Tag Archives: writers

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The Match Still Burns by Judith Mallard

Forgotten Children

Category:Child Advocacy,Foster Care,Memoirs,Non Fiction Tags : 

by Judith Mallard

Forgotten Children

I have been watching as if from afar, all the recent stories about children’s bodies being found in mass graves. Telling myself not to react, not to even feel. Because I am afraid if I do, if I let it out, even just for a moment, I won’t stop crying.

I asked myself if I would know where I would first place my anger and the answer comes pretty quickly. I would blame those that supposedly took up the reins, the responsibility to protect and rescue these children, and eventually, just ended up destroying them. I would definitely start with those.

What angers me more though, is the general disbelief that this could have even happened. How could it not happen seems more of a logical question to me. But for some, it seems easy to try and ignore the whisperings on the wind, the snippets of conversations skipping over things like child abuse, elder abuse, and racial injustices – just pick any vulnerable group and you will see the long unending historical happenings that spoke of this for decades and decades. We are ALL aware of this, if we’re willing to be honest about it.

Then one day I heard yet another hundred bodies of indigenous children were discovered. Now let that sink in for a second. Give it that moment of heart-wrenching silence that it deserves. Say it again. Hundreds of tiny children’s fragile little bodies were found buried in mass graves underneath schools run by governments who had decided they were the best ones to take the children, protect them and give them a better life. I can’t help but wonder if “indigenous” was not in front of the word children would the screams be any louder or reactions any more horrific?

But I didn’t see those headlines plastered all over the place non-stop. I saw them fly by quickly in news feeds and flashes. It’s as if we have just become indifferent to so much horror and the need to just distance ourselves from what we know is actually going on.

This is very personal for me and I won’t even bother to hide it. You’ll learn that about me anytime you peruse my philosophical ramblings or my 3 a.m. writings. I like to strive for authenticity as often as possible. Nothing intrigues me more than authentic people with authentic dialogue. Even if I don’t want to hear what you have to say but knowing perhaps I may need to hear it. If it comes from a place of authenticity and respect, then I’m all ears.

I’m currently in the process of writing my memoirs about growing up in foster care in the late 60s early 70s. It’s not an easy task and I knew it wouldn’t be. And the one point I really need anyone and everyone to hear is that my story is just one story. And if my one story shocks you, then hold on tight because it is a lot worse than one story.

In my research, these stories just seem to pile higher and higher with each turn of a page. The pain, the suffering, the abuse, and the trauma is so overwhelmingly mind-blowing.  I had to stop writing in 2020 because I felt too drained, emotionally and physically. Combined with pandemic PTSD, there were days I felt as if I was just going through the motions. But I now realize my story is more than just a story. It needs to be a call to action, and not just another five-year data modeling, document gathering exercise in futility, as to what went wrong or where did it go wrong.  For some reason, people seem relieved if they can just blame someone. As if, oh that’s to blame, or it’s their fault, we couldn’t have done anything, so now let’s move on. Because we found someone to blame and we wrote a report on it.

I swear, as mere mortals, we spend more time documenting and explaining what is wrong or how it should be fixed – than actually removing the threat or fixing what needs to be fixed.

A Broken System.

There is a picture below that I’m attaching to this post. It is a comment from the Judge that sat on the Supreme Court of Newfoundland to oversee the appeal of Mary Dinn, a woman who was accused of long-term and continuous child abuse. Now this evil wench was charged with only five cases. And just to provide a brief historical snapshot, this woman was considered a stellar foster parent by Children’s Services for over 10 years. Reports indicated that she had 46 children in her care over that time period. Which does beg the question, why only five charges?

Was this an attempt by provincial or federal agencies to placate the victims, to show, “look how we are fixing all this wrongness?” Especially in light of the horrendous scandals from the Mount Cashel Orphanage along with the Hughs Commission Inquiry that lo and behold discovered that the abuse was also running rampant in the private homes. Once again under the lovely umbrella of the government. Oh yes, I do know where to place my anger in all of this. And I think it’s pretty justified. Why aren’t more people getting angry though?

