Wednesday, June 30, 2010

MEDICAL HISTORY PART 3 of 3 / Part 235 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Part 3 of 3
  • Providing it in several parts, this will be as definitive a medical history on the Bayne infant as you will read online.
  • At the start of the MCFD hearing for a continuing care order for all three Bayne children, Judge Tom Crabtree in his wisdom ruled that there would be no ban on information presented during the court proceedings. The medical reports are a component of the submissions presented under cross examination. I have access to this information. Medical testimonies have been heard although not all of them have been ruled as admissible by Judge Crabtree.
  • This is what I have read. I have chosen not to do a narrative but to cite the medical data factually. I RESTATE OR CAPITALIZE A FEW KEY OBSERVATIONS.
Dr. Poskitt / MR: Requested by Dr. David Cochrane, an MR Head Sedation was conducted by the department of radiology at BC Children's Hospital and Dr. Ken Poskitt on October 19, 2007. The impression given was focal injury to the left occipital lobe with associated bilateral subdural fluid collections of increased signal intensity represented protein and old blood. The injury is remote at least three weeks of age or older. Given the size of the extra-axial fluid collections, Dr. Poskitt suspected that the head had been crossing percentiles for a prolonged period of time and head circumference measurements would provide an estimated time of origin for the injury. There was evidence of trauma however mechanism injury was not obvious from MR examination.

Dr. Degruchy / Chest: On October 19, 2007 at Dr. Cochrane's request a Port Ward Chest was performed by the department of radiology at BC Children's Hospital and Dr. Suzanne Degruchy. She noted that there was hazy increased opacity in both lungs which may reflect pulmonary edema. Pleural spaces were clear and the bony thorax was unremarkable. Atelectasis/ hemorrhage was though unlikely.

Child Removal: October 22, 2007 was D-Day for the Baynes, not Deliverance but Desolation. All three children were removed from Paul and Zabeth.

Dr. Hess / Head Ultrasound: October 22, 2007 an Ultrasound Head exam was done at the department of radiology at BC Children's Hospital and Dr. Thomas Hess, finding that there was significant improvement in the size of the bilateral extra-axial collections when compared with the findings from the October 19, 2007 a pre-shunt insertion MRI and the outside cranial ultrasound done in Chilliwack.

Dr Hess / CT Head: On October 23, 2007 at the request of Dr. Colbourne, with reference to a skeletal survey performed on October 19th, 2007 and the outside CT head scan done at Chilliwack General Hospital on October 18, 2007, a NM Bone Flow test was conducted by Dr. Thomas Hess. Dr. Hess understood that the two month old infant with bilateral subdural hematomas and a right parietal skull fracture was under investigation for NAI (Non-accidental injury). The test result was focal increased activity within the left proximal femur which corresponded with bone injury visualized on the recent skeletal survey.

Dr. Culham / Chest, Limbs: On October 31, 2007 at Dr. Colbourne's request the Department of Radiology at BCCH and Dr. Gordon Culham did examinations of the chest, the right elbow and the left femur of the infant Baby B. No bony injury appeared in the chest examination with nothing to suggest new bone formation suggesting costochondral fractures. THE LATERAL VIEW OF THE RIGHT ELBOW SHOWS WHAT APPEARS AS SUBPERIOSTAL NEW BONE BUT IS IN FACT CORTICAL TUNNELLING BECAUSE THERE IS NO NEW BONE ON THE FRONTAL VIEW. WITH THE LEFT FEMUR THERE IS A HEALING FRACTURE AT THE PROXIMAL END OF THE FEMUR INVOLVING THE MEDIAL CORNER AND THE FRACTURE IS HEALING BY ENDOSTEAL SCLEROSIS.

Sorial report: As causes for her distress were sought, the doctor's note MENTIONS THE BROTHER FALLING ON HER a few days earlier but that she had not cried and was okay after that trauma. The parents reported this event.
Dr. Gardiner wrote a letter to Dr. Ebesh dated January 6, 2009 following a routine examination of Baby B who was brought to the appointment by her social worker because the girl is in foster care as her note indicates “after a presumed non-accidental injury.” She indicates that she also last saw Baby B in April 2008 when her eyes looked normal and there were no concerns with respect to her vision. Dr. Gardiner also makes reference to Dr. Matsuba seeing her on this same January 6th appointment and saying that her vision is good. Dr. Gardiner's examination.

There are many more medical follow-up appointments and reports during the past year and one half which are not part of this mini-series the purpose of which was to recount the initial medical observations and findings, relative to the suspicions, the child removal, the risk assessment and the current continuing care order by MCFD.
Many of you are interested in her progress so regarding Baby B's current health status, I relate here the observations of her birth parents.
  1. Social workers have testified that Baby B must wear braces. The Baynes have never seen these on her. She wears sole inserts to correct her arch. She is observed walking better without the inserts.
  2. Baby B has recently been discharged from the Sunny Hill Vision Program as her vision is "the low side of normal". 
  3. Baby B is developmentally behind in her speech and will need speech therapy. 
  4. Baby B understands everything one says to her and responds accordingly. She feeds herself, is now potty training. She loves to read, colour, play ball, dance, sing and clap.
  5. The Ministry has made an affidavit statement that she has cerebral palsy. No such medical disclosure to validate this has been submitted to the Baynes or to the court.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chris Martell

Please note that an Anon writer has referred us to a story of Chris Martell whose 22 month old son died in a temporary foster care home two weeks ago. The boy died from drowning in a bathtub and suffered extensive scald type burns. Chris is walking 150 kms in two days to raise money to help him seek answers.

The story was quoted from this June 24, 2010 Saskatoon's StarPhoenix  website as well as two CBC columns
A Promise:  The Saskatchewan Child Advocate promises transparency in June 15, 2010 in StarPhoenix

MEDICAL HISTORY PART 2 of 3 / Part 234 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Providing it in several parts, this will be as definitive a medical history on the Bayne infant as you will read online.
At the start of the MCFD hearing for a continuing care order for all three Bayne children, Judge Tom Crabtree in his wisdom ruled that there would be no ban on information presented during the court proceedings. The medical reports are a component of the submissions presented during cross exmaination. I have access to this information. Medical testimonies have been heard although not all of them have been ruled as admissible by Judge Crabtree.
This is what I have read. I have chosen not to do a narrative but to cite the medical data factually. I RESTATE OR CAPITALIZE A FEW KEY OBSERVATIONS.
Dr. Anquist: Baby B remained at MSA Hospital from October 6-9 in the care of Dr. Warren Anquist, during which time tests were done and cultures remained negative so she was discharged. His note mentions that Baby B was okay until ten days prior when she was on the floor and seemed to whimper. THERE IS MENTION OF THE BROTHER STUMBLING UPON HER. She vomited and struggled to breath. He says her fontanelle was full but not bulging. He notes poor feeding and regurgitation. He notes some concern about POSSIBLE INTRACRANIAL BLEEDING and suggests observation of serial head circumference. Her overall tone was reasonable. CURIOUSLY (in this medical note) DR. ANQUIST MAKES A NOTE ABOUT PAUL BEING RECENTLY LAID OFF FROM HIS WORK IN A FOUNDRY BUT DOING WEB DESIGN NOW AND ZABETH TEACHING PIANO AT HOME. ( In fact he did not do web design but hand drawn sketches and was offering drawing classes.)

