Adoption On Hold In Ontario After Flawed Drug Tests Discovered

Inadequate and unreliable drug tests from Motherisk has resulted in a hold on Ontario adoptions

Hundreds of adoptions have recently been postponed in Ontario as a commission lead by provincial court judge Judith Beaman, will be reviewing child protection cases involving flawed drug tests.

The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies declared that 200 to 300 cases have been “flagged” due to being involved with a disproved program that uses hair analysis to examine drug and alcohol use. Results were found to be “inadequate and unreliable” as they did not meet internationally recognized forensic standards. The program responsible is called Motherisk Drug Laboratory run by the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children.

This has a huge impact on children waiting to be adopted by new families, as there will be a delay.

"Families are concerned and wanting to know what impact this might have on their plans as a family, and certainly wanting to be able to move forward with their plans as quickly as possible.'' Ballantyne, the organization’s CEO, said.

"It's very upsetting for families, depending on the family situation,'' she said.

The timeframe of when families will receive the news on whether their adoptions can go ahead is currently unclear.

The issue with Motherisk was discovered after an October 2014 court case, where Ontario’s highest court did not make a conviction due to contrasting opinions on the methods used by Motherisk. Commissioner Susan Lang claimed that the lab "frequently misinterpreted'' the test results.

Last April, Children’s Aid Societies were directed to stop using Motherisk, which had already been used in countless child protective and criminal cases. Sick Kids Hospital shut down the program and apologized.

The Ontario Government ordered a retired appeal court justice to review the program.

Lang's report found more than 9,000 people tested positive through Motherisk between 2005 and 2015, but Judith Beaman's upcoming review will look back 25 years, to 1990.

The review has been planned to start later this month and expected to span two years.

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