Monday, May 24, 2010

I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS / Part 199 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/


Don't miss the Comments Section following today's Post.

I ask so many questions.
I don't have answers for them.
The children were removed as a protective precautionary measure following a serious injury to their youngest child in the autumn of 2007. Risk assessment was done initially and later, both informally and then more officially with a filed document. In every case the assessment reflected badly upon Paul and Zabeth as parents because at no time in two and one half years has the Fraser Region branch of MCFD viewed them as no risk parents who can care for their children without supervision. Yet that assessment differs dramatically from Zabeth's own mother's assessment of their parenting skills and commitment that she saw up close and personal. I published her letter May 22. Now, after all of that time, 2.5 years, MCFD believes it can justify the removal of all three children and leave these parents impoverished of their offspring.

Harming a child means that you are a risk to re-offend, whether or not there is enough evidence for criminal charges to be laid. MCFD has a responsibility to adjudicate the risk factor. However, once that comprehensive risk assessment has been done, it is accepted social work practice to develop a Risk Reduction Plan. The purpose of this is to reduce the highest risk factors. The plan is customarily accomplished in consultation with the child if old enough, and with the family and others who may become involved in the plan. Social workers have access to a MCFD Risk Reduction Planning process and documentation. With it the social workers identifies the risk factors to be addressed; describes measurable outcomes of the plan; describes strategies and services required to achieve the outcomes; and specifies a date for reviewing each strategy. It is crucial that the social worker involves the family and child(ren) and service providers and others who have a role in the plan insuring that all understand what is expected of them.

The social worker is authorized to take protective measures that are based on the level of risk that has been identified. The measures must be adequate to ensure the child’s protection and be the least disruptive to the child. Among the available protective options to the social workers are providing protection services to the child at home for which no court order is required; applying for a protective intervention order according to (Section 28, CFCSA); applying for an order to ensure necessary health care (where risk to the child is limited to a medical issue); arranging for the child to stay with family or friends; developing a voluntary care agreement with the parent; applying for a supervision order; and removing the child. These options are categorized as risk reduction.

Programs and plans exist within our society to assist the recovery of people from all sorts of dependencies, maladies, emotional and relational issues, and unacceptable behaviours. All of these seek to reduce the possibilities for re-occurrence and reoffence. How in two and one half years can the authors and reviewers of the Bayne Risk Assessment fail to develop the Risk Reduction Plan whereby parents, as demonstrably worthy, loving, responsible and conscientious as are the Baynes, can be restored to their children? Efforts are made to rehabilitate even convicted criminal offenders. The Baynes were not convicted of an offence. They have been circumstantially suspect by MCFD. So why, would MCFD personnel not make every effort to reconstruct the Bayne family life? Why? If it suspected that the parents are a risk, why not try to reduce the actual risk? Is it because the parents must first confess to harming the child? Is that when such remedial help is offered? Or is it possible that the MCFD management does not have the resources, either in tools and programs, or funds, or in compassion and will? I am telling you, I want to believe in the goodness of people involved in this work. Yesterday, a community worker assured me that most people are good. Yet damaged people and saddened former social workers tell me with expletives I have deleted that so many in the system are far from good. Who can I believe?

26 comments:

  1. Extremely well-written, Ron. Those are very valid and poignant questions. I would suppose the answer is, "Yes, the services would be offered, if the Baynes admitted to having had difficulty parenting, resulting in harm to their youngest daughter. As well as the subsequent collateral risk to the elder brothers of this little girl." The Baynes are EXTREMELY fortunate to live in Surrey (wow, never thought I'd say that!) where there are MANY vast and varied programs parents can participate in to be proactive in parenting, develop skills, address very specific or broad issues, address child protection issues, increasing emotional or other capacity etc. BUT, none of these would be put in place if the Baynes are denying any wrong-doing.

    Much like a therapist, most outreach or other community-service programs are completely voluntary. IE< "you are the change you seek."

    What were the Baynes offered? They would have been discussed-with at some point the various service options available. I can think of a few, based on the CP concerns noted (developmental delay, highly intelligent parents etc) in previous posts. But that is up to the Baynes and the SW they must deal with.

    Do the Baynes have any relationship with the SW beyond the court-proceedings at this point? If not, there really is no hope of resolution outside of the court-house. Many mediation options available as well, as provided by MCFD.