I was one of those 46 children with Mary Dinn – no one ever contacted me or called me or asked me for a witness statement. I would have loved to stand in a courtroom and face that evil incarnate. To tell her she was wrong and that I wasn’t “a worthless dirty child that no one wanted, not even your own parents.” It’s not the Justice system that I’m angry with. They can only hand out justice when a case is brought to them and I think they handled it somewhat ok. For me, it’s the government agencies that should be raked over the coals and their policies or lack of that allowed for all of this to occur. The so-called “Guardians” of the children.

During my own personal research, when I had obtained my own children services files under the Freedom of Information Act, I can honestly say nothing prepared me for reading the two-page letter that they first sent out to me where they told me quite point blank that:

“records indicate that you did become a ward of the province, where, when and under what circumstance is unknown.”

The Match Still Burns by Judith Mallard

How can any legal guardian that has supposedly taken a child to give her a better life not even be able to tell how or why they took her?

And yet some folks will wonder how so many children fell through the cracks? These weren’t just cracks, we’re talking about major sinkholes here. And I’m also willing to say that it is a lot worse than what is even being reported. Or should I say, being hidden in reports.

The Match Still Burns by Judith Mallard

This evil, vindictive woman ruined so many lives, of that I have no doubt. Yet she was government-approved and supported for at least ten years. So what does that tell you about the systems in place?

I spent FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE days with that woman. And there are broken pieces inside of me that I will never be able to heal, I just can’t. 485 days is too long a time when you’re only six years old and trying to figure out where and why your mommy and daddy suddenly disappeared. And the only person you have to give you any guidance is as the judge describes her “a sadistic, remorseless person.

This is and should be a global responsibility and a global call to action. One child abused, mistreated or neglected, is one child way too many.

There is a chapter in my book called A Broken System – it comes after I tell my story and after many sleepless nights where I often questioned why I needed to share my particular story. It was then I realized that if I, like so many others, just keep burying the truths, then how will we improve upon something that is so broken? How will we stop history from repeating itself time and time again? There are so many adults today, walking around wounded and scarred, because they carried such traumatic stories but felt they couldn’t share them with anyone. And a lot of times that pain was so deeply wrapped in feelings of despair, shame and even guilt. So they buried them even deeper, but they never ever went away. We can’t heal if we don’t share what has caused our pain and suffering. Nor will we as a society fix what is broken if we don’t accept that some things are still broken.

The Statistics are Staggering

Globally the statistics are staggering. In Canada, there are over 3,573 municipalities. In Ontario, where I lived for many years, “collected data,” in 2018 indicated there were 148,536 Child Maltreatment investigations. In ONE year. ONE province, “reported” over 140,000 abuse cases. And another interesting note, especially with all of today’s current news headlines, it was also noted in 2018 that “indigenous children were identified as a key group to examine because of concerns about overrepresentation in the foster care system. Indigenous children are approximately two and a half times more likely to be substantiated than non-indigenous children. (38.03 per 1,000 indigenous versus 15.15 per 1,000 non-indigenous) *excerpt from Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect – 2018*

The reports and data I’ve collected from the US are just as scary, just a lot more numbers of child maltreatment cases spread out over a lot more geographical space. But they seem to follow a similar path of “let’s just do another report.”

We have known about child maltreatment for decades. Just like we’ve known about elder abuse and racism.

So the question is – why haven’t we done more? And why is it still occurring?

Maybe the whispers need to become a roar.


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mother nature's little children

It’s the simple things…

Category:Animal Lover,Blogging,Mother Nature,Nature Lover Tags : 

My Caterpillar Story

the American Dagger Moth Acronicta americana

Acronicta americana American Dagger Moth
Acronicta americana
“does this concrete make me look fat”

Ok. So jokes on me. Yesterday I was outside fretting about a caterpillar 🐛 lying helplessly vulnerable on the cold barren concrete step. It’s common knowledge by now that I’m a hopeless romantic when it comes to Mother Nature and all her little creatures.

