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.


  1. MCFD threatens apprehension all the time now, I have experienced it. They didn't do that before.

  2. Apprehension is their trump card. They have the power, the resources, the financial incentives and above all the mental cruelty to do this. Despite what CFCSA says and what MCFD wants the public to believe, removal is usually not used as the last resort. To beat parents into submission, removed children are not always placed with the next of kin as required by law.

    Special interests will only benefit if MCFD does business this way. Follow where the money goes. You will solve the puzzle. You are dealing with the most powerful bureaucrats in the entire government where there is little check and balance, little accountability and no transparency in their operation.

    Of course, these are all done under the pretext of child protection.

  3. I had nothing wrong that could be found, my whole house was searched late at night by a car 86. We stayed really calm and thought it was a joke. But we didn't laugh and showed complete respect. I found that all this crazy stuff was said in mediation between director and my lawyer, none of it true. Yet it is all on file and I cannot find out what it is or refute it. My kids were not taken but I still have an open file and My director threatens me with apprehension all the time. Why?? No one who knows me can believe this is going on.

  4. Anonymous:

    Do you have recording equipment with you at all times in the event that the authorities do attempt a "removal?" If not, it would be a good idea to obtain asap. And I'm sure you know this, but it's imperative to take notes and document everything meticulously.

    Have you tried to get any interest in your story from the media? If nothing else, the CBC did have a section of their website requesting people's stories (in the initial articals on the Baynes). I know MCFD likes to coerce people into silence, but I'm not sure if that is the best strategy for parents.


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