    This was an excellent post, Ron. Excellent. (No sarcasm).

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  2. I just wrote a long reply to this and it was lost somehow. But it should be obvious by now that child protective services is one big lie. Look at the foster children who have been through the system. They are living proof (if they haven't been murdered or committed suicide, as so many are and have been) that child protective services destroys families.

    Facing the unpleasant truth is not easy. But it is imperative if we are to even begin to truly help these victims who suffer unimaginably. And the truth is, MCFD and child protection agencies all over the world are doing horrific damage to children, families and society.

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  3. There are countless instances of parents who have done everything, absolutely everything, requested of them in the case plan. Performed perfectly. Driven miles to attend whatever they are supposed to attend. Quit or been fired from their jobs because they are forced to go to appointments during work hours. Only to get to the end of it and have their parental rights terminated. Forever. What a cruel joke.

    Parents who do accept services open the door to great danger as child protection agencies very often use the information they get from these "services" to terminate parental rights. Because the judge will always - or almost always - take the social worker's word over the parents, and because most parents don't know to record and document everything (and even if they do, the judge may ignore or discount their evidence, even when the social worker's evidence must be, in light of the parent's evidence, fabricated)the information that social workers gather can be used against parents very effectively to terminate parental rights.

    Someone who is innocent should never admit, through their actions or their words, to guilt. But imagine the anguish of being faced with the decision to either admit guilt (when you are innocent), or lose your children. The parents in Bakersfield, USA, who were falsely accused of satanic child abuse faced this decision, and refused to admit guilt. They were sent to prison for many, many years. But ultimately they were found innocent. They lost everything. Because of a corrupt, evil system that twists the truth. Because too many of us believe that social workers and crown counsel would never do anything wrong, and are always good people. Believing that evil is good is the biggest mistake we can make in life. And what is more evil than those who destroy - with no real evidence, or with fabricated evidence - helpless children?

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  4. If a lengthy comment is required, I have found that the 'Post a Comment' option prevents lengthy comments and forces one to split it into two and send twice.

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  5. To Anonymous 12:51 AM
    The proviso to service delivery which you stipulate is impossible for them. It makes sense perhaps to you and all others for whom the medical diagnoses point convincingly to harming the child. However, if, and I recognize how quickly this option may be dismissed by convinced observers, yet if, the medical indicators were misleading and the diagnosis was misguided and these two people have been mistakenly assessed as risks or even abusers, then they cannot admit to responsibility. Just imagine wanting your children so badly but being compelled to admit to something horrific in order to obtain the help or the approval that makes this possible.

    I know that in the early stages of discussion they experienced recurring efforts from social workers to have them acknowledge responsibility for the child's injuries. Their refusal to make that admission was viewed as lack of cooperation I am confident. As responsible parents they were already engaged in programs to assist their development of their premature children. I cannot speak definitively about their relationship with their social worker. I know that her expectation or perhaps her supervisor's is that communication could be as often as the Baynes want it but by telephone. The Baynes on the other hand have been told that they should use email or letter and request written responses. Clearly one wants to record the interaction and the other does not. So there is an impasse there. The parents stay active in their childrens' lives and want to be informed about them and medical appointments and other events and this communication is often sporadic from MCFD or late. So yes, a court resolution seems to me to be the only re-solution and of course that is where we are.

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  6. First point. I agree, the Baynes do not need corrective services because there is no real evidence that they did anything wrong. Second, I am afraid I have to tell you that the risk assessment process is totally flawed. It is a subjective document, written by someone who (as in the Bayne case) is totally adversarial to the parent. If you have good factual evidence of risk, that is the risk assessment and you do not have to concoct a case out of psychobabble. Moreover, if used as evidence in court, the risk assessment is no better than hearsay. Since retiring from child protection work, I have advocated for many cases and I have been appalled at the atrocious treatment of some families. Sorry community worker, but only one case in three showed competent social work. Better than nothing I suppose.

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  7. Hi Ron, I was the first "anon" today. Thank you for your response. Makes perfect sense to me. It just appeared as if they were offered nothing (in your blog post) but they actually were. You and I are on the same page though - if no admittance of guilt, no need for service. But, it's worth noting it was offered and based on your comment just now, it was offered on a number of occassions

    Ray - yes, the Risk Assessment is subjective in many areas. I'd hope, however, that in cases of removal at the very least, the specific abuse cited as reason for removal would be supported with evidence (objective) rather than subjective conjecture.