Dr. Ebesh: Dr. Ebesh followed up with Baby B on October 16th. He noted that her HEAD CIRCUMFERENCE HAD INCREASED TO 40 CM. (up from 33 cm at birth). He made arrangements for a head ultrasound and a CT scan which revealed bilateral subdural hemorrhages and fluid collections.

Dr. Numweiler / CT Scan: On October 18, 2007 Baby B (2 mo and 15 days old) was admitted to Chilliwack General Hospital for a CT/Head scan conducted by Dr. Christine Numweiler. Prior to the scan the doctor was provided with a history of the child's trauma and sub-acute subdural hematomas. She found bilateral pan hemispheric subdural hypo attenuating fluid collections and a left extra-exial cerebellar hypo-attenuating fluid collection that she viewed as consistent with subdural hematomas.

Dr. Colbourne / Paediatrician / Child Protection Service Unit / BCCH
On October 18, 2007 Dr. Colbourne reported her findings to Loren Humeny (MCFD) and Hope RCMP Constable Taylor. She notes that the parents have recounted a mid September episode in which a sibling brother fell on Baby B with heads colliding. Baby B cried but had no signs of bruising or swelling. She was checked by a family doctor the following day. She appeared well. Colbourne records that the family estimated it was a few days later that Baby B vomited and developed an unusual cry. She even appeared to the parents to go limp and pale and in need of mouth to mouth breaths. (Dr. Colbournes summary missed the following detail perhaps because she was not informed about it: Paul performed CPR on Baby B at home and then Zabeth performed CPR in the van on route to the hospital.)  The family took the baby immediately to Hope Hospital. Although shortly she looked well and was discharged, the parents said she did not feed and so they returned with Baby B to the hospital. She was assessed and transferred to MSA Abbotsford. She notes that Paul's father had childhood epilepsy which resolved in adulthood. There's a suggestion of a venous bleeding disorder in the maternal grandfather. Colbourne herself found that Baby B did not follow with her eyes, the fontanelle was bulging and sutures splayed. Head circumference measured 41 cm. She handled well and all four limbs moved well. With the CT scan from MSA Hospital and the ophthalmologic results from Dr. Gardiner and the MRI from Dr Poskitt, Dr. Colbourne concluded that Baby B had VERY LARGE CHRONIC SUBDURAL HEMORRHAGES, EXTENSIVE UNILATERAL RETINAL HEMORRHAGES AND A FRACTURED PROXIMAL LEFT FEMUR. THESE SHE FOUND TO BE INDICATIVE OF INFLICTED TRAUMA AND CONSISTENT WITH A SHAKING TYPE OF INJURY. SHE SURMISES THAT THE COLLECTION OF FINDINGS POINT TO A TRAUMA PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 26TH PRESENTATION. SHE REPORTED THIS TO MCFD AND THE POLICE.

Dr. Gardiner / Ophthalmology: Dr. Jane Gardiner, (paediatric ophthalmology) examined Baby B on October 19th because, as she was informed, there was presumed non-accidental injury. She had retinal hemorrhages on the left side. Her visual attention was questionable. As she wrote this note to Dr. Cochrane on Nov 6, 2007 she had examined the child again that day and stated that she WAS NOT CONVINCED THAT THE CHILD COULD SEE, not responding to bright lights or follow the OKN drum reliably either horizontally or vertically. She still had a subhyaloid hemorrhage temporal to the macula and may have macula damage. There were faint deeper hemorrhages temporal to this. Most earlier hemorrhages had been resolved. SHE CONCLUDED THAT THE CHILD WAS INAPPROPRIATELY VISUALLY ATTENTIVE FOR HER AGE and referred Baby B to Dr. Carey Matsuba.

Part 3 of 3 tomorrow

Monday, June 28, 2010

MEDICAL HISTORY PART 1 of 3 / Part 233 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

  • Providing it in several parts, this will be as definitive a medical history on the Bayne infant as you will read online.
  • At the start of the MCFD hearing for a continuing care order for all three Bayne children, Judge Tom Crabtree in his wisdom ruled that there would be no ban on information presented during the court proceedings. The medical reports are a component of the submissions made under cross examination. I have access to this information. Medical testimonies have been heard although not all of them have been ruled as admissible by Judge Crabtree.
  • This is what I have read. I have chosen to keep narrative to a minimum and to cite the medical data factually. I RESTATE OR CAPITALIZE A FEW KEY OBSERVATIONS.
Baby B's Birth: Baby B was born on August 2, 2007. She was born in her 34th week. Her two older siblings were high risk premature births at 34 weeks and 25 weeks. Baby B's birth weight was 5 lb 3 oz and no forceps were required nor did she need oxygen. She fed slowly and remained in hospital until August 17th, 2007. Head circumference at birth was 33 cm.  

Family Doc: The family doctor is Cloverdale MD Dr. Patricia Blackshaw. While the Baynes lived in Hope, B.C. they consulted with Dr. Louis Fourier at the Hope Clinic when there were immediate questions. Weight gain was problematic from birth. Because of her prematurity, the parents took Baby B to the local clinic every few days for a weigh-in. Zabeth had in-home assistance with breast feeding. They maintained weekend visits to Dr. Blackshaw.

Dr. Ebesh: Dr. Ebesh saw Baby B in his clinic on September 11th at Chilliwack General Hospital. Head circumference was 35 cm (up from 33 cm at birth). He expressed no concern then. Baby fed well and looked active, playful and healthy. Her fontanelle was soft.

Accident & Injury: It is the Baynes' best estimate that September 23rd was the date of Boy2's tumble into Baby B when their heads bumped. There was no prior or succeeding incident that could account for the symptoms which developed after this domestic incident. The Baynes informed medical personnel of this. The first noticeable features was vomiting and loss of appetite to feed.

Vomiting and Respiration: Vomiting began on the 26th. She still didn't want to feed. On September 26th the Baynes took Baby B to the Hope (Fraser Canyon Hospital) Emergency because Baby B was vomiting and had severe breathing difficulty. Dr. Fournie was the on-call doctor and he gave the infant oxygen and placed her on some monitors. They sought to establish normalcy to pulse and breathing. Without a pediatric ward in the facility, the Baynes and the child were sent home after one hour.
They were compelled to return within a few hours that same evening because Baby B was limp, not crying nor feeding. She was not responsive. Baby B was transferred to Abbotsford Hospital.

Dr. Sorial: Dr. Sorial examined Baby B on that same evening September 27th at MSA Hospital where she stayed for two days. She was presented because of apnoea and lethargy associated with decreased feeding. He remarked that she looked well and vigorous and interactive, moving all her limbs, chest is clear, heart sounds normal, normal bowel sounds. A weight gain to 3.3 kg. He too noted her fontanelle was soft and flat. A low haemoglobin reading of 77 was recorded that might indicate enemia related to prematurity and small size. His suggestion was that feeding issues might relate to gastrosophageal reflux. He found it difficult to explain the lethargy and lack of interest in feeding. He said Baby B might be sent home the next day after they have watched her for a day. The report shows a discharge day as the 27th.

