Wednesday, March 31, 2010

SOCIAL WORK AND A CASE LIKE THE BAYNES / Part 153 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/


How does a social worker convince himself/herself to continue to work toward separating children from parents when it becomes increasingly clear that the evidence for separation is worse than confused? It’s faulty.

First, as a preface to this piece, I worked for over forty years as a pastor and a church denominational executive officer, and I am qualified first hand with stories of human hurt, personal pain, mental illness, anger, profound grief, domestic violence, family dysfunction, restoration, redemption, task frustration and job satisfaction. I considered it a high calling and I believe that I helped people.

In our society, there are so many professions into which people have entered with a sincere desire and intention to make a difference. A social worker is one of those occupations. I am convinced that social workers do enrich individual lives and families by assisting them to achieve solutions to physical, social and emotional impasses.

The British Columbia Association of Social Workers is an association that supports and promotes the profession of social work and advocates for social justice.

Here in the Fraser Valley, The University of the Fraser Valley offers degree and diploma programs in social work and human services.

It is an honourable and valuable vocation. Social workers find employment in various societal practices. Some social workers find their place within the Ministry of Children and Family Development as directors, supervisors, and case workers. Since the safety of the child is the paramount concentration of this Ministry, social workers understand that protecting children means coming into some conflict with parents. Every parent who perceives himself/herself as impacted negatively by an MCFD action is going to be distraught, angered, in dispute, perhaps hostile. A social worker is trained to deal with personal emotions as well as those of the affected parties. Some detachment is required to survive.

So, this morning I question how a social worker convinces oneself that placing these three children for adoption is the very best course of action? How does a SW do that when the child repeatedly asks daddy on a regular weekly visit, “Can I come home yet?” And the child has asked that question for two and a half years.

Perhaps initially the data on this case convinced the social workers involved that Paul and Zabeth were responsible for their youngest child’s injuries in autumn 2007. Why would they not be convinced by the data when the medical records by respected colleagues at Children’s Hospital implied that liability via diagnosis of non accidental injury? That was then. Since that time, it has become evident in court and out of court that the injuries are attributable to other causes and that the accidental injury reported by parents is valid. There is at least sufficient reason to question the initial diagnosis and injury cause. How can a social worker continue to view Paul and Zabeth as uncooperative, manipulative and troublesome when they are doing precisely what any zealous and committed parent will do to recover a family? How do a director and the social worker’s supervisors continue to see continued custody and possible eventual adoption as in the best interests of three children when nothing remains to point toward risk in returning them to their parents?

The high road here is to inform the Ministry lawyer that the case for the order is being set aside and the children will be returned to Paul and Zabeth immediately.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

SOME GOOD NEWS / Part 152 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/


You may recall my posted comments on Sunday, March 28, 2010 that bore the title “Clear Comunication.”

In that blog post I referenced Paul’s and Zabeth’s middle son and his physical challenges, not serious but of enough concern to the local MCFD personnel to consider medical examination. I wrote critically of the MCFD’s omission of an expected consultation with the birth parents to discuss the boy’s needs and an intended MRI procedure as well as possible surgery.

The Baynes have just received communication from the child protection social worker in charge of their case file. The email note states that the child was taken by both the foster parent and this social worker to the same doctor that the Baynes consulted when they still had custody of him. This doctor has examined the boy, watched him move, walk and run and listened to him speak and has indicated his satisfaction with the boy’s development. The doctor did not think that the asymmetrical shape of the boy’s skull necessitated an MRI nor was it responsible for any developmental delays. Rather the delays are attributable to his extreme prematurity of birth. The doctor noted as well that the boy’s eyesight may be a factor contributing to developmental challenges the child has.

I affirm the social worker for the personal involvement in taking the child and being personally present for this report and above all for sending this news to the Baynes, indicating as well that the doctor’s report will be sent to the Baynes.
For their part, Paul and Zabeth are deeply relieved by this information, not only because the MRI was avoided but because the consulting medical professional has confirmed their sense that their son was not in need of surgery but rather that remedial attention and a stable attentive home life will help him develop effectively and reach his potential.

Let's be happy for that little boy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

EMOTIONAL SURPRISES / Part 151 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Here is what passes unnoticed and unknown to social workers because it may not even be known to those who know Paul and Zabeth the best. These parents keep their children’s clothing and toys month after month. Who can tell whether this nightmare might be over not to far down the road. But one month becomes three, and three months becomes six months, and six months becomes one year. One year, and now some of those little boy clothes that were their eldest son’s no longer fit him but they can fit the middle child. But then, one year becomes two years, and it becomes clearer that many of the items mommy and daddy have been keeping in the children’s spaces will no longer be age appropriate or necessary. The children have grown older. And two years became two and one half years as it was this past week.

This past week Paul and Zabeth had some difficult emotional days. They have done this house cleaning before and it was time to do it once again. Paul and Zabeth had set up many items in the children’s rooms as from time to time they anticipated the children’s return. Grandparents and other friends gave clothing and equipment and toys for the children. Paul and Zabeth had purchased some of the items themselves. The rooms had to be ready with supplies and clothing. They needed to be able to demonstrate that they were ready and able to receive the children. This week Paul and Zabeth examined the children’s belongings once again. Imagine what it was like to handle things that the children never used or would not use at all. So much time has passed. The playpen, a baby’s high chair, a booster seat, diapers are all useful and in good condition but they will not be useful to the Bayne children. Those hoped for times came and went. They had to let these children’s things go – to be replaced. As is typical of them, even as Paul and Zabeth felt these emotions they took pleasure in inviting an expectant mother to take everything they could no longer keep because she was so happy to have these gifts. Of course they must keep the children’s rooms in readiness so all that is necessary for each child must be restocked and this exercise sparks some fresh hope. As always their faith remains strong that God will end this ordeal.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

CLEAR COMMUNICATION / Part 150 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/


Ideally Blue stands for Parent, yellow stands for Social Worker, and red stands for Director. Information freely flows between them as they work to solution. But there is something wrong with that picture. It isn't accurate to the Baynes story, and to many others as well. Quite apart from Paul and Zabeth Bayne, what I hear parents saying is that at every stage that their child is in the protection process with MCFD, the parents are repeatedly deprived of basic information. That is certainly contradictory to the CFCSA intention and prescription because it is essential that the concerns of the Ministry be communicated in order for the parents to improve their situation so they can get their child back home. It is the duty of social workers to keep parents informed about the status of their file and the plan for their child. In spite of that, parents claim they are uninformed or even misinformed. Parents should be apprised of the steps in a plan by which they can have their children returned. Parents also should be notified of any changes of their child’s placement, or health or medical appointments or procedures and it should disturb us all that parents can give evidence of how often their input is not requested and they are left in the dark or at best informed at the last minute. Rather than clear communication a more apt term for what parents should be able to expect is ‘transparent communication.’ Nothing concealed or disguised. It’s preposterous that I even need to describe these distortions of appropriate practice.

