Police and the province’s Department of Community Services are warning the public after two recent incidents where people posed as child protection employees.
Halifax Regional Police say two women and a man knocked on the door of a Dartmouth woman’s home last Tuesday and indicated they were with Child Protection Services.
The suspects were described as professional-looking and the woman said the encounter seemed legitimate at the time.
“Three people came to a woman’s door and knocked on the door and spoke with her and indicated if she didn’t something to the effect of clean up her apartment, she could be at risk of losing her child,” said Const. Dianne Woodworth.
The mother later contacted the Department of Community Services and was told employees had not been sent to her house.
“We don’t know what the motive was,” said Woodworth. “They didn’t try to take the child or ask for money or anything to that effect. So we don’t know what their motive was but it’s suspicious so we wanted the public to be aware of it.”
One of the female suspects was blonde, while the other was brunette, and both are between the ages of 30 and 40. The male suspect appeared to be in his 30’s. All three are described as caucasian.
A similar incident was reported in Kentville in late March, where a family was approached on social media by someone posing as a child protection worker.
That family was also told they could lose custody of their child.
Wendy Bungay, the director of child protection with the Department of Community Services, says the incidents are rare but concerning.
“We really depend on the public to be safe when someone from our department is knocking on the door or engaging in a conversation,” Bungay said. “So to have someone out there who’s not with child welfare, it makes people feel unsafe in their own homes.”
Police and child protection are reminding people to check the credentials of anyone who says they are with the department.
All employees are issued government identification cards that includes a photo.
“It’s completely appropriate to request to see that ID. Some will also have business cards,” Bungay said.
“You can ask for the contact number for their office, contact the office to confirm they are who they [say they] are and if there is any doubt at all, not to engage in that conversation, contact the police, contact their local child welfare agency.”