Friday, May 14, 2010

TRANSFORMED – NOT QUITE / Part 190 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Allow me to capsulize one family's experience and then provide you with the MCFD Transformation Goals to determine success or failure with respect to the Baynes.

The Ministry's initial response in 2007 to the Bayne's injured youngest child was appropriate and consistent with protection protocol. Even the removal of the two older boys fit this formula. Because the children are still not at home and it is now May 2010, the Ministry is no longer respected or trusted by the segment of the public that is familiar with the family and the case. Some former Ministry service providers are openly critical of the Ministry's actions in this case. The optics of the Ministry's non compliance with some aspects of the governing Act's prescriptions, the lack of disclosure to the Baynes with regard to aspects of their childrens' care and health, medical care, the unresponsiveness to requests from the Baynes, speaks to a confident and empowered staff, perhaps over confident. The ministry gives the appearance of being controlled by compliance to rules rather than compassion. Administrative and clerical red tape and processes have created an interminable delay of justice for the Baynes. The Bayne's issues are primarily with the Fraser Region of the MCFD and the larger MCFD identity has been largely unresponsive to them which may be understandable but not at all comforting. Services and resources to the Baynes have been non existent and the Ministry may blame the Baynes for being uncooperative or problematic. What has not been generously factored however is the couple's innocence of wrong doing and their horror of having their family ruptured for so long. A partnership of trust and respect has never been developed between these parents and this Ministry region. The basic needs of this family has never even been on the priority list of this Ministry. The family has been ignored and the emphasis has always been on protection.

Yet, when Leslie du Toit took on her role as Deputy Minister in 2006, she rallied her team around the following Ministry Transformation Goals.

“The following goals will guide us as we move forward and are based on our New Relationship with Aboriginal People,
feedback from our planning workshops, the Premier, the province's Five Great Goals, and various external reviews.
1. To establish a value/principle-centred ministry that is respected and trusted by the public, service providers, and
those whom the ministry serves.
2. To ensure a confident, professional, empowered staff of MCFD.
3. To ensure a system which is responsive to the needs of children, youth, families and communities, not driven by
compliance to rules.
4. To prevent the use of unnecessary red-tape, processes, procedures and rules which slow down transferral of
resource and effective service delivery.
5. To devolve service delivery to regions and communities together with the required resources.
6. To ensure that Aboriginal services are governed by and delivered to Aboriginal people by Aboriginal people
7. To have greater focus on prevention and early intervention services.
8. To ensure that importance is given to the full array of multi-disciplinary services to children youth and families.
9. To ensure effective, innovative, and integrated service delivery to children, youth, families and communities.
10. To ensure sufficient human and financial resources for all services.
11. To sustain partnerships of trust and respect.
12. To provide effective management and resourcing of day-to-day service delivery during transformation, ensuring
the continued protection and well-being of children and youth.
13. To meet the basic needs of families and communities as a priority.
14. To ensure community engagement and the shifting/sharing of power with communities and families with regard to
decision-making and service delivery.”


  1. Ontario is under the same transformation agenda...I placed a call to a workers Supervisor in March 2006. I am still awaiting a response.

  2. I'm not exactly impressed by a Minister's ability to copy and paste from other jurisdictions.

    It is interesting the word "parent" is entirely missing from the listing. Services are supposed to "empower" parents to improve their parenting skills so removed children are returned to them as quickly as possible. This also minimizes taxpayer costs.

    "Not driven by compliance to rules" hmmm - so nothing changes. With respect to the Baynes case, what rule, or non-rule justifies over two years of supervised-only access in complete absence of justification? Regardless, it appears that the "empowered" social worker make up rules as they go along. In the Baynes case, my interpretation would of "not driven by compliance to rules" would be if there is no evidence produced over a two year period the parents represent a danger to their kids, then drop supervision at the very least.

    Transparency is another missing word. Let the Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond do her job, for example.

    If you want transformation, then stop designing "services" that take many months to start, are thinly disguised mechanisms for interrogation and information gathering, are populated by unqualified people, and which are deliberately designed to span several months when a week would do.

    I once went to MCFD to request counseling services for my children, it took 8 months before a spot for "one" child opened up. Then, the turnover of counselors was ridiculous, after the third person quit, I pulled my child out. If the Ministry can afford to pay a lawyer $1000 for a single 10-minute appearance, they should be able to make a 6-month "service" that has the same cost to the taxpayer of $1,000 available immediately, and run by someone who also has earned the right to charge over $200 per hour.

    MCFD staff don't need further "empowerment" they need to be reined in. Child removal approvals should go back to being centrally authorized in Victoria given the guaranteed 6-figure cost to the taxpayer that accompany's each removal.

    "Red tape" has its place. The problem is with removals there is an extreme lack of such red tape. Example: after a no-notice interview of my children in their school, the children were removed 5 minutes afterwards. No "risk assessment" was done. The red tape kicks in only when trying to get children out of the system. Is that the elimination of red tape discussed?

    Another missing word is "consistency" in delivery of "services." For example, "some" of my children were removed, not all of them. A veteran social worker in court declared he "forgot" to remove one child. They later "remembered" but neglected to file a report to court.

    Another example of inconsistency: The Baynes have 6-hours weekly paid supervision. I had 3 hours weekly, and anything beyond that, multiple judges said I was obligated to pay supervision costs. Again, "consistency" has to be the watchword in the delivery of "services."

    If there are no reports for the public to view that ensure compliance to such lofty goals are actually being implemented, there is simply no purpose for copying and pasting them in the first place.


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