Alright now to the Bayne Case. The purpose for Integrated Care Meetings between MCFD social workers and parents is to establish understandings and expectations. During one of the infrequent ICMs with the Baynes, MCFD signed to the effect that the Baynes would be informed and given opportunity to attend all medical related appointments with their children. Before their children were taken, Paul and Zabeth certainly were dutifully diligent about the health care of their children. Just days ago the Baynes were informed that their middle son Baden was scheduled to have an MRI yet they had not been included in either discussing the need for this or invited to attend the procedure. This is their son after all. And had they been invited to the discussion they would certainly want to know why this procedure was being done now when they were the ones with the prior knowledge of his medical care. In fact, when he was very young they recognized Baden’s head was developing an unusual shape so they sought medical advice at Vancouver Children’s Hospital. Baden was given an initial MRI followed by another and then the news that they had no cause for alarm. They were even given professional advice about surgery to reopen the plates of his skull and then wear a helmet twenty-three hours of every day until a normal shape was restored. Further counsel informed them that the treatment was not worth the trauma and the risk and that the boy’s hair covered the slight abnormality. So, here is a case where even while a court hearing is in process, MCFD does something that compels the Baynes to have their lawyer pursue this matter legally. The Baynes also learned that Baden has been registered by MCFD in a mental health program. If this is a necessity, the Baynes should have been informed about the nature of the mental or emotional condition MCFD is seeking to address. What the Baynes have seen is a small boy’s occasional frustration or depression you might call it because of not being able to come home and giving evidence of being hurt and troubled by this ongoing, far too long and insecure living arrangement. If others recognize this, the question once again is why were the Baynes not involved in the decision to register him or given the option of seeking a counsellor or program of their choice, albeit with MCFD approval? Probably, it is fair to ask why MCFD has protracted this process of retaining custody for so long now (thirty months) that a small boy’s need for his parents has produced this result. Let’s be real here. The Ministry has orchestrated care of this child longer than the boy was with the parents and his issues are the result of what the Ministry has done or failed to do.
These past few days have been difficult for them, being able to see Baden for just three hours this week and they know that he needs the parental connection so much just as they need him particularly since the MRI was done Thursday, and as of Saturday, they have not been informed about how this went, what are the results or how Baden felt during this procedure. Would it not have been a generous and proactive gesture to invite the Baynes to be there with their son? But a consideration like that is not in keeping with the MCFD's current court action to remove the children forever.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

REUNITING FAMILIES / Part 149 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Reuniting families

To anyone who listens to parents, it is not difficult to understand why they lose heart and begin to lose hope that they will never receive their children back again. By virtue of their experiences with the Ministry, the impression is created that a plan to return the child(ren) is not a priority for the Ministry. Parents often report that the Ministry social workers give them little direction with regard to the Ministry expectations to be fulfilled before the children will be returned. Sometimes parents feel that they have met the expectations only to be told of a new set of expectations that effectively delays the return of children. In other cases, the resources needed to fulfill the expectations are not available or there are long wait lists. When expectations are so elusive and delays excessive, parents despair. Why do so many desperate parents speak the same language of distrust of a Ministry that should be committed to the family? I am not making this up. And neither have the countless reviews written by independent groups over the past two decades.

Paul and Zabeth Bayne are not unusual but they are examples of those parents who are so deeply committed to their children and their determination to be a family that they rearrange their lives to regain custody. They have acquiesced to all Ministry expectations short of confessing to a child abuse of which they have consistently insisted their innocence. While the Ministry maintains confidentiality and secrecy, the Baynes are under no such obligation. Their children, after all were taken from them two and one half years ago and the delay continues. When journalists have asked for interviews, the Baynes have given them. They have been surrounded by a host of sympathizers who use electronic messaging and networks to encourage the Baynes and to spread the word about their case. It is time that this Ministry's case against the Bayne family put to rest, surrendered or dropped. This is no longer a child safety or child protection issue.

Art: George Ortman, "4 Blues", painted relief, 1993, signed, titled and dated in ink on the reverse, 35 1/2 x 33 x 3 1/2 inches

Friday, March 26, 2010

APPREHENSION AS THE LAST RESORT / Part 148 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Apprehension as the last resort

In recent years the Ministry of Children and Family Development appears to practice a crisis-driven system of child protection. Given that starting point, the MCFD does not consistently sustain the honour of families and children’s best interests, specially when the apprehension of children is not treated as the option of last resort. Yet, a guiding principle of the Child Family and Community Services Act was to construct a safety plan for children that employs the least disruptive measure. It says in 2. (a) “children are entitled to be protected from abuse, neglect and harm or threat of harm;” and in 2.(b) “a family is the preferred environment for the care and upbringing of children and the responsibility for the protection rests primarily with the parents;” and in 2. (c) “if, with available support services, a family can provide a safe and nurturing environment for a child, support services should be provided.”

The initial investigation of the Baynes was reasonable but not all of the tactics, but beyond that, after the police stepped out of the case, there was no ongoing threat of harm and certainly not neglect. The Bayne family was the preferred environment for their three children and the Baynes were committed to protecting them. They proved that in many undeniable ways with their sons and at the time of their daughter’s injuries. Certainly if the Ministry had viewed this case through the grid of the CFCSA principles, it could at least have supported this family by plugging the parents into a services network so that each of the three children could remain home.

The removal of a child from the family home is a most serious and upsetting action to use with a child and the CFCSA recognizes this. To function effectively MCFD must always be big picture oriented and forward thinking at the administrative level so that the necessary resources are in place so the least disruptive intervention option is feasible for social workers. Social workers may find themselves today facing a couple of limitations. First, sufficient time to do an adequate assessment of the alternatives to apprehension and second the existing lack of supportive and preventative services. Section 5 of the ACT says that "A director may make a written agreement with a parent to provide, or to assist the parent to purchase, services to support and assist a family to care for a child... and these services may include (b) counselling; (c) in-home support; (e) parenting programs." Not developing those services is patently a breach of the CFSCA requirements.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

UNRESOLVED CRISIS / Part 147 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/ Part 147 /


In spite of inquiries and recommendations, changing governments, legislative reforms and in-house restructuring that MCFD calls transformation, this child welfare system in B.C. has failed generations of both children and parents. British Columbia’s child welfare system has been in crisis for decades and it still is. Mary Polak can only solve the predicament if she understands the history and acknowledges the existing problems.

The foundation of B.C.’s child protection system is articulated in The Child Family and Community Services Act approved in 1996 contains the values for child welfare as the Legislature expects it to be practiced. In 1996 this Act held enormous promise that the service provided would support families to care for their children in the family home using apprehension as a last resort and in the event that temporary placement was deemed necessary the goal was reunifying children with natural parents as quickly as possible. The CFCSA understood that removing a child from the parental home is a severe intervention. I join the crowd of serious reviewers who have concluded that the current child protection practices are violating the law established within the principles of the CFCSA. I'm not writing simply to rag on a Ministry or upon people but rather to present the case for changes, improvements.

When evaluating this Ministry, assessors are obliged to hear service providers, social workers, and lawyers representing parents in child protection cases. Wisdom dictates that another group needs to be heard and that is the parents whose children have been or are involved in the protection system. They have too often been ignored or silenced yet they have experiences, opinions and insights that can inform conscientious appraisers in ways that will make a difference. MCFD cannot in good faith say that it acts in the best interest of children until its management pays unbiased attention to parents.

The 'Child, Family and Community Services Act' Link

It concerns me that I have said nothing here that has not been said before by authorized probes and legal society reports. Ms. Polak must restore MCFD practice of the fundamental principles of the ACT.