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  8. Well First Anon, I can't agree that we are on the same page quite yet. The page I am on is entitled “Innocence”. You are on the page called “Guilt”. That's why you can say that SW pressure to admit guilt is synonymous with the offer of help. With that I would agree. If a guilty parent confesses then I assume help is offered. The SW is doing his/her work. But I have not heard you agree with me that when an innocent parent declares innocence, that same SW pressure to confess guilt cannot be interpreted as the offer of help. If it is relentless, it is harassment. The parents' children are still gone, and they these parents do need help. Am I to believe that you could never accept that a child has been removed because of a flawed risk assessment?

    Oh, by the way, the risk assessment that was entered into the Court ventures the submission of truly contestable evidence, i.e. testimony of 4 collaterals who thought they could remain anonymous until cross examination successfully argued for identification or the testimonies would be hearsay. However, the written submissions of hundreds of family members and close acquaintances were not included and the person who wrote the assessment admitted that he had never read any of these submissions.

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  9. PS - the hundreds of letters were in support of the Baynes.

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  10. Community WorkerMay 24, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    Hi Ron - I didn't explain myself clearly. I don't think the Baynes are innocent or guilty. I am on neither page. Admission of guilt must include an offer to help - I'd hope for anyone (criminal, addiction, etc). SW don't want an "admission of guilt" so they can offer services. SW's want "an statement indicating a concern need be addressed" so parents can be offered support to address the concern. Semantics maybe, but important.

    Children CAN be removed by flawed risk assessment! (Human error?) One of two things need happen (a) the social worker realize their mistake and return children or (b) the judge realizes the mistake and returns children.

    That is so wonderful the Bayne's have such a vast support network. Seriously, I mean that, truly.

    I can understand why you think that I believe the Baynes to be guilty. I really don't have an opinion. I am simply asking questions because it appears as though this blog is one-sided (which you quite correctly make no secret of). The questions though need be asked to validate what you are writing. Your answers have been wonderful. Thank you. Bless you, Ron.

    I am confused on one point - the letters from family were submitted to who? The Social Worker to include in the risk assessment or to the court and then rejected as evidence? If they were rejected as evidence that would be a legal issue, not a social worker issue. If I understand you, I understand what you are saying - why is a subjective risk assessment allowed and valid but letters are not. Can you clarify?

    Were the 4 collaterals who were identified in cross-examination found to be valid or were they found not to be? If they were valid, why are the valid concerns they have not being recognized here?

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  11. REMINDER: CBC News Thursday, April 2, 2009
    Government emails cast doubt about whether infant was shaken, as alleged
    The couple said their children's foster mother emailed a social worker at the ministry two months ago, according to the documents they obtained. "I noticed the baby sister was diagnosed with glutaric aciduria," the email said. "I decided to do a Google search.… Children with glutaric aciduria are often misdiagnosed with — believe it or not — shaken baby syndrome." The social worker, Kimberly Grey, responded: "We are very concerned about where [you] would have gotten this information… because of the sensitivity of the case."
    This whole thing was a medical condition and an accident. And we just want them to admit their mistake," Paul Bayne told CBC News on Thursday.
    "We can't do anything for our baby right now, and she really, really needs us," Zabeth Bayne said.
    Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/04/02/bc-surrey-parents-children.html#socialcomments#ixzz0ouhw7y7B

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  12. Community Worker,
    I am unable to speak definitively about this. I do know that supporters wrote letters by the score and the ones pertinent to this question were sent to John McNeill or the Social Worker in charge of the case, so these were available for reference. To my knowledge they were not entered into court as evidence, at least not yet. Perhaps that will come when the final days of this court case provide the Baynes and their lawyer with the opportunity to present their evidence and testimonies. So letters have not been rejected as evidence. As for the collaterals, the validity of their testimony as evidence has not yet been ruled upon by Judge Crabtree. Testimonies by many MCFD witnesses were heard but were not yet ruled as admissable evidence. I believe the Judge is being very careful with this case.

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  13. Community WorkerMay 24, 2010 at 11:30 PM

    Ron, again, thank you. I need to clarify - I actually, as I hope all community workers do, believe children need to be with parents. Was the removal right or wrong...I really am in no position to have a position on this particular case, but that doesn't change my opinion that kids need mom and dad. I pray the Judge makes a wise decision.

