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.