Art: 'Broken Dreams' by Murray Unruh, acrylic and glass, 36X49 inches

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

MS. POLAK AND WHAT TO DO / Part 146 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/


It doesn’t please me to state my impression that the Ministry of Children and Family Development is providing ongoing evidence of its dysfunctional bureaucracy. That observation will be an untenable statement to Ministry chief Honourable Mary Polak who wants to make a difference in this ministry post which she requested. She has served for less than one year. As I myself process heart wrenching stories, I am not assuming that she yet understands all that her ministry is doing that disrupts families and makes people angry. I do assume that she has good friends and associates within the Ministry and is protective of them and their reputations. I don’t assume that she would condone the damage that some Ministry decisions and attitudes have caused to children and parents. She must take seriously some of the criticisms of the Ministry that she hears regularly. She cannot possibly read all of the case files that regional offices handled this year but she should demand the file for the Baynes and read what her ministry has done with this one.

Ms. Polak should find similarly disturbing as we do that previous official inquiries and their resultant recommendations to reform the Ministry have failed to correct the fault marks. There is a primary reason for this.

Ms. Polak and her Victoria team can be sincerely motivated, passionately initiate all kinds of new protection and developmental programs yet the overall performance review for MCFD may be abysmal, at least to the public. Many people conclude that MCFD is programmed to prioritize child protection at the expense of families. The corporate heart of Ministry of Children and Family Development must grow to be large enough to embrace the parents of the families that seizures fracture and to excel at finding ways to keep those families intact. I don’t see or read that concentration presently. One of the predictable factors for providing quality Ministry service is the local supervisor and/or Director. If the Ministry wants consistently excellent service from the hundreds of regional offices, the placement of senior management is critical. The supervisor must accept the major responsibility for disorder or bad case work in his/her region. I am confident that there are many competent and dedicated front line social workers. After all, bad social workers are effortlessly identified and managed by proficient supervisors. The challenge comes when trying to address incompetent senior management. Victoria does not appear to be doing that. The supervisor has considerably more security in a position than does a parent seeking to preserve a family. Weak senior administration repeats previous mistakes and if the Ministry is to be transformed the weakness must be removed.

'Sky Tulips' by Christine Verge

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

THE MINISTRY'S PREFERRED OUTCOME / Part 145 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

What is the Intended Outcome of Ministry Care of the Bayne Children?

That is a reasonable question?
What is the Ministry’s preferred outcome?
One must assume that the Ministry believes that the favored result is to keep these three children out of the parents’ home and custody – not just temporarily but irrevocably.

That is the purpose of CFCSA—Kent Bayne, Baden Bayne and Bethany Terzan Bayne F10073, a legal action initiated by MCFD.

They sit, the two of them, Paul and Zabeth, side by side in a court where testimonies by people who do not know them denigrate them as though they have peered more deeply inside than the couple themselves.

Not temporarily mind you, but irrevocably the order is sought to take the children forever, to cut them off from mommy and daddy.

Does that sound remotely like a service for which our provincial government wants to take credit?

If Paul and Zabeth are the most reprobate, unsalvageable humans among us and completely devoid of parental skills or any redeeming qualities.

Why does this protection order have all the appearances of punishment? Retribution loaded upon mom and dad, and son and second son and baby girl.

Is this the superior protection of children that will make our Ministry of Children stand tall among democratic nations of the earth?

Three small children who have been visited twice weekly by two adults whose love is unmistakably the love in which they long to stay. Yet twice each week because that is all that is permitted, they must say goodbye –again. It has been more goodbyes than any child should ever speak or hear. Two and one half years of goodbyes.

And now in grim moments unknown to tiny lives, mommy and daddy ponder darkly what a final goodbye will taste like through tears that don’t stop and a heart so broken that dying could not be worse.

Wait! When triumph speaks in Chilliwack the networks and citizen groups and judicial bodies will launch investigative explorations that will eventuate in probes that penetrate the disappointing collapse of wisdom, mercy and compassion within a ministry that has its purpose printed boldly on paper but whose implementation repeatedly does not correspond.

Monday, March 22, 2010

HEARING ON HOLD / Part 144 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

THE BAYNE HEARING / CFCSA—Kent Bayne, Baden Bayne and Bethany Terzan Bayne F10073 is still on hold, waiting for word of new dates to complete the hearing.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

LENTEN SEASON, PRAYER AND THE BAYNES / Part 143 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

For the Christian community this is the Lenten Season leading to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the commemorations of Christ’s crucifixion and his triumphant resurrection. This is my heritage and commitment and since the Baynes’ share this faith I write about it now. Chiefly I write today because something that I read caught my attention.

Gospel writers Matthew, Mark, and Luke have recorded the history of Jesus’ last days. They inform us that Jesus went to the Mount of Olives and a specific garden called Gethsemane to pray. His was an agonizing prayer we are told. The typical Jewish prayer posture of the day was standing, with eyes open and lifted to heaven and these writers tell us that Jesus fell with his face to the ground, and kneeling he prayed. Most artistic renderings of Jesus in the Garden show him with hands folded or fingers entwined, but I doubt that it was so. I know of no Jewish precedent for folding hands in prayer, and much indication that hands would be lifted in prayer. Sadly while he prayed, his disciples fell asleep but they did hear some of his prayer.

The content of Jesus' prayer impressed them for the nature of the request. It explained why he was so distressed in his soul and although they may not have understood his agony at the moment, later on after his crucifixion, they realized that Jesus knew he was going to die a violent death.

When you observe a person under pressure, you learn a great deal about him or her. The disciples had the privilege of observing Jesus near the cracking point of intense pressure. Luke 22:42 - He asked his Father in heaven if He is willing, would he remove this cup from him. Mark records Jesus saying, “Abba Father, all things are possible to You; remove this cup from me. . .” Matthew recorded, “O my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me. The decisive attitude however is the completing sentence to his prayer in each account, and that is “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.”

From a Christian’s perspective it’s unanimous, “Good thing that Jesus followed through…”

I have observed Paul and Zabeth as examples of people under pressure. As many of you indicate in your comments, no one can fully empathize but another who has suffered the appalling pain of the removal of a child. Speaking about a cracking point because of intense pressure, I would say that the Baynes have been at that point before and may be close to it once again and may even at times feel as though death would not be as painful. But they will come through this. I have not seen in a long while two better examples of inner strength and courage as that which is demonstrated by Paul and Zabeth. They are inspiring. These qualities in themselves should speak volumes about their ability to do a good job of parenting the children God gave them.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

FACING THE LAST GOODBYE / Part 142 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/


I asked Zabeth how she and Paul were doing. She wrote to tell me and her sentiment touched me. With her permission I print it for you to read. A qualifier first: I have mentioned before that Paul and Zabeth have faith in a sovereign God and this faith relationship is important to them. It is evident in the way she deals with her feelings.

“How are we today? We have had a hard last few days. While we have been sick we are doing better in that area, but I have been feeling low emotionally. I miss my children daily, but sometimes when I realize the trial will be coming to an end eventually I start to fear that a decision will be made to permanently separate me from my children forever. How does a parent live through the final goodbye visit? If one was guilty then one could understand and feel the ruling was deserved and if one truly loved the children one might acknowledge that it would be better for the children, but when it is a wrong decision, when love is genuine and no harm done...Will God expect this of us? Would this bring Him Glory by sacrificing our children in order for us to take up a call of helping others and thereby bringing Glory to Him in the answers to prayers of other parents? Or will bringing our children home bring Him Glory? What is His will for our lives? Will we see earthly justice? I pray so, but these are some of the questions I fear to answer.”