Dr. Sorial saw Baby B once again in his office on October 3rd and NOTED A WEIGHT LOSS to 3.1 kg (but as he noted, this was measured on a different scale then earlier). Zabeth reported persistent reflux so Dr. Sorial began a course of Ranitidine and Domperidone.

Dr. Ebesh: Dr. Ebesh saw Baby B again on October 6th when she was presented to Chilliwack General Hospital with complaints of vomiting, decreased activity and decreased urine output. She was lethargic and pale with poor perfusion and cold extremities. The anterior fontanelle was 'full' he wrote (Colbourne instead later supplied the term 'bulging'). A full septic work-up was done including a spinal tap. This LUMBAR SPINAL TAP PUNCTURE REVEALED BLOODY CSF NOTED TO BE XANTHOCHROMATIC. Baby B was started on ampicilin and gentamicin. Peripheral Haemoglobin had improved to 95 (from 77). HIS ASSESSMENT WAS TO RULE OUT SEPSIS AND CITE THE POSSIBILITY OF SUBARACHNOID HEMORRHAGE. Baby B was discharged the same day. Dr. Ebesh transferred her to Dr. Anquist at MSA Hospital on October 6th, 2007.

Part 2 of 3 tomorrow.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Notice: Another disconsolate parent

On today's blog post 'Relationship between Compliance and Assessment' someone anonymously told us today that his/her children have been removed for 19 days. Read it and perhaps offer this person some appropriate words. 

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COMPLIANCE AND ASSESSMENT / Part 236 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

A child unwell. Many medical opinions sought. Indecisive. One doctor. A diagnosis. A liability implied and assumed. Alleged abuse. A necessary call to MCFD and RCMP. A nightmare begun. An apprehension of three children. Investigation. Insufficient evidence RCMP conclude. A parental explanation rejected. MCFD suspicion continues. Risk assessment. Compliance refused. MCFD case closed. The Bayne Saga. The Bayne Campaign for Justice.

Assessment is a core methodology in child protection. Assessment is fundamental to the child protection model practiced in British Columbia. Assessment is at the heart of intake and investigation processes. The dominance of assessment within the MCFD child protection model is very significant because the way in which it is implemented places the compliance of parents at centre stage, eg. my Bayne illustration above. Child protection agencies need to identify which families require investigation and how quickly and then determine whether children are at risk. Risk assessment is a means to prioritize which cases will receive attention. Assessment defines which issues should be addressed with the parents in order to determine whether the level of risk is acceptable or not. Assessment provides the defense for workers' actions.

A key function of assessment is the evaluation of parents' willingness to cooperate with professionals. Therefore protection social workers form judgements about risk by requiring parents/families to submit to several processes such as interviews, observations, assessment by specialists and participating in specific programs. The theory is that compliance or non compliance will enable the worker to form a judgment about the level of risk that is posed to a child. Children who are considered at risk can only remain in the home of parents who are suspected of abusing the children, if the parents are willing to accept intervention, surveillance and help. This is never explicitly stated but both MCFD and parents know this.

Compliance is central to the development of that risk assessment. In fact, whether child protection is sought and when it is introduced into the life of a child and the duration of it will rest upon compliance. MCFD is preoccupied with the administration and management of compliance. Compliance is integral to MCFD's assessment process. It can rightly be labelled 'assessment compliance'. At a minimum the MCFD desires a compliance from parents that is an admission of at least partial responsibility for the issue(s) that prompted the child protection alert. In all of the meetings between the Baynes and MCFD personnel during the first two years, the recurring agenda was MCFD's pressure for Baynes to admit abuse of their child. Discussions never moved past that. Assessment is strongly influenced by the cooperativeness of parents. Because the Baynes insisted upon their innocence they were deemed uncooperative and therefore always a risk to their child – oh no, to their children, all three. That's how compliance and assessment relate in the MCFD. You didn't comply. You are guilty.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Why Question Again with a Twist / Part 232 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Instead of a formal independent review, a six or nine month investigative probe into the Ministry of Children and Family Development operations, successes and shortcomings, I would like to see a WHY forum. Of course I am idealistic and bordering on the ridiculous. But think about this.

What if Minister Mary Polak and her partner, Deputy Minister Leslie DuToit inaugurated a Ministry-wide WHY DAY. With the exception of urgent business, most employees eg. social workers, would be excused from regular work to participate in this guaranteed safe, honest and open opportunity for anyone and everyone to bring questions about the Ministry, or their own work. No questions would be disallowed. Social workers could question their practices, the policies, the assumptions, the inter-office structure, the mission and the goals. In fact, everyone from custodians to administrative assistants to directors could ask WHY they do the things they do and how they do them. They would be encouraged not to hold back. It would be understood that answers may not be forthcoming immediately but the questions would be treated as informative of value added changes to the work environment as well as to quality of service delivery.

What would be the outcome of days spent like this with fresh eyes and fresh ideas?

I told you I was being ridiculous. My point is that I believe inherent within the system are the people who either know the things that should be changed to make the Ministry a more effective service deliverer or actually know the correct changes to make but are crippled or suppressed by all the predictable bureaucratic silencers, such as organizational structure and threats to job security or promotion possibilities. And my question is, WHY? If however, you think that all the chief decision makers and key influencers are themselves corrupted or compromised, then my idealistic notion is lost.

Ahh, scrap the whole thing and start over!
Reimagine Child Welfare.
What we need in B.C. are some whistle blowers! Some insiders who will dare it all and bare it all! You cannot do that anonymously. No one will buy it. It won't prove a thing. Whistle blowers, unite and identify yourselves and truly transform this service.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Quality of Questioning Everything / Part 231 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Each time a major independent review has been done on a government ministry and the Ministry of Children in particular, the report has come as unwelcome news to the Premier, the Minister, other elected officers, Directors and Supervisors, and as a disappointing revelation to the public, but with respect to MCFD no surprise at all to affected parents and some children and some conscientious social workers.

Internal performance reviews and self assessments have simply overlooked or ignored issues that matter in policy practice and service delivery. So, the kind of reporting that occurs with a formal review is precisely what is needed in order to root out inconsistencies, biases, contradictions, and falsities prepackaged and presented to the public on a regular basis. It is sad to see concerns about such an important ministry as that pertaining to children and families, played out only on a small stage such as an inside page of a few newspapers, or a blog like this. Why not in the national media? Certainly the provincial media and with regularity.

It should not be viewed as insulting but rather reasonable, for high ranking officials and directors, who are public servants, to be consistently faced with direct and probing questions in order to identify truth and to prevent “spin.” When the media deals softly and sporadically with the factors that are tearing apart the lives of families as we noticing in this blog's comment section, it suggests a wrong impression that the factors are unimportant or bear upon matters about which we should not speak publicly. They aren't truly newsworthy. Wrong! We are the people. We have every right and responsibility to question everything. Those who work on behalf of the people have a responsibility to provide answers that satisfy the people or to affect the changes that eventually do satisfy the people.
If the Government of B.C. wants us all to become supporters of the Ministry of Children and Family Development in our society, our province, our communities, then we all need to question everything, because True Supporters Question Everything. An MCFD that is truly working for the people, needs to know that the staunchest allies inside and outside its agency will be those who question everything and who know that their questions are received and processed with sincerity.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WHY? / Part 230 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

“Why?” was the last word that Robert Dziekanski uttered before he died.

