Discredited hair-testing program harmed vulnerable families across Ontario, report says

CBC News:

A commission looking into child protection cases involving the Motherisk test lab says bad science removed vulnerable children from more than 50 families based on now-discredited hair analysis, but few parents have a chance of finding a satisfactory legal remedy.

The Motherisk Commission was set up by the Ontario government to analyze legal cases dating from 1990 to 2015. The cases involved flawed hair-strand drug and alcohol tests from a lab run by the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

On Monday, the two-year review into more than 1,200 child welfare cases involving hair tests concluded that in 56 cases the test results had a substantial impact, such as being used to pull children from their parents’ care.

Provincial court judge Judith Beaman led the independent commission, which said parents were often powerless in the face of tests imposed by children’s aids societies.

In seven of the 56 cases, families achieved a legal remedy. In four of those seven, children have been returned home.

One of the four whose children were returned is a woman that the Motherisk test suggested was having at least 18 drinks a day. CBC News can’t use her real name due to a publication ban.