    Thanks, Ron.

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  14. To Community Worker

    In response to the 2nd paragraph "Children CAN be removed by flawed risk assessment! (Human error?) One of two things need happen (a) the social worker realize their mistake and return children or (b) the judge realizes the mistake and returns children." in your blog posted on May 24, 2010 9:08 PM, there are other possibilities and outcomes.

    There are respectable SW who punish parents by removing their children for standing defiant, disagreeing with their position or recording interviews (or more precisely interrogation) in their own homes. This is oppressive malice and abuse of authority. Judges often rule in favor of MCFD in Section 35 hearings that results in lengthy separation between parents and children. Parents lose their jobs after MCFD intervenes, forced to divorce their spouses or leave their family home, placed under MCFD mounted surveillance. Some oppressed parents committed suicide. Some children in foster care are sexually abused or killed. Almost all are emotionally traumatized.

    I am not suggesting that all SW are malicious. I am contended that the presence of good or uncorrupted SW is insufficient to rectify the structural corruption in the "child protection" industry. There are many special interests in this industry whose livelihood depends on state-sponsored "child protection". Law and policies have gone so lopsided that SW have so much power that no provincial court judge has the power to stop or punish SW for maliciously removing children from their parents.

    The best judges can do is to deny MCFD's applications. Of course, few judges rule in favor of parents in "child protection" proceedings. Even when they do, this does not necessarily result in the immediate return of children. I have seen children ordered to be returned to their parents and yet MCFD continued to hold them hostage alleging appeal (of course they never did as they don't have any legal ground to do so). I have seen children scooped up again shortly after court ordered them returned without fresh evidence.

    The foregoing power is within the statutory authority of SW. The only practical solution is to revoke child removal authority and outlaw state-sponsored child removal. Removal does not always equal protection. This oppressive barbaric act must be stopped at all costs. It is destroying families, the cornerstone on which a nation is built.

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  15. To Anonymous 9:53

    Anonymous said....

    REMINDER: CBC News Thursday, April 2, 2009
    Government emails cast doubt about whether infant was shaken, as alleged

    The Glutaric Aciduria saga needs to end and I will tell you why.
    When this infant was at an important appointment soon after she was discharged from BCCH the Dr's involved in that appointment discussed the possibilities of her injuries. There was no rash decision that this was SBS.

    When I as a caregiver asked if I was going to be dealing with a child with SBS I was told yes and explained that there were 3 possible reasons for these kind of injuries to a child.

    1. A serious car accident in which this child would have had her head rolled around and fractures to her leg and arm.(the car would not only have to have impact but roll over)

    2. Glutaric Aciduria. In which this child was tested and found to be negative.

    3. Shaken Baby Syndrome!!

    Dont forget about the grip marks on her upper thigh and the fractured arm and leg.
    And also the changed stories of the how this injury occurred in the first place!

    This case is so unfortunate in that its taking so long to come to a decision.
    I just hope it happens soon and the Judge makes a wise decision.

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  16. Anonymous: How could you define this as "respectable"? There are respectable SW who punish parents by removing their children for standing defiant, disagreeing with their position or recording interviews (or more precisely interrogation) in their own homes.

    I'd agree with you, it is not.

    Can you clarify to whom you are referring as well?
    "There are many special interests in this industry whose livelihood depends on state-sponsored "child protection".

    To the next commenter - grip marks and bone fractures? As a new person around these parts, I didn't know these were present. I'm sure Ron can offer an explanation?

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  17. If one were to read about glutaric aciduria they would discover it is extraordinarily rare and is genetic - BOTH parents must test positive for a child to have it. This question would be simply answered - have both or either parent been tested? That would set the stage for solving this recurring question with regards to baby B.

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  18. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  20. To Anonymous who wrote a recent two part comment. I published and pulled your contribution. I want to publish the bulk of your comment. You get too close to the belt with personal references to someone. Even though you are the writer, I feel responsibility for the potential personal offense. Perhaps you can edit your own copy and resend. Thanks for taking the time to write your comments.

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  21. Genetic test? Extremely costly. But yes, that would answer if the child has GA-Type1 or GA-Type2. Doubtful the test need be completed for the purposes of this case however.

