Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

Mother who left baby in the cold should not go to jail, court told

CBC, Friday, May 8, 2009

A Regina woman who left her baby in a stroller in the bitter cold has changed for the better, according to presentations made during a sentencing hearing on Friday.

Natacha Araya, 22, should not be behind bars according to submissions from both the Crown prosecutor and defence lawyer on the case.

Araya had already pleaded guilty to failing to provide the necessities of life after leaving her six-month-old son inside a baby stroller on a Regina sidewalk on a winter night.

It was 1:10 in the morning of Feb. 28, 2008, with a temperature of -20 C, according to information provided to the court on Friday.

Court was told how Araya was seen struggling to make her way as she pulled a stroller along a snow-clogged street, at one point dragging the baby carrier behind her like a sled.

Eventually the woman gave up and walked away, leaving the stroller - with her child inside - behind.

A man driving in a truck saw what happened and thought he should check because he was not sure there was a child inside the stroller. When he discovered the boy, he took the child into his truck and called police.

Crown prosecutor Randene Zielke told reporters outside court that there could have been a very different outcome to the case.

"But for the intervention of a concerned citizen this could have been very tragic," Zielke said.

As it turned out, the child was examined in hospital and needed nothing more than a diaper change.

His mother was picked up two blocks away from the scene, intoxicated and described as unco-operative with police.

In court, her lawyer said his client was a victim of abuse and that alcohol has been an ongoing problem in her life.

However, court was told that she has changed and has been going to Alcoholics Anonymous and parenting classes. The judge was also told that Araya, who has two children, has had them both with her since December and a report from child welfare officials said she was not a risk to reoffend.

"She has taken a number of proactive steps to show that she does take it seriously," Zielke said of the positive changes.

Both Zielke and Araya's lawyer suggested a period of house arrest and probation.

The judge said she will consider the submissions and make a decision on May 25.

National Post

Ontario's child financial support collection agency has big problems

Ontario's Family Responsibility Office has many problems

Quote from Ontario Government Ombudsman -"an equal opportunity error-prone program,."'

Support recipients not getting their money.

Men who've been meeting their court-ordered obligations have trouble getting the FRO to stop taking payments when it's supposed to.   Read More ..

National Post logo

Pilloried, broke, alone

March 25, 2000

Divorced fathers get a bad rap for not supporting their children. The truth is, many can't. And, tragically, some are driven to desperate measures, including suicide.

In his suicide note, Jim, the father of four children, protests that "not all fathers are deadbeats." Jim hanged himself because he couldn't see any alternative. Even now, his children are unaware of the circumstances of their father's death. Meeno Meijer, National Post George Roulier is fighting to regain money wrongfully taken from his wages by the Ontario child-support collection agency. Chris Bolin, National Post Alan Heinz, a Toronto firefighter, has gone bankrupt fighting for the return of his daughter, 3, from Germany. No one will help him, but German authorities are trying to collect child support from him.

Whenever fathers and divorce are discussed, one image dominates: the 'deadbeat dad,' the schmuck who'd rather drive a sports car than support his kids. Because I write about family matters, I'm regularly inundated with phone calls, faxes, letters and e-mail from divorced men. It's not news that divorced individuals have little good to say about their ex-spouses. What I'm interested in is whether the system assists people during this difficult time in their lives, or compounds their misery. From the aircraft engineer in British Columbia, to the postal worker on the prairies, to the fire fighter in Toronto, divorced fathers' stories are of a piece: Though society stereotypes these men relentlessly, most divorced dads pay their child support. Among those who don't, a small percentage wilfully refuse to (the villains you always hear about).

What you haven't been told is that the other men in arrears are too impoverished to pay, have been ordered to pay unreasonable amounts, have been paying for unreasonable lengths of time, or are the victims of bureaucratic foul-ups. Read More ..

Calgary Sun newspaper logo

Non-dad on hook for support

Edmonton and Calgary Sun
Feb 5, 2005

EDMONTON -- An Edmonton judge has decided a divorced dad has to make child support payments, even though the child isn't his. Justin Sumner had an on-again-off-again relationship with the woman he eventually married, Dawn Sumner.

She already had a child from a previous relationship with a man named Rob Duncan, and as she and Justin broke up and reunited, Dawn was sexually involved with both men.

When she found she was pregnant, she called Justin, who recognized there was a possibility that Duncan was the father, but later concluded he was the dad.

Father Committeed Suicide after calling Family Responsibility Office

Andrew T. Renouf committed suicide on or about October 17, 1995 because he had 100% of his wages taken by the Family Responsibility Office, a child support collection agency of the Government of Ontario, Canada.

He asked for assistance for food and shelter from the welfare office and was refused because he had a job, even though all of his wages were taken by the Family Responsibility Office.

Andy was a loving father that hadn't seen his daughter in 4 years.

A memorial service was held in October, 1998, for Andy in front of the Family Responsibility Office at 1201 Wilson Avenue, West Tower, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This is in the Ministry of Transportation grounds in the Keele St. & Hwy 401 area. All members of the Ontario Legislature were invited by personal letter faxed to their offices. Not one turned up. The Director of the Family Responsibility Office and his entire staff were invited to the brief service. The Director refused and wouldn't let the staff attend the service although it was scheduled for lunch time. There was a peaceful demonstration by followed by a very touching service by The Reverend Alan Stewart. The text of the service will soon be able to be read below.

The service made the TV evening news.

It was Andy's last wish that his story be told to all. YOU CAN READ HIS SUICIDE NOTE