My 1st attempt at “rescuing” her from potential predators was to carefully place her in a flower pot while balancing her furry little body on a thin slab of stone. This, however, was not very successful as you can see by her hasty escape. But still being fully committed to the rescue at this point and time, I then plopped her down below the towering concrete steps into a voluptuous array of flowering plants. That was it, my job was done. I was a hero 🤔

Within 24 hours this is who showed up right back on the front step. Now how the heck did she get back up there. That had to be quite the trek for her short stubby little legs.

My goodness, what resilience and determination in one scruffy little caterpillar.

So after several minutes of deep and at times heated consultations “we” finally agreed on a compromise. She could stay on the concrete steps but she had to accept some form of leafy camouflage – which involved a much juicier hibiscus leaf.

Sitting peacefully on my front porch with my new found friend, I figured out why the little bugger wasn’t fearful of being gobbled up at all with the help of Mr. Google. It seems the birdies and other critters in the neighborhood were well aware that my bright little yellow needle sticking out caterpillar was no other than a poisonous (only mildly I think 🤔) Acronicta Americana – American Dagger Moth.

Yup. Jokes on me 🦋 I do not think that Cati P was scared at all. (I had to give her a stage name for her international online debut)

Cati P’s internet debut

And now she is officially verified and there’s even talk of getting her an agent. 🤔

But it’s like I said…it’s the little things that can make your day. You just have to keep your eyes and your heart open.


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Protect our children - foster care - children's services

Protect Our Children

Category:Foster Care,Memoirs,Newfoundland,Non Fiction,Writing Tags : 

by Judith Mallard

I’m pissed off and I’m angry. We all should be angry. Why aren’t we? Just take a look at today’s news headlines – see where the final chapter of a precious little girl’s life is finally laid to rest, stacked up against the other headline stories. It seems there is more of a kerfuffle over things such as – “Trump’s idea of buying Greenland” or “Harry and Meghan branded hypocrites for using private jets.”

Really? This is what is monopolizing headlines today?

I have never been a mom. But I have so much deep respect for all women who give everything that they’ve got to be the best possible mom they can be. I have heard countless stories of mothers working multiple jobs, raising children primarily on their own – and still never even consider giving up. I envy and admire their resilience and strength and I stand in awe of their courage and unfaltering love.

I have read that it “takes a village to raise a child” – but what happens when the village cannot – or chooses not to. What happens to those children then?

I will admit – I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I think I have more questions than answers. But maybe, just maybe if enough of us, keep asking more and more questions – than perhaps we can finally find answers that mean something other than a headline that triggers a million likes or whether or not Harry and Meghan are using a private jet – and who cares if they are. If I had access to one I would probably use it too.

As a child, I was one of many who was put into a very flawed and broken foster care system in the ’60s and ’70s on the east coast of Canada, St. John’s Newfoundland. Over the years I have heard random indications of “oh it’s because of the times, etc.,” which totally pisses me off. That’s like saying assaults against women and children is more acceptable “based on the times” – and THAT pisses me off even more.

Protect our children - foster care - children's services

I was one of five children
and the only little girl.
I had thought that would
make me special
– but it didn’t.

When I started writing my Memoirs, The Match Still Burns – it began as a journey of healing and trying to find answers. I just wanted to try and put back together all the broken pieces that kept popping up as I grew older. As I got deeper and deeper into my writing it became so much more. As a young child growing up in an abusive and neglected environment – I never felt I had a voice. But I do have one now. And even though I could not speak up for myself then – perhaps I can find a healing space and a place of courage in speaking up for other children.

There were so many of us left unattended and forgotten. We were the lost kids. And from what I heard – it paid well too. It had all the remnants of an easy and profitable cash and grab. Get the kid, grab the money and with little or no quality checks or operational monitoring. I’m sure there were people signing up in droves.

And it was not “because of the times” but because of the individuals and organizations that failed in their tasks and responsibilities to look after the vulnerable children that came into their care – and a responsibility that should always be held to the strictest and highest standards of accountability – but it is not. Or we would not be still telling these stories time and time again.

Where is our anger? This isn’t something that should be buried in one report after another that touts of all the amazing things that can be done and should be done. This is a call to action.

And still the stories come – day after day. One more horrifying than the next. When will it be enough and why hasn’t it already been seen as such?