    Type2 web page
    http://www.newbornscreening.info/Parents/organicaciddisorders/GA2.html#7

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  22. First point. Regarding letters of reference and hearsay in risk assessment. The social worker admitted in his testimony that many items in the risk assessment were based on anonymous phone callers, or unidentified phone callers.He also revealed under cross-examination that much of his testimony was hearsay, first hand, second and even third hand. "I was told by a social worker, who said she got it from a policeman who heard somebody state" Most of the risk assessment was in this vein. The social worker was shown several letters of reference and they were entered into the evidence by having him identify them and they were then filed as exhibits. The social worker admitted to not having bothered to read most of them. Although the letters were signed and some requested interviews, the social worker dismissed them as not credible. He preferred to use anonymous scuttlebutt. Adversarial,or plain malicious? What do you think? Second point. Yes community worker, a social worker should always be prepared to re-assess the situation when new evidence or information arises. This demands intelligence and integrity. Yes, a good judge can protect the child from unwarranted removal.When you say "too bad it takes so long", this has to be the understatement of the year. Third point. The clear intention of the act is that decisions on young children should be timely and that no child should be in temporary care for more than one year. Yet the director has managed to stretch an interim order to 30 months. Interim orders are supposed to be very temporary devices to use until the evidence can be tested in a hearing. If this case had remotely followed the intent of the lawmakers, we would not be having this discussion now. The Bayne case makes a mockery of the law and it is a cause for outrage and not for mild rebuke, or quibbling. Judges take no responsibility for enforcing mandated time lines.

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  23. To Community Worker re your blog dated May 25, 2010 8:01 AM:

    People will judge whether SW creating such atrocities to families and children are respectable with their discernment. Let facts speak for themselves.

    Ron asked the same question before on who special interests in the "child protection" industry are. Please view:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaIMq_ZcO70&

    I have no association with the speaker or his organization. But I agree with his views on the true beneficiaries of the industry. Follow where the tax dollars go and you will find your answer. I am sure that you are not totally ignorant on who the true beneficiaries are.

    If you have a genuine interest in child welfare, you should take your front row seat, examine the empirical results of state-sponsored child removal objectively and ask your conscience whether reform is needed.

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  24. Community WorkerMay 25, 2010 at 10:36 PM

    I never once said the system can't use reform. I am saying, do not accuse front line social workers, nor their supervisors of removing children for reason of financial gain.

    I had written a lengthy retort, but it appears as though you have already determined the study you read is the only factual one. Please research studies on how social workers feel about removing children - or better yet, find numbers for various front line offices and ask social workers directly.

    I will say very clearly...the system is NOT perfect and needs adaptation and growth. Those actually working in the field (This includes the Child Advocate), are more aware of this than any observer could be. It is a daily, weekly, and annual topic of discussion and reform most will never be able to measure.

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  25. Thanks Community Worker 10:36
    It is unfair to cast all Social workers a bad name just as it is to say all priests and Teachers are molesters. Have you watched the news lately? 2 Teachers in one month! And more about priests than anything else!! Anything on the news lately about Social Workers? Nope. I wish the people saying these things would look beyond a study they say they have read. Talk to a Social worker, get involved in Fostering somehow. I have had the opportunity to be involved with many Social Workers as a Foster Parent over the years. I have only once in about 100 Social Workers had one I didnt care for and it was more that she was young and trying so hard to do the right thing and it made her personality a little intense. She wasnt a bad person and she definately felt for the kids involved. The many others I was involved with were extremely compassionate and caring individuals. I had one that fought to keep some extremely abused children in care longer so the family could receive more help before a return cry in her car for an hour after a judge ruled the children to go home. She felt she had failed these children and it wasnt even her that made the decision! Those same childrens Father ended up stabbing his girlfriend in front of the children a month later then took off leaving the children abandoned.
    Whether the Bayne Children should remain in care or not will be determined eventually. But there are kids out there that do need to be in care, some for a little while and some for a long time, some permanently. That doesnt mean that because those decisions have to be made sometimes that ALL Social Workers are bad people. The plan is always to return children home. There has to be serious reasons not to return children to their parent(s)

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  26. To Anon May 25 5:37 PM
    You are the writer who provided the link to the Ontario rally 4 with the emphasis on the child protection industry and everyone whom you and the speaker think are running this as a business for profit. That is precisely the kind of rhetoric that turns thinking people off. It is one thing to be passionate and quite another to be irrational and illogical. Nobody with influence will listen.

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