That appears to be the explanation for his own lost and bewildered conduct that made the officers think the worst. It was also his dying question for what they had done to him. Clear thinking and good judgement was misplaced. They had the upper hand in man power, in equipment, in weaponry. They could easily have controlled Dziekanski without being so quick to use the latest conducted energy weapon. And even with that aid, he was down on the ground, spinning pain circles when they gave him four more taser salvos and then did the pile on, four men's knees and hands and weight on top of a disabled man.

In 470 pages Thomas Braidwood's final report provided no room for doubt about the officers' shameful conduct, who when they could have been offering help to this disoriented and frightened visitor to Canada, determined that he was a dangerous man needing to be subdued and they acted accordingly. RCMP Commissioner William Elliott told the press, "It is clear that our policies and training in place at the time were deficient." Braidwood also concluded that the four officers deliberately misrepresented their actions during investigations of Robert Dziekanski's death. Now Attorney General Mike de Jong says that the B.C. government will reopen the investigation into the actions of the four RCMP officers linked to the death of Robert Dziekanski.

And then we recently heard about the mudslide near Oliver B.C. over one week ago. It was an irrigation reservoir high in the mountains that eroded its earthen embankments and spilled over. But there had been signs of leakage and there had been some modest warnings from observers. The Ministry of Forests and Land confirmed it was warned about a possible breach of the dam on Friday by a report from a hiker, but said the report did not characterize the situation as an emergency. Well of course now the reaction is sweeping. There will be a review of dams. Did you know there are 2,000 similar dams in B.C. and customarily small dams should be inspected every five years and large ones every ten years but now the review will happen pronto – maybe. A shortage of provincial dam inspectors is being blamed for the recent mudslide in Oliver, B.C. that destroyed a half-dozen homes and several farms.

Do you see any parallels between the MCFD's children's welfare management and these two stories about other government departments? How many broken hearted parents and children have been asking WHY, or asking that one word question right now, today? Why don't MCFD people do everything that they can to help those parents and families about whom they have concerns, suspicions and convictions. Why doesn't MCFD use the least possible amount of force to get the job done. Why does it appear to resort to the extreme response virtually automatically. When MCFD makes a mistake or oversteps itself, it should not misrepresent its actions. Policies and training are evidently lacking. Why? MCFD appears to be waiting for the dam to burst before taking preventative measures, not measures to protect itself but to protect the many who are living under the dam. Why is that? I have read that there is a social worker staff shortage and that is why performance is not up to expectations. Is that the only reason? I don't think so. I keep on thinking there is something fundamentally morally amiss in the way some social workers regard their work, their roles, their authority and the way they are treating the people whose cases they manage. Why?

CBC Taser Investigation

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

MONITORING THE BLOG / Part 229 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

This blog has gained a modest internet presence. There are almost 1,000 page visits each day. I am gratified to host this well attended opinion forum yet this generates concerns for me. When I write each morning, I have control over the content of the posting. I can edit and fine tune until I am satisfied with the way it will appear. In permitting comments from blog readers, I ask first that contributors follow some modest guidelines. You have discerned the approach of this blog by now. I will monitor for offensive language, misinformation, spamming and hurtful comments. But if I find something that I believe is questionable, I do not have the option to edit your comments. I can only publish or reject a comment. With a rejection I feel I owe an explanation. My concern at the moment is the mention of specific people during the course of relating your stories and opinions. Will this be handled with tact and diplomacy even in the midst of honest critiquing and reporting? My intention is that it will. A second concern for me is that when specific people's names come up as you relate personal experiences and stories as illustrations, I have no way of substantiating the statements, claims and allegations, particularly when the bulk of contributors are anonymous. That makes me uncomfortable. The line is thin between reporting verifiable facts and defamatory material. I am depending upon you to exercise caution and integrity when referring to someone while relating a story or illustration. Because anonymous contributors afford me little confidence that they are who they say they, SW, CW, parent, or that their motives for writing are honorable, on the basis of what they write, I must be trusting, discerning and objective at the same time. I will reject a comment when I have to. Nonetheless I welcome your comment. If at one time I thought the Baynes' story was unique, I am now aware that Paul's and Zabeth's story is only one of many and when you add your story to the chronology of MCFD mistakes, it actually underscores the necessity for sweeping improvements to the child welfare system in B.C. and that is a good thing. It will come. Perhaps the Bayne case will be the lightening rod or a catalyst. Who could have guessed. Keep your eyes open for every link which tries to unite the champions for change.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

SHE WILL MAKE MUSIC AGAIN / Part 228 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

I wish you could hear Zabeth Bayne play the grand piano in concert. She is a very fine pianist, a classical concert pianist. She has keen technical skill, can interpret a composition with impeccable phrasing and dynamics and touch. And she can still do this without the consistent playing and rehearsal that would have characterized her life before the trauma struck. She owned a grand piano once. It had to be sold to pay for legal fees - lawyers. She hadn't needed a lawyer before October 22, 2007. That's when her three children were apprehended and Paul and Zabeth found themselves briefly in holding cells while the RCMP investigated their culpability in shaking their infant daughter based upon a medical diagnosis from Children's Hospital. They also had to let their new home go. There's no question that their cost has been high financially. That does not approach the severity of the cost to them emotionally. When she plays now, it's different for her I think. Someone who loves music plays because one must. The music is life and it is expression. It is nourishment. It is freedom. Perhaps she feels some of that superlative personal benefit still when she has played for concerts, one in January and one in June. However, I am guessing that it is not the same as it once was. She is playing because people have come to hear good music and have also come with the intention of making a contribution to the Baynes' Trust Fund. Somehow they must try to defray their legal debts and costs as they work nights as custodians. They are doing what they must do to make it work.

Perhaps it will all turn around for them in August when on the 9th - 13th the case is brought to conclusion and to a Judge's ruling.

Perhaps when her children are back home and the shear pleasure of that settles in, she might be able to take on some students once again, and maybe one of her boys will be interested in learning from her. She may even simply sit for thirty minutes to play so that her spirit can soar. It's been such a long and worrisome wait.

You want to know how deeply loved and respected they are by some people. At a wedding over the weekend when the attention would be predictably upon the bride and the groom, that couple chose to share the Bayne story with their wedding guests, even had Zabeth play the piano and urged their friends to make donations to the Trust Fund. It is astounding isn't it. And that is why the Risk assessment of the Baynes, authored by one of the social workers was so ludicrous by its misrepresentation of their persons. He didn't know them. He actually admitted that. Then why is such a person daring to write a risk assessment the potential for which might persuade a less discerning judge. Not this one though. Zabeth will make music again with three inspirations close beside her.

Monday, June 21, 2010

TRANSFORMATION ACTION PLAN / Part 227 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

This is taken from the Transformation Action Plan. It belongs to the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The final draft was entitled 'The MCFD Good Practice Action Plan' and was dated July 3, 2007. Former Minister Tom Christensen's name is affixed to it and Deputy Minister Leslie DuToit was the author. I have no idea to what degree during these past three years this plan has been implemented. I have no knowledge whether it has been scrapped or redrafted. When you have read the goals that the plan was designed to effect, what I would like to know is whether you believe the plan has succeeded. They are remarkably envisioned goals, some of which address precisely those areas about which many of you have been commenting. I anticipate that those of you who are already stated critics of MCFD will have something dismissive to say because your sentiments have been so strong. I would be very interested to know whether any MCFD staff and social workers would submit a personal assessment of the effectiveness of this plan.

