Two Canadian foster parents had their foster children removed from their home because they refused to say the Easter Bunny is real. The Christian couple has taken court action, saying their rights have been violated.
Derek and Frances Baars filed court papers against Hamilton Children’s Aid Society after the agency said they must tell their foster children that the Easter Bunny is a “real entity.”
“We were committed to not lying to children,” Derek Baars said, adding “they could expect the truth from us and we expected the truth from them.”
The couple, who are devout Christians, told the agency that they “do not endorse Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny as they do not wish to lie to children.” They had noted that they don’t celebrate Halloween before they were approved as foster parents.
Derek is studying to become an ordained minister in the Reform Presbyterian Church of North America, while Frances is a nanny with an Early Childhood Education diploma.
The couple was approved to foster in December of 2015 and soon fostered two girls, aged 3 and 4, who had been temporarily removed from their parents.
“We neither confirmed or denied the existence of Santa Claus,” Baars said, noting “we gave them gifts for Christmas and they were part of our extended family celebration. They had a good day.”
However, the girls’ biological parents were upset to learn that there was no photograph of the girls with Santa Claus.
As Easter grew nearer, the Baars said the girls’ support worker became when she learned that the couple wasn’t teaching the children about the Easter Bunny.
In response, the Baars said they were then told that it was a “requirement” and “part of their duty as foster parents to teach the girls about the Easter Bunny because it is ostensibly part of Canadian culture.”
The couple told the support worker they would buy the girls new outfits and have a chocolate egg hunt, and even offered to have them sent to another foster home for Easter.
The Baars said their offer was refused, however, and they were told their “inflexibility is a problem.” They say the agency told them to “tell the foster girls that the Easter Bunny was real or their foster home would be closed.”
The Baars also said that the support worker told them she “was personally afraid that if a same-sex adoptive couple met us, that we would not treat them well” due to their religious beliefs.
The children were removed from the Baars’ home in March of 2016, and they were told that they could no longer be foster parents.
Hamilton CAS Executive Director Dominic Verticchio told CBC News that he couldn’t discuss the specifics of the case, but said, “When you have children placed outside their homes… I think there should be a balance between being respectful of the foster parent’s beliefs, but also the kids. You’ve got to find a middle ground.”
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