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