Weechi-it-te-win Family Services caregivers faced 20 counts of assault, got probation

Caregiver says she hit children with spatula out of ‘frustration’ when disciplining


Delton and Judith Martin of Barick, Ont. seen here in an undated photo, both pled guilty to a single count of assault with a weapon on Nov. 13, 2020.

A Mennonite couple paid by a First Nations child welfare agency to foster vulnerable children in need of protection was convicted of assaulting the children placed in their home nearly two years ago, APTN has learned.

Delton and Judith Martin of Barwick, Ont. each pled guilty to a single count of assault with a weapon on Nov. 13, 2020 and received a conditional discharge with a year probation.

They had each been charged with five counts of assault and another five counts of assault with a weapon for a total of 20 charges on Oct. 31, 2019.

The kids in their care were two and six years old at the time of the assaults.

The Martins were both long-time caregivers for Weechi-it-te-win Family Services through the agency’s child welfare team in Rainy River First Nations near Fort Frances, Ont.

There isn’t a publication ban on the case but APTN isn’t identifying the children.

Judith Martin in an undate photo.

The mother of the two-year-old victim said she still remembers the day she found the bruises on her, because that’s the day she got her daughter back for good.

“We had our second visit with [our daughter] in over a year, and when we saw her, she was covered in bruises. We told our worker, they called Judith, and they returned [our daughter] that day,” said the mother.

The weapon the Martins used was a wooden spoon, according to court records.

“We did act out of, probably, frustration sometimes and I was very sorry that had ever happened. I’m very sorry that we failed in that way,” Judith Martin, 42, told APTN.

“Everything has been dealt with legally, because we went through court. We served our year of probation and everything like we are all through. Like we went through counselling … we kept up with our probation officer until all of that was cleared on our part.”

Judith Martin said they used a weapon on the children because she was raised not to use her hand when disciplining children.

“I mean what a lot of it boiled down to was that we were raised with physical discipline or corporal punishment, whatever you want to call it. I had been taught that if you ever give a spanking, don’t use your hand. So then I used like a rubber scraper, like a spatula, or whatever, because they say that shows that you’re punishing the child for wrongdoing, but you’re not using your hand because your hand should always mean love,” she said.

“Well, the court looked at that and said, no, anything other than your hand used to discipline a child is physical abuse.”

Read More: 

The dark history of Weechi-it-te-win Family Services 

The truth about child welfare in northern Ontario 

APTN confirmed that Weechi had investigated the Martins about two years prior to the assault charges being laid.

The older victim had been telling his mother that he was being hit by the Martins.

“The little boy that they were fostering with [my daughter] had told his mom several times that they were hurting him, and she told her worker about it, but nothing was done until we found the bruises on [on my daughter],” said the mother of the two-year-old.

Judith Martin confirmed they were investigated.

“One time somebody came out and investigated because it was the other child and the child’s mother had made an allegation or accusation that we had hit him with a stick and we never had. He was even questioned about it when they came out and the other children were questioned and I said, no, we have never hit him with a stick. So, I don’t know where that story had come from,” said Judith Martin.

APTN asked her if she was using the wooden spoon or spatula on the children at the time of the first investigation.

“I don’t think that we would have been, because I know that we weren’t at the beginning like that. So, like I said, it was a failure on our part to follow the directions of the Weechi handbook never to use any kind of corporal punishment,” she said.

“And we didn’t. For years we never did and we were caregivers for years.”

Delton Martin in an undated photo.


Judith Martin also posted photos of the foster kids on Facebook and kept them there after being convicted of assaulting them, including the two-year-old.

“I asked her to take them down,” said the mother of the two-year-old, adding she was also upset to see her daughter dressed in Mennonite dresses.

APTN asked Judith Martin about the photos and she said the text from the mother was “very hateful.”

“Yes, I will try. I will definitely try to get them off of there,” she said. “It hurts my heart that we have never, never been able to see [the two-year-old] ever again and [the six-year-old] because they were very dear to our hearts. We were a big part of their life for three years.”

Two days after this conversation with APTN the photos remained up. She was asked again if she was going to take them down.

Less than an hour later, Judith Martin blocked an APTN reporter on Facebook.

The photos remain on her page.

The Martins are no longer caregivers with Weechi-it-te-win Family Services but she said she hopes to be a caregiver again one day.

“I would love to care for children again,” she said.

Delton Martin, 36, declined to comment.

Laurie Rose, the executive director of Weechi, never responded to APTN.

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