Just imagine parents having to wrestle through possibilities like that simply to come to terms with an inconceivable outcome.

The options as Zabeth reviewed them were these. Perhaps in the permanent forfeiture of their children, God has a purpose to accomplish a glorious ending in some undisclosed way. Although she ventures down that dark road far enough to conjecture whether childless, she and Paul might be expected by God to be able to help other people with damaged lives. Or perhaps in returning their children to them, God will be glorified in this family, in their story of tenacity and faith, and their nurturing of these children into adulthood so that each walks an upright life or accomplishes something remarkable.

What is his will for us? Will justice be done? I pray so, but these are some of the questions I fear to answer, she wrote.” What an honest response this was to my “how are you doing?” query. The legal and judicial sides not withstanding, this is the human side of this sad and in some ways merciless mess.

* Painting: 'Time to Say Goodbye' by Alfred Gockel, who creates powerfully distinctive abstracts which are alive with rich, primary colors, deep black accents, ebbing and flowing lines, and intensely kinetic motion. Toggle his name to see more works.

Friday, March 19, 2010


MARCH 20, 2010
8:00 am - 4:00 pm

That is this coming Saturday

All Proceeds go to the Bayne Family Trust Fund.

Pop and Hot Dogs for Sale

Located at Tadpole Academy Childcare
9766 Oak Street, Chilliwack, BC

Part 141 / PROTECT OUR FAMILIES / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


Protect Our is an interesting website, with contributors from various American States. Protect Our Families is an organization committed to advocating for the rights of children, whose bone disorders and medical symptoms have been misdiagnosed as child abuse, and their families. Because of the medical conditions of two of the Bayne children this site is relevant to them. Moreover, the case histories that are cited are similar in many aspects to the Bayne story. Several of the cases involved criminal charges against a parent or parents with courts ruling in the parents’ favour yet the social services still pursued permanent custody and won in some cases but not in all.

The home page refers to a case of Alice and Miquel Valesquez who were accused of child abuse due to their infant daughter’s fractures. You can read online their entire story which was featured in the Reader’s Digest. Even after their daughter had a positive skin biopsy for Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bones) the social workers and child abuse doctors refused to acknowledge it and continued to insist the child was abused. It was a long ordeal for the family but thankfully they were able to get their daughter back home. They also sued and won a settlement against the state of Virginia. Their family's story is featured in Reader's Digest which you can read online.

Protect Our Families. Com has a three pronged agenda.

Medical Information
It desires to aid in preventing the mistaken diagnosis of child abuse when a child actually has a medical condition which has been misinterpreted as child abuse. To rule out all potential pediatric conditions before coming to the conclusion of child abuse, and to avoid unnecessary reporting to child protective services, POF advocates that medical doctors be wholly trained to understand and to identify numerous pediatric conditions and bone disorders, among which are Osteogenesis Imperfecta and Vitamin D deficient Rickets which can resemble child abuse.

Family Support
POF provides medical and legal information and support to family members who have been wrongly accused of child abuse with a goal to equip the families and their attorneys to be able to research their child's potential medical condition resulting in resolution of their cases as well as obtaining appropriate medical care for the child.

Legal Reform
While Child Protective Services plays an essential societal role in protecting abused children, POF is concerned that child protection services acknowledge that medical doctors can make mistaken diagnoses resulting in wrongful accusations of child abuse. POF is working on legislation to change the laws that govern CPS in order to give families and children more rights and protection from false allegations. POF also advocates for greater liberty for parents during an ongoing investigation to obtain for their child full evaluation of potential medical diseases because the child has a right to be accurately diagnosed and treated since it is not in the child’s best interests to ignore serious medical conditions.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Part 140 / EXPLANATION & RATIONALE / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Today I have removed yesterday’s post 139 which drew attention to a website, the content of which did not live up to the intended purposes. I was speaking to the confounding phenomenon of similar issues that characterize child protection programs throughout the English speaking world of former colonialized nations. In commenting on my post, one writer pointed out numerous inadequacies to the site that purportedly was a Family Law Resource Community dedicated toward helping and supporting families to establish and solidify their personal dealings and directions within the Family Court System World Wide. The writer cited enough reasons that I chose to disassociate the site from my blog. We will make the point in other ways.

I have been a lifelong writer and when I began this particular blog it was a commentary upon diverse areas of current interest. Concentrating upon the grieving community of families impacted by MCFD treatment was not my original design. In September of 2009 I learned about Paul’s and Zabeth’s heartache. Their loss of family is almost as old as their youngest child. My curiosity was fixated immediately because years earlier I was the officiating clergyman for their wedding ceremony. Life choices moved us out of one another’s lives until that news broke upon me. I was compelled to know more. How could they find themselves in a dilemma this appalling and more importantly, how could they extricate themselves?

Like perhaps 95% of the B.C. population I have had no knowledge of the Ministry of Children and Family Development or of child protection. I have never had personal involvement with such services or until this past autumn known anyone who did. In hindsight it seems peculiar to me that in forty years of pastoral work and dealing with people’s lives and concerns there was never a family in my sphere of work that had an MCFD or child welfare association. MCFD’s need of re-examination is unknown by the vast majority of people and they will not care until they are faced with it either personally or through public awareness.

The more that I learned about the Baynes, the more convinced I was that I should do what I could, that was to write about them. The more that I learned about the system of child protection that interrupted the Bayne family, the more informed I became that theirs was not an isolated case of misunderstanding or confusion or even medical misdiagnosis. Some systemic weaknesses in our government funded child protection efforts were removing and keeping children from parents for far too long and sometimes for unwarranted reasons. As I learned, I wrote and this little read blog began to pick up readers on both sides of the Bayne predicament.

My thematic focus in upcoming posts will continue to be the Baynes’ recovery attempt. They have been without custody of their children for 2.5 years. That may not be unprecedented but it is nonetheless inexcusable because Paul and Zabeth are the kind of parents who will provide a loving, nurturing and safe home for their birth children. Their determination and their personal efforts to right a wrong may become a precedent however, when it evokes concern among journalists, readers, advocates, politicians and legislators.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Paul and Zabeth and the children’s visiting grandparents have expressed concern for the middle boy whose face appears thinner to them and who is not growing taller. His prematurity may be a mitigating factor specially when coupled with the affects of the instability and insecurity he may feel this long time away from his parents, good foster care notwithstanding. It makes the request for the boys’ return more urgent.
Read today's post below.

Part 138 / BIG FUNDRAISER / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

MARCH 20, 2010
8:00 am - 4:00 pm

That is this coming Saturday

All Proceeds go to the Bayne Family Trust Fund.

