The multiple laws and acts that we read about in various media platforms are there to protect the children living in their homes and make sure that they don’t have to get victimized by any kind of situation that they have no control over. But sometimes, those same laws are the reason that children still fall prey to these so called ‘situations’ and the consequences are never good.
It was a testament to the fact that the Child protection laws needed more strict supervision and updates to how they were followed, when the hospital and police were called in at Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman’s house in the year 2002, to witness the cold and beaten body of the 5-year-old boy Jeffrey lying on their kitchen counter.
Who was Jeffrey Baldwin?
With teenage parents who were themselves barely out of high school at the time, when they first got pregnant, the children were forced to rely on their grandparents. The story is about a five-year-old boy who barely weighed 21 pounds at the time of his malnourished death in 2002 in the home of his maternal grandparents.
Yvonne Kidman, Jeffrey’s mother, had her first child at the age of 16, not long after she was kicked out of her house, with her boyfriend Richard Baldwin. Per the reports, Yvonne never had a good relationship with her parents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman. She was heard to report that according to her mother Elva always just wanted to take her four children away from her.
When the teenage parents had troubles in their relationship, they tended to take advice from Yvonne’s mother, Elva. However, Elva reported these incidents and the arguments Yvonne and Richard had to the Child Protection Services, which resulted in Yvonne being stripped of her own children’s custody.
So, in answer to the question raised here, Jeffrey was just the five-year-old child of a pair of teenage parents, who were still learning the rule book of Parenting themselves, and was a victim to the serial abusers, his grandparents.
Jeffrey fall prey to his Grandmother’s abuse?
The situation started to spiral out of control, when Yvonne and Richard, Jeffrey’s parents were accused of child abuse and Jeffrey Baldwin and his three sibling’s custody was handed over to Yvonne’s parents in 1998. The Catholic Children’s Aid Society investigated the reports of child abuse and found Yvonne and Richard not fit was raising the four children.
Fast track to six years later, when police found the body of Jeffrey on the kitchen counter of his grandparents’ house, which was his home since 1998 after being removed under the care of his parents. He was immediately transferred to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, with no family to go with him whatsoever. He was declared dead shortly after the first examination, while the cause was reported as pneumonia.
What went wrong and caused Jeffrey’s death?
When the body was brought in and the investigations started, old incidents, reports and records were pulled. In any case, it was evident by just the first sight of the child’s body, that he was a victim of long-term abuse, which caused his body to be starved and stopped his growth. Despite being of age of nearly six-year-old, Jeffrey had the height and weight of a two-year-old.
The Deputy Coroner reported that, without even doing the autopsy of the body, the multiple signs of abuse evident on the child’s body were enough to warrant that there were unfound issues about the conditions in which he was living in his home. His whole body was found to be enough proof of the abuse he must have gone through for a considerable period of time.
Jeffrey Baldwin was treated poorly
Upon the Corner’s report, a full-fledged investigation was called to find out all facts and history of the case and the involved persons. It was found out that the Jeffrey and his siblings were forced to stay in the upstairs bedroom by Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman, the maternal grandparents of the children.
The children were not even allowed to use necessary human facilities, such as bathrooms, and were thus forced to excrete in their own rooms, causing the room to stink unbearably.
They were not given clean water or food, and it was a mystery how Jeffrey survived in such horrendous conditions for four years. He was beaten and mistreated in ways that no one would treat their pets.
The boy was never sent to school or to see a doctor, and he eventually became so weak that he couldn’t even stand on his own two feet, let alone climb the stairs.
Was Elva Baldwin the right candidate to be given Jeffrey’s custody?
As the investigation followed and more reports came out, it was found that Jeffrey’s grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman, had multiple reports against them for abuse. The agent who was responsible to conducting the transfer of the children from their parent’s home to the grandparents said that she never did any routine checks on them, seeing Elva and Norman as perfect candidates than the children’s parents, who were reportedly abusing the children as well.
As a result of those checks not been completed on Jeffrey’s grandparents, the fact remained hidden that Elva Bottineau and Norman were just using the children’s custody as a way of gaining money from the government under the name of the children’s care.
Elva Baldwin, who when brought under trial, showed no remorse for the way she treated Jeffrey and his siblings. Jeffrey, as a result of the abuse, had withdrawn among himself and did not respond to anything told by his grandmother well, which irked Elva. She used this argument in the court to justify her methods of the children’s treatment, which just solidifies the fact that she was not fit to be a caregiver for any of the children under her roof.
Where are Jeffrey’s siblings now?
After the chaos spread, Jeffrey’s older siblings were removed immediately from the household, and were also found to be the victims of their grandparent’s abuse. They were taken under the care of foster homes and have now nourished and thrived under live and good care. They are each being given good education and dream of completing higher studies to fulfill the dreams they have and their younger brother had.
Also, as a result of the case being highlighted, CCAS has now made many changes to their policies to make sure that any kind of abuse is picked up in any of the foster homes the children are sent to, and routine and thorough checks are completed to solidify the fact that the people given the job of taking care of the children are not taking advantage of the situation.