A father’s joy after finally finding his lost daughter following a 16-year search quickly turned into shock when he was slapped with a $7,800 foster care bill.
Dean Harper, of Montreal, Quebec, had spent the past 16 years searching of Athena Glusing, after the child’s mother left without telling him where they were going.
Years later, the girl’s mother placed her in Quebec’s foster care system, which is now requesting payment from Harper to cover the cost of Athena’s care — even though they did have the man’s contact information all along but never tried to get in touch with him. (Scroll down for the video.)
1. Dean Harper spent 16 years in search of Athena Glusing after the teen’s mother left without telling him where they were headed.
2. “I don’t understand how they could have my daughter, know who I am, not look for me, then send me a bill once I find her”, Harper said. He’s pictured here with Athena before she and the girl’s mother left.
Harper told CTV:
I don’t understand how they could have my daughter, know who I am, not look for me, then send me a bill once I find her.
The man spent years searching for his daughter. And finally he located her place of work, where he decided to go and introduce himself. He said:
My heart was pounding like you wouldn’t believe. I thought for sure Athena could hear my heart pounding. And I said, “My name is Dean Harper… I’m your father.”
3. “My heart was pounding like you wouldn’t believe. I thought for sure Athena could hear my heart pounding”, he said. “And I said, ‘My name is Dean Harper… I’m your father'”, Harper recalled before being slapped with a $7,800 bill.
4. Harper soon learned that his daughter was given up by her mother at the age of 12 and spent years in the foster care system.
The father-and-daughter emotional reunion followed a troubled childhood for Athena. She said:
It was really not a childhood that a child should go through.
Her dad, however, did not meet her until she was already 18. When he finally met her, Harper contacted Quebec’s child welfare authorities to inquire why they hadn’t contacted him before.
That, the father says, was before, not after he received the bill.
5. Harper was angry after learning the child welfare agency hadn’t bothered to track him down when Athena was placed in foster care. He immediately called to find out why and insult was soon added to injury when he received a bill for her care.
The foster care system’s reply was quite bizarre: they didn’t have his date of birth. And that is when the agency sent out the bill.
Now that she is living with her father, and getting to know her half-brothers and nephew, even Athena is stunned at the bill. She said:
I don’t see why they sent the bill.
Unsurprisingly, the child welfare agency, Batshaw, sees the situation rather differently. They issued the following statement to CTV:
In all situations, social workers make regular attempts to locate parents, in the province of Quebec, across Canada, and any other countries, even in prisons… These efforts are always based on children’s needs.
6. Dean Harper searched for his daughter for 16 years.
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