What happens when an organisation is offered $0.70 per child per day for an orphan but $2.25 per child per day for a psychiatric patient ?
The Catholic Church faced such a situation in Quebec, Canada between the 1940s and 1960s and up to 20,000 orphans were misdiagnosed with psychiatric issues as a consequence. Some Catholic orphanages were re-labelled as ‘health-care facilities’ while other children were shipped from orphanages to existing insane asylums.
Many of the survivors have reported both physical and sexual abuse at the hands of some members of institutions and medical personnel. Survivors claim that children were routinely experimented on and that many died as a result and some have asked for an abandoned cemetery near the Cité de St-Jean-de-Dieu insane asylum, Montreal, to be excavated, remains exhumed and autopsies done.
I get a great deal of correspondence from abroad detailing many dark episodes in other countries but I try to stay focused on the issues here in the UK. Nevertheless I think the case of the Duplessis Orphans illustrates a fundamental and general point that everyone looking into historical abuse against children should bear in mind and that is that;
‘When children are allowed to become commodities there will always be those that will seek to exploit them.’