Lawsuit alleges Kelowna social worker defamed parents, removed children from care without court order

March 01, 2022


The beleaguered Kelowna branch of the Ministry of Children and Family Development is the subject of another lawsuit.

In a civil suit filed Friday, a West Kelowna couple claims local social worker Brandi Rollin shared false allegations of child abuse at their child’s school and in the community.

Castanet is not naming the plaintiffs to protect the privacy of their children.

The lawsuit also alleges Rollin removed the children from their parents’ care without a court order, misled the courts, and failed to properly assess the home where the children were being placed.

The eight-page lawsuit seeks damages from the provincial government, claiming MCFD is vicariously liable for Rollin’s actions and directly liable for negligence.

The civil action alleges Rollin “willfully and intentionally” made false allegations that the child’s mother harmed her child, did not like the child and wanted to place her for adoption.

Those allegations were shared with the child’s school, maternal grandmother and the courts.

“Rollin made and repeated the aforementioned allegations knowing at the time she made and repeated the allegations that they were false,” the claim says, adding that complaints related to the breach of privacy were never investigated.

On April, 14, 2020, Rollin ordered the plaintiffs to place the child in the care of their grandmother under the threat of “legal action,” although no court order had been obtained at that time.

“Rollin knew that she had no authority to compel the plaintiffs to surrender their children,” the lawsuit alleges.

The children were then removed from custody of their parents, with assistance of the RCMP, on April 30, 2020, without a court order.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that when filing a report to the courts, Rollin omitted “significant, reliable information that contradicted the allegations.”

The home the children were placed in after being removed from the parents’ care was also the subject of allegations of “historical and ongoing domestic violence” — reports that were not properly investigated.

“As a direct, foreseeable approximate result of the defendants unlawful actions, plaintiff has suffered and continued to suffer substantial and psychological injury, loss of friendships, loss of community and reputation,” the lawsuit says.

Both Rollin and the Ministry of Family Development have not filed a response to the lawsuit. None of the allegations in the claim have been tested in court.

The provincial government declined to comment on the case. Rollin could not be reached.

The Kelowna branch of MCFD has been the subject of numerous lawsuits over the past few years, primarily related to the victims of former fraudulent social worker Robert Riley Saunders, who stole from more than 100 children in his care. The lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the recent lawsuit, Michael Patterson, also represented several of Saunders’ victims in civil proceedings and has filed multiple other suits against the MCFD in Kelowna.