Monday, April 12, 2010

PUBLIC HEARINGS ABOUT CHILDREN TAKEN FROM PARENTS / Part 164 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Northwest Territories may Provide Our Example for Action

This is precisely what needs to occur in British Columbia. The public and our MLA’s need to listen to the parents whose children have been removed by the Ministry of Children. The Northwest Territories have commenced a series of nine public meetings during April 12, 2010 because the MLA’s last June 2009, promised to review the Child and Family Services Acts that has been law since 1998. The presenting incentive for the review was the disturbing assertion that the ACT gives social workers too much power to take children away from their parents. I applaud NWT MLA’s for this conscientious process. It demonstrates a legislature of leaders seeking to be responsibly accountable to their electors.

Clearly in NWT the majority of the children in child welfare custody are aboriginal children, but the truth is that across Canada, three times as many aboriginal children as non-aboriginal children are in care. In these cases it is found that neglect, rather than physical or sexual abuse is the dominant cause for children being in the system. Parents don’t have the tools to care for their children and may not have the financial means but surely that doesn’t deserve punishment. Yet the fact remains that non-aboriginals too, are subjected in BC to these removals that rip families apart and in some cases irretrievably.

I believe that NWT has begun a model of action for BC that can view the family differently than it has so that the model for resolution will be putting resources into families rather than taking children away from their families. Children should be with their biological families rather than traumatized within a system that ostensibly is seeking to provide care yet with every action appears to be generating separation.

Twenty-five people spoke at this first public meeting and these included parents who lost children, foster parents, social workers, lawyers and community justice workers all of whom expressed frustration and heartache and criticism of aspects of the ACT they say must be revised. A news report stated that emotions during the meeting ranged from anger to anguish as grievances were aired to a panel of MLA’s and Child Welfare professionals.

Read the online news report by Elizabeth McMillan of the Northern News Services which was published on Friday, April 9, 2010.


  1. This is a good story in the provided link.
    I will always have hope for reform. However, in my experience, unless reform attempts are backed up with a very large stick, it woult not last. Neither would reforms affect large billion-dollar Provincial child protection budgets or removal rates.

    I am shocked that I recognize how many stories relayed by affected parents that I can personally relate to in my single encounter with MCFD. That said, parading clearly upset parents who speak of the horrors of the system without hard data backing up emotional outpourings, to me sets the stage where "reform" occurs, then there is another parade of individuals speaking the praises of the improvements in the system. "Problem solved," is that story.

    It reminds me of the story of the Hans Cristian Andersen tale of the Emperor's New Clothes. While the Emperor (aka Minister) parades his "new clothes" before his subjects, they dutifully admire his invisible attire, not wishing to appear unable to see anything. But then, a small child shouts out that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes, then his subjects take up the cry as well. The Emperor has no choice but to continue as if the clothes were there.

    We are far from the stage in the metaphor where the rest of the public takes up the cry of those who shout the shortcomings of the child protection system. Child protection is, you see, necessary. There are bound to be the "odd case that slips through the cracks." The individual shouting inappropriately simply needs to have their children "protected."

    Reform might work better starting on a small scale, perhaps in a small interior city that typically experiences a high volume of child removals. Implement a no-removal policy and substitute intensive services, and double up on social workers.
    See what happens when funds are not paid to foster care homes, lawyers, psychologists, and instead are used for services, nanny's, daycare, social workers and additional subsidies for use by parents.

    To me, child protection systems has a very simple primary function, to remove children, and keep them in care for as long as possible (or permanently) in order to ensure a large, and continuing flow of taxpayer dollars. Whether or not children are protected or are helped while in care are clearly distance secondary considerations. The suffering of parents and children are immaterial, and for some social workers this may be black icing on a mouldy cake they feed to parents.

    Uncover truths first, and reform each one at a time.

  2. To Anonymous:

    I agree with all your points except reform one at a time. Your suggestion may be practical but grossly insufficient to liberate those who are in the midst of oppression.

    Most Canadians have undue faith in their English-law based judiciary and democratic government. They naively believe that those in power will not do anything illegal to harm the people and will listen if there are enough people protesting, opposing via democratic means.

    This problem is not new. Unlike most average Canadians, many politicians, lawyers, judges know all these. You don't need to be too smart to discover that there is serious corruption in the "child protection" industry. These people are no dummies. Why this problem still exists? Why nobody does anything at all?

    When you uncover the scary realities in this corrupt temple, some people think that you are lunatic or using fear-mongering tactic. The Bible clearly tells the nature of government (monarchic, democratic and dictatorial alike) in 1 Samuel 8:7-20. Now, our government takes much more than 10% of you have.

    Incidentally, the Bible also records probably the first child custody hearing in 1 Kings 3 16-28. This establishes the principle of the real best interests of children. While the Baynes spend all they have attempting to get their children back, going through painful proceedings and publicity, what have MCFD done other than removing these children? If there is no money, I guarantee that their counsel will be the first one to walk, followed by these very respectable self-righteous workers.

    Does the Bible also provides a solution to deal with oppression? Yes.

  3. Response to Most recent Anonymous,
    In advising that BC copy the NWT public meetings at which legislators listen to the parents whose children have been removed by the Ministry of Children, I was not suggesting this as a complete solution but a beginning. Further I have suggested that MCFD put its greatest resources into families rather than taking children away from families.

    You and other writers of comments repeatedly use terms like “child protection industry” yet you reject other readers’ assessment of such descriptions as being ‘fear mongering.’ You may call me naïve or uninformed but I am not prepared to generically castigate all government officers and employees as corrupt. Dragging corporate feet is not equivalent to wickedness.

    Whereas I believe that theologically you and I may have much in common, and that we likely both care deeply for parents and children who are separated unjustly, the use of the Bible will not impress all blog readers or influence the mountain of bureaucracy. So, discourse, dispute, debate, and dialogue are essential to remedy.

    However, you have made the statement that the Bible provides a solution to deal with oppression but you did not explain that? Do you want to do that?

  4. To Ron:

    If you maintain that the use of the Bible will not impress all blog readers or influence the mountain of bureaucracy (which I agree is largely true), what's the point? After all, you being a pastor know better than I do.

    Knowingly refusing to rectify is equally guilty and wicked when one gets the power to do so.

  5. Anon, just now:
    You missed my point and that is the downside of this form of back and forth texted communication. You made the asked the question, "Does the Bible also provides a solution to deal with oppression?" and then you answered, "Yes". I said "the Bible will not impress all blog readers or influence the mountain of bureaucracy," by which I meant that not all who read these posts or comments regards the Bible the way that you do. I do believe that God uses the Bible to bring light to people who previously have not paid it attention. You will agree with that. Then I was hoping that you would supply the clear explanation of what you meant when you said, "The Bible provides solution..." I was asking for some detail. Of course I can supply my explanation because as you have noted, I have spent a lifetime in examination of scriptures. I was hoping for some additional input from you.


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