Nunavut government named parent to four neglected kids

Mother “lacks capacity” to care for children: judge


The Government of Nunavut will become permanent guardians of four children born to a mother deemed incapable of providing them with adequate care, under a judgment issued June 27 by the Nunavut Court of Justice.

Justice P.M. Clarke, a fly-in deputy judge from Alberta, wrote the decision after a hearing held this Feb. 2 in a Kivalliq region community to decide on a GN application to seek permanent care of the children.

In it, Clarke ruled that their 45-year-old mother, who suffered sexual abuse at an early age and developed a lifelong alcohol problem, is not capable of caring for her children.

“She continues to struggle with an alcohol dependency and is unable to accept the fact that she is responsible for her own circumstances, let alone those of her children,” Clarke said.

The four children have actually been wards of the GN since 2004.

“One of the primary concerns giving rise to the temporary wardship was that the children were not being properly fed and were exhibiting signs of undernourishment,” Clarke said.

But efforts to help the mother stabilize her life and learn parenting skills have all failed, he said.

At one point, the department sent the mother to Churchill to attend a parenting course.

But Clarke found that “it is clear from her evidence that she did not understand why she was in Churchill or what was involved in the course.”

While in Churchill, the woman “formed a liason with a friend with whom she consumed alcohol.”

On one occasion, the woman drank so much she couldn’t find her way back home and spent the night sleeping outside, an incident that led to her dismissal from the Churchill course.

A review of the woman’s personal history reveals she was plagued by misfortune from the time she was born in 1965.

Because she was very small at birth, she was sent to Winnipeg to receive proper medical care and attention. She lived there, in foster care, until the age of five or six, when she returned to her home community.

Inside her family, the woman suffered sexual abuse that started when she was 13, committed by male in-laws. She dropped out of school in Grade 8, after she became pregnant with her first child.

She went on to give birth to 15 children from 10 different fathers, “with whom she either never resided or only lived for short periods of time.”

The woman formed a longer relationship with a man identified as D.K., the father of her last five children, four of whom were the subject of the GN application.

The children now live with a local foster parent, who looks after them well.

“The evidence of these witnesses confirm that the children are happy, in good health, attend school on a regular basis, see their mother when they choose to do so, and are generally thriving under the foster care arrangement,” Clarke said.

As for their natural mother, Clarke said she is not “a bad mother in the sense that she intentionally harms her children” but that she lacks the capacity to properly care for them.

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