Transformation Goals:
There has been some confusion about what it is we are trying to achieve through transformation and so we have formulated goals which we hope will give people clarity. These goals are based on directions from the Premier, the governments 5 great goals, the New Relationship, the comments made in planning workshops, and the various external Reviews. The goals are not in any order of importance.”

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."

The entire 35 page document is available here.  'The MCFD Good Practice Action Plan'

Sunday, June 20, 2010

NO FATHER'S DAY GET TOGETHER / Part 226 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Paul and Zabeth had several communications with their Child Protection Social Worker this week. Among the messages was a schedule for the three weekly visits which were ordered by the judge two weeks ago. He said,That access shall be increased from two times a week for three hours each to three times a week for three hours.” That is appreciated. The judge also ordered access for special occasions. But you must hear how the order was worded. The judge has written these before, and the MCFD has dealt with them before. So he said, Reasonable access on special occasions.” The modifying word “reasonable' makes all the difference. It is included as an order but the qualifying term immediately reduces the probability that access on many special occasions will be realized. 
The final word this week was that the arrangement cannot be made this year for Paul to have his children with him for Father's Day. I am sure that she tried, the social worker that is. She expressed at the last court appearance that she was looking into the possibility. This week she did want the Baynes to know that this was not a denial of a visit but rather an inability to coordinate the plans.

What they wanted was the opportunity to go to a family restaurant for a father's day meal. Visits are customarily in a standard visitation facility. The children however live with a foster family who have their own father's day plans and can't be faulted for that. A driver/supervisor would also be needed to transport the children to the meeting place.
The reality is that a Judge's order is never black and white but rather still contingent upon variant factors. This time it appears, that a Father's Day visit was 'unreasonable.'

Saturday, June 19, 2010

CHOOSE YOUR TERMS CAREFULLY / Part 225 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Acting as keeper of the key is an onerous responsibility. Everyone is welcomed and when people desire to comment, some modest expectations are communicated. As I manage this blog, I act as a keeper of the key or, a door keeper. If I had to do it, I suppose I could remove someone's access to the blog itself. Also, when I must, I can reject a comment that is deposited in my inbox. Of course that is discretionary but it is reasonable in this 'blind' online forum. I comment on an art blog and on CBC and my comments wait for approval there as well. One must play by the rules and one must be prudent when writing on a blog site like this.

When you write on this blog, what many of you are taking exception to is being compelled to helplessly play by the rules of a Ministry of Children and Family Development that exercises so much subjective interpretation and has the full weight of law at its back and the final determinative strength of the court system to enforce its moves. You are obliged to hope that you will find someone who is objective and honest and just to assist you, to represent you or to rule your case. Before that court outcome you are treated like criminals, humiliated, reprimanded, punished, harassed, neglected and more. And worse than that your children are innocently punished as well by being removed from their roots and the familiar home of their biological caregivers. So I grant that there is almost inexpressible emotion pent up like a Mount St. Helen's with the cap on. Yet if you expect to tell the world and have the world listen, the analogies you use must be well chosen.

Some of your comments have incorporated the term “Nazi” in reference to MCFD actions. I know that we will move past the use of the term as other subjects take over the conversation. Nonetheless, I believe there are more appropriate and more accurate terms for this government ministry. Nazism stood for national socialism, a form of fascism which incorporated biological racism and anti-Semitism. Nazis believed in the supremacy of an Aryan master race and that the Germans were the pure Aryan nation that should create a new order so it could survive as a modern great nation. It believed that Jews were a parasitic people and that Jews were the primary threat to the Aryan race and the German nation and it exterminated human beings. It aspired to be the great empire and therefore sought land mass, resources, population expansion and economic and military supremacy. That is not what MCFD stands for nor do Nazis comprise its staff regardless of some of the things they are doing which ruin lives in the name of protecting children.

No, MCFD is not NAZIsm. Nothing close. The use of that term delivers everything wrapped in that above description. You lose some of your audience when you use it carelessly. Of course I understand why the use of the term has some clout. It has shock value. Some people who write here are so incensed, so disgusted, so enraged, so wounded by these people whose actions resemble for us nothing short of the barbarity of that rotten ideology that sparked a war. Do you want to effectively communicate grievance? Then work at words well enough to find the ones that convince legislators, policy makers and decision makers. I apologize. It sounds like I am lecturing. That's not my intention. I want to see a concerted and effective portrayal of the facts that push our government to attention. Some of you have used the term “dumb” to characterize MCFD employees and managers and that may be better because I think some actually are. Yet you might want to try adjectives like heartless, hard-hearted, callous, cruel, inhumane, brutal, uncaring, pitiless, unmerciful, uncompassionate, vindictive, vengeful, malicious, malevolent.
We must find a way of telling our stories that collectively they become an irresistible force not merely to those who share our pain but those who must yet be convinced that pain exists and that relief will come only when our child protection system and its pattern of conduct are changed. Have you got some ideas?

Friday, June 18, 2010

THIS BLOG'S PURPOSE IS CLEAR / Part 224 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

To be unclear about the 9-month old purpose of this blog is to be confusing the messages in the comment section with the message of the blog postings.

Paul and Zabeth Bayne's three children are in care of the Province of British Columbia government's Ministry of Children and Family Development. This has gone on since October 22, 2007, because the Director of the MCFD Fraser Valley Region, based upon the filed reports of his staff, has concluded that Paul and or Zabeth were responsible for medical issues and injuries sustained by their youngest child and that because they have adamantly refused to confess to this, are a continuing risk to all three children.

This blog exists presently to draw attention to what I believe has been an injustice to the Bayne family based on an inaccurate medical diagnosis, which it turns out is a much disputed diagnosis in the medical community. I further write on behalf of the Baynes because I believe that they have told me the truth, and because I take issue with some of the methodology and treatment exhibited by the MCFD relative to them. I am displeased with what appears to me a lack of objectivity in reporting and assessing and in some instances intentional distortion of facts. I am repulsed by what occasionally appears to me a self protective response by an agency commissioned to care for us.

In the course of writing on their behalf, I have become aware of countless other parents and families with similar accounts of accusation and child seizures and unsympathetic and unkind treatment by social workers. I am alarmed at the level of unfettered power an agency has, against which ordinary people have little recourse because they lack the resources to contest for their children and their families. I am appalled to learn that reports and concerns about malevolent child protection agencies is almost universal. As sympathetic as I am toward the Baynes, I am hearing true stories of child removals that even trump their horror. Some comments on this blog allude to lives irreparably harmed, children who have never been returned to parents.

I do not deny the need for a society endorsed ministry to safeguard vulnerable children. I do not vilify social workers en masse. I do not berate all foster parenting. I admit the inability of some parents to care for their children. I prefer for removed children to be with family, kin and close family friends. I am opposed to sealed Ministry files on people which can contain opinion, hearsay and unverified statements which fuel the Ministry agenda without any real possibility for the subjects to refute it. I do see a pressing need to regenerate and perhaps to replace the Ministry modus operandi.

