Easter Bunny to blame for being dropped as foster parents, couple claims

Easter Bunny to blame, couple claims

A Christian couple with “a strong religious faith” alleges that Hamilton’s children’s aid society closed their foster home because they refused to tell two young children in their care that the Easter Bunny is real.

In a charter application filed with an Ontario court, Frances and Derek Baars allege that the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton violated their freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of expression and right to be free from discrimination.

They allege their foster home was closed in March 2016 because they were unwilling to tell two young girls — aged 3 and 5 – in their care that the Easter Bunny is real, in violation of their consciences and religious beliefs.

And they allege that the CAS created a false justification for the closure by saying the Baars would discriminate against a same-sex couple interested in adopting because of their faith.

However, a CAS letter to the Baars’ confirming the closure of their home to fostering services, states that the goal was to return the girls to their biological family and that the Baars were “not in agreement with supporting the parent’s wishes for the children’s care.”

“The parent’s cultural and religious beliefs are to be supported by the child-care team and this was the direction provided with respect to the care of these children,” states the letter, which was filed with the court.

The letter also alleged that the couple had engaged in conversations with the girls that had not been “age appropriate or sensitive to their needs and age and stage of development.”

“As discussed in Pride training and outlined in the service agreement, it is a requirement that foster parents ‘be respectful of the diverse cultural and religious needs of children and youth,'” it states.

The Baars, who now live in Calgary, are asking that the closure be declared “unreasonable, discriminatory and contrary to fundamental rights and freedoms” outlined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and for their file to note that the closure violated the Charter.

The Baars’ claims have not been tested in court.

Dominic Verticchio, executive director of the Hamilton CAS, said on Thursday that staff and foster parents are expected to put their “personal beliefs and values aside” when caring for children who are coming from “different settings.”

He noted that some traditions such as the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, are in conflict with true religious beliefs. With children who are in temporary care with the expectation of returning to their homes “we don’t expect foster parents to say ‘well, what you’ve been used to is really not real.'”

Verticchio said the CAS tried to find a middle ground with the Baars that wouldn’t compromise their beliefs and values, but “we also don’t want you to impose those on children that are, literally, just in transition.”

Closing a foster home is not something the CAS does lightly, Verticchio said, noting that they spend approximately six months training and vetting foster parents and are grateful for all who offer to take on fostering.

“To say that they disagree with the Easter Bunny and we closed them in retaliation is absolutely false,” he said.

After much discussion “we came to the conclusion that what we expected of foster parents and what their beliefs were were not compatible,” Verticchio said.

“Our attempt is to make it neutral,” he said. “If we get five Muslim children coming in, we don’t expect foster parents to be talking about Easter bunnies or Santa Claus.”

 

Peter Cameron, The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Kelowna man injured during arrest sues RCMP

Supreme Court civil claim alleges Dustin Blondin was the victim of an ‘unprovoked attack’

United Way celebrates seven decades of impact in Southern Interior

Organization sees issues with poverty, mental health and addictions, heighten during the pandemic

Okanagan rental housing market facing challenges due to COVID-19

The impact on real estate markets remains a wildcard

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: Ghost sighting in Vernon’s Polson Park

Mom and daughter photoshoot brings joy and laughter to bystanders

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Parks Canada not responsible for Mount Kobau blockade

Nearby residents have been vocal about plans to turn the area into a national park

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read