Last week through many of my off the wall chats and conversations I heard someone casually make mention that “oh that was back then” – as if it was most likely just because of those times. Does anyone really believe this?

Which brings me to an article that I discovered on my newsfeed today, August 19, 2019.

“Oakville woman who allowed 9-year-old daughter to starve to death sentenced to time served (The Star) – you can read the full article here – https://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2019/08/17/oakville-woman-who-allowed-9-year-old-daughter-to-starve-to-death-sentenced-to-time-served.html

I can’t begin to say how many types of wrong and who to blame is peppered throughout this article. I wouldn’t know who to shout at first. The tremendous sadness of it all just sucker-punched me right in the chest. Hours later and I’m still trying to process it. How could this happen?

Then I came across another section in this heartbreaking story:

“Baldwin had strong words in her decision for the Children’s Aid Society, pointing out that the organization was supposed to see Kaylie at least every 30 days, but at the time of her death they had not been to her home in three months.

“Despite knowing Kaylie’s medically fragile condition, and being told directly by Meredith and Kaylie’s school that Meredith was struggling, the children’s aid worker allowed Meredith to cancel five appointments,” said Baldwin.

“These canceled visits should have been alert signs that all was not going well with Meredith and Kaylie. On two occasions, Meredith canceled, reporting that Kaylie was sick. What more information could the children’s aid have possibly needed to take action in this obvious crisis?”

Baldwin said the children’s aid had a responsibility to see Kaylie and had the authority to take her to a hospital for medical care if required.

“They failed to act upon their mandate in this tragic case,” said Baldwin.”

This tragic incident occurred in 2017 and was brought to trial in 2019.

From my own personal story, the first holding home that I was placed in was with foster parents James and Mary Dinn of Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. Go ahead – do a Google search – if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you will have a pretty hard time finding out anything about them. They too are buried down in one of those infamous “what we are going to do now” type of reports.

But perhaps these next few images will give you some insight.

child protection, child advocacy
Excerpt from Hughes Commission Report
child protection, child advocacy
child protection, child advocacy
Excerpt from Hughes Commission Report

So ask yourself this question – how can a foster home go from being “an excellent home & all children placed here improve greatly” – to being closely supervised and then closed – all within a one to two-year timeframe?

As you can see in this newspaper excerpt below – where there is smoke – there is definitely fire.

Protect our children - fostercare - children's services - newfoundland

And remember to keep in mind – this woman had 46 children in her care before they decided to close her down.

When I sought further information from my so-called legal guardians under the Freedom of Information Act – I received numerous documents that had me wondering if they actually took the time to read what they were sending me.

But the one section that stood out the most that had me shaking my head in complete and utter disbelief and boldly typed on their official agency letterhead was a section that read:

“Records indicate that you did eventually become a ward of the province. Where, When and under what circumstances is unknown.

You were in the care of James and Mary Francis of 2 Norma’s Avenue, Mount Pearl from August 8, 1967, to December 30, 1968.

Why you were placed here before eventually being placed with the Nolan’s of Torbay is unknown.”

Unknown? I can honestly say that I have no response to that – even now, years after reading that two-page letter that summed up my life in five tiny bullet points. How can you not know how you took legal guardianship of a young child?

My story began on August 8, 1967. And the sad thing is – even as a young child of six, I do remember how I ended up in that wicked woman’s house – I guess Children’s Services forgot to update their files.

So excuse my skepticism, if when asked if I believe that things like this still exist today, I will reply without hesitation and with a profound sadness – yes, most definitely I believe they do.

Rest in Peace Little Kaylie,
kisses & hugs.


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Creative Writing - Memoirs, Non-Fiction

Writing True: 14th Annual Creative Nonfiction Collective Conference

Category:Creative Writing,Non Fiction,Writing Tags : 

I am very much looking forward to taking in this Creative Conference from May 4th to May 6th, 2018.

If you click on the image below it will take you to their website where there is a lot of information for you to creative writing, memoirs, non fiction, bestsellersreview along with further details about their 14th Annual Conference.

I will definitely be posting more updates and pictures after I attend.


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