TORONTO (Reuters) - Hundreds of adoptions are on hold in Canada’s most populous province as Ontario reviews custody cases that used evidence from a faulty drug-testing program which may have wrongly removed children from mothers thought to be abusing drugs.
The Motherisk lab, run by Toronto’s highly regarded Hospital for Sick Children, shut down in 2015 after an investigation found the lab’s methodology for testing hair samples for drugs was imperfect.
The ripple effect of the Motherisk closure has hit the province’s adoption community, with as many as 300 children in limbo because of uncertainty over their eligibility for adoption amid questions as to whether they were wrongly seized from their birth parents. None of the cases are international.
Children and Youth Services Minister Tracey MacCharles said any active adoption where a Motherisk test played a role will be put on hold until it can be reviewed by a judge.
“We recognize that this additional wait can be very difficult for prospective parents and to anyone affected by the Motherisk tests in general,” MacCharles said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Tuesday.
“We know that it’s important that these cases be expedited, which is why they will be triaged and given priority for review.”
MacCharles said the government ordered Children’s Aid Societies in the province to stop using the Motherisk tests once the reliability of the lab came into question.
Editing by Alan Crosby