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

17 comments:

  1. Under the CFCSA, no agreement with a youth can extend beyond a person's twenty fourth birthday (12.3b) but it is possible to extend agreements when a child in care has mental issues and the child is in continuing care. I do not agree with the fact that parents of children with mental or physical limitations need to get a continuing custody order before they can receive help but in the case of the Flagg's, if the child had been kept in care until the age of 24, it may have given them time to make other arrangements and their other children would have been older and possibly been able to deal with the situation better.
    I am not saying that I think the Flagg's should have had to give up custody to get help, I am just saying that according to regulation, it could have been one solution. MCFD does not provide enough solutions for families in distress. It seems to me they are 'removal happy'. They spend more money on child removal and foster care by far than they do on supporting the family which doesn't make any sense.
    MCFD is also far too happy to force parents into supervised access. The Bayne's should absolutely not have to be supervised while they visit their children. It is very rare that I hear from a parent who is not forced into being supervised to visit their children no matter how simple the allegations are. Is this because MCFD collects funding for the services they contract out to do the supervising? Several social workers at our local offices sit on the board of directors for organizations that provide contracted services. Is this a conflict of interest? In my eyes, it is. Parents are treated like criminals before they even get a chance to defend themselves against allegations.
    If allegations are false and MCFD removes a child without sufficient evidence, the child is placed in care, with strangers and often develops separation anxiety and other fears. The child may display symptoms in which case they are often drugged. From Jane Morley's report, 2006: Children were prescribed ritalin-type medications at a rate of 8.5 to 12 times higher than children who had never been in care and psychotherapeutic agents were prescribed at a rate 5.5 to 8 times higher. I have heard from many parents that their children were taken to psychiatrists by MCFD and if the psychiatrists did not prescribe drugs, they made the child see another psychiatrist and kept going until they were prescribed medications. Some people may look at these stats and come to the conclusion that children who needs drugs in care must have come from severely bad homes but that is not always the case. Children who are wrongfully taken from normal homes act out, cry, have nightmares, and display signs/symptoms of depression. They don't understand why they can't be with their parents, they are told things that don't make sense to them and they become very confused. Once a child is in the care of MCFD, the parent has no choice as to whether or not their child will be drugged. Ritalin and other similar drugs do have side effects and can be habit forming. This might be another factor in the high suicide rate of children who leave care because when the child leaves care, they may not have access to the medications they've been taking and may experience withdrawals, or they may decide to stop the medication suddenly when they are released from care. This is not the 1800's. Parents should be able to prevent their children from being drugged in care. Parents that have not been convicted of physical/sexual/emotional abuse should not have to visit their child supervised unless there is strong evidence to suggest they might harm the child. MCFD's idea of strong evidence is a complaint from anyone ranging from an angry neighbor to a disgruntled ex-spouse and that is not right. When MCFD accuses a parent, the parent has to prove their innocence, but it should be MCFD's responsibility to bear the burden of proof.
    PAC

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  2. This case is a warning to those who seek help from the MCFD. Asking for help from SW is like playing with fire. Once their attention is drawn, parents have little or no control of what "services" are rendered. They decide what and how much "services" families need, monopolize what the best interests of children are. Disagreements from parents are considered uncooperative and further actions are justified to "protect" children.

    I came across disabled parents seeking help from MCFD. SW "helped" her by removing her children, obtained CCO and adopted them in the adoption market. Such unexpected "service" is often rendered at a surprise.

    MCFD's "Child protection" is nothing more than a scam to transfer wealth from taxpayers to special interests, brokered by SW under the pretext of "child protection".

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  3. I did read about this case and found it typical of MCFD tactics. It's heartbreaking what they do to families. They don't help families whatsoever, at least they certainly didn't in this case.

    Remember folks, this is all paid for by you and me. Never think it can't happen to you, or someone you love. Once it does, your life will be changed forever, for the worse.

    And considering the large numbers of children taken by the government, it's only a matter of time before it affects you. Their power is only expanding, so please, get involved, let others know about the injustice, and do whatever you can to help protect our children from the MCFD.

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  4. What is important to note the commonalities between the Flagg and Baynes case.

    I like looking through the comments in the CBC stories. In the Flagg story there are nearly 400 posts, with "like" "dislike" buttons. There is a "like" count of 1,126 on the very first post April 27, 2010 which reads:

    "Wouldn't it have cost the government less to care for the mentally unstable adult child, than to pay for foster care for the 3 other kids??

    CFS, were you really looking out for the best interest of these children? Questionable."

    The rest of the comments completely condemn the government. The toll on the emotional state of the family members and the financial costs cannot be understated.