Pop and Hot Dogs for Sale

Located at Tadpole Academy Childcare
9766 Oak Street, Chilliwack, BC

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Paul and Zabeth Bayne exhausted all their personal monies and their home on earlier legal attempts to retrieve their children. They now live in rental basement apartment. They gave up their day jobs to work as night janitors to be available in the day hours to visit their children and make daytime efforts to regain child custody. Zabeth is a concert pianist and music teacher but has not taught for all the time her children have been in care, 2.5 years. She played a fund raising concert in January that raised $12,000 and went into a registered Bayne Trust Fund. That has already been exhausted on these recent weeks of the hearing in court. I am still of the opinion that success in their case will pave the way for some further welcome MCFD transformational changes in policy and practice.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Part 137 / Application to Return the Boys / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

There is a concern that this court case is in a holding pattern. Prior court days were occupied with the MCFD presentation of their case. What remains is the Baynes' presentation of evidence, testimony and experts' reports and perhaps two weeks of court time are required. Court time is backlogged and possibly the Baynes might have to wait until June for resumption of their case. The Case Manager for the Provincial Court of British Columbia is presently seeking to set dates for two this continuance. One date is for a one day hearing for the Crown to hear the Bayne motion for the return to the two boys to their parents. The second date is a multi-day series for the remainder of the Bayne evidence and testimony presentation. Of course the Baynes are anxious to proceed.

The delay is generating additional stress on them as well as hardship for their children. In view of this, before the last session concluded, Paul and Zabeth and their counsel Doug Christie raised the matter of the boys' return with Judge Thomas Crabtree.

Honourable Judge Thomas J. Crabtree expressed willingness to hear Paul and Zabeth Bayne's application for the return of their two oldest children, their boys. Their application is based in part on the earlier broken mediation agreement - broken by the MCFD not the Baynes, and in part based on the lack of evidence for the removal and retention of the boys. In fact, MCFD's counsel Finn Jensen communicated to MCFD in 2009 that the boys should be returned due to this lack of evidence. MCFD chose to ignore that advice. Before the final day in court recently, Lawyer Douglas Christie reopened this application. Judge Crabtree is prepared to hear arguments from both sides and has instructed the court clerk to find a date for this particular hearing, and the remaining days needed for the primary hearing of the Continuing Custody matter. Everyone waits to hear the schedule.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

136 / MCFD BIRTHED A NEGATIVE OPINION EARLY / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


Here is a quote from the ideal, the expected method by which MCFD will facilitate child safety and protection with parents who are under suspicion of harming or abusing their children.

“Whenever possible, the ministry is supposed to work with parents or guardians rather than take a case to court. They are supposed to try to work with you to settle (negotiate) what is best for your child. If you are able to negotiate an agreement or a plan with the ministry, your case will end much faster than it would if you went to court. Working with the ministry could help you keep your child in your home, or at least make sure that your child can live with someone you know and trust until you are able to bring them back home.”

In the experience of Paul and Zabeth Bayne the above paragraph seems almost naïve because their outcome has been far from that projected result. The Ministry may insist that the Baynes prevented a smooth resolution of their investigation and decisions.

The Ministry has claimed that the Baynes would not cooperate with the Ministry and for that reason the Ministry could not and did not work with the Baynes. What must be understood is that the Ministry defined cooperation as confession to the Shaken Baby medical diagnosis. The Baynes have always maintained their innocence of such injurious conduct to their child. Following their prompt investigation, the RCMP almost immediately abandoned any legal charge against the Baynes with regard to this medical diagnosis. In the months that followed the removal of the children, in all subsequent mediations and all communications, MCFD predictably moved the discussion to the Baynes’ liability and the need for them to confess before the Ministry could consider returning the daughter.

Although theoretically the Ministry would see value in placing the girl with family members or close friends, the Ministry did not permit this to happen. In fact, when well known and respected Surrey Council member Marvin Hunt and his wife Ruth, themselves approved foster parents for many years, and close friends with the Bayne family, offered to care for the Bayne children, they were disallowed by the Ministry. This result, in spite of the Hunts’ full accommodation to all application prerequisites including a criminal records checks, speaks to a prejudgment that has characterized this twenty-five month old case. Other applications by friends and family for interim care of these Bayne children were similarly denied.

Remove the Baynes from this critical issue for the moment. If another couple were suspected of injuring their child but they were innocent of the crime and if the injuries could potentially be explained as accidental although the MCFD did not acknowledge this possibility, would MCFD insist on an admission from the parents before negotiating an agreement? And would the MCFD allege that these parents refused to work with the Ministry and were uncooperative when the parents insisted upon their innocence with respect to hurting their child? Yes, I believe that the MCFD response in such cases is programmed and automatic because MCFD relies upon medical experts and when the experience and training of those medical experts interpret a specific set of symptoms as pointing to only one possible diagnosis, a confession by the parents is the only response that can pave the way to an agreement. So to the Court everyone goes.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 135 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne


The law gives social workers certain powers when they investigate a complaint yet the social worker is required to follow certain rules for doing the work and coming to a conclusion.

Social workers are to be guided by the fundamental understanding that keeping families together is the best objective. If the decision is made that a child is unsafe in a home, a social worker should not remove the child unless that is the only reasonable way to insure safety. Guiding the social worker are these axioms, that a child’s safety is of paramount importance, that the best place for a child is customarily with the family, that a child’s opinion bears due consideration when deciding a course of action, that if a family needs support services to care for a child, the Ministry should seek to provide this help via home support, counselling and parenting classes. A social worker is also to expedite the decision to avoid undue duress on a family or child and is responsible to investigate the complaint in the least disruptive manner possible.

In conducting the investigation a social worker may first contact you by phone or visit you at your home. The social worker has authorization to speak with your child alone (that is without you in the room), can speak with your child at school or somewhere else outside the home and do so without telling you. The social worker can speak with other people who know your child and this includes teachers, babysitters, neighbours, friends, relatives, police, pastors and priests and relatives. A social worker involved in an investigation may examine report cards or court documents or anything that provides information concerning the safety of the child. And a social worker can talk to you, the parent, about your family and perceived concerns. The social worker can come to your home at any time and request to see your child. If you refuse to allow this interview, the social worker is within the right of the law to remove your child from your home. That is why legal advisors will counsel you to work with the social worker as much as possible. You might ask the social worker to allow someone you trust to attend the interview if it concerns you that the social worker is speaking to the child alone. The social worker can remove your child from your home without warning if the ministry thinks the child is in danger.
Digested from:
Parents’ Rights, Kids Rights / A Parent’s Guide to Child Protection Law in B.C.
If you have something to say about this, write a comment.

Friday, March 12, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 134 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

(Today's posting is a mild mannered statement of facts. If you take issue or have experience that contradicts the way the ACT should be practiced, write a comment. And while you are at it, read the comment by Anonyous attached to yesterday's blog.)

Children are protected by law in British Columbia, a law called Child, Family and Community Service Act.
Under this law parents must keep their children safe, get them medical care when necessary, provide for their physical and emotional needs as well as protect them from abuse whether it is physical, emotional and sexual, and must also not neglect or abandon a child.

Abuse of a child may be physical, sexual or emotional. Physical abuse is any action that hurts a child and perhaps leaves a mark, and could be generated by shaking or striking. It might even be extreme punishment such as isolation or withholding food, water and toilet privileges. Contrary to a familiar opinion, it is not illegal to spank your children but it must always be kept in mind that someone may report if you do spank. Sexual abuse is not specific and is any sexual act between a child and an adult. It can also involve threatening to have sex with a child. An adult cannot legally compel a child to look at pornography or view sexual movies, or make sexual photographs or videos of a child, or permit other people to have sex with a child. Emotional abuse occurs by ignoring a child, criticizing, and shouting at a child consequently making the child to feel despondent, anxious, isolated or wanting to be self destructive. It must be noted that if a child resides in a house where the parents hurt one another, that too may be cause for intervention by the Ministry.

