Delivering Christmas to Kids Away from Home

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 10:33 a.m. December 21, 2020

Three children who had to be separated from their mother this Christmas received gifts from the police officers and firefighters who responded to the call for help.

A group of officers holding gift bags
14 Division A platoon members Douglas Clarkson, Amanda Arevalo, James Makhlouf, Kurt Bassett, James Rowe and Paul Ramos dropped off Christmas presents to kids in foster care after police intervention

Consts. Paul Ramos and Kurt Bassett were the first officers on the scene of the unknown trouble call in early November.

“They observed a female who was in a mental health crisis and there were three children in the apartment with her,” said Sgt. James Makhlouf.

Consts. Paul Rowe and Doug Clarkson were able to ascertain that the children were okay but had concerns and called in the Emergency Task Force for support.

“After they showed up, we tried to start a dialogue with the mom, but it became quite clear that was going to be very difficult,” said Makhlouf. “We were hearing a lot of commotion in the building and with us losing sight of the smaller children, our concerns were elevated. We didn’t know if the children were safe and we had to take action.”

The door was breached and the mother was apprehended under the Mental Health Act and taken to a local hospital. The children were turned over to the care of the Children’s Aid Society and placed into foster care.

Makhlouf said all of the attending officers were affected by the incident because of the risk to the children.

“I have been doing this for 18 years and I can honestly say this is probably the first time I have taken a step back,” he said. “I was so impressed with the way that eldest son acted. He was very calm.”

Const. Rowe remained in contact with the foster parent

“At the end of the radio call, we took a step back,” he said. “We saw these kids and remember the two young ones looking so scared, even though they were in the arms of firefighters. We have kids and knew we had to do something.”

The A-platoon members held fundraisers and used their own money to buy Christmas presents for the three children.

“Some of our platoon members also brought books and clothes that we will give to them,” said Const. Ramos.

The Toronto Fire Service members, who attended the scene, also raised money that was used to purchase Christmas gifts for the children.

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