Tuesday, February 10, 1998
Nobody blamed for failing childrenRCMP says a breakdown in communications led to young people being released from the Richmond detachment at 4 a.m. on Jan. 2 without being seen by a social worker.
A breakdown in communications is being blamed for the ministry for children and families failing to help four children who were taken to Richmond RCMP detachment after being found in the home of a man later charged with sex offences.
The four children, ranging in age from 12 to 17, were released by police at 4 a.m. on Jan. 2 after RCMP failed to get the ministry to respond to their repeated requests to help the children.
Richmond RCMP Inspector Al MacIntyre said he is satisfied there was a misunderstanding by the minstry's Afterhours emergency services workers concerning the case.
The police and ministry officials had a meeting Monday to discuss what went wrong when the four children were not seen by a social worker after being found at the home of Frank Kim. The 24-year-old was later arrested and charged with 17 offences, including making child pornography and sexually touching a person under the age of 14.
The children released that night were among his alleged victims.
"I don't think the severity of it was understood by the [social] worker working that night," said MacIntyre after Monday's meeting with ministry staff.
"There was obviously a misunderstanding. There was no one being lazy or trying to avoid their work."
Asked if the ministry was aware one of the children taken to the police station was as young as 12, MacIntyre said "they knew the details."
He said after Monday's meeting with the Afterhours manager, Afterhours supervisor and the deputy director of Child Protection, RCMP are confident a similar misunderstanding won't arise again.
"We weren't there to assign blame," said MacIntyre. "We met face to face and I'm satisfied there is a protocol in place between RCMP and the ministry for children and families so it won't happen again."
Asked why the RCMP would release children as young as 12 in the middle of the night, MacIntyre said police had run out of options.
"It's hard to justify what else we could have done. Our jails were full," he said.
He said the fact there were four meant there was "safety in their numbers" when the children walked out.
The 12-year-old, in an earlier interview, said she was forced to walk from Richmond to her home in Vancouver and an offer for a ride was never given by police. RCMP deny the charge.
What was said"We weren't there to assign blame. We met face to face and I'm satisfied there is a protocol in place between RCMP and the ministry for children and families so it won't happen again.
"It's hard to justify what else we could have done. Our jails were full."
RCMP Inspector Al MacIntyre
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Created: March 21, 1998|
Last modified: April 5, 1998
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