Neglect results from not giving a child enough food, a safe living facility, apparel and medical care. Neglect might also occur by driving a vehicle while drunk and with a child aboard, or leaving a child with a person who is too inebriated or strung out to care adequately for the child. Neglect can also involve permitting a child to use alcohol or drugs. Leaving a child alone in a car or a house may also qualify as neglect.

In British Columbia, the law requires that anyone who believes a child is being abused or neglected or is in danger of being abused or neglected, must report this to the Ministry. Serious penalty can be imposed upon people who knowingly ignore reporting abuse or abandonment. For that reason, doctors, teachers, religious leaders, family members and friends and anyone else is obligated to report. The Ministry must consider the possibility that a report is erroneous. The Ministry may not divulge the name of any person making a confidential report.

The Ministry employs social workers to investigate such reports soon after receiving them. The Ministry engages Legal counsel who contend for the Ministry in Court.

Parents’ Rights, Kids Rights / A Parent’s Guide to Child Protection Law in B.C.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 133 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

B.C.’s Child Protection legislation states, “Children are entitled to be protected from abuse, neglect and harm or threat of harm.”

That is laudable. No argument.

There are inherent themes in our BC system of child protection.
It is acknowledged among us that natural (birth) parents of a child should have full rights over their child. ‘Full rights’ is termed custody or guardianship or parental rights. Custody changes only when by agreement or court order full rights are removed to someone else. Our government can and does intervene to apprehend a child from parents. In such a case all or most of the ‘full’ rights are removed from the natural parents. The Child Protection Ministry then has custody of the child pursuant to the statute which empowers it.

Within B.C.’s Child, Family and Community Service Act, is clearly stated that within our free society there are expectations of natural parents or other caregivers for that matter to provide for necessities of life to children.

Any time a child has been or is likely to be harmed or abused physically, sexually or emotionally or if the child is deprived of necessary health care or when a parent is unwilling or unable to care for the child, then a child is deemed to be in need of protection. And this list of justifications for intervention is unrestricted, that is, the Ministry is authorized to extend this list to accommodate situations where protection seems the safest course of action. For instance here is a quote from the ACT, “A director may, without a court order, remove a child if the director has reasonable grounds to believe that the child needs protection and that the child's health or safety is in immediate danger, or no other less disruptive measure that is available is adequate to protect the child.”

What makes many of us uncomfortable is that extravagant endowment of power over lives of children and parents when coupled with another feature of our child protection legislation. I refer to the mandate, the command that everyone must report any child needing protection. In fact, it is considered an offence not to report. At first glance such good Samaritanism seems appropriate if protection of children is important to us. A second glance through a lens of experience and the flaws are glaring. The B.C. Government helpfully suggests examples of such reporting scenarios which in my mind can easily be interpreted as meddlesome and intrusive and dangerous. The examples include (1) a school teacher noticing bruises on a child which the child and family cannot explain; (2) a person notices that a child is often ill or unclean or falls asleep.

A child can be apprehended on the basis of such a report. Then a court hearing called the Presentation Hearing is required speedily. Parents and families and friends are distressed with this step because the parent's essential and comprehensive challenge of the evidence is deferred to a later Protection Hearing. Parents are virtually helpless here. Their children’s lives are significantly interrupted by such an abridged process. How appalling must it be for a parent that a child can be forced to stay with strangers while suspicions, sometimes bogus, and anonymous allegations of abuse are investigated.

Do I think that apprehension decisions by the Ministry are made lightly? No, I don’t. I believe that as a society, as individuals, as policy makers and as social workers we concur that there must be exceedingly strong grounds for surrendering ‘full rights’ or removing ‘full rights’ of natural parents. I honestly believe that in most cases a judge does seek to make an unbiased and careful decision. Yet I also observe that we have certified a system that reduces the stringency of these ideals when it comes to apprehending children based upon suspicion. The worst scenario but not uncommon is that children engaged in a cycle of protection hearings may remain in the Director’s custody for a long time, in some cases this has been to the age of majority. Of course many parents become exhausted, disconnected from help, hopeless and impoverished by legal service bills. They give up. They become embittered. In desperation and anger they unite in online support and advocacy groups to raise awareness of abusive treatment. And an uninformed constituency and a self protective Ministry enterprise can write them all off as flakes.

I am more convinced each day that there is room for improvement if not comprehensive reform of our Child Protection training, policies, accountability structures, methodology and procedures.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 132 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

The Bayne Case fills pages of reports and the hard copy reports fill file drawers and boxes. I know this is a complex case, involving more convoluted details than I will ever know even as a sympathizer of the Baynes. Yet essentially the story is that a baby suffered retinal hemorrhaging which is sometimes a sign of child abuse. Together with other medical observations at the time of baby Bayne’s hospital admission the diagnosis was made and the Ministry intervened a long time ago, twenty–eight months ago, October 22, 2007. The Ministry removed three children from the Bayne home.

The Baynes would concur with the rest of us that the hospital staff, the medical professionals, and the Ministry were not just within their rights, but were actually right to suspect child abuse and to run tests and to investigate. That is how the system must work if all the necessary tests are conducted and a thorough investigation is completed. It is designed to affect its purpose for the sake of our society and our children. But the process derailed when the Ministry insisted that a suspicion of abuse that ratcheted up the risk monitor was more significant than the RCMP investigative conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to charge the Baynes with abuse. Left to the RCMP alone, the children would never have been removed from the Bayne parents.

As far as the Ministry was concerned there was sufficient suspicion to remove three children from Paul and Zabeth, even though only the youngest was the one with the injuries from which the altercation stemmed. I said ‘sufficient suspicion’ rather than ‘sufficient evidence.’ The Ministry has had to maintain that suspicion for two and one half years. The ministry might insist that has not been difficult because the risk is so obvious. I claim that maintaining suspicion of the Baynes has not been easy to do because there is no evidence. In fact evidence that Paul and Zabeth are good parents and respected people had to be ignored in order to preserve the suspicion of risk. Only suspicion existed initially and only suspicion remains today. Yet the suspicion has become the equivalent of evidence in the Ministry’s mind. Now the Ministry has proceeded all the way to the Court still insisting that the Baynes pose a high enough risk to warrant the continued care/custody of the three children by the government Ministry. More than that, these children must be protected from their birth parents until they reach adulthood. The Ministry has come to Court needing to convince a judge that its suspicions are synonymous with evidence. This is just my take on it but I don’t think that the judge is convinced. Oh and of course the Ministry’s lawyer advised the Ministry months ago that a case could not be made to continue holding the two older boys, but the Ministry ignored that counsel, presumably because their suspicions are still defensible. Well they’re not.

