Key Jobransa Players Qualifications Questioned
By Robert Thomas
It opened to great media fanfare in the late Spring of 2016 boasting it would be a one stop centre for children with disabilities and special needs but it now appears qualifications the two main operators of the Jobransa Foundation For Children or the Jobransa Centre (Jobransa) were telling the public were in fact not factual.
The Jobransa Foundation For Children, Jobransa Centre, Kids In Motion Independent School Inc and one of their directors have recently been involved in controversy regarding their opertions and some of the alleged criminal conduct of one of their board members.
In their on-line presence as well as to the public Jobransa founder Tammy Beutle-Spilcchuk and her daughter Sarah Becker (nee Beutle) said they had professional qualifications MJ Independent has been able to determine some of which they did not have nor had earned.
In their Pinterest account the Jobransa Foundation For Children President Sarah Becker stated she had a degree in Kinesiology she had earned from the University of Regina.
Becker would later repeat the claim to local media. “I have a degree in kinesiology and specialized working with kids with disabilities,” she told a Moose Jaw Express reporter in a July 13, 2016 story. She expanded upon her qualifications stating she specialized working with children with disabilities terming it “one of my passions.” (See Below)
MJ Independent was able to confirm despite not holding a kinesiology degree from the University of Regina Becker nor anyone else from Jobransa reached out to the Moose Jaw Express to make any corrections in the story.
Using provisions under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) MJ Independent contacted the University of Regina and was able to determine that the degree Becker claimed she had earned was in fact a lie.
In an email request into the publicly proclaimed credentials of Sarah Becker the University of Regina responded that under four variations of her name she did not hold a degree in kinesiology from the university. Determining if an individual possesses a degree, diploma or other qualification from provincially funded and accredited post secondary institutions is allowed in most cases under Saskatchewan’s FOI legislation. (See email below)
Jobransa Founder Tammy Beutle-Spilchuk - at meetings where multiple people were present, as well as on the now defunct Jobransa web-site - claimed she worked as an RN for a number of years. She also claimed additionally she held a degree in Psychology although it was either a BA in Psychology or BSc in Psychology depending on which documentation it was in.
On the now defunct Jobransa website www. jobransafoundation.ca Beutle-Spilchuk claimed she held a degree and worked for many years as an RN - although not defined on the web-site the abbreviation RN is universally seen as denoting a Registered Nurse.
Additionally Beutle-Spilchuk claimed to hold a BSc in Psychology although she does not name the institution where she aquired the degree and what institution she was attending working on her Masters degree. (See below)
MJ Independent could find no regisgtration with the College of Nursing that Beutle-Spilchuk held a degree in nursing nor was ever registered under that name, or worked as an RN.
In other documentation Beutle-Spilchuk would sign her name, on letters where she diagnosed children with special needs and disabilities attending Jobransa, she would sign above holding a BA in Psychology.
Although similar degrees there are nuances to the classes taken to obtain the bachelor degree. In a BSc Psychology the degree is more science oriented than a BA Psychology degree is more liberal arts oriented in the classes taken. (See photo below)
In those letters obtained by MJ Independent Beutle-Spilchuk would not only diagnose what a child was suffering from but go as far as to reccomend which medications, or combinations of medications identified not by their drug class but brand name, that the child with disabilities or special needs should be taking. Her diagnosis ran contrary to what a child psychiatrist had diagnosed and treatment regimen in at least one of those letters.
In one case she recommended a child take the trademarked drug Abilify for a child she claimed was suffering from serious mental health problems. The brand name drug Abilify or the real drug name Aripiprazole is not recommended to be used with children as it has been shown to increase suicidal thoughts. If it is used it must be closely monitored.
One parent, whose name we are withholding to protect the identity of the child, said Beutle-Spilchuk told her that her child was suffering from diabetes.
The parent, who at the time believed the qualification claims made at Jobransa, allowed Beutle-Spilchuk to poke her child’s finger to check out her child’s blood sugar levels on several ocassions. The child confirmed the blood sugar checks were done on several ocassions by Beutle-Spilchuk when the parent was not present because they thought she was qualified at the time.
“I was excited because my child has a disability and they didn’t fall under other supports like other children with disabilities,” the parent stated, adding “they promised so much, everything we needed. One thing needed was physical therapy. They offered all of these things we needed and if they didn’t have it they were going to get it…we never did get the physical therapy…I believed at the time Sarah (Becker) had a degree in kinesiology and would help.”