    MCFD has trained personnel who know exactly the effect their removal actions have on families. Don't tell me they do not do this intentionally. MCFD knows exactly the effects on the family when they remove children.

    The commonalities are that both these families went public, they are typical mainstream Canadian with mom and dad together. These two families are undergoing the "solution" imposed on them, which the most complex and expensive tortuous path possible to address the issue at hand.

    Through the Bayne's case, the public is being taught that MCFD is a weapon to be used by neighbors and former friends and acquaintances and to use against people you do not like. MCFD believes removal is the answer for any family who who accumulates intake reports.

    In the case of the Flagg family, the public is taught not to ask the "system" for help, in any way shape or form, because it may very well backfire on you. The cost of asking for help seems to have a very high price.

    The Flaggs made a valid point that the funds ($6,000) given to foster parents to care for their children, why didn't MCFD offer them that money instead of weekend-only respite care? Just $2,000 monthly pays for a full-time Nanny. Mrs. Flagg had to quit her job to care for her kids.

    The point is if you asked regular people on the street what help the government could have supplied this family and the Baynes family, the answer would not be to remove their children.

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  5. Anon Long WeekendJune 13, 2010 at 8:54 PM

    "Remember folks, this is all paid for by you and me." By this rationale SW are also paying their own salaries.

    The above-described situations, if wholly accurate, represent reprehensible SW practice. "IF accurate." I would imagine, there is a lot of truth, and a lot of information not being shared as well.

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  6. To Anonymous June 13, 2010 9:34 AM:

    Speaking of drugging kids, removed children are often drugged just to keep them under control in foster homes as most of them want to go back to their parents so badly.

    To those who are new in learning the atrocities made by "child protection" SW, please watch the following CBS news footage:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISFPJL66p4c&

    Even 2-year old toddlers are treated with strong psychotropic drugs. These kids are 3 times more likely to suffer side effects of these drugs than adults.

    There are many types of SW. I am directing my comments against a special type called "child protection" social workers (CPSW). For all intensive purposes, they are a special type of law enforcer not armed with guns but with the absolute power to remove children from their parents. With huge public resources at their disposal, they will do everything they can to cover up mistakes, flaws of their practice and to suppress opposition, including opposition from children whom they are supposed to protect.

    No responsible government should turn a blind eye to these state-created atrocities.

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  7. To: Anon Long Weekend:

    What are you suggesting? That all these parents and others who complain about MCFD are lying?

    Deny, deny, deny. That's the tactic of child protection agencies all over the world. Seems they don't care if children and families are suffering. They just keep denying that that suffering is real.

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  8. Did I say they were all lying? Read what I wrote again, without bias. My point is, are you saying all SW are lying?

    SW's are as fallible as parents. We are all human remember? So if its conceivable a SW would lie, is it not conceivable a parent would also lie?

    There have been some amazingly clear and concise points on this web page. But many (not all) who are posting against MCFD/CPS seem to think there are absolutes that (a) all CPS SW are evil liars and no removal should ever happen and/or (b) No parent would ever misinform a judge, family member, or SW about the care they gave their child - that only a SW would do so.

    Too many people on this board hold absolutes. I wish to assist others in encouraging people to not post such a narrow-minded view-point. To not only believe there are exceptions, but that the atrocities that do occur are in the minority. Just as others who have posted similar remarks as I have just done - CPS needs reform!

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  9. I once read somewhere a post by a former child protection worker (from the US).

    She/he had said that the CPS mantra was:

    "Delay, deny, delay. Hope the parents go away. Hoorah, Hoorah, adoption day."

    Pretty telling, no?

    Reader from NYC

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  10. Anon at June 14, 2010 9:16 AM:

    Do you think parents such as the Baynes are "narrow minded" for wanting their children back? What would constitute being broad minded? Accepting the bullying power of MCFD without question? If one parent lies, how much damage can be done, versus a lying social worker who comes in contact with, and has control over the fate of, innumerable families? And I am not sure what you expect me or anyone else to do about a lying parent, but I certainly know what should happen in the case of a lying social worker.

    It seems that whenever someone so much as points out that the MCFD has phenomenal power, someone such as yourself complains that we aren't being fair or broad minded or whatever.

    How fair or broad minded is it to keep 3 children away from their parents for their most precious years? And the Baynes aren't the only ones going through this. Why do you object so much to those who merely complain about such gross injustice?

    You claim that these injustices are in the "minority." Why, then, are so many parents complaining? Not just in BC, but in every province, and in fact every country in the world where child protection has this enormous power. What constitutes a "minority" in your opinion? How many children and parents have to be devastated by child protection before you would deem it a large enough number to be concerned about?