Monday, March 8, 2010


We have begun a second week of hiatus from court. We are still in recess. Further dates must be scheduled. Further, Judge Thomas James Crabtree who is presiding over this case and has heard all of the testimony to date, has received notification of his appointment as chief judge of the British Columbia Provincial Court, the announcement being made by Attorney General Michael de Jong on March 4th. Judge Crabtree will assume his new duties effective April 8. We do not know as yet if or how this appointment may affect this case. Congratulations to Judge Crabtree. The delays nonetheless, affect three children and certainly their parents.
Read more in the Times Colonist:
and the Vancouver Sun

Sunday, March 7, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 131 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

The Continuing Care Order Before the Court in the Case of the Ministry of Children versus Paul and Zabeth Bayne to Insure that the Parents Never See their Children Again.

1. It Should be implicit that Compelling Evidence Must be Required to Separate Children from Parents
2. The Ministry Case Against the Baynes Was Founded Upon Dr. Colbourne’s Diagnosis that the Baby was Shaken and This Implies Non Accidental Injury
3. The Shaken Baby Diagnosis as Evidence is made vulnerable by Dissenting Medical Diagnostic Opinions and the Question to be ruled on by the Court of Dr. Colbourne’s Qualifications as an Expert
4. The Expert Medical Opinions by Ministry and Defence Witnesses Conflict and that Infers that the Initial Diagnosis of Non Accidental / Shaken Baby is not Compelling
5. Medical Opinion is Not Stand Alone Evidence in Child Protection Risk Assessment but Requires Other Undeniable Character, History, and Prior Behavioral Evidence.
6. The Baynes’ Personal Profiles and Proven Parenting Skills Contradict a Suspicion of Abuse
7. Instead of Being Pleased that the Baynes were Honourable Parents the Ministry Appears to Have Constructed a Case Based Upon Insinuation and Allegation.
8. The Ministry has disgraced Itself by Taking Parents to Court while Failing to Produce Compelling Evidence and Relying Upon Non Factual Unconfirmed reports

Summation: Without any compelling evidence it is apparent to all observers including the Ministry and its counsel that a continuing care order will not be granted and that the children will be returned to the parents and that the Ministry if it now acts with polite and gracious conduct toward the Baynes may be perceived well by the constituency.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 130 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

Heritage of Faithfulness

Paul and Zabeth Bayne are people of faith. You do not need to share their faith to appreciate that they are individuals who stand for something in which they believe. When I mention 'belief' I am not now even speaking about their protestation of innocence and their advocacy for justice. I am writing about their personal belief in a supreme being who manifested an earthly presence in the person of Jesus Christ the Son of God. That is formulaic for Christianity. The Baynes are Christian believers. It shouldn’t require an apology. Within our tolerance conscious society we have developed a remarkable ability to accept diverse faith systems yet curiously view Christian devotees as eccentric or odd. You and I both know that this is unreasonable and they deserve the latitude we apportion to others.

To demonstrate to you what I see when I look at the Baynes and to forecast what I believe will be the ultimate outcome of this trial, I will sketch a scenario that Paul and Zabeth do not even want to envision.

I will be glad to put this campaign to bed and that will be when Paul and Zabeth put their three children to bed in their own beds in their own home. That is what I sincerely believe will be the outcome.

If by some horrific stroke of poor judgement, this court ruled against the Baynes and awarded the children to MCFD, here is what I believe will eventually result. If the Baynes never have their children returned to them, setting aside possibilities of further legal pursuits or emotional crashes because of crushing disappointment, here is what I visualize for the Baynes. Paul’s and Zabeth’s faith will not capsize and sink. Paul and Zabeth will work at something that pays the bills but that will not be their compelling reason for living. They will be encouragers to other hurting people, providing references and resources and networking among broken hearted folks. And years will pass and children will mature and become adult. And whether or not in foster or adopted homes they are ever exposed to Christian beliefs, they will want to find Paul and Zabeth. And those children will not be disappointed with what they discover. In fact, what those children will uncover will be all the hopes and dreams that Paul and Zabeth held for their children, the memories of a few fleeting years together long ago, the fire of their devotion to serving others in all the intervening years. They will find that these parents spent their lives cheering on others, encouraging the weary and inspiring people to be true and strong. Those children will find their parents’ footprints so deeply set that following will be easy and desirable. Theirs will be a heritage of faithfulness.

It is because they are this kind of people now, that they should have their children returned to them and they will have their children returned to them.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Judge Thomas James Crabtree of Chilliwack has been appointed chief judge of the British Columbia Provincial Court, Attorney General Michael de Jong, announced today.
Crabtree will assume his new duties effective April 8.

Read more in the Times Colonist:

For Love and For Justice / Part 129 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

The CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS is Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982. The initial and defining statement for this document states “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:”
This document begins with a title, an actual warranty to citizens like you and me and Zabeth and Paul Bayne, namely, the Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms. Then in numbered articles the Rights and Freedoms in Canada are articulated. For instance, article one says the following:
1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
In this noteworthy document Article 11 speaks about the rights of even those in Canada who have been charged with an offence. Even a person so charged has essential rights. Nine precise rights are specified for them. The fourth of these rights follows here.
11. Any person charged with an offence has the right
(d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;

I make that point to contrast the treatment of a charged individual with treatment directed to Paul and Zabeth Bayne. The former, the person charged with an offence, is to be presumed innocent that is until proven otherwise. Paul and Zabeth Bayne are not charged with an offence. However, their family, their normal life, their plans and hopes and dreams for their family have been interrupted to a degree that one might conclude that they are not only charged but guilty of an offence and that they are living out their punishment each day, and have been for twenty-eight months without a ruling of guilty against them. To call this an ‘Interruption’ understates the callousness not of social workers but of a system that requires the presumption of risk if not guilt of parents in order to protect children. That is the driver here. Having said that, I am unclear that there is an alternative approach. Someone more experienced in family law, family court, child protection and social services might have deduced by now some recommendations that could inject more mercy into the process for parents and family while still protecting children.

Now this case contested before the court is the Ministry of Children pitted against Paul and Zabeth Bayne. While they have not been charged with harming their children, they are effectively on trial for harm to their children, or if doing the semantic dance, then they are on trial to establish that they are a risk to harm their children - a great enough danger in fact that they should lose their rights to their children forever. They are such a risk as parents that these children who want to be with their parents should be cut off from all visitation, should be placed in a foster or adoptive home and should not see their birth mom or birth dad again – or at least until they are of the age of majority and as adult adoptees desire to find Paul and Zabeth.

So, the efforts of the Ministry of Children, its lawyer, and its witnesses in this case, project a portrayal of this couple that ranks them with the worst parents in B.C., without any redeeming qualities, not even one customary page of a few favourable comments could be made about them in the Risk Assessment of the MCFD. This should be viewed with amazement if not disbelief, given the facts that 600 people signed an online petition in support of returning the three children to the Baynes, and almost twenty thousand people have glanced at this blog site since October 2009, including social workers, MCFD, BC provincial offices in Victoria, many with regularity, and an auditorium of people dug into their purses to make donations to help the Baynes fund this defence. Does the Ministry know something sinister about the Baynes that none of their friends and family know. Perhaps, but so far that has not been evident in court as I can see. That's my take on it but of course Judge Crabtree will make the ruling. It can never be 'just' in this democratic society to remove one’s children for all time based on this portfolio of tracing paper thin circumstantial data. Rights and Freedoms should kick in right about now.