Churchman that I have been for decades I am drawn this morning to a phrase that was intended to safeguard our conduct within society. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That's a maxim, a behavioural code, an ethic that while applying to us all, is particularly necessary among those who are charged with the sensitive tasks of relating to fragile people.

So while the blog's purpose is focused, it cannot help but to embrace a broader function as readers feel compelled to interact with the subjects and leave comments that expose the widespread inequities for which the Baynes themselves recognize they are only examples.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

WHAT COULD BE MORE IMPORTANT? / Part 223 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

We are not unanimous but we are talking. An interesting exchange has captured the interest of hundreds of readers each day. What occasionally confuses our comment exchange is occasional misreading or reading too much into someone else's comments. What clouds the exchange is misrepresentation and exaggeration when making a case. Sweeping generalities don't convince me but rather cause me to be skeptical of the comment and the writer. Some of the same content when written with conviction and plausible argument compels me to listen more keenly. I am going to synthesize some of the sentiments and objections or queries that are being expressed in the comments of each daily blog post.

We are agreed on the paramount value and importance of the family. When a child's welfare, health and protection is threatened in relationship with the biological parent(s), then family is not to be considered more important than the child(ren). Such is the horrible dilemma faced by social workers on many occasions. In some situations removing a child may decidedly be the most compassionate and responsible course of action. Social workers attest that child removal is and should be a last resort. Many people whose families have been disrupted by protective child removal are convinced that it was expedient rather than last resort.

We are agreed that child neglect or abuse must be ended, punished and prevented. We are mostly agreed that the security, safety and care of children is paramount. Nothing can be more important than that. Nevertheless there are some writers who consider child removal barbaric in any case. We are not agreed about what constitutes a viable ground for removing a child and disrupting a family. Suspicion works. Not all of us are content with the latitude that suspicion affords MCFD. Suspicion however is enough to get the protection wheels rolling. Suspicion must be investigated and settled swiftly. Suspicion is not the equivalent of evidence. However, intense suspicion requires evidence so a concerted effort is then made by MCFD to uncover anything that may reinforce a care order.

Some allege that justification for child removal frequently consists of manufactured negative evidence. Some allege MCFD engages in surveillance and some SWers deny this. Some writers stick to their theory that child protection agencies everywhere have been taken over by people bent on personal gain in terms of power, profit or reputation and some go so far as to say the entire system is geared to corruption of which monetary gain both institutional and personal is the driving force. While some valid points can be made in that regard these accusations are usually unsubstantiated.

Removed children must be housed somewhere, so a system of foster care homes provide for usually safe and loving environments for short and extended periods. Most of us but not all believe that many foster parents are dedicated good caregivers. A few should never have been trusted with someone else's children. Most of us find fault with a system that does not require the registering and licensing of all foster parents. Most of us believe that care by kin and extended family is a preferable option and should be practiced far more than it is. Some writers citing an actual case or two then make sweeping statements that all fostering further leads to ruined lives of crime and addiction and homelessness. Countering that are contributors who know that many foster children have escaped an awful childhood and young adulthood by being removed from beastly biological parental homes.

Most of us believe that social work is an honourable vocation and one which requires the highest of character qualities. We also believe that most social workers seek to serve people effectively and to deal wisely. Many of us believe that carte blanche criticism of social workers is unwarranted. We also believe there are social workers who faced with day to day pressures and verbal abuse, lose sight of ideals and their work suffers. A good number of people allege there are social workers who are mean spirited and should not be engaged by MCFD.

MCFD follows the law – yes it does! Sometimes in following, the result is right and sometimes in following that same law, it turns out so wrong.

Some writers supply web links to resources and information which is helpful in considering contesting opinions or making up one's mind. Some writer's call for report information yet seem in later responses not to be taking personal time to go to sites to find the data.

There is much more but ….................... How does reform come when we are not on the same page? Better question, how do we move the legislators to the same page?
Blogger has a comment counting glitch. Comments have already been published today but are not counted even though they exist. Hit the comments button to read.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

WHOSE BEST INTERESTS / Part 222 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

I realize that Judge Crabtree's ruling on Monday delivers some challenges to the foster family and the social worker managing this case. They must make arrangements for not two but three afternoon visits per week. That has been mandated by the Judge's order. The social worker must repeatedly arrange with medical professionals and with Baynes so parents can attend medical appointments and school activities. I theorize that neither foster family or case worker appreciates the additional scheduling hiccup. It's not convenient. You know where I am going with this don't you?

Shall we talk about convenience? It is not convenient that Paul and Zabeth have been deprived of their children either. It is not convenient that they forfeited their home to pay lawyers. It was not convenient that a concert pianist should have to sell her grand piano. It is not convenient that they must work night shifts in order to attend day time visits with their children. Of course it is not convenient but the Baynes have been willing to count these costs. Why? Not to gain custody so they can abuse their children? That is a preposterous assessment of risk.

There are many things about this case that are not convenient.

Judge Crabtree's ruling came down in favour of the Ministry's own guiding principle, not convenience but rather ' the best interests of the child.' It is in the best interests of these three children that they be permitted to spend more time and special time with their mommy and daddy. Convenience for those who must make it happen has nothing to do with these arrangements. Inconvenience must be accommodated in order to affect the best interests of these children.

So let's see what arrangements can be made for Father's Day. That's a special family day for most of us.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

CRABTREE RULES / Part 221 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Although the hearing with regard to the Ministry application for a Continuing Care Order is still not completed, the Judge has allowed the Baynes to proceed with an application not only for increased access time with their children but for unsupervised time. You must know that the Baynes have presently interim supervised access. Yesterday, Monday June 14th, the Judge ruled on this application.

The Baynes applied for this:
1.Increase in existing access from two times a week visits at three hours a visit to three times a week at four hours a visit.
2.Visitation to be arranged at the home of Marvin and Ruth Hunt (family friends)
3.Family occasions to be together on all special occasions
4.Mr. And Mrs Baynes attendance at preschool and kindergarten activities as well as to assist at them.
5.To be informed of doctors appointments and to attend
6.Weekends unsupervised access

The Judge gave them this:
1.That access shall be increased from two times a week for three hours each to three times a week for three hours.
2.Reasonable access on special occasions
3.The parents can attend preschool and kindergarten functions in the same manner that other parents do with their children.
4.All information for doctors appointments be sent by email to the parents and if the doctors consents in advance and in writing that the parents can attend.
5.The visitation request to be at the Hunts residence and overnight unsupervised access is denied.

In brief, Judge Crabtree gave them 50% more visitation time in addition to numerous other access opportunities. He also made it clear that distinct, written communication must be provided to the Baynes by the Ministry with regard to all such access opps and it affords them greater involvement in the details of their children's wellbeing.

