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Foster parents win court battle for guardianship

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation of Manitoba, a family won a long drawn-out battle against the Métis Child and Family Services Authority. The family law dispute centered around whether the Filipino-Canadian foster parents could legally raise their foster son.

The dispute arose when the Métis Child and Family Services Authority believed that the parents were culturally unfit to raise the half-Métis child. The organization wanted the child to be placed in a household with aboriginal parents so that his own cultural identity could be protected. A former media report equated this child's potential adoption to a time occurring between the 1960s and the early 1980s in which thousands of aboriginal children were sent to live with non-aboriginal families. One individual equated that practice as "cultural genocide."

The adjudicator who presided over the case said that the child knew very little about his heritage. However, she lauded his foster parents for putting forth a sincere effort towards this aim. Additionally, the child's biological mother said that he viewed the Filipino-Canadian couple as his parents and that if he did not care about their race than no one else should either. The adjudicator granted the parents guardianship of the boy after the fight with the MCFSA started on Sept. 27, 2012. However, the battle may not be over. Legal adoption of the child will not be possible unless the MCFSA gives its consent, which may cause another court battle to ensue.

Calgary family law lawyers may be able to assist families that are dealing with similar family law disputes. They may be able to represent parents or prospective parents in front of a tribunal to prove that the child's best interests are served by allowing that parent to have visitation or custody of the child.

Source: GMA News, "Fil-Canadian couple granted guardianship over ward after custody battle", Rie Takumi, October 20, 2013

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