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  11. To 8:42 pm
    Your comments are confusing. You are responding to 9:16 am. When I read their comments, they are not saying the Baynes are narrow-minded to want their children back. I read that they are cautioning readers that there are many who are commenting on this website that ALL SWs are evil, that everyone in the MCFD are evil, that all children in foster care suffer torture, etc, etc. - that is the narrow-mindedness - it is extraordinarily narrow minded to believe a comment that most foster children are drugged and exist in a stupor or any other such ridiculous comments. And I'm coming from a place of not being involved with the MCFD or being a parent that hasn't had children removed.
    Caution in reading ALL comments, understanding that most have taken a specific position, and weighing the info/evidence as told - that is being broad-minded. It has nothing to do with the Baynes in particular.

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  12. Anon at 8:42 PM wrote:

    "... there are many who are commenting on this website that ALL SWs are evil, that everyone in the MCFD are evil, that all children in foster care suffer torture, etc, etc. - that is the narrow-mindedness - it is extraordinarily narrow minded to believe a comment that most foster children are drugged and exist in a stupor or any other such ridiculous comments."

    I don't recall anyone saying that ALL social workers are evil. But the fact is, too many social workers ARE not working in the best interests of children, in the MCFD and all over the world. Too many children ARE drugged in foster care (not to mention abused and murdered). What is so narrow minded about pointing that out? You may not like that statement, but it is not narrow minded.

    By the way, you state you are not involved with the MCFD. What, if you don't mind my asking, prompted your interest in the issue of child protection?

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  13. To Anonymous 4:23 pm
    What prompted my interest in the issue of child protection? Why you need to know that makes ME curious! However, I'll answer that question. A very good friend of mine is a child in care. I'm not sure where she got this info - did you need that too?? So, who are you? And why are you writing??? It is intriguing to me that you need to know who I am. But I will say this ... my friend and her brothers (also in care) are insulted by the huge generalizations about the quality of foster care being stated here. We were taught in school to question everything ... take info, ALL info, think it through BEFORE you make assumptions, and base conclusions on all the evidence, not just the evidence that fits your hypothesis.

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  14. Thanks for the info, Anon at 10:35 PM. Didn't mean to offend you with my question, just curious. Are your friends who are in care posting on this blog? I would (post) if I were (in care). This hearsay (you say they say) evidence of good foster care is interesting to me, because I've never heard any good stories first-hand. Everyone I've communicated said it was a nightmare. But you know there is a first time for everything (even if it is hearsay).

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  15. To 6:59
    Interesting that you have finally decided to call something "heresay" ... most all the comments on this blog are heresay. But that's ok - you can point out mine.
    You didn't answer my question - who are you? I recognize your writing - you blog a lot on this site - you are obviously very connected to this story or have a very vested interest. I would suggest that you are supremely defensive. Although you will twist it around and tell me I am.
    And to answer your last question. Yes, my friend has blogged on this site. That's how I found out about it. Unfortunately, it has drawn me in by some of the ludicrous (sp?) comments, and now I find myself commenting. Just trying to create a fraction of sanity here.

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  16. I am not connected to this case - I know that will be disappointing for some, who seem to think that only someone who is secretly fighting for the Baynes could hold such views as I do. I am only connected inasmuch as no man is an island, and we should all be concerned by such injustice. I don't recall any comments on this blog about how wonderful foster care is (written by someone in foster care). Could you point out your friend's comments, because I would like to read more about a good foster care experience (and I, logically, assume that is what they would do; that is, write about how good their experience in foster care was, in order to counter the statements of people such as myself).

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  17. And yet another example of how foster care is just the opposite of what it claims to be:

    EDMONTON - An Edmonton woman is suing the province for $2.5 million after alleging prostitute killer Thomas Svekla sexually abused her when she was a five-year-old foster child.

    The 20-year-old woman, who cannot be identified, has also named Svekla - who was recently designated a dangerous offender and ordered locked up indefinitely - her then-foster mother and the Public Trustee as defendants.

    According to a June 8 statement of claim, the woman was apprehended from her home and placed in foster care in 1995 with a woman whose live-in boyfriend was Svekla.

    She alleges she was then sexually abused by Svekla.

    She also alleges she was abused by the foster mother and says the woman was aware or ought to have been aware of the sexual abuse and failed to protect her from Svekla.

    "(Her) life was destroyed by the abuse she suffered from Thomas Svekla and (the foster mother)," says the claim.


    The woman alleges the province "maliciously, recklessly and carelessly" placed her in the home and then failed to adequately supervise and monitor her while there.

    She also claims she reported the abuse to the authorities, including the police, but no charges were laid at the time.

    "(She) felt betrayed by the Crown and felt that the Crown did not believe her and were calling her a liar."


    http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2010/06/18/14434701.html

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