Social Work Agency Fails Attempt to Place Restraining Order on Pastor

AYLMER, ON, December 21, 2001 ( – The attempt of the Family and Children’s Services of St. Thomas and Elgin (FCS) to have a court declare a Christian family in contempt of a court order against the use of spanking has failed. The Aylmer family whose seven children were forcibly apprehended by social workers when the parents refused to promise to not spank their children with objects such as a switch, was in court yesterday. They were happy to hear the judge rule that he lacked the authority to decide if the parents were in contempt and also refused to grant the social work agency a restraining order against the family’s pastor – who FCS claimed was counseling the family to disobey the court order.

Numerous delays in the case caused the family to protest that they could no longer abide by interim restrictions on their freedom to discipline their children in accordance with their faith and Canadian law. Following the parents’ protest, the FCS initiated court proceedings which, if successful, would have resulted in the children being taken from their parents once again.

The London Free Press reports today that the parties agreed, “If the parents strike their children or feel that they will do so, they are to notify Family and Children’s Services of St. Thomas and Elgin.” Furthermore, reporting on the case will be curtailed as the parents, their lawyers and FCS have agreed not to speak to the media until the case is resolved.

The parties next meet in court Jan. 17. A trial is expected by the spring.

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