I view this as a significant award by a judge who is not impressed with the Ministry's legal case to take the Bayne children away from their parents once and for ever. Clearly that is my personal opinion, my read of not only the lack of Ministry evidence in the case but also my interpretation of the meaning of this ruling itself. I am confident that the Judge would have given the Baynes unsupervised access now if not for the perception and the potential challenge that such a ruling would have furnished to the Ministry that the ruling was prejudicial and therefore detrimental to the Judge's final objective ruling on the unfinished hearing. What he granted today was within his power to do, that is, to encourage the Baynes and to mess with the Director's strict control of his interim order over these children. The Judge is the one with the ultimate power and doesn't that bite! Further, the Ministry was unable to make a case to convince Judge Crabtree that the Baynes are such high risk people that they should not have more time with their children but less, much less, in fact no time at all, example: a CCO. The Ministry's affidavit to counter this application was as weak as water and further underscored that when all is said and done in August, these children are coming home. That's because a circumspect Judge deems the Baynes to be good and fit and reliable parents and it is in the children's best interests that they come home, and social workers in the system should applaud – this is not a competition.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Baynes' visitation access was increased from 2 to 3 times weekly for 3 hrs each; granted access for special occasions; parents can attend preschool and kindergarten functions as other parents do; all information for doctors' appointments is to be sent by email to the parents and if the doctors give advance and written consent then parents can attend; Unsupervised access was denied. LOOK FOR MORE ON THIS BLOG SITE TOMORROW MORNING.

REFORM MCFD ONLINE PETITION / Part 220 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Today, Judge Crabtree rules on Paul and Zabeth Bayne's application for unsupervised access privileges.

Yesterday, I introduced Leah Flagg's online petition. Here is the letter to which you will sign your name.

To Premier Campbell, Ministry Mary Polak
The present structure of Ministry of Child and Family Development and its mandate is lacking in accountability to client families and the public in general. It allows for mismanagement of scarce resources and abuse of authority.

The following is a petition to reform specific aspects of the programs and services provided by MCFD.


The authority to remove children from their parents is a necessary evil in the task of protecting vulnerable children. However, when mistakes are made or its authority misused, the MCFD uses its power and bureaucratic process to protect its social workers rather than the interests of the children and families it exists to provide care for.

The current MCFD complaints process is biased. It does not allow client families an adequate means of ensuring their social workers hold to the appropriate standards of their profession nor to the MCFD Mandate and Service Regulations.

Because the complaints process fails to render satisfactorily impartial resolution of clients’ concerns, it must be regulated by an outside organization that does not have a stake in the outcome. To completely assure a measure of accountability, it must be compulsory for all active social workers to register with B.C. College of Social Workers.


Overwhelmingly, service delivery focuses on child protection and not enough on support and prevention. The framework for a supportive and preventative approach to service delivery exists but it is not satisfactorily implemented.

Expensive foster home resources must be reserved for the children who need that level of care, but these resources are persistently being utilized for children who would be better served with support services in their own homes. Social workers consistently opt for removal and out-of-home foster placement when preventative/support services would more efficiently help families achieve their goals.

The formula for allocating funding must be based on the number and type of services required by families, as opposed to the number of children who are held in the custody and guardianship of the MCFD. Utilizing such a formula could help deter social workers from unnecessarily removing children from their parents.


Inadequate numbers of qualified support workers contributes to the extensive wait lists for services and drastically weakens the capacity to implement programs for vulnerable children and youth. There must be funding allocated specifically for recruiting and training support workers in the field of community, residential and in-home support services to children and youth.


Currently, when a youth turns nineteen the MCFD does little to ensure a safe and healthy transition toward independent living, even when the youth is known to not have the ability to function independently. This is unacceptable. The MCFD must follow the youth into adulthood and support them as a parent would.

Transitional support services must be provided based on individual capacity for adaptive functioning rather than an arbitrary IQ or age criteria. These two criteria alone disqualify the vast majority of vulnerable youth for support services.

It is not enough for social workers to simply refer youth to a name and phone number of community organizations and expect them to obtain services. It must be the social worker’s responsibility to ensure the youth has suitable housing and support services in place before the youth turns nineteen.

Where the youth’s family is willing and capable of assisting the youth through transition, they must be encouraged and supported in doing so with appropriate in-home/community support services provided by MCFD.


Failing to be accountable and support our children and youth is inconsistent with the values I hold as a British Columbian. On behalf of BC’s vulnerable children and youth, I am making it my responsibility as a citizen to speak out against this government’s failure to provide for their best interests.

Premier Campbell and Minister Polak; you have a duty to protect and support BC’s children and youth in our communities. Please act immediately to reform our broken system of services for these, some of our most vulnerable citizens.
The Undersigned

Sunday, June 13, 2010

THE FLAGGS OF KAMLOOPS / Part 219 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

Are the names Leah and Steve Flagg familiar to you?
They live in Kamloops, B.C. and their family was in the news in April 2010. Their life situation with MCFD does not parallel the Baynes' scenario yet it underscores the necessity for public concern that B.C. services to children, youth, parents and families is in dire need of a great range of modification. I will allude to their story for an important reason right after this reminder.
Paul and Zabeth Bayne will be back in the court room tomorrow, Monday June 14th to hear Judge Crabtree's ruling on their submission for unsupervised access with their children. The Fraser Valley branch of the MCFD know how important this ruling is for the Baynes, and also for MCFD. If Judge Crabtree grants these parents any unsupervised hours, be it an overnight, a day, an afternoon, or an hour, what do you think that is saying about his confidence in the Baynes. The only reason he may not grant them unsupervised visitation is to make unassailable his ruling at the end of the Continuing Court Order trial in August and to protect the Bayne family from any future harassing appeal by MCFD.
And now I briefly recite the Flagg details so that you will pay attention to an important Petition to which most of you will want to affix your signatures.

CBC correspondent Kathy Tomlinson told their story on the National with Peter Mansbridge.

The Flaggs have four children ranging in age from 11-20. The eldest son has brain damage, diagnosed from childhood with severe mental illnesses and stabilized well with medication. At age 13 the boy beat his mother severely and harmed his siblings. He was paranoid, obsessive and violent at home. Steve and Leah made difficult choices to protect their other children and find help for their troubled older son. They placed the boy in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
He lived in a secure youth residence until he was nineteen at which time the Ministry was no longer responsible for him. Upon his release, the Flaggs could not leave him on his own nor could they find any other community or government agency that could take him. On the street he could hurt himself or someone else. Although he was a threat to their other children, the Flagg parents felt they had no option but to bring him home. Leah then quit her job to be at home and each parent took a turn sleeping at night to protect the family. Within weeks, the home situation deteriorated as the son became unmanageable and the siblings fought and the parents became exhausted. Unable to cope they asked the MCFD for respite and counseling and were given a caregiver to assist them only on the weekends. It was inadequate. Into a Ministry report went this conclusion that none of the children felt safe. THE MINISTRY THEN DECIDED THAT THE YOUNGER CHILDREN NEEDED TO BE REMOVED. In December 2009 social workers together with the RCMP came and took all three of the younger children. Refusing to go to a foster home, the eldest girl stayed with an aunt and the other two were placed in separate foster homes. That night is an horrific memory and the consequences appalling.

Leah told Kathy Tomlinson, "It was heartbreaking. We went between just crying and being devastated to being angry and wanting to fight back — and feeling like we had no power. We had our parental rights taken away from us. And that's all we wanted to do was parent our kids. That's all we wanted when we called for help."

At the time of the CBC report, two of the children had been returned home and the younger son was still in a foster home and receiving counseling because he had a breakdown due to the stress. Initially the eldest son was able to go to the parental home of a friend where the Flaggs believe our government paid $6000 per month for care when conceivably the monies might have been allocated to support the family in ways that would have prevented this traumatic psychological and emotional destruction. Since then the oldest boy went off medication, did street drugs, was arrested for theft and assaulting an officer and is in jail.

