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?