MCFD DEVELOPED A NEGATIVE OPINION ABOUT THE BAYNES EARLY IN THIS CASE
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.