In the 13 month MJ Independent investigation into Jobransa we went to Melville in late July 2018, where Beutle-Spilchuk previously lived, and were able to determine from former co-workers that she had worked at the local hospital for about a year as an entry level dietary staff member where no advanced education nor experience was necessary.
MJ Independent also contacted the Saskatchewan Health District and asked if Jobransa, Tammy Beutle-Spilchuk or Sarah Becker had any connection to or were ever part of any medical team and the response was no to all questions.
In a February 6, 2019 written statement from the Ministry of Social Services they also denied any funding involvement with Jobransa.
“The Ministry of Social Services is aware that the organization has been in operation, but we do not have a funding relationship to the organization. We have excellent relationships with our many community-based partners across Saskatchewan who provide services and supports on our behalf to our clients. The contracts we maintain with them have provisions in place to ensure funding is being managed appropriately, and the services and supports provided are of high-quality, and meet the needs of our clients in the community,” the February 6, 2019 statement from the Ministry of Social Services read.
One parent told MJ Independent why she put her child into Jobransa’s care was the qualifications and the fact they had a seat on the Special Needs Advisory Committee. “It made them look real at the time. How did they ever get on there (Special Needs Advoisory Committee)?,” she said.
In a written statement the City of Moose Jaw explained the process Jobransa went through to get themselves written into the bylaw allowing them at the time to have a dedicated seat on the Special Needs Advisory Committee.
“Anyone who applies for an Advisory Committee position must submit a resume to the Clerk’s department. All applications are then presented to City Council, who vote on the appointments. In cases where certain groups are represented on respective committees, it is up to those groups to appoint their representative,” the City said in a March 8, 2019 statement.
Jobransa recently left the Special Needs Advisory Committee although their formerly appointed representative and employee Erin Hildebaugh remains on the committee as a private individual. SEE RELATED - Jobransa Centre Closes
MJ Independent attempted to have a Jobransa representative respond to the information we uncovered about their qualifications and claims made both publicly and what we were told by the families of children with disabilities and special needs.
Jobransa never answered any question asked by MJ Independent regarding their qualifications but they did respond.
In a series of emails Tammy Beutle-Spilchuk questioned why MJ Independent was so interested in her family as well as alleged MJ Independent had a personal relationship with one of the sources for the investigative probe into their organization.
Beutle-Spilchuk claimed MJ Independent was friends with the source on the story and that individual was a drug dealer who was owed money by her son, and former Kids in Motion Independent School board member, Joseph Beutle who was recently arrested on a warrant for sexual offences involving a child. He is to be considered innocent until proven guilty.
Additonally Beutle-Spilchuk requested the story’s author to join her in fighting the drug crisis.
EDITOR’S NOTE - After e-mailing the questions regarding concerns about misrepresented qualifications and her stated serious traffic accident Tammy Beutle-Spilchuk went to the Moose Jaw Police Service and swore out a complaint seeking a restraining order. She requested the restraining order stating the author of the stories and columns on Jobransa, Robert Thomas, took her picture and allegedly said he was going to give her children back to their biological mother.
Beutle-Spilchuk also said this publication was not concerned about people suffering from addiction. She claimed we were ruining her son’s life by publishing the results of this probe and inferred that the crimes he has committed were because of addiction. She said nothing about his alleged victim in the charges he is now facing. We once again stress Joseph Beutle is to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
MJ Independent emphatically denies any such claims and as a precaution because of things we were told regarding Beutle-Spilchuk the story’s author Robert Thomas has been recording his locations - time and place - for weeks. We eagerly await disclosure as to time and place where the alleged occurance took place.
We will also admit the story’s author was many years ago diagnosed with manic depression but later the diagnosis was changed to depression and multiple sclerosis. He is a person with a disability who does not hide he has disabilities but does not allow them to define him, dominate him and run his life.
We will answer one question though and that is why did we look into this entire story?
We looked at this story on one issue only and that was the allegations and documents brought to us by families of children with disabilities and special needs and what they said to us was shocking. It took four and a half months of asking around and going through documents to start to even believe the allegations had merit. We approached this investigation to discover the truth and we listened to people who had little money, hope and wanted to speak out to protect others from what they allegedly went through.
Perhaps in the end that is not “real journalism” as some critics may charge us with, but we looked at this entire story through interviews, taking our time and discovering documents - something so many other media outlets did not do when they were given this story and the parents and kids with disabilties and special needs showed up at their doorsteps and said please help us.
We didn’t do it for likes, we didn’t do it for shares, we didn’t do it to sell ads we did for the kids.
In the end we can live with the decision we did the right thing and gave a voice to the those with the weakest voice and little hope in our community.