PETITION: Leah Gainor Flagg left a comment on my post entitled "OF COURSE PEOPLE ARE PAYING ATTENTION / Part 216 /..." and with it an invitation to read and to sign an online petition called "Reform B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development." She also gave us her website to tell her story.

CBC Photo credit

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Let the Child Advocate be Heard / Part 218 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

My involvement with Paul's and Zabeth's campaign for justice has alerted me to related news from across the country. I am still amazed at the issue parallels in all provinces. I am not a news network so I am a day late, yet BC-rs, where have you heard something like this before?

From Winnipeg CBC news sources on Thursday came this information. Manitoba has a Children's advocate position just as British Columbia does. Billie Schibler is the current children's advocate who has been an outspoken critic of the government with regard to issues facing children in care. In April she left her post on indefinite leave due to personal family reasons. Hers is to be an office independent of government, dealing directly with the Manitoba legislative assembly – an office similar to our B.C. Advocate Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. Ms. Schibler's term in office is scheduled to expire in April 2011. she left very early. Without an advocate in place, Bonnie Kocsis is the acting children's advocate, and an acting officer is not viewed as healthy because of the reluctance to affect necessary changes. An all-party committee will convene soon to discuss potential candidates to replace Schibler. Her office is in the news now because on Wednesday a private Advocate's report was leaked. It declared that provincial child welfare system is in a state of crisis. Manitoba has an NDP government. Although it was intended to be private, Liberal MLA Kevin Lamoureux who had access to the report because he is a member of the budget committee, forwarded it to the media. Lamoureux's defence of his action stated, "our children are much more important than something that happens beyond closed doors." The report stated that children in care have increased from 6600 to 8600 over a five year span. It claims that social workers are quitting due to overwhelming caseloads that are two-and-a-half times larger than is reasonable. It referenced critically the government policy of placing aboriginal children in non aboriginal foster homes. When this report was leaked, the Opposition requested that the Advocate appear to answer questions about the report but the government would not grant this and came under immediate heavy pressure. Then on Thursday, news broke that the NDP government will introduce a bill requiring the Children's advocate to appear annually before a legislative committee to answer questions about child welfare in Manitoba. Ostensibly the intention of this government action to create an interactive forum with the Advocate is to provide greater insight to the government and to Manitobans regarding the challenges as well as the accomplishments of child welfare. One is compelled to trust the government's motive integrity. Yet Family Services Minister Gord Mackintosh was quick to defend the government's past responses to the Advocate's concerns.
What do you think about that?

Read more: CBC children's advocate story

Advocate warns of state of chaos

Children's advocate website

AM 1150

Advocate on indefinite leave

Brandon Sun – social workers leave

Winnipeg Free Press – backlog a challenge for agency


What is Advocacy

Friday, June 11, 2010

VICTORY IS THE CRY / Part 217 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

I am soulful at the moment of writing. It's a vulnerable place to be.
Adults can be so cruel at times.
Parents of children sometimes lose sight of the impressionability of their offspring.
They fail to recognize their children as creatures of promise, treasures to be protected.
Some adult parents have never themselves matured.
The innocence of children is compromised at so many levels within our culture,
So soon.
What was unspoiled, pristine in a human person, small and endangered,
Observes, experiences, feels, learns attitudes and behaviours that issue in a child person either noble or unremarkable.
So much derives from parents patient, tender, informative, embracing.
Hearts ache as children suffer from neglect, from torment, from physical maltreatment.
Good people are still in the majority.
They recognize the cultural need to preserve the small ones.
They invent the instruments that quell the dangers and protect the treasures.
Yet legislation cannot change human hearts.
So small lives spoiled and marked by anguish proliferate in an educated world and one wonders why.
And good people commissioned, check wrongdoing, punish bad people and modify destinies.
And sometimes their zeal errs and punishment is misdirected,
Good people with innocent children are caught in a vortex of accusation.
Casualties multiply. All lose. Everyone is wounded.
The circuitous stream of incrimination and disgrace and legal actions soil a society.
Antagonists and protagonists all.
All the someones are opponents and adversaries now.
Everyone looking for victory.
Urbanity is sour.
Humanity is imperiled.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

OF COURSE PEOPLE ARE PAYING ATTENTION / Part 216 / For Love and For Justice / Zabeth and Paul Bayne/

I have learned that the MCFD is discontented, maybe even distressed with the publicity that is being received by the Bayne Campaign for Justice whether it has been through televised reports, online or hard copy news reports, or information at assorted websites and blogs and the unusual number of emails and correspondence and phone calls from Bayne supporters asking for the return of the children. The copy is always unflattering and critical of course. The phone calls and emails denunciative and demanding. I fully appreciate the frustration felt by social workers and managers of MCFD who principally seek to administer their responsibilities effectively. They want to go home at nights feeling that they have done the right things at the right times. I understand that. And MCFD employees feel that with respect to the Bayne support network no one appears to respect these sincere efforts.

Wouldn't tough-minded public ministry be convenient if everything that one did could be affected under a cloak of confidentiality or silence? That was practiced for years. Checks and balances were deemed necessary, an example of which is the position of Representative of Children and Youth designed to ensure that agencies serving children and youth are providing programs and care with which all of us are satisfied.

I was amused to hear Point #12 among the thirty point Ministry affidavit authored by social workers assigned to this case. I will tell you more about the MCFD affidavit next week. It's not appropriate for me to divulge more now before the Judge makes his ruling next Monday on the Baynes' application for unsupervised access to their children.

Point #12 was a “poor us” statement that had no bearing whatsoever on Baynes' unsupervised access application. It said, “The Baynes have a large following of supporters, often having many of those supporters present during Court hearings and otherwise engaging the Ministry through letters, phone calls, emails, and internet postings which convey many specific details of the Baynes' case and question the Ministry's motives."

What was the point of that? It entertained me because the authors appeared not to grasp that this MCFD Ministry is not beyond questioning. Any time that an agency's actions impinge upon the rights and freedoms of people, other citizens will question and expect reasonable answers. When the optics appear unjust, the questions intensify. And yes indeed people know about this case and feel strongly about it. After all, it was aired nationally as well as provincially by CBC and Global TV news. I have certainly capitalized on the vast network of contacts across the provinces that were afforded to me by the executive position from which I retired. A current total of fifty thousand page hits have been registered since the blog began in October 2009. Each day among the one thousand daily hits are social workers, directors and ministerial staff with the MCFD around the province, present and past caregivers, people with RCMP, people in medical facilities and universities, people from news media, from provincial government offices, from interested agencies in the U.S., and from many, many people in Canada who have been burned by child protection agencies.

This blog as I have said before, is decidedly 'pro return the children,' expressed within a framework of fair play. It may not always seem fair but that is the affect of stating an opinion on a blog. However, because I have invited comments, permitting both dissenting comments and passionate anti-MCFD comments, some significant exchanges occur. For the most part people are respecting civility while responding to one another. Yes people are being informed, challenged, caused to weigh arguments, and perhaps somewhere in the future, making the improvements that will reduce the number of removals and modify public perception. Yes there is publicity around this case.