only hope I have in my entire life.
By all means, before he gets transferred to another facility, I must get my son over here. I just would like to have my peaceful life back together with my son. That is all I care about.
Tracy and Linda, please do not ignore my request any more. I am looking forward to your immediate action on this.