1. Link to a great teaching vehicle to look inside the Charter.

2. an effective site for teaching children the importance of rights of the individual.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


A few days ago after speaking with the Trustees of the 'Bayne Trust Fund,' I published an invitation similar to this one. Paul and Zabeth don't need sympathy. They need compassion. While they endure these difficult weeks and months, they are making themselves available to other struggling people by listening, walking with, being friends. In the past two and one half years they have spent tens of thousands of dollars in this effort to regain custody of their three children. Some of you may be in a position to help them financially.

The Joint Trustees of the Bayne Trust Fund have notified me today that the funds, several thousand dollars that were acquired primarily from a January Piano Concert by Zabeth Bayne, have been exhausted through court costs to date. The Campaign for Love and for Justice is in immediate need of further funding from compassionate partners. Their defence is contingent upon additional funding.

Three Joint Trustees were appointed to set up and to manage a Bayne Trust Fund with a Chartered Bank, and the Fund is compliant with all legal requirements of Canada Revenue Agency and is governed in accordance with the law of the Province of British Columbia.

Donations will be accepted by deposit to this trust account at any branch of TD Canada Trust.
TD Canada Trust [bank # 004]
Continental Centre Branch [branch # 9713]
Account Number [6415554]
Cheque or Money Order should be made payable to: "Charter Lau, Kenny Chiu, Marvin Hunt In Trust For Paul and Zabeth Bayne" ; OR "Lau, Chiu, Hunt ITF Bayne"
Cheque or Money Order can also be posted to:
Lau, Chiu, Hunt in trust for Bayne
9406 Pauleshin Cres, Richmond, BC V7E 6P2

Thank you on behalf of Paul and Zabeth and their children,
Dr. Ron Unruh

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 127 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

The Honourable Judge Thomas J. Crabtree, Judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia is presiding in this case which is essentially the Ministry of Children and Family Development versus Paul and Zabeth Bayne.

By an order in council, effective February 15, 1999 Thomas J. Crabtree was appointed a Provincial Court judge. He graduated with a B.A. from the University of British Columbia and with an LL.B. from the Law School of Victoria University and was admitted to the Bar in 1984.

As a community member, in his practice of law, and in his judgement he has earned respect. He serves as a valued member of the Board of Directors of the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia.
The Board is appointed by the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, the Law Society of BC, and the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association. This Society provides professional news, instruction, courses, and resources to the legal community in B.C.

Each lawyer before the court case began had himself answered basic questions like “What do I have to prove?” and “how do I prove it,” and the responses guided the preparation for the case. In Judge Crabtree’s court room, each lawyer, Finn Jensen and Doug Christie is seeking to ask questions of his witnesses in a way that is direct and non-leading. Each seeks to extract everything that a witness knows in his client’s favour. Each wants to present a clear, concise and credible body of evidence. Each lawyer is challenging the admissibility of certain of the opposing evidence. Each is cross examining as thoroughly as possible. From the mountain of trial transcript documentation Judge Crabtree must uncover that which best informs him for the course of action he must take in formulating his judgment.

I can convey my sentiments here with an emotional and relational slant. In fact I can hardly help myself. As readers of this post you read through a filter too, informed by your own impressions of the Ministry or the Baynes or the snatches of the family, medical, legal and social work data that you understand. Judge Crabtree is not listening to information with partiality, or looking at papers with a predisposition or reading blog posts with a bias like this one. We are trusting on this judge’s dispassionate and open-minded administration of justice. What an imposing and honourable obligation His Honour has.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

For Love and For Justice / Part 126 / Zabeth and Paul Bayne

This entire statement was one composed by Paul and Zabeth Bayne in February 2009 to describe to anyone who would listen or read their story, what their family has experienced. As you read, keep in mind that it is a personalized account and that all the timelines have now extended twelve more months. At this moment a Provincial Court Judge is hearing evidence from a Ministry of Children lawyer and the evidence of the Baynes and their lawyer. It is his unenviable responsibility to classify fact and fallacy in his own mind and render a life altering ruling.

“During these past sixteen months our family has endured one of the most traumatic experiences as a result of a medical misdiagnosis and the consequent involvement of the Ministry of Children and Family Development. I wish to outline some of the injustices and hardships that have resulted as well as the damage that has been inflicted on our children as a result of this.

Due to the removal process our children have been submitted to experiencing the emotional trauma associated with the invasive and violent manner in which removal occurs. They have had a negative first hand experience with the RCMP and its subjection to the wishes of the Ministry to remove children right in the middle of their birthday party. They have lived through the pain of being separated from their parents and placed in an unfamiliar environment with strangers at a young and vulnerable age. This removal was the first time that our children had witnessed violence and emotional abuse. It was the first time that they experienced their parents unable to protect and assist them as they reached out for help to us.
The RCMP interrogated us an entire day resulting in an ambulance being called to the station to take me to the emergency room for a body that had completely seized from the brutal interrogation that an innocent mother had to endure.

The Ministry of Children and Family has denied our premature son the needed Infant Development Programs for many months when first in care. This delay will now affect his ability to adjust in school with his peers. The emotional damages also incurred with removal from a safe and loving environment has also caused delay in his development as well as in the development of our other children who were also premature infants.

The Ministry has sought to undermine the bond that we have developed with our children, has verbally admitted this in phone conversations, and now has evidenced this through limiting and cutting back our access times. Our children are suffering as a result from this.

This wrongful removal has resulted in damaging the trust relationship we have had with our children, their sense of security and stability and their ability to form meaningful attachments due to continued bouncing from one foster home to another and then to times of respite in relief homes. . . . .

Our family has also suffered financially from this injustice. I had taught piano to children for many years and had to auction off my grand piano to pay for lawyers fees, my husband was laid off one of his positions due to too many missed days for court, visitations and meetings with the Ministry. We had to place a second mortgage on our home to also pay for lawyers’ fees and medical experts and now have lost our home to bankruptcy because of this. Family and friends have also given much to cover the costs incurred. The expenses now are well over $80,000 to date and the Ministry wishes to draw this over a fifteen to twenty day trial and wish us to fly our experts in for the purpose of cross examination. We now have to self represent ourselves in court.

The emotional trauma of having your children removed is unspeakable. They have torn our very heart and soul out when they took our treasures. Enduring day after day wondering if they are being cared for properly and knowing they need you and miss you and do not understand. Knowing they think you don’t want them and you have placed them with strangers is another unbearable thought as we had wanted them to know they could rely on us for everything, that they could trust us and they were loved unconditionally. Coming home to empty beds at night brings tears as we go into their rooms and pray for them one by one and blow them a kiss to wherever they are. The pain is unbearable. Putting on a brave smile at the end of a visitation as you wave goodbye to your crying child that is begging you not to leave him is barbaric.
We have been robbed of our parenthood. We have had our children stolen on false allegations and have missed the whole first year and a half of our first little girl. We are enduring what no parent should ever have to.

Due to the removal process our children have been submitted to experiencing the emotional trauma associated with the invasive and violent manner in which removal occurs. They have had a negative first hand experience with the RCMP and its subjection to the wishes of the Ministry to remove children right in the middle of their birthday party. They have lived through the pain of being separated from their parents and placed in an unfamiliar environment with strangers at a young and vulnerable age. This removal was the first time that our children had witnessed violence and emotional abuse. It was the first time that they experienced their parents unable to protect